By Quick Sprout
I write a ton of blog posts.
By the end of 2018, I’ll have published over 150 posts on Quick Sprout alone. Once you factor in the posts on my other websites and my guest posts, that number roughly doubles.
People ask me all the time how I manage to produce such a large amount of quality content.
With all my in-depth and informative guides backed up with good research, people assume it takes me 10 hours to write one post. That’s not the case.
It takes me significantly less than half of that time to do so.
Blogging is like anything else. The more you do something, the better you get at it.
That said, there is definitely a formula behind producing effective blog content.
As a business owner, you recognize the benefits of blogging in terms of SEO, driving traffic to your website, and increasing conversions.
This graph clearly shows there is a direct correlation between publishing frequency and website traffic. That’s why you can scale lead generation through blogging.
You know you want to publish more content. But there are only so many hours in the day, and you have a business to run.
It’s a common problem I see in my consulting work.
As a result, businesses usually resort to one of two solutions. They either don’t blog as often as they should be, or they rush through writing to meet a certain benchmark. But neither of these approaches are effective.
You need to learn how to write more posts faster without sacrificing the quality of your work.
Use this guide as a blueprint for producing quality content for your blogs. Here’s what you need to do.
Have your blog topics ready
When you sit down to write a post, you shouldn’t be asking yourself what you’ll be writing about that day. This is not an efficient use of your time.
I like to have lists of topics ready for me to choose from.
Spend 30 minutes to an hour once a month coming up with a long list of titles, depending on your publishing frequency.
I usually have lists with 20 or 30 topics at a minimum. Once I start running low, I go through this process again.
Coming up with this many subjects is easier than you think.
I recommend looking at some of your competitors’ sites to see what they’re blogging about. You can use their posts as an inspiration for your own.
You’ll have a big advantage here. Since their content is already published, you can make your posts even better and more informative than theirs.
Take advantage of online tools that will help you come up with new titles to write about, such as the blog ideas generator from HubSpot:
Write posts that tell a story about a personal experience.
Look through comments on social media and your previously published posts for inspiration for new ones. Turn other content you’ve already created into a post. Here are some examples of content you can repurpose:
- YouTube videos
There are tons of opportunities here.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a list of blog topics, refer to my guide on the best ways to come up with new content ideas.
When you do this work ahead of time, you’ll make your writing process much easier. Rather than wasting 15 minutes on brainstorming, you can pull a topic from your list and get straight to work.
Always start with an outline
Starting to write with a blank page, trying to go from beginning to end without a plan, will hurt your quality and productivity.
All too often I see new writers skip the outline process because they think it’s extra work. But the outline will save you time in the long run.
Your outline will give you an idea of the flow of your post.
At a minimum, you should have all your subheaders determined with some notes for each section. But you don’t have to stop there.
The more detailed your outline is, the faster you’ll be able to write.
I like to jot down my thoughts in short bullet points for each section. I can expand on those notes when I’m writing the final copy.
Outlining will also make it easier for you to reach your desired word count. Here’s a look at the average content length for the top results of a Google search:
As you can see from this graph, longer posts have higher rankings. On average, all the top ten posts are over 2,000 words.
You should have a word length range for each post you write.
Obviously, this won’t be exact every time. By nature, some posts will be longer than others, depending on the subject matter.
But let’s say you want all your posts to be a minimum of 2,000 words.
If you’ve got eight subheadings in your outline, you know that each section needs to be roughly 250 words to meet that 2,000-word minimum.
This is a highly effective way to write quality content. It will prevent you from rambling, repeating yourself, and filling the post with useless information.
If you’re starting with a blank page and no outline, you’ll have no sense of how long each section should be or how many sections you should have in the first place.
Using an outline will help you not only write faster but also produce better quality and longer blog posts, which will be great for SEO purposes.
Finish writing in one sitting
Blogging effectively is all about time management. I do not recommend multi-tasking when writing.
Writing posts will require your complete focus and attention.
Put your phone on silent. Don’t check your emails. Stop taking breaks for snacks or lunch in the middle of your post.
Just sit down and write.
It might be taking some of you longer than necessary to write posts because you’re getting distracted by other things.
