One of the biggest complaints that business owners, like you, tell me about writing a blog is a lack of time. When I stand up in front of audiences to share my thoughts and strategies on successful blogging, the same question gets asked over and over again …
“How would I have the time to start, write and keep up a blog?”
Now I don’t blame you for thinking this. It’s a hurdle I have had to mentally – and physically – jump over many times over the years.
When I started my first blog back in the summer of 2005 (back when blogging was viewed more as a secret online diary that fed the occasional series in the Sunday tabloids) it was tough starting from a blank website template. It was always easier to find other things to do than sit myself down to write a 500 word article.
Even now as a published author, a blogger here as well as over at CanDoCanBe.com and creator of content at The Web Tech Club, there are times I feel so completely uninspired that I would rather go and change all the beds in our house (my most hated household chore …. ever!) than sit down to write.
And this is why I think that time is never really the problem to starting, writing and keeping up a blog. The real problem is coming up with enough ideas and inspiration to keep the content flowing.
As more and more businesses now use blogging as part of their marketing strategy, it’s also too easy to feel that there is nothing unique about what you want to share. The little gremlins in your head start chanting “it’s all been done before – who would want to read what you’ve got to say anyway?”
Your creativity and inspiration over what to write is crushed even further. And bam … you find yet another excuse to not find the time to do it. And if you don’t want to do something, then you know how easy it is to make all the excuses in the world and not do it!
(Being your own boss is great … but without a boss to hold you accountable, it’s so easy not to do the stuff you don’t like, right?)
OK, blogging isn’t for everyone but, if you are selling your knowledge and providing services and products based around your coaching, training, consultancy or any other skill that you have, then blogging has proven time and time again to work when done in the right way.
So if you are stuck in the trap of using time as an excuse to not blog – when really it’s what you actually write about that you are stuck on – then here are 6 shortcuts to writing quality blog posts in record time.
[headline_georgia_small_left color=”#000000″]1. Create a content calendar[/headline_georgia_small_left]
It doesn’t have to be a complicated spreadsheet or macro programme. Just a simple monthly calendar (find and print off a Microsoft calendar template, for example) will do.
Decide how often you want to write each week (three times is great but once a week is better than nothing at all!) and which days you want to publish your content (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for example) and give each day a theme. Tuesday could be a quick and easy how-to article, Thursday could be your more in depth article that you use for your newsletter and Friday is an upbeat, get ready for the weekend style.
There’s no right or wrong here – it’s what ever works for you and your target clients.
[headline_georgia_small_left color=”#000000″]2. Plan out headlines based on your key words[/headline_georgia_small_left]
Get clear on what key words you want to be found by when your target client searches the web and use these in your headlines. This will help keep you focused on writing articles that attract the right target audience.
It’s real easy to lose your focus and go off on a tangent. That’s fine from time to time, but if you forget why you are writing a blog (and yes, it is a marketing activity rather than providing a free industry magazine that gets read by thousands yet does nothing to pay the bills … there is a difference!), your time spent writing will not grow your business. And if you don’t see results, you will give up.
[headline_georgia_small_left color=”#000000″]3. Target yourself each month[/headline_georgia_small_left]
As I mentioned above, it’s great being your own boss but if you have no one making you accountable, then it’s easy to “forget” certain tasks. Commit yourself to a number of blog posts each month but be realistic about what you can achieve. It’s no good thinking you are going to blog every day and then feel guilty by Friday because you’ve only managed the one.
[headline_georgia_small_left color=”#000000″]4. Write when you most productive[/headline_georgia_small_left]
I know this may seem obvious, but if you are setting yourself targets, there is little point writing a blog post at the end of busy day just to keep up. You’ll make silly mistakes. Your writing won’t flow. And you will end up hating your blog … which is something you really don’t want to end up doing!
Many people like to wake up early and write first thing. I read this advice a lot from the big blogging gurus out there. I find, however, that I am more creative late at night; when the house is quiet and the dog is snoring in his bed. Give me the nightshift when it comes to writing any day.
Decide when it’s best for you – just don’t try to squeeze it in between tasks and client phone calls because you will end up write dross! And dross won’t win you any clients, will it?
[headline_georgia_small_left color=”#000000″]5. Write in bulk[/headline_georgia_small_left]
The great thing about using blogging sites such as WordPress or Squarespace is that they all give you the option of publishing your article at a particular time and day in the future. Don’t feel you have to write in the now, for the now. Write when you are in the mood. Keep the flow going. And then set the publish date to suit your content calendar.
