Whether you run your own small business or blog as part of your job, you probably have a ton of tasks on your plate beyond “write blog posts.”
And if your blog is new and not yet producing results, it’s all too easy to decide that blogging can wait till next week … or next month.
Of course, it would be great to have a full day each week to spend just on your blog.
If you only have a couple of hours, though, that’s still enough time to make meaningful progress.
Here’s your weekly blogging plan (assuming you have two hours per week).
Image (right) from Flickr by libertygrace0.
Two-Hour Blogging Plan
5 minutes: Brainstorm some ideas. If you have time, start thinking about possible titles. (If you have ideas left over from the previous week, choose one of them and spend more time planning.)
Why? It’s important to begin with a solid idea – and if you start trying to write the first thing that comes into your head, it may not make for a great post.
5 minutes: Write a plan for one of these posts (a few bullet points will do fine).
Why? Planning your post will save you time when you write it. With a plan, you know what you want to cover, and in what order. Your post is more likely to have a good structure.
50 minutes: Draft a 500 word post. Use the five writing tips below to help.
Why? 500 words is a good length for a blog post (you can write 600 – 700 if you prefer, but that might take you over the time limit).
20 minutes: Edit your blog post. Try to make any big changes (like rewriting the whole introduction) before making smaller changes (like fixing typos).
Why? All writers need to edit their first drafts. It’s important to separate writing from editing, as writing is a right-brain (creative) activity and editing is a left-brain (analytical) one.
10 minutes: Copy-and-paste your blog post into your blogging software, if you wrote it in Word or similar. Look for places you can add formatting: subheadings, bold text, and bullet points.
Why? A well-written post with no formatting won’t be read. With a bit of formatting, that same post will look much more attractive to readres.
10 minutes: Find a great image and add it to your post.
Why? An eye-catching image is a great way to draw readers into your blog post. Don’t pick the first vaguely-appropriate image you find – look for several possibilities and choose theb est.
5 minutes: Tweet a link to your post (or put it on your Facebook page).
Why? It’s important to get the word out about your post, so that it can spread on social media – this brings in new readers.
15 minutes (perhaps the next day): Answer comments. If you don’t have any comments yet, you could ask a friend or colleague to help get discussion going.
Why? Readers like the chance to add their opinion, or to ask questions. It’s important to reply to comments that ask a question, or to thank readers for comments that add something useful.
There are lots of other tasks that you might get involved in as a blogger – like building up a great social media following, or establishing relationships with influential bloggers in your field.
If you’re keen to tackle these as well, aim to create a blog post once every other week, spending one hour per week on blogging and one hour per week on social media. Just use “hour one” above for your blogging during the first week and “hour two” for the second week.
Five Tips for Writing Faster
When you saw the timings above, perhaps you thought that 50 minutes wouldn’t be enough time for you to write a whole post.
You might be surprised just how much you can get done in 50 minutes … especially if you sit down and write in a focused way.
Here’s how to do that:
- Make sure you have a plan before you start. (If you’re following the steps above, you will!)
- Turn off any distractions – like email, Facebook, Twitter, even your phone if possible. You can’t write well if you’re stopping every few minutes to deal with an incoming message.
- Imagine you’re writing your post to just one person, your ideal customer. You could even think of it as writing them an email, explaining a particular topic in depth.
- As you write, resist the urge to edit. It’s fine to backspace and delete a typo, but avoid deleting and rewriting whole paragraphs. You’ll have a chance to do this in the editing phase.
- If you get stuck, skip to the next part of your post. There’s no rule that says you have to write the introduction first, for instance – many bloggers find it easiest to write the introduction after they’ve written the rest of the post.