You run a business. There’s always something to do.
And now you’ve decided to start a blog.
Wow, you know how to ramp up the demands on your time! But that has to mean that you’ve thought about the value a blog can add to your online marketing activity. The increased traffic to your website. The ability to tell the story of your product or service.
All incredibly valuable.
So, let’s make the writing part of it as simple as possible.
Why a blog post in 30 minutes or less is a bit like a Jamie Oliver recipe
There are 25.7m responses on Google to the question “how to write a blog post in 30 minutes”. And there’s a lot of similarities between them all. When I’ve read them then what struck me was it’s not exactly 30 minutes from a standing start.
A bit like a Jamie Oliver “15-minute” recipe. You have to be well prepared before the timer even starts to dish up on time. So I don’t think you go from blank screen to full post in 30 minutes without doing some of the legwork up front. Put the time in, and you’ll be more efficient when you do sit down to create each post. Here’s the key things to speeding the process up.
Your content schedule
How often have you decided to put out a post? At this stage there are no right or wrong answers, it has to be what’s right for you, your business and the time you have. And Google loves consistency, so it’s much better that you post once a fortnight, every fortnight than two posts one week and none for the next two weeks. So having those dates marked on your calendar will help.
Your content ideas
If you worked through the steps outlined in my last post, then you should have started a list of ideas for blog posts based on what your customers are interested in. Or, if you’re beyond those, then you need to be making a note of ideas for posts every day. Just stick a title or an idea down wherever you are. Keep a notebook with you, or use the notes app on your phone, or something like Trello across all your devices. Just keep writing the ideas down.
Your content types
Have you worked out what kind of content your customers like? Are you working on how to’s or behind the scenes? Is it written content or video? Infographics or gifs? If you haven’t posted any content at all yet, then hopefully you’ve followed the step of looking at your competitors and seeing what they do.
Your content plan
I’ve written several times about why planning is absolutely key, and I’ll stress it again. Taking the time to plan your content pays dividends in terms of being able to sit down and knowing what you’re sitting down to write. If you print out the view of the next month and mark out how many posts you want to write and when, then that’s a start.
Plot out the key things you know are happening in that month that you want to highlight to your customers. It could be a new product launch, an important anniversary for your business, a holiday or national day…all things that you can start to plot out and have a good starting point for a post.
If you’ve decided to post twice a week, then you’ve got 8 posts to find each month. Doing the steps above might quickly get you to three or four of those. And then you go back to your other ideas and fill in the gaps.
Decide on one
By now, your ideas should have a priority order if you’ve dropped them onto your calendar. Pick your first title, probably your most pressing in terms of posting date, and decide to do it. Starting is half the battle.
Start with the end in mind
Before you start, work out two things that this post is going to achieve. The first is what will this post do for your readers? I think generally blog posts fall into three camps: they educate, they entertain, or they inspire. Very occasionally you manage to do all three in one post. But for now, focus on one of those.
And then be clear what you want people to do when they get to the end of your post. Are you asking for them to sign up to your list? Are you looking for them to share your message widely? Are you asking them to buy something? Be really clear with yourself what you want someone to do, and then write with that in mind. It’ll also help you to check back at the end that you’ve got that covered.
Start now, and don’t edit
You know your topic, you know what type of content, and you know what the outcome is. Now start writing, and don’t stop. Don’t do any editing or overthink it, just write until you think you’re done. Don’t worry about your titles and images, for now, just write.
Give yourself a break, and then go back and review it. Add in your headings, add your images (making sure you’ve optimised them for SEO), do your spelling and grammar check. Then schedule.
And then repeat.
It should get easier as you get into a writing habit and rhythm, and also things like making sure you keep note of your ideas. Just like having a storecupboard of things, and ingredients all chopped, before you attempt a Jamie Oliver 30 minute recipe, then having these things in place will help you get through things more speedily.
If you need some additional starting points for ideas then maybe you’d like to sign up to the Content Catalyst newsletter. Twice a month I send out ideas based on events that are coming up, and then things that other businesses are doing that are a bit different, that stand out. You can head on over here and sign up for that, as well as get a free welcome download of seven steps to planning a month’s content in 30 minutes.