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When blogging starting, it was kind of a novelty – a forum for people to jot down their own thoughts.
Who would’ve imagined 15 years ago the sheer number of blogs out there today – never mind the number of people who have turned blogging into a career!
That said, being a blogger in today’s world is about more than writing a public diary entry whenever the whim hits you.
Being a blogger today means being crazy busy!
Quality and Quantity: They can Co-Exist
Beyond writing the actual blog entries, we have to think about marketing the blog itself, writing for SEO so that our blogs and posts are found – not to mention taking the time to actually read and expand our knowledge and views of our actual focus area so we:
(1) know what we’re talking about and (2) have something new to write about.
It’s about producing quality content consistently – emphasis on consistently.
So how do we get it all done?
Sure, time management’s a big part of it – but, in truth, it’s about blogging more quickly without sacrificing quality.
Yeah, it’s easier said than done, but it can be done.
Efficient Content Research
Part of being a good blogger is to provide valid, sound information in an interesting way.
can’t do that if you don’t know your subject.
Typically you’ve started your blog because it’s related to something that you’ve done or have interest in – so, lucky for us all, you have a great foundation already.
However, industries and information changes, so part of your job is to understand the ins and outs of your industry and topic – this means staying up to date on a daily basis.
You likely have your set list of outlets that you check for the latest industry news, but there are also several tools that come in handy.
1. Mention –
Mention is a great and easy way to monitor your keywords and competitors. Not only can you spur new ideas by seeing what others are writing about or by catching questions about your topic of choice, but you can also catch any dialogue relevant to your posts and keywords.
2. Google Alerts –
For starters, set up Google Alerts for free to get updates sent straight to your inbox – it’s really that easy. You can set keywords relevant to your industry and topics of interest to you. You can expand that knowledge by tracking your competitors and similar blogs. By adding site:www.othersblog.com to your Alert queue, you’ll get alerts when there’s a new content added to the blog.
And while we certainly don’t condone copying, the competition can be great for sparking new ideas and fresh perspectives. On that note…
Don’t be afraid to get fresh. If you rely only on your own thoughts to brainstorm topics, at some point you’re bound to draw a blank. But giving your readers new, fresh content frequently and consistently is important to your success – so don’t be afraid to ask for help in the idea house. There’s a great list of 14 places to find fresh blog topic ideas over at TwelveSkip.com – read them here for the full list.
3. Evernote –
As you dig up new ideas, track keywords and competitors, and – among it all, keep writing, it’s pretty easy to get a bit lost and overwhelmed. Make sense of the chaos with a synchronization tool, such as Evernote. The software syncs notes between your phone, tablet, computer, and whatever other technology you’ve got so that everything is in one place – wherever that one place is that you need it. It works to keep a running record of what you’ve done and what you’ve seen while doubling as an idea book.
By always having your information – and all of your information (not just pieces) at your fingertips, you can save lots of time otherwise spent digging through piles and notebooks. Not to mention that by keeping a running idea book, you don’t need to sit idly and lose time while brainstorming or researching under the gun – it’s all right in front of you.
Write Quickly While Writing
Most people assume that bloggers love writing… but that’s not always the case – in many cases, bloggers just love sharing information, teaching, and building a community.
Personally, I’ve hated to write since my school days (maybe it was all the talk of sentence fragments and past participles that did me in. I don’t know…) – but writing is (obviously) an important part of blogging.
That said, beyond the time saves required to get everything done, these are several tactics that I use to get the writing over with more quickly while also writing high quality material:
1. Plan how you write.
more specifically, write in this order: headlines, sub headlines, bullet points, content. By writing the headlines and outline, you get the chance to think while you write, planning the content that will fill in the gaps.
2. Time yourself if it helps you to write faster.
What can I say, sometimes I just work better under pressure. Making it a bit of a game always helps, too.
- Write or Die makes writing a game, providing consequences for procrastination and positive reinforcement for a job well done.
- ByWord provides built-in tools to make writing more enjoyable and seamless. For example, it has built-in word counters, keyboard shortcuts, and more while also allowing you to sync your documents between your devices. Then, on top of it, you can publish directly from the app to many different blogging environments. Basically, it’s a simplified writing and publishing environment with a series of handy tools that make life easier.
- I love Hemingway. Ernest, too, but I’m talking about the app. As someone who doesn’t exactly love to write, I’m constantly making grammatical errors. Hemmingway makes writing dummy proof. For example, it highlights extremely long sentences in yellow, highlights inefficient word choices in purple, and highlights passive voice (a personal pet peeve) in green. By drawing my eye to the highlights, I can quickly fix issues to make my posts higher quality. Here’s an example:
4. Recycling your old content.
Recycling old posts by giving them a new spin or updating the content is a great way to publish new material without having to invest oodles of time – since you already know the subject. For ideas on how to recycle (read, not copy) your content, read my previous post on WHSR.
Easy Blog Management
There really are just a ton of tools out there to help writers write more efficiently. There are too many to go into here, but here are just a few of my favorites:
Pic Monkey –
Great blogs require great photos. PicMonkey makes that possible with easy, free online photo editing tools. Whether you need to simply crop or punch up color or turn multiple images into a collage, this is your app.
An Evernote product (I’m already a fan), Skitch makes it easy to quickly share thoughts and images. For example, you take a picture of a car on the freeway, but really want to point out the funny license plate. Skitch will take that photo and help you to quickly add your own commentary, merging your commentary with the photo by placing type on the photo. Simple concept, simple to do – but it pays off so well.
This app automates your social media postings for free by connecting trigger actions with a destination action. For example, if every time you take a photo, you want it to upload to your Instagram, IFTTT can make that happen.
Digital Pens –
There are tons out there, but I like the Equil JOT. Sadly, the pen isn’t free, but the compatible apps are. Basically, these pens make it so that when you have an idea or sketch, you write it down on paper – the device then digitalizes your thoughts and syncs them (in digital, editable form) onto your computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.
Think of it like a virtual corkboard for organizing ideas and posts. Basically, you create a virtual notecard with each thought as it comes to you. Then, when you’re ready to write, shift the notes around on the virtual corkboard to create your outline.
There are tons of ways to blog more efficiently – sometimes, you just have to put some work in upfront to getting organized and getting ready.
Do you have ways to blog more efficiently or cool apps that help you get the job done? Share ‘em below.