If you are a blogger who never blogs, this post is for you.
If every week you get guilty and think, I really should blog, but you don’t, I have an embarrassing confession.
I am a writer and I have been blogging more or less every week for the past six years. Yet every week, I missed the deadline for sending my blog to my wonderful virtual assistant, Ralph.
Every week I would throw out his schedule because I missed my deadline. How rude.
I did this even though I know:
- How to write.
- The power of blogging as a platform to launch a book, a new program, or to become an activist on a cause.
- The power of blogging to build an audience of peeps that like and trust me (that is you, m’dear.)
- The power of blogging to attract people to work with me so we can build a real face-to-face relationship, which is what I love the most, and I can help them write a brilliant business book they are proud of (in 90 days).
- The importance of planning my blog ahead. Actually, let me repeat that. The critical importance of planning my blog ahead so that I put it into a calendar and make sure it is timely and relevant to you, dear reader.
Not to mention productivity
That is crazy, isn’t it? And I also knew something else. As far as productivity is concerned, the way I wrote my blog was the least efficient way to blog. It took me at least an hour a week to write—and often longer—because I had to go from a standing start every time, and
• think up a topic
• try writing it
• decide it was a crappy topic
• start again
Any of this sounding familiar?
So what on earth was happening?
- Fear. I was playing in the sand pit. By that I mean that I was doing something I love—writing—so I didn’t have to do some of the other things in my business that I didn’t love, like my accounts! (I love getting paid; I just hate spending time in Xero).
- Habit. I’m a journo by profession, and I am used to being up against a publication deadline. That deadline is what motivates me. But it’s different in the world of blogging. As a blogger, you combine two roles—editor and writer—and believe me, editors are very organised people. They have content planned months ahead! If not years.
But what made me want to change my approach was this: I wasn’t loving it any more. I mean, I LOVE words, I LOVE writing, but I began to stop loving my blogs because they were not as good as I knew they could be. They were rushed. And then I started to miss the deadline altogether. And that is a massive no-no.
I wasn’t liking myself as a writer or as a solopreneur. And I have always been proud of being a writer.
I knew what I had to do: write them in batches. I had to set aside one day per quarter. I had to write 48 blogs for a year’s worth of weekly blogs, so I could do 12 in one day per quarter. I reckoned I was spending at least twice as long as I had to write each blog. I could probably knock it off in six hours and go swimming.
You know where this is going, don’t you? Where does the average solopreneur find one whole day? I put it off, I put it off, I put it off. Excuses. I was never short of those!
Then I had an epiphany. It’s not the writing that is the problem. It is planning the ideas. I never sat down to do my day of blog writing because I knew three-quarters of the day would go on thinking up ideas.
I realised I needed to brainstorm my whole year’s worth of blog posts before I scheduled a time to write them and put them in a simple publishing calendar to make sure they were timely. I wasn’t sure that I could actually do this. But I decided to give it a go.
I used every trick I knew—topic generators, FAQs, case studies, interviews, hacking titles from magazines that my audience loved, like HBR. Do you know how long it took? Four hours.
And that was just the first time. Once I got good at it, I could plan all my blog topics for a year in 90 mins. I realised that not every blog had to be a thought leadership blog. Some could be about my clients and their successes, and some could be an invitation to an event I was running or course I was launching (another powerful reason to put your ideas in a calendar).
Then I created a program called Blog Bootcamp: How to Brainstorm a Year’s Worth of Blog Topics in 4 hours and showed my clients how to plan their blogs and hit their deadlines.
If you are a blogger who doesn’t blog, my biggest tip is to start by using a topic generator. There are free ones all over the web. I even wrote a blog all about some of the best of them which is on my website called How to Use Headline Help Tools without Looking Silly. That is because you can make an idiot of yourself if you don’t use them well.
Anyway, I found some tools, planned my year’s worth of topics and scheduled my first my blog-creation day. I got 12 blogs written in one day easily, with enough time to go swimming.
If you are thinking, that is all very well for you, Kath, because you are a writer, here’s something that might help. Publish fortnightly. That is 24 blogs a year, which means you write six on your day. And you will be amazed at how easy it is to write them when you have the topics planned, and how fast you get when you write them all at once.
But if you are still not convinced you can do it on your own, I have an offer for you.
Just email me with the word BLOG in the subject line and I will send you the world’s simplest Blog CheatSheet so it will be easy for you to write any blog twice as fast as you do now. Soon, you’ll knock them out in 30 minutes.
So even if you don’t plan out your blogs ahead, you will still blog faster. DONE.
PS If you enjoyed this blog and we are not connected on LinkedIn, please send me a personalised connection request mentioning this post.
PS: You might also like Can anyone write a (great) book in 90 days?.