If you’re blogging to earn an income, most days are blogging days. Blogging day could mean several sets of tasks in different categories – like responding to comments, outreach to fellow bloggers and on social media, or competitor research. But for most of us, blogging day means writing. If that gives you a little thrill, congrats! You really love what you do!
But it takes a lot of time. While you love blogging, you also love your family, your day job, or your business. Efficiency in everything means minimum time spent and maximum results, everyday. Feeling that sense of accomplishment, the reassurance that you’ve taken care of your blog also helps you focus on everything else.
Streamlining Your Blog Content Creation
If you’ve set up your editorial calendar, the writing and creation part should now be straightforward. Editorial calendars rock because they give you time, time, time to write with plenty of strategy thrown in.
I loved Rand Fishkin’s recent whiteboard, SEO for Bloggers. It’s a great springboard for your blogging day. The main theme is optimization, and that’s awesome, because optimization makes blog posts purposeful AND well-equipped to achieve their purpose.
It’s proactive: you approach your blogging day knowing exactly what you should do and how. How many times have you sat down to write, spending hours on it, only to scrap everything and do it over? Avoiding that saves time and effort!
Establish Your Blogging Workflow
At this point, let’s assume you already have your editorial calendar. That’s Step 1 of the workflow out of the way.
Depending on your preferences and your calendar, you might prefer to write in bulk, so that a blogging day can involve outlining several posts, and the next day goes into making the first drafts, and the next day for editing, and so on. Or you could prefer to do a blog post from Steps 2 to 4 on a single day.
It’s up to you. What matters is you stick to the steps and develop a rhythm and routine of getting things done.
- You create your editorial calendar,
- schedule the one/s you’ll do on your blogging day,
- do more background reading,
- add images,
- and publish!
Establish Your Post’s Purpose
As Rand Fishkin’s correctly and thoroughly covered in his whiteboard linked above, every blog post falls under key purposes:
- Attract new audience – Pretty much a goal for all blog posts. But you write differently when you’re trying to impress and attract new people, don’t you? You add more internal links. You introduce yourself. You add content upgrades and lead magnets…
- Earn influencer amplification – For this one, you need to work on it ahead of time, so the influencers you reach out to have plenty of leeway to reply.
- Contribute to an existing conversation – You need to decide which ones you’ll link to. And you might also have to reach out to them for comments. Exciting.
- Convince/win over the audience to your perspective – What most of us do, especially in connection to services or products we provide. You need plenty of backup, stats from research and surveys.
- Serve existing community, answer a question – Here, there should be familiarity and warmth, and yep, external links again to the community.
- Promote a product/service – Going to do a review? A comparison? You might need lots of photos and before/after testimonials.
- Share important news – Doesn’t have to be long– what you do need is to be fast. Remember, you don’t have to break the news, but you should try to be the first to comment on it. It could catapult you to Google Page 1!
It’s important to establish your blog post’s purpose so that you can research and outline your writing accordingly. For example, you don’t need personal anecdotes for a curated post full of influencers and experts– but you do need a personal touch when you promote a product or service, whether it’s yours or not.
And as Rand Fishkin pointed out, you also get to determine the success metrics for that purpose. When you have a KPI (key performance indicator) goal in mind, you take steps to achieve that goal.
For example: If you want this post to get viral, or at least get a lot of repins on Pinterest, you schedule image creation with your graphic designer.
If you want to answer a question, you research the right keywords to make sure your post will be found organically. And you plan the newsletter headline that would capture your audience’s interest, you write captions for the upcoming social media posts to promote the post, etc.
Draft Your Outline
Do you write “freehand?” Or do you outline? While writing freehand can get all your thoughts out there and you might tap into something in your subconscious, that’s for another day. Not your blogging day.
- Open your chosen writing platform and dump everything you want to say in there. Phrases, sentences. It’s like your writing to-do.
- As you do your background reading, add more tidbits to your outline, as a backup to support this point, as an extra bit to enrich that section, etc. Perhaps when you added that title to your editorial calendar, you’d already filled it with notes and links for sources. Well done! Now you can write, write, write.
- I like to dump everything on one doc (my research doc), and write on another (my draft). When I’ve satisfyingly written about one of the notes from my research doc to my draft, I delete that note from the research doc. I go at it until my research doc is empty.
- Write the easiest sections first. If a section needs further research, leave it until you’re ready for it.
- How do you draft? Maybe you use Evernote? YOU decide how to draft! Whichever method or tool works for you – no matter how simple or complex you choose to go.
- By the time you wind down to the end, you should be able to have a nice recap in your conclusion if you want to. It’s also a nice checkpoint if you’ve covered every point you wanted to cover.
- In case you’re stuck, or need some inspiration, try the tried and tested blog post templates that work.
With this method (outline, knowledge/background dump, draft), I can finish off a blog post in 1 to 2 hours. Sometimes even less if I already have some preliminary notes from when I did my editorial calendar.
Editing and Polishing
Proofreading needs a fresh set of eyes. This is another reason why you should give yourself plenty of time between writing and publishing. That fresh set of eyes could be yours.
If you have a VA or writer, he/she can do the proofreading. Freelancers really save you a ton of time. They can also do the SEO and links or create the images. If you’re creating your own images, my favorites for image generation are Canva and PicMonkey.
Let’s stop here. Often, bloggers feel overwhelmed with content creation because they try to cover everything from writing to outreach at once. I’ve found that breaking content creation tasks into chunks helps a lot with overcoming writer’s block and blogging overwhelm!
So how does your blogging day usually go? What’s your method, and what tools do you use? Let us know in the comments!