Content Marketing, WordPress

Five Lessons and One Big Secret to Blogging Faster

19th century handbill

19th century handbill

Successful marketing campaigns may span different mediums, contain different messages, or be targeted toward different populations, but they all have one thing in common: they must be fast. The only way to compete is to build your campaign quickly and get marketing materials out to customers efficiently. Take too long and your marketing efforts are a total waste.

When producing blog content, the window is even tighter.  An Internet event may take run it’s complete cycle over the course of a few hours. If Douglas Karr had not immediately jumped on the Brody PR fiasco, there would not have been much point in discussing the topic here on The MarTech Blog. The moral: an effective blogger must be responsive and productive.

blog-indiana-site

At blogINDIANA 2009, I presented a session on Productivity and Blogging. The talk began with five critical lessons that every blogger must learn:

  1. Almost everybody quits blogging. According to the New York Times an incredible 95% of all blogs are abandoned. This is great evidence that poor productivity kills blogging.
  2. Amazing blogs are regular. All of the great blogs, whether they are hugely popular or successful in a niche, are updated consistently.
  3. Quality doesn’t matter much. Bloggers constantly debate whether grammar and spelling actually matter, and often point out that most business blogs stink.
  4. The most recent post wins. Search engines and users pay more attention to what you wrote today than what you wrote yesterday.
  5. We are all vain. Every blog post is written and made public so others can read it. Acknowledging that we write because we want our words to be read is essential to blogging.

These realizations lead to some obvious, but essential conclusions. If almost everybody quits blogging, than you can win by resolving not to quit! If great bloggers publish on a consistent schedule, than you can join their ranks by doing the same.  However, there is one big secret to blogging faster. Design a process for writing blogs.

No two bloggers or companies will have the exact same process for blogging, just as no two marketing campaigns will ever be identical. But there are several components that are worth consideration:

  • Characterizing posts: At Slaughter Development, we have exactly five categories of posts: a response to another blog, news-article or op-ed content, a summary of an event we sponsored or attended, a continuation of a previous blog post, a unique perspective on a bit of common knowledge or an everyday expression, or an announcement of an upcoming event or proposed action. Writing a blog means picking one of these five categories of posts, which frees the blogger from the paralysis of not knowing what to write about. Plus, you can rotate the categories to ensure that you don’t repeat yourself too much.
  • Scheduling and Constraining: Blogging is supposed to be fairly conversational. If you’re spending hours and hours crafting each paragraph, you’re probably missing the point. Instead, try and schedule your blogging time in advance and limit yourself to no more than 60 minutes in a single session.
  • Division by activity: The process of writing a blog is very different than editing a blog. Likewise, generating ideas and even developing your “editorial calendar” requires a distinctive part of your brain. If your organization is big enough, try to assign each of these tasks to different people. If you’re a solo blogger, find a partner and trade responsibilities. It’s much easier to edit someone else’s work, and much more comforting to know that a trusted adviser will be reviewing your words before publication.

The session concluded with a brave demo. After soliciting an idea from the audience and recruiting a volunteer to edit, we produced a complete blog post in 575 seconds. This is undeniable proof that you can blog quickly if you have a system. Check out the slides (direct link):

For more information on designing a blogging process for you or your company, contact Slaughter Development today!

2 Comments

  1. 1

    I love the one line, Robby… "Amazing blogs are regular." Some folks spend so much time trying to make their blogs fantastic that they miss the point of a blog… to show humanity with all the blemishes of our every day life and work included. We want to hear about mistakes, even failures.

  2. 2

    These are all really good points, but it's not the only way to do things.

    I won't use my blog, where I have to take 1, 2 or even more days on some posts which require deep technical knowledge to write. Even though such writing is a critical part of how I establish my personal credibility, I don't get enough traffic to prove my point. It would probably prove your point instead…

    But Steve Pavlina's blog does prove my point. Steve write exceedingly long blog posts. He breaks every rule I've ever read about blog posting. And he gets so much traffic he has to route comments directly to a forum.

    I think it really comes down to the energy the blogger brings to his or her writing. Following the "rules" with low energy, uninspiring blog posts just seems to me a recipe for failure. Breaking the rules with high energy, high value content seems likely to succeed.

    I'll grant that shorter posts are easier to write than longer posts. Maybe this is why most people write shorter rather than longer?

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