So HubSpot asked inbound marketing agencies the challenging question -- What can you do in an hour? Here's our answer: blogging. Yes. If you make a living writing blogs, I'm sure this scenario has happened to you before:
So there you are, sitting on your desk sipping coffee. In four hours, you're expected to publish a power blog. You gracefully dip your hands on the keyboard of your laptop like a pianist on his Steinway, ready to make music with your thoughts on that empty white space...
Alas! Three hours later you find yourself looking at cat videos and up-voting Reddit posts, no single text on that empty white space. Just the clock ticking. One hour left, before judgment day (queue ominous music).
Yep, we've all been there. Good 'ole tight deadlines sure can be a blogger's mortal enemy. Fear not, you can totally pull this off. Here's how you can hour-proof your blog writing adventure.
Step 1. Center your topic around your keywords
What keywords are you aiming at in your industry? Knowing the keywords that matter will help you limit the scope of topics to write about, and will help you pick a topic faster. If you're an SEO-conscious blogger, this step will help you write in the keywords with ease.
Step 2. Start with an end
One of the things I have found very helpful in producing content quickly, is knowing how I'd like to conclude. It's hard to start writing without a goal in mind. Knowing what point I want the readers to get by the end of my article helps me with a couple of things:
It helps me channel my thoughts on the page to support my article as well as its purpose.
It helps me filter and refine my ideas to a single purpose to keep my writing consistent.
It helps me develop an effective outline.
Step 3. Develop an outline
Creating an outline will only take you 15 minutes at the most. Once you're done with the outline, the rest is like crossword! You're pretty much half-way done, and all you have to do is fill in the blanks.
Step 4. Avoid fluff
In the digital age, the fight for attention span is everything. You want your readers to get your point without losing interest along the way. If you're looking to make a strong impression, while writing a blog with tight time constraints in mind, then this advice is a win-win for you. Writing the bare necessities of your article backed by a good research and a dab of eloquence minus the fluff will make your blog post all the more effective and save you a lot of time with writing and editing.
Step 5. Use your spell-checker
So you're done writing your article, that's great. Now comes the editing part. Good bloggers know that editing your work is a part of the writing process. Using convenient editing tools that are most likely available on the blogging platform you are using, will make it a faster process. The spell-checker is convenient for quick editing but don't be entirely dependent on it. Before you give the article a read through, I suggest using the spell-checker and correcting the spelling (and maybe even grammar) mistakes. Do this first, and then do it one more time after doing step #6.
Step 6. Read what you wrote and polish
Before you hit the publish button, give your article a read-through. Even the most skilled writers commit typos and grammatical errors. Read the entire article and make adjustments with certain thoughts, lines, words, or even paragraphs, that don't quite fit. Polish your final work.
Now that you know the steps to write a blog article in a span of an hour, here are three power-ups to boost your blogging productivity and efficiency. Doing these three things will help you write consistently, and in the event of an inevitable run of writer's block and procrastination, help your write a blog in an hour.
> Strategize the direction of your blog
So what do you want your blog to accomplish this month? Do you have a theme you're going for? Are you planning to invite guest bloggers to share an article or two? Do you have a keyword you're aiming at? Or a particular reaction you're trying to elicit from your readers?
Set aside some time to set monthly goals for your blog. Knowing what you want to accomplish monthly will help you set the direction of your blog, come up with topics, and write with a purpose.
> Brainstorm a month's worth of topics
Go ahead and make a list of topics at the start of every month. List down a rough draft on what you may want to discuss for the coming weeks. Planning this ahead would save you a whole lot of grief come time to write the actual article. While this seems like an easy task, most bloggers will tell you that one of the most challenging part of professional blogging is constantly looking for something new and relevant to write about. If you have an idea of what you want to be covering for the month, the writing process itself will be much easier.
Whether you're writing a B2B blog or a creative blog of sorts, considering the following points will help you think of topics faster:
Plan your content around your keywords
Consider related newsworthy events in your industry or field of interest
Consider the emerging trends or the receding fads
Consider what subjects within your industry will encourage the readers' engagement
Consider what the movers and shakers of your industry are up to and what they are saying
Consider the value of these items to your audience
Consider the reaction of the audience to these items
Consider your opinion about these items
Consider the facts that can make or break your argument
> Have a treasure trove of resources
Bookmark, subscribe, and read the content of credible resources you can use for the nature of the blogs you are writing. Keeping yourself current by reading the blogs or newsletters of your industry influencers will help you be in the "know" of what your audience cares about at the moment, and what kind of reaction you can expect from them. You can also use these resources as cited works within your article to support your claims. After all, good writers are in nature, avid readers. Be sure to stay ahead and informed. It will help your ideas and flow come time to write your blog posts.
Writing blog articles in an hour is an easy feat to accomplish if you follow these steps. Remember that despite the speed you're aiming for when it comes to producing blog posts, you should never sacrifice the quality of your work. And when it comes to quality, planning ahead will help keep you in check and help you avoid mistakes, allowing you to write blogs better, faster. Even if you're only spending an hour writing that blog post, that's an hour of your life you're practically wasting if you you're not planning to give it your best shot.
Image Credit: Mike Licht