An active blog is vital to growing your business online. So much content is created every minute that if you're not creating great blog posts, too, you won't get anyone's attention.
It can take a lot of time to create blog posts and even longer to create great ones. In fact, a recent study by Orbit Media Studios shows a direct relationship between time and quality. Many other factors are involved, but the blog posts that perform best are most often the ones given the most time and attention (about 6.5 hours).
There's a problem, though. Most people – yourself included, I'd bet – have more responsibilities than just creating blog posts. You've probably even asked yourself, "How am I going to grow this blog with everything else I have to do?"
It's a valid question, and below I'm going to answer it for you.
Stick to a process.
Normally, the issue isn't just how to create something quickly – it's how to create something quickly that doesn't compromise quality. Can it be done?
I've found it's best to have a set framework or rubric for new content. That way, you know what you're doing, and you can keep doing the same thing with different topics. My process has also helped me get posts ranked at the top of search results time and again.
There's no one framework to rule them all. The best framework for you will match your needs, habits and target customers, but here's my own process for you to reference (or steal) as needed.
Step 1: Answer a question.
For most businesses, blog posts that do well answer target customers' questions. So how do you know what people are asking?
Well, you can talk to your customers, asking them what questions they have (or have had). You can do keyword research. What often works well in a time crunch, though, is to just ask yourself, "What do our customers care about?"
Pick a topic your customers care about, then answer a question under that topic.
For instance, a topic our Text Request customers care about is how they can get more customers ("customer acquisition"). A question they might ask is "How do I generate more leads?"
So I'll answer that question by creating a blog post on successful SMS lead generation, generating leads through click to text, or tips to improve website conversions. For examples and references, visit the Text Request blog.
This step works for virtually any subject in any industry.
Step 2: Create a consistent flow.
It helps to follow a similar flow in all of your posts. This way, you don't have to think about how you're going to convey your information, which saves you valuable time and energy.
A lot of people follow this process:
- Tell readers what you're going to tell them (intro)
- Tell them (body)
- Tell them what you told them (conclusion)
It works, but it's light on value. That's why I tend to use this flow:
- Tell readers why the article matters
- Give some background info
- Tell them what you're going to tell them
- Share the details that matter
- Give actionable takeaways
- Summarize the article
Earlier I told you why an active blog matters, what kind of time is normally spent on blog posts, and that I was going to help you create great blog posts even when you've got other responsibilities. Now I'm giving you details on how to do it, with actionable steps you can mirror starting today. At the end, I'll summarize the whole thing.
Step 3: Schedule your posts.
Regularity is key to driving traffic through blog posts. It's how viewers learn what to expect from you, and how search engines learn how active and valuable your site is.
It also helps you save time, because you get into a routine where things become easier. A publishing calendar helps you keep track of what gets published, when it gets published and when you're going to work on it.
For instance, I publish a new article every other Tuesday. I've learned how to prioritize my other tasks around it, and I don't have to think about what to do or when. Regularity makes creating content simple. (It's also helped us grow organic traffic 200 percent over the last year.)
I've got my process, I stick to it, and I'm able to churn out quality articles because of it.
Add in different elements.
Blog posts that are just plain text make things difficult. They're dense for you to edit, and they're too vanilla for most readers.
So add different elements into your blog posts, like these:
- Bullet points
- Images, using sites like Burst
- Charts and graphics from research reports
- GIFs, using sites like Giphy
- Short paragraphs
- Infographics, using tools like Canva
- Pull quotes
These elements often take very little time to add into articles but are critical for creating great blog posts that people actually want to read and share.
Edit no more than twice!
Every writer is subject to the perfectionist's dilemma. Blog posts can always be "better," and every time you review one, you're going to find something to change, ad infinitum.
The problem is there's a stark diminishing return on editing.
The first edit fixes structure and clarity, while the second usually focuses on grammar and phrasing. If you're trying to create great blog posts in a time crunch, any more editing is superfluous. It takes you more time and rarely creates more value.
Borrow ideas from others.
Even if you're answering your targets' questions, it can be difficult to come up with ideas over and over again. Thankfully, you don't have to be the sole creative mind powering your blog.
Other publishers and businesses are creating new content every day. Are they creating anything relevant enough for you to borrow? I'd be surprised if they aren't.
Chances are your competitors are trying to do the same thing you are, and they've probably had a few good ideas of their own. Have you looked at their blogs recently?
Use what ideas you can find from others as a shortcut for your own work. Just be sure not to plagiarize.
Let's wrap this up.
If you create the right content, blog posts will be worth however much time you put into them and more. But that doesn't mean you always have plenty of time to spend.
To create great blog posts in a time crunch, stick to a process of answering your targets' questions, using a rubric-like structure for all your posts, and giving your articles a once-over (or a twice-over) before publishing them.
If you follow these steps, you'll be able to drive traffic through great content without placing a burden on your schedule. Now what's stopping you?