How to actually write the posts you plan


Do you know why you never have enough time to write new blog posts? it’s because you don’t really want to write them!

As part of our new client discovery process, we take a really good look at whatever blog is already in place on the client’s website. A good blog is great. No blog is ok. A terrible blog is even acceptable, but the WORST thing we can see is a good blog that fizzled out over the last 2 years or so.

Why?

Because 90% of these businesses will tell me the reason that the blog has fizzled out is because they just “don’t have time”.

But I don’t agree!

Your blog is not a priority

As those of you who like motivational entrepreneur websites will know, there’s really no such thing as “no time”. Instead, what’s holding you back from writing those blog posts is that they are not a priority for you. And that’s ok, because not everything can be a priority all the time. But when you tell me the blog isn’t updated because you have no time, that’s not a choice to prioritize something else, it’s letting a busy schedule bulldozer its way through a shoddy content strategy - and that is not a good combo for a great blog.

Deciding priority isn’t always easy, especially in smaller businesses, but if you have a solid content strategy in place, deciding priority is something that should happen early on. Once the priority has been established, from then on you’re really just following orders, which means much less mental effort goes into it.

Priority and content strategies

The whole point of a content strategy is to set:

  • goals

  • definitions

  • priorities <- <-

  • responsibilities

  • milestones

  • measurement

And if you genuinely have all of them in place, it will be very easy to see the impact of the blog. When you can plainly see that its having a very positive effect on traffic or sales or leads or whatever important metric you’ve assigned, it’s also very easy to mentally award it priority and ensure the work of maintaining it actually gets done.

But if you have no way of telling what impact the blog is having, too often it is easy to assume it’s having little or no effect, especially if you let yourself be mislead by the very visible, but often useless, vanity metrics, like low numbers of “likes” or favourites. And when you can’t tell if it’s doing any good, and it’s lots of work, and it’s actually quite difficult, well - it’s easy to see why these blogs get abandoned.

Terrible analogy incoming…

Before I suggest how you can schedule more time to blog, I have a warning. Blogs take work. They’re like gardens - very often, they’re lovely and will really increase the value of a house. That said, they’re not essential and you can still have a totally lovely house without a garden. But what you really need to look out for are neglected gardens, because they can sink the value of your house quite quickly and give it a really negative vibe.

Yes, siree. Just a little bit of weeding…

Yes, siree. Just a little bit of weeding…

Another gardening point: gardens take time and consistent effort to help them look their best. You can’t just weed a border on Tuesday and expect Giverny the following week, but if you weed a border every Tuesday for the next year, you’ll actually end up with something really nice. In other words, before you decide that a blog is a priority, make sure you understand it will take consistent, frequent effort for the foreseeable future.

Gardening analogies out of the way, here’s how I suggest you “make more time” for blogging.

Establish your blog as a priority

Or not. Look at your goals and results and make an active decision as to whether or not your blog can help you achieve them, and what you will be watching to prove that it’s working. Decide how much time needs to be invested to achieve these goals, and who will put in the effort.

Break down the tasks

By breaking up every step of making a blog post (or video, podcast, etc.) you will have a full and reliable idea of what it takes, which will help you with the next step - batching. The average blog post might include these steps, for example:

  1. planning

  2. drafting

  3. feedback

  4. writing

  5. editing

  6. uploading

  7. promoting

  8. maintenance

Batch your blogging tasks

To create a blog post, you complete several tasks in order every time. You do these every time you make a new post, and I think there’s real value in batching them together.

Rather than moving through each of these steps in one go for a single post, why not sit down and take a morning to concentrate on planning, for example? Maybe you’d get 10 blog plans done in 3 hours. Then, schedule drafting time, where you take a few more hours (probably on a different day) to draft 10 of your posts using the planning you’ve already prepared? You get the idea? Batching won’t give you more time to blog, per se, but the time you do invest will give you the base for many more tasks, making the next step easier and quicker, and so on.

Always use a content calendar

I’ve been over the reasons why in a previous post, but do yourself a favor and use a calendar, even if you’re the only person producing content. Again, it won’t necessarily give you time to write more blog posts, but it will ensure that the time you do have to blog is as optimized as possible, eliminating blank space and allowing you a laser-focused overview of what needs to be done and why.

Use a specific time management approach

Find one that suits you - GTD, Pomodoro, Important-Urgent Matrix, whatever works. These facilitate more productive deep work, like planning and creating. I live by the Pomodoro method and wouldn’t get a single post written without it.

Consider outsourcing

Once you have everything scheduled and batched, it will be very easy to see how the process of “making a blog post” actually comes together. Once you see all of the individual aspects broken down, it’s a great opportunity to see if there’s room to outsource any of it. That could mean finding a freelance writer, or even getting rid of small but annoying tasks - like writing social media texts or headlines. Don’t discount the idea of getting a VA (virtual assistant) either - a tech savvy one would be a great help throughout a well-organized digital content process.

Respect your rhythms

I don’t know about you, but I would rather eat my own fingers than strategize my content at 5pm on a Thursday, while writing a blog post that is ALREADY PLANNED is actually totally ok. It’s important to respect these natural rhythms as much as possible and try to play to your strengths. If you don’t, you risk getting burned out and bored, and neither of those are a good starting point for blogging greatness.


Ultimately, I don’t think there’s any real way you can find “more” time to blog. Blogging isn’t quick and easy and other than reducing the frequency with which you blog, or the quality of your posts (both of which are entirely counter-productive and not recommended), there’s no way to “save time”.

What you can do, however, is refine the process to the extent that it becomes a smooth and productive system, with no blank spaces, wasted time, inefficiency, or redundancy. To be honest, I’d argue that if you’re using a blog as a marketing or branding tool, you must create a system - if you don’t, you’ll never be able to scale or grow without making major changes. Make them as early as possible, and the system will be able to grow with you.

Abandoned blog? I’d really appreciate you taking the time to tell me why your blog doesn’t get updated.


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