I’ve done it…. And so have you!
It’s time to kick distraction to the curb. You have a blog post to write, damn it! And you don’t want to spend all day on it. You just want it done.
If that’s you, then here’s a helpful checklist to get your blog posts done fast and furiously:
1. Decide on the Bigger Picture
Planning your blog post ahead of time will save you hours later. In order to plan your blog post it’s helpful to understand its purpose.
- Why are you writing it?
- What is your marketing goal?
Once you have your big picture view, you can tackle your post. If you’re writing your blog posts on the fly and going: “hmmm, today I feel like writing about…….”, then you are probably wasting time. When you write for business, your blog posts must lead the reader on a journey. Blog posts either attract, nurture or convert. If your blog posts are not doing any one of these, then they are probably not going to help grow your business.
2. Structure Your Blog Post
It helps to plan the structure of your blog post ahead of time. That’s where Writally can help you! A framework can make writing your post a smooth and fast experience. Start by deciding what kind of blog post you want to create.
3. Sign up for Useful Writing Apps
Make sure you have tools in place so that when you are ready to write, you can check your spelling, grammar and phrasing on the fly, without having to send it to a virtual assistant or editor for proof reading. Apps aren’t perfect, but they certainly make writing a lot easier and faster. Here’s a list of apps you might find helpful:
- Grammarly: Checks your grammar, phrasing and spellling. You can use it on almost any platform including Facebook and anything you open in your browser. It doesn’t work on Google Docs, however.
- GradeProof: This one uses artificial intelligence and works on Google Docs. It’s sooooo helpful when you need to quickly proofread a blog post before you cut and paste it into your CMS.
- Australian Writer’s Centre: Not an app, but they have amazing courses to help you with every aspect of your writing.
- Hemingway: This app helps you write with style and clarity. It highlights sentences that are too long or awkward and prompts you to edit them.
- Cite This For Me: helps you source and correctly cite authoritative sources you might refer to in your articles.
- After the Deadline: After the Deadline helps you polish your writing. It’s similar to Grammarly but you need to cut and paste your copy into the app.
4. Rid Yourself of Distractions
- Have you had coffee yet? I can’t blog unless I’ve had at least one double shot cappuccino, so the first thing I do is head out the door to the local coffee bar.
- Turn off app notifications or leave the phone in another room. Download OmWriter to create a distraction free environment on your Mac or PC.
- Pick your battles. Trying to blog during Arsenic Hour is, quite simply, a waste of time. Pick a time when the kids are either out or asleep to get your blogging done. If you’re trying to write in a coworking space or office, I’d suggest there may be better options. It’s too tempting to have those water-cooler moments and waste time. Find a room or a quiet corner where you can write alone or if you can’t do that, put some headphones on and pretend you can’t hear anyone… at least that way others might leave you alone.
5. Write First, Edit Later
The golden rule with writing is to write first, edit later. The mistake most people make is to edit as they go. It’s better to get your first draft out there. Worry about edits and links in your second draft. If you write this way, and you use a Writally blog post recipe, you should be able to get a 400 to 600-word first draft done in about 20 to 30 minutes. If you don’t use a Writally recipe, it might take you up to an hour to do that first draft. That’s still well within the time most people spend writing.
6. Edit your Blog Post
In the editing stage, use Grammarly, GradeProof or similar to check for simple errors and phrasing issues. It will save you a tonne of time. Then go back through your post and review it from a scanner’s perspective. If you want just the highlights, what would they be? Bold all of the highlights and then creating headings for each of the key story elements. For example, if I was writing a How To blog post on saving time on your blogging, some headings might be:
- Why wasting time on Blogging is a Major Problem
- The Key Benefits to Saving Time on Your Blogging
- How to Stop Wasting Time on Your Blogging
- Over to You
Make each heading a H2 Level Heading. On Google Docs, the H2 Heading level is in your Styles Menu.
Just highlight your text and choose H2 Heading. Don’t worry about what font it’s in as that will change when you cut and paste it into your content management system (CMS… ie. the website where you update your blog posts).
7. Create Your Headline
Creating headlines can be one of the biggest time-wasters. The headline is soooo important. You don’t want to screw it up. However, if you sit there stewing over a headline, you will waste a lot of time. Lucky for you, I’ve written a blog post that pulls together all of the best headline generation tools available online. Just write your topic into a headline tool and you’ll have a bunch of suggestions.
8. Sort Your Images
Images can add interest to a blog post and are particularly helpful for visual learners. The best tool for sorting out your images quickly is canva.com, using Canva at Work. You can create one image for your blog and then create a bunch of different variations for other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc… all in seconds. If you need to source stock images, I highly recommend checking out Death to the Stock Photo in the first instance. Next on my list would be Fotolia.
9. Upload to Your CMS
Congratulations! Now you’re ready to upload your blog post to your CMS. If you work as part of a marketing department or team, you may have an extra step in that you must gain approval for your blog post. Be sure to tick that box before your blog post goes live. A great tool for blogging workflow is gathercontent.com. If you are assigning blog posts to others in your team, you can also cut and paste your Writally recipes into a Gather Content template to give other team members direction on how to write their posts. How cool is that?
If you have WordPress, uploading images and creating posts is a piece of cake. You can use a plugin like Yoast to make sure your search engine optimisation is on track as well. Yoast also enables you to set the default image and description for social sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
Once your post is published, it’s time to share it!
I use Meet Edgar to share my blog posts. On Meet Edgar, there’s a “Use Once” feature.
I simply create my social media post and tick all of the relevant platforms I want to share my post on. Then, I set the time and day I want to share my post and Edgar takes care of the rest. Once I’ve created my initial blog post blast out, I create a recurring social media post to go out on Twitter on a regular basis. That way, I only have to spend time responding to people on social media and not distributing content. You have to find the right balance and make sure your posting frequency is in harmony with your audience’s, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a huge time saver.
Over to You
Attached to this blog post is a download of this checklist for you to print out and put on your office wall–no subscription necessary. It’ll help keep you on track. You really do have better things to do that stare at a blank screen! With the help of this blog post, you don’t have to. Get blogging now!