At long last, you have a blog! You’ve long known it was the right thing for your marketing efforts. And now, you’re committed, aiming to post at least once a week — but hopefully, two or even three times a week. Hooray!!
Then, the reality sets in: OMG. What have I done? Because now you need to, ya know, blog.
As a small business owner, you already don’t have much time to spare. But knowing that maintaining your blog and keeping it fresh is critical to attracting readers (and potential customers), you can’t just ignore it. Believe me, I’ve been there — heck, I am there. And in the process, I’ve learned a few ways to save minutes and even hours when blogging, which I’m happy to share with you.
So here are eight ways to generate that all-important content more efficiently:
1. Batch your efforts.
Regardless of the number of hats you wear in your business, productivity is essential. One thing I find helpful is to batch my efforts. So, rather than come up with an idea, write a post, edit it and publish, it’s easier to brainstorm a handful of ideas in one sitting. Then, take a half-day to draft a few posts. Maybe a few days after that, edit them all at once and schedule them to post. That way, you maximize whatever groove you happen to be in.
2. Narrow your topic choice.
To help prevent your brain from going into overload, consider designating topics of the month or week.
For example, let’s say you work in IT. That means you have a wide — if not infinite — range of topics to choose from. The simple vastness of your subject matter could inhibit your productivity. If you’re finding that choosing topics is hard, narrowing the field could help.
You might make August “Security Month.” That means that during August, you’d just brainstorm security-related topics. Then, September might be “Virtualization Month,” while October is “Desktop Month.” When you subdivide your topic options, it can help expedite the brainstorming process.
3. Solicit input.
You have a lot of good ideas, sure, but you don’t have all the good ideas. And your employees or contractors (the good ones, anyway) will happily offer you a few ideas. So ask.
If you have five staffers and they all take up to an hour to brainstorm for you, you end up with five hours’ worth of ideas — better yet, of diverse ideas. That’s five hours you don’t have to spend and you’re likely to get better ideas this way anyway. Plus, for your team, it’s a fun break from their day-to-day work.
4. Offer guest blog spots.
Whether you’re inviting someone on your own team to blog or an influencer in your industry to provide a guest post, the bottom line is you don't have to write Every. Single. Post.
5. Pay for a ghostwriter or editor.
Consider hiring someone to craft the final posts. Through an email with bullet points or a short phone call, you can communicate your thoughts to a writer who can draft your posts. It’ll cost you some cash, yes, but in the end, the time you save may be worth it.
Or if you love the writing part, but struggle with grammar and syntax, hire an editor. Ultimately, you’re looking for efficiencies that make sense for your individual situation.
6. Repurpose existing content.
Your blog doesn’t have to be all original content. If you wrote an e-book, you can pull chapters and turn them into blog posts. Tip sheets or Q&As can become blog posts. If you participate in a podcast, take what you said and make it into a blog post. Voila!
7. Go short or go home.
Look at Seth Godin. The dude has plenty to say. But one reason he’s able to generate content so frequently might have to do with the fact that his content is short.
Don’t feel like you have to write a novel three times a week. Narrow your topics and try to get a few hundred words onto the screen. If you find yourself with a couple thousand words, pause before you publish. Then, break up that content into multiple posts!
8. Take advantage of technology.
When blogging, your focus is on your voice and your ideas — which (generally) means you probably don’t need to be at a desk to write your posts. So, if you’re not a writer, that’s fine. Be a speaker.
I often use the notepad app on my phone and while I’m on a walk, I use the microphone/voice recognition to speak my ideas, then email the note to myself for later. Using this method, I’ve sketched out blog posts, brainstormed topic ideas and more.
So if you don’t need access to research or other materials on your computer, go ahead and multi-task — speak your posts while you’re working out, cleaning your office or making lunch. It’s good to be the dictator!
Now that you know how to be a faster, more efficient blogger, what are you waiting for? Get busy blogging!