This works beautifully for when you take off for holidays or you know you are working flat out with clients for a week or two. Write ahead and schedule so your blog keeps going, even if you are elsewhere.
[headline_georgia_small_left color=”#000000″]6. Outsource it altogether[/headline_georgia_small_left]
OK, this suggestion may make some of you freak out a little and be concerned over authenticity. But you know, you can’t do it all, all of the time. I don’t outsource any of my writing (at the time of writing this!) but I do know plenty of successful business owners who do outsource.
Don’t feel as if you have to be the one to do it all and then miss out on using a successful blogging strategy to grow your business because you are too busy to do the writing yourself.
You can be clear on the writing style you want to use on your blog. You can even be completely transparent and not even have to claim that it’s your words that are published. Why not have your blog writer listed as one of your team members on your About Us page?
Whichever way you want to approach outsourcing, is up to you. Again, there is no right or wrong way. But don’t dismiss outsourcing just because you want to “authentic” or you feel it “should” be you who does it.
[headline_georgia_small_left color=”#000000″]So, what about you?[/headline_georgia_small_left]
I love blogging and feel it is still very much an integral part to any business’ web marketing strategy, especially if you want to see social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook work for your business. But blogging isn’t easy, especially when it comes to creating fresh, interesting and quality articles without it sapping up hours and hours of your working week.
These are my top shortcuts. What can you share about writing quality blog posts?
Add your thoughts and ideas below as I know others would love to read them, too.
I’ve not done any blogging yet … and I’m keen to start.
Have you written anything such as “10 top tips for gathering ideas for Blog content”. Could you link me if you have. If not, I’m sure you will now! x
Your wish is my command Mary 🙂 I don’t have that specific article but there are a few in the archives that I can dig out and revive. Watch this space.
I like my blog to start with a slideshow of photos – because I hope that they will grab people’s attention. The photos are always genuine and have been provided by the volunteer who sends my their entry.
Sometimes, the content my volunteers send me consists of long paragraphs so I try and break it up and improve the punctuation so people can skim through it.
I am definitely learning all the time and the most rewarding thing is checking the statistics daily and seeing just how many people have read it and also from what parts of the world!
Definitely one of my best marketing tools!
Images are very important in a blog .. and proving to be more and more important as we see growth in sites such as Pinterest. It’s great that you use “real- life” ones Jill. Brilliant!
Two quick tips on boosting your own creativity & making blogging fun:
– keep your blog topical; use what’s happening in the world to inspire your writing. There’s an added bonus of generating more traffic because you’re writing about something that’s already popular.
– include a personal story or anecdote; often easier to write & your words will flow.
Great suggestions – thanks Sally!
Great article, I was blogging on programs that small businesses may want to use, but I have to say I am just changing it slightly and looking at what my clients actually ask me and turn that into a blog post – If one client has asked it there will be many more who need the question answered (hopefully 🙂 )
Thanks Karen, very helpful. I can also suggest ‘curating’. Just read a great blog on that last week (from Paul Clifford of Page One Curator). You take 60% of someone else (and properly attribute it of course), make your own introduction and ending and…presto! Often people come to hear your voice, and will really like it if you share what you like. I use this once in a while, when I run into an article that I think my readers will really like.
Paul Clifford suggests you use his software programme to help you do it, which could of course be helpful if you do lots of blogs.
That is a great suggestion Inge. As long as properly attributed, as you write, then this could work really well.
I would also add that it would only be polite as well as good business practice to include a clickable dofollow link that allows both human beings to click through to the other person’s website as well as the search engines to recognise it as a link, thus giving the other website some Google Juice.
Thanks for sharing this INge.
When I sit down to blog I ask myself a few questions:
“What’s happened in my life this week that might form the basis of a post to help my target market?”
“What (if anything) has happened in the news this week that is of interest to my target market?”
“What issues/challenges/celebrations have my clients brought this week?”
“What’s been on my mind this week and what have I learned?”
Almost always, one of these questions comes up with a “bingo”!
I have a calendar but rarely stick to it as I find that I have to write on what I’m compelled to write. So, for example, last week I wrote about breaking through fear of putting our head above the parapet (from my own experience). This week I’m writing about how to find more time at work as a working mum leading up to the long European summer holidays. This has come about from a conversation with a couple of clients in Scotland and Europe who are facing 8 weeks summer holidays starting very soon. Of course, as working mums, we all face logistical challenges and that question of “how will I get all my work done before my working week gets cut short?”
Love those questions you use Amanda. I hope other readers will take note and use them too. Thank you for sharing them!