It must be true.
I mean, everybody’s saying it, right?
or (God help us) ‘Post daily’, if you want to see blog traffic growth.
Except it’s pretty bloody difficult to write content consistently when you’ve got zero ‘spare’ time, zero alone time, and …..mommy, I need to go pee NOW!!
But what if you could half the time it takes you to write a blog post? Or at least, put a serious dent in the time it takes?
Yeah, I know you’re sceptical. I’ve read lots of posts promising to help me half my blog post writing time too. But I recently did something that actually worked. For me. It may work for you too.
Worth a look, right?
And remember, I’m a mom too. I know how pressed for time you are. And I know how sleep deprived you are - I’m writing this at 3am. So, trust me, I do know.
How I Halved the Time it Takes me to Write a Blog Post
I’ve always been frustrated with how long it takes me to write a blog post - sometimes 7+ hours to write a single blog post.
Which is fine if you’re a full time, single, childless, blogger.
But I’m not.
So, I knew I had to get quicker at writing blog posts - ideally without compromising on quality.
So, back in February, I challenged myself to a ‘blog-a-thon’.
‘What’s a blog-a-thon?’ I hear you cry.
Dear friends, it’s a slightly masochistic idea I got from Elna Cain over at TwinsMommy. In January she wrote this post about how she increased her traffic to 62,000 pageviews in 1 month.
And she did this by blogging daily for a set period.
She wrote and published 12 blog posts in 12 days about Pinterest.
Before that, she wrote 10 posts in 10 days about freebies for bloggers.
When I first read these posts, I thought she was crazy - she’s a mom to twins. TWINS! How could she blog daily? But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do my own blog-a-thon.
And here’s the magic.
Doing a blog-a-thon forces you to find ways to work quicker.
Let’s dive into 6 ways I discovered to write blog posts quicker, even if you’re breastfeeding baby AND playing I-Spy with your 5-year old.
1 | Find Your Blogging Voice
OK, this one is for new bloggers and fair warning...it’s not a quick win.
But it will save you heaps of re-writing and editing time.
When we first start blogging, it’s often difficult to find our blogging voice. We’re so well trained in writing essays for school, it’s tough to retrain ourselves to write in our own voices. It's OK to use lots of short sentences, single line paragraphs, white spaces, and as many MF exclamation points as you like!!!!!
So, how do you find your blogging voice?
So glad you asked.
I've hunted down 2 fabulous resources to help you.
Getting comfortable with your blogging voice will take time - which is why a blog-a-thon works so well. Writing oodles of content makes you quicker at...writing oodles of content.
2 | Use a Template
If you were to study copywriting - and by ‘study’ I mean ‘read a few blog posts about copywriting’ - you’d see that there are tried and tested structures that all copywriters use.
It’s not plagiarism.
It’s creative borrowing.
And it’s going to save you a metric ton of time.
Personally, I used to struggle writing my blog post introductions. I’d agonise over them for ages. And they were still pretty crap once I’d finally managed to write them anyway.
So, just before my blog-a-thon, I went to the fountain of blogging knowledge that is smartblogger.com and found this article on how to write blog post introductions that grab readers from the get-go.
This post analyses 4 different formulas for writing introductions.
Scroll down to number 4 and you’ll find the Approach Formula - it’s based on a template used by door-to-door salesmen.
Now every time I write a blog post introduction, I follow this formula. (Go back up to my introduction and check if you don’t believe me.)
And I've more than halved the time it takes me to write blog post introductions.
I’m not suggesting you copy this formula (it’s mine. I saw it first, you can’t have it!!). But figure out what part of writing blog posts is slowing you down, and create or find a template.
3 | Master Your Workflow
But it’s not just ‘writing’, is it?
There’s more to publishing a blog post than writing.
There’s all kinds of fiddly, time-consuming tasks like
- creating graphics,
- remembering to add click-to-tweets,
- uploading alternative blog post images to Pinterest,
- writing Pin descriptions,
- formatting the blog post,
- adding related posts,
- promoting your new blog post on Facebook,
and... who even remembers what else?
So, I created a ‘blog post’ workflow in Asana - a FREE tool - listing all the things I need to do.
(But frankly, writing it out on a piece of scrap paper would be fine.)
This workflow is now a lifesaver when I too tired to remember what comes next in the whole blog-post-publishing-hooplah.
4 | Batch your Blog Posts
OK, this one I borrowed -stole- from Elna.
And it’s gold.
For my blog-a-thon, I broke down the blog writing process into chunks and completed them in batches.
I wrote all the headlines and outlines. Then I found all the links I wanted to include. Then I made all the graphics. Then day by day, I wrote the posts.
Now that my blog-a-thon is over, I still batch all my posts for the month. Trust me, it’s a time saver. It does mean you have to have a basic content calendar in place. If the thought of this freaks you out, go and read the One Hour Content Plan by Meera Kothand. I’ll eat my tutu if you don’t love it.
5 | Track Your Time
This one was an eye opener for me.
When you’re writing your next post, track how long each step takes you.
How long does it take to
...research the post?
... make graphics?
. ..write your headlines?
... write your introduction?
...write each section of the post?
You can use something fancy like Togl.com or get the Harvest app (at GetHarvest) but really just writing down the times at the top of a Google Doc will work just as well.
When you’ve finished you’ll be able to see where your biggest time sucks are.And FIX them.
6 | Challenge Yourself to a Blog-a-thon
OK, I’ll admit this is an extreme one.
But forcing yourself to produce the goods day after day, will tighten up your blog writing process. Because you’ll find yourself creative short-cuts.
A blog-a-thon works because:
It kills perfectionist procrastination. There’s no time to fret ‘is this good enough?’. Just write like the wind and hit ‘publish’; No regrets.
It gives you a kick up the arse with a daily deadline,
It shows you what you can do when you really have to.
Tips for Doing Your Own Blog-a-thon
If you’re feeling game, here are some tips to help you do your own blog-a-thon.
Accountability: Before I started my blog-a-thon, I posted a comment on Elna’s post to state publically that I would write 5 posts in 5 days. Making yourself accoutable help keeps you going.
Solve a very specific problem: Keep your blog posts hyper focused on solving one problem of your ideal readers. This helps keep your writing on track and stops you wandering off topic with your blog post.
So for my blog-a-thon, I chose 5 topics related to creating routines with children. I then chose 5 very specific problems to solve.
Instead of just ‘morning routines’. I chose morning routines with kids.
But not all kids.
Set some ground rules: We don’t want to compromise on quality so set yourself some blogging standards. This might include reaching a minimum word count. Or inserting links to your research. Or whatever you feel important.
Automate your Home Management: Before you start your blog-a-thon, make sure you make things easy for yourself at home.
Do as much dinner prep as you can (I love this list of 31 kid approved freezer meals to make ahead);
Get to inbox zero;
Get all the laundry done as far as you can;
Get some grab and go snacks prepared;
Do any annoying errands you’ve been putting off;
Get your working area ready - tidy it up, clean it up, make it pretty.
Get into a routine: As moms we’re going to struggle with this one. But as much as you can, it helps to have a writing routine. Choosing a time and place to write your posts your brain into productive mode double quick.
Cutting Your Blog Writing Time
We’ve covered a lot of stuff here. So to avoid overwhelm, why not choose just one thing to test out next time you write a blog post.
Let me know in the comments how long it takes you to write a blog post and what you most struggle with.
And definitely let me know if you’re up for a blog-a-thon!!
Don’t forget to pin for later.