Here’s a look at the average time people take to write a blog post to give you a better idea of how long it should take you:
In just four years, it’s taking bloggers roughly an hour longer to write each post.
You can aim to spend 3.5 hours writing a post, but you can write even faster than that. However, I don’t want you to over-focus on the time right now.
When you start looking at the clock instead of focusing on your work, the quality of your work begins to suffer. Here’s why.
When you hit the three-hour mark with only 70% of the post done, you might start thinking the post needs to be finished within the next 30 minutes. Under such pressure, the quality of your content might start to go down.
So what if some posts take you a little bit longer? It’s not the end of the world.
I write very efficiently, but every once in a while, it takes me upward of four or more hours to write a post.
Am I happy when this happens? I can’t say I’m thrilled. But I refuse to let my quality suffer.
Other times, I’ll knock out a post in 2.5 hours, so it balances out.
You also need to make sure you’re in the mood to write. Find a time of day that works best for you.
People differ in their preferences for writing. I know bloggers who write first thing in the morning while they’re still in bed, others who write at their offices, and still others who write late at night.
No matter when you write, make sure you’re in the right mindset.
If your mind is elsewhere and you can’t focus, pick another time to write. Put it off until you’re mentally able to concentrate to complete the post in one sitting.
Writing a post over the course of several days typically adds at least 20 minutes to each sitting.
Write while everything is fresh in your mind. The words will flow better, and it will be easier for you to work faster.
Conduct relevant research
Adding statistics and relevant data to your content will drastically improve its quality. It gives your audience proof you know what you are talking about.
Plus, citing and linking to authority websites is great for SEO purposes.
However, I see many bloggers shy away from this tactic because they think research is too time-consuming. That’s not the right way to think.
Sure, it may require a little extra work, but it’s not that difficult to conduct a quick Google search.
Including research in your blog gives you something to talk about. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to write about a subject when you have something to reference.
Let me give you an example.
Here’s an excerpt from a recent blog post I wrote about how blockchain is changing the digital marketing industry:
By taking the time to conduct some research, I was able to find an image and statistic, which are both highlighted above.
These two pieces of information allowed me to write an entire section.
When you have a reference to help you make a point, you’ll find the words to describe it. A statistic from a recent study may just be one sentence, but you can write paragraphs before and after that one piece of information explaining it and talking about its application.
If you’re familiar with my content, you know I use research and images in all my posts.
Even if this is the first time you’re reading one of my blogs, you can see I’ve used research throughout this post to illustrate my points.
Edit your own work
You don’t need an editor to review your posts.
You can do it on your own.
In fact, studies show that the majority of bloggers don’t use editors for content published on their websites.
Using editors is another example of something I see people do because they think it will save them time. But ultimately, it ends up being inefficient.
If you send your work to an editor, you need to rely on their schedule to get the post finished.
When I write something, I want to make sure it’s done.
You don’t want your posts sitting in limbo waiting to be edited and then sent back for feedback and other revisions. By the time you get those notes back, the topic is no longer fresh in your mind.
Instead of using an editor, put your posts through editing software, such as Grammarly.
You don’t need to make all the recommended changes. Just see whether there are any glaring errors that need to be fixed.
After that, read your post out loud to yourself.
This is the best way to catch any other mistakes before you publish your content. You’ll be able to tell whether something sounds funny and needs to be rewritten.
Depending on the length of your content, editing should take no longer than 10 or 20 minutes.
If you’re using an editor or spending much longer than this, you need to look at how you can improve the efficiency of your editing process.
It shouldn’t be taking you all day to write a blog post. At the same time, you don’t want to write so fast that the quality of your content suffers.
Fortunately, there are ways for you to write quality content at a reasonable speed.
Make sure you have a list of blog topics to choose from so you’re not wasting time figuring out what to talk about when you sit down to write.
Outline your posts before you start writing.
Blogging requires your full attention. Try to write when you can complete a post in one sitting.
Add research, statistics, and images to your posts. This will improve the quality and give you something to talk about.
Don’t use an editor. This will prolong the process. You can do this yourself.
If you follow the tips I’ve covered in this guide, you’ll be able to write high quality blog posts faster than ever before.
By the way, for those of you who are curious, I finished writing this post in less than three hours.
How long does it typically take you to write a high quality blog post?