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Every website owner loves the idea of a blog.
They love hearing about how adding a blog to your website is one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase traffic, improve search engine rankings, build a big email list, gain expert positioning, and attract new clients.
They love the impact it can have on their social media content strategy and they love that blogging for business is free—it doesn’t add another monthly bill.
But blogging isn’t really free—it takes time, energy, focus, and commitment.
Blogging is a long-term strategy, so even though time is being taken away from billable work to write blog posts, there more than likely isn’t going to be an immediate return on investment. Plus, because we’re an instant gratification society, this causes frustration and makes site owners want to spend less and less time creating new blog content, because it’s a lot of work and they don’t get an immediate reward.
So, while website owners love the idea of blogging for business, they are not using their blogs! Often nothing new has been published since the site originally went live, or it’s been three, six, or even twelve months since any new content has been added. Yikes!
Can you relate?
Yes? Well, you’re in luck.
I am going to walk you through five different ways on how to plan a blog post in 10 minutes or less so you can write it better and faster—without stress, frustration, or overwhelm. I am also going to give you a tool I created for myself to help me create great headlines and map out a ton of blog post ideas at one time—and you don’t even have to opt-in or give me an email to get it.
I know everyone is not inspired the same way. Some people find inspiration in visuals, others need the headline to be perfect before they can write, some people hate to write, and still others will procrastinate until the last minute.
To make blogging for business easier and faster, you don’t need a cookie cutter formula. You need the right tactics and strategies at your fingertips to help you find your unique creative groove.
Once you find that place, planning blog content will be easier and writing blog posts will happen faster.
An idea for a blog post may strike at any time. An image, a tweet or Facebook post, an experience, another person’s actions, a blog post you read, a client question, a business struggle, or even a talk at an event could inspire a new idea.
Create a place to write down your blog post ideas so you have them to pull from in the future. You could do this in a multitude of software programs, in a journal, or even on your phone.
I keep a plain text file on my desktop and I use the Notes app on my phone.
But here’s the kicker: You can’t just write down the idea or the headline. You need to add context to the idea and create a mini post outline. This often takes far less than 10 minutes, and it takes all the stress out of writing the post later.
Here’s what to write down when a new blog post idea strikes:
Don’t overthink it.
Write down everything you can about the topic at that moment, and don’t worry about writing in complete sentences. Don’t edit yourself now; you can do that later when you’re writing the final blog post.
This exercise is just about getting the meat of the post out of your head.
If you do this every time you have a new idea for a blog post, you’ll build up a valuable idea file full of blog posts that are already halfway complete! Then when you need to write a post, you can grab one from your file, finish it up, and hit publish!
I love timers. I love the feeling of the clocking ticking down, the pressure on, and a task to complete. A challenge was accepted, adrenaline kicks in, and I’m thinking let’s do this.
I often do my best work under pressure with a deadline. I tune out all distractions, focus, and get things done in a much shorter amount of time than normal.
Using a timer is merely a faster, more effective way of time blocking tasks. So, if you’re like me, you may benefit from using this same approach when brainstorming blog post ideas.
Here’s how it works in only 10 minutes:
At the end of this exercise, you’ll have at least a few great posts on your topic that are already halfway done. You just need to finish them up later.
Need help? I LOVE this exercise. I created a fill-in-the-blank headline guide with more than 200 Mad Libs style headlines to help me quickly brainstorm great headlines with little effort. I just set my timer, fill in the blanks for as many as I can, and then loop back and set my timer again to fill in the content notes for each one. You can download it free (no opt-in needed).
I don’t know about you, but many of my great ideas don’t come to me when I’m conveniently in front of my computer or at home with a journal nearby. And sometimes I can’t write them down—like when I’m driving or in the shower.
If you can’t write down your ideas, or you simply don’t like writing—that’s okay! You can still create blog content regularly without writing. All you need to do is speak.
Yes, you can speak your content—and often do it much faster than writing it. Everyone can talk out loud. It’s easy! When we speak, we don’t judge, delete, self edit, or criticize ourselves like we do when writing. Plus it is MUCH easier to edit and refine existing content than it is to write it from scratch.
When you’ve got a great blog post idea, simply grab your smartphone, your computer, a digital recorder, or use a service like freeconferencecall.com to record your post ideas. Then have the recording transcribed.
It’s that easy—and you can do it less than 10 minutes.
If you’re a visual person who is inspired more by imagery, it’s okay to start there. I get great ideas for new posts when looking through stock photo sites and search for images with my brand keywords or the topic I am interested in writing about.
But be careful—this can be a huge time suck. You may start looking at images and find that hours have gone by in what seemed like minutes.
Here’s how to plan a blog post using visuals in 10 minutes:
When I find an image that inspires a new blog post, I download the image, crop it, and upload to my site. I then create a new post, assign the image, and make all of my post notes in the draft.
This way, I can come back to the post and finish later, and I don’t have to worry about finding the image again because it’s already done and added to the post.
Many people are shocked to hear I brainstorm, make notes, and plan out my blog posts with a good old fashioned pencil and paper. Often I’ll write an entire article by hand, then refine and edit it when I type it up.
Some people just find that their creativity flows faster and easier on paper instead of in front of a screen.
If this is true for you, own it. Get yourself a new sharp pencil or a great pen and some quality paper, or a beautifully designed journal. Then write and write some more—it doesn’t have to be full sentences or complete thoughts.
Here’s what I recommend:
In this scenario, you’re focusing on really fleshing out all of your thoughts, ideas, and opinions on one single topic, instead of a few different topics. This approach is often my go-to strategy for mapping out the content for longer, more in-depth blog posts.
Challenge: For 3 weeks, 21 days, set aside 10 minutes each day to complete this exercise, writing down a different topic each day.
Not only will your writing get better and you’ll get faster at generating ideas, but 21 days is the length of time it takes to create a habit. Creating a habit of daily writing and idea generation will benefit both your business and your blog.
If creating new blog content has been tough for you in the past, I highly recommend you give each of the five different ways to plan blog posts a try to see which one is easiest and most successful for you.
Remember, the more detail you provide about your topic up front, the faster and easier it will be to write the full blog post later.
When writing down your blog post ideas, think about creating a rough outline of the content as fast as possible, and include any of the following that apply:
If you can include as many of the above items as possible when quickly writing down your blog post ideas, you’ll be creating an outline for the post or a rough draft. You’ll be getting all of the heavy lifting done up front, so writing the final post is fast and easy.
The first time you test one of these content development strategies, it may feel weird.
You may only come up with one or two post ideas in the 10 minutes you give your self—and that is okay. If you stick with it over time, your rough outlines will get better and more complete, the quality of your content will improve, and the process will become easier and faster.
Imagine This: You have a stockpile of completed blog post outlines ready to be finished up at your fingertips.
You block out three or four hours to finish up your content, grab a cold beverage, and put on some music. You sit down, pick an outline, and you finish it up. You’ve found your groove and pick another then another.
Soon it’s been three or four hours and you have five blog posts completed and in draft status. You walk away and feeling really proud of yourself, because now you have posts ready to publish once a week for the next five weeks—and all you need to do is come back later to proofread them before publishing.
Sounds pretty awesome right?
No stress about what to write or finding a good topic. No overwhelm about filling up a blank white screen. No frustration when it’s not flowing naturally for you and it feels hard.
Instead, by investing less than 10 minutes at a time up front, creating new blog post content is fast and easy—and dare I say, more fun? I think so.
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