how to write a blog post in 3 hours or less

I’ve been blogging for nearly five years — and writing professionally for 2 of those years (as of writing this post).  Professionally speaking, posts take a little bit of research — especially depending on your comfort level of the subject matter.  Personally speaking, posts can take less time to write (but perhaps more effort to make yourself vulnerable).

I’m going to be speaking in terms of writing a blog post professionally.  Here is my method for writing remarkable content for your client in 3 hours or less:

one: research thoroughly but efficiently

Here’s how I research (and imagine doing all this as if there’s a fire in your house and you have to finish your work before you can get out — that’s how fast I do this leg of the work):

  • Look up key search terms in Google, Bing, and industry-related websites (ie. I might look up “content marketing” in search engines, Inc, FastCo, iMediaconnection, etc. — then I might do another search for “b2b content marketing”)
  • Copy links to promising articles in Google Doc or Word Doc
  • SKIM THROUGH the articles to see if they are relevant — if not, save the link for future reference but ignore for the time being
  • Copy and paste the most important and compelling quotes in Google Doc under each link

Often during the research process, I get a good grip on my angle for the post (if the client didn’t provide one) and make a rough outline as I go along (ie. for “content marketing,” I might start pulling out themes like: eBooks, SEO, Engagement, etc.).

two: just write, even if it’s trash

Anne Lamott has a chapter in Bird by Bird called Shi**y First Drafts.  Basically, the idea is that writers often get writer’s block or anxiety about the actual writing process.  As a professional writer, you cannot afford this luxury.  You must write.  Just write.  Even if it is complete trash — just get the words OUT on paper.  You’d be surprised how much of it you end up keeping.

three: edit — swiftly

Nothing to add here.  🙂

four: have a method for input

When you actually have to put your blog post into WordPress, Blogger, or something else (and not every client will have you do this), do the same things in the same order every single time.

This is my order:

  • title,
  • body,
  • html fix-ups,
  • tags,
  • images,
  • categories,
  • preview,
  • schedule.

five: limit yourself

Have basic time limits set out for your work.  If you don’t, you could end up going down the rabbit hole when you just don’t need to do so.  If you only budget an hour of research for yourself, when you hit 45 minutes you can ask, “Do I have everything I need?  Is there something I’m missing?”  You can either stop there or focus in your research on some key element you’re missing.

Here’s roughly what I give myself:

  • Research: 1 hour
  • Writing: 1.5 hours
  • Editing: .5 hours

If I am physically putting the post into WP, then I allow myself another hour for all that — formatting, finding pictures, SEO keywords, etc.  Usually it takes me less time.

BOOM. DONE.

  • What’s your method for writing a blog post?

Image credit: highlander411

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