It might be obvious, but one of the essential parts of a blog is, you guessed it: blog posts. But, it isn’t always easy to get a post done by the time you want it up and on your website. Outside distractions or an absolute storm of thoughts whirring around in your head can get in your way. That’s okay! We’ve put together five simple steps to get you in gear not only to write a blog post but to write one quickly and efficiently.
Create an Outline
The first thing you should do is create an outline. Outlines save you time, energy, and frustration. If you’re feeling particularly frazzled or behind your schedule, it’s a good way to get started and really focus on what needs to be done. Try to write at least 4 main points in your outline. These will become your headlines (H2 for SEO!). If you can write two small paragraphs under each headline, you will have a one thousand word post knocked out in no time. Use your outline to organize your post in sections: choose a topic, develop a list of talking points, organize your main points into a structure or flow that makes sense, and then flesh out those points with some relevant content.
If you haven’t written an outline in a year or two, check out this post from Hubspot to get you started on creating a great outline.
Research Ahead of Time
Once you have your outline and know what you’re writing about, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Even if you think you know all there is to know about your topic, or you’re viewed as an authority by others, it never hurts to do a bit of research just in case. Checking sources, having proof of your expertise on a particular topic, and giving your readers links to find further information are all important. Whether your blog about recipes or ancient civilization you will need to do research.
Fact-checking, even if you end up being absolutely correct, will never play against you, and who knows? You might learn a thing or two along the way, or be able to tweak prior beliefs or ideas based on your research. Growing your blog through post research can always be an opportunity to increase your own personal knowledge and grow as a person! Keep in mind, however, that you need to stay on topic. Avoid following off-hand links in your researching journey, so that you can keep focused on what you intend to write about and not every possible link to said topic.
Doing your research ahead of time will save you from distractions while you are trying to write your post. Too many times we start our research with good intentions and end up reading about the latest Hollywood gossip. Try to avoid those bunny trails the best you can, even if you are researching ahead of time.
Set Aside Dedicated Writing Time
So you have your outline and your research, well now what? It’s time to write, right? But the kids are fighting, and your spouse just came home, and the dogs are barking… It seems like every time you sit down to write, something comes up. Now you need to set aside some time to dedicate to writing your blog post. Start with an hour; inform your family, friends, whoever you think will come running in with a ‘honey-do’ item, to leave you alone for this one hour.
You need as little distraction as possible during your writing time. Obviously, you can’t reason with your pets (and let’s face it, your cat wouldn’t listen even if you tried) so shut the door to keep the pets out. Cutting back on distractions as much as possible while you get your work done will help immensely in speeding up the actual process of writing your blog post.
Save the Images for Last
While you’re waiting for it to be your set-aside-blog-writing time, you might start thinking about the images that need to go along with your post. This would look good, that would match the theme, etc. But, honestly, you should save the images for last. Organize, research, write, and then get your images for the post just before you post it.
Why? Because pictures are more distracting than side-links while you’re researching; one minute you’ll be looking up pictures of baked zucchini bread for your recipe blog, and somehow you end up looking at pictures of llamas in hats. How did you end up there? Nobody knows, not even Google, and now it’s ten minutes to midnight and you haven’t finished your blog post. So to avoid such a situation, it’s best to just leave the images for last..
When you sit at a computer or laptop for a while, you feel like your brain is turning to mush and think your eyes may actually start bleeding. It can get rough, trying to write when your brain goes numb you find yourself tripping over your own thoughts. In those moments, the best thing to do is walk away.
Nobody is a blog-writing machine, and everybody gets stuck somewhere along the way at least once. It’s perfectly alright to take a step back, breathe, and recollect yourself before continuing; in fact, it’s pretty normal for people to do that. Simply put, forcing it sucks. You won’t always be able to get right into the flow of writing, and trying to force a post out when it isn’t ready will be pretty obvious not only to you, but to your readers as well. So take your time, make a cup of tea, turn on some music, do whatever you have to do to put yourself at ease and let the post come to you in its own time.
Using these five tips will have you well on your way to writing blog posts that are not only structurally organized, but will help you write them quickly and efficiently each and every time with as little stress as possible. Happy blogging!