Last week, I met with a client who is embarking on a new inbound campaign to generate more awareness for their business through telling stories about their great people and great work on a new blog they are launching.
Like many small businesses, the marketing function is shared by a small team who already have day jobs. One person takes on the PPC in their spare time, one helps answer questions on social media channels, and another is in charge of their blog content calendar and cajoling others to write blog posts showcasing their company wares.
One of the questions that popped up was: if everyone is busy doing their day jobs, when are they supposed to find time to write a blog post?
My response was that it should only take about 30 minutes.
Cue: Surprised look and then frown on her face!
I had this very same worry when Steve Barrett (who was editor of Media Week in the UK at the time but now heads up PR Week in the US and is behind this blog too) asked me to contribute to a Media Week blog for him. When was I going to find time to write something about digital marketing, sound vaguely smart and deliver some value?
It took me a while, but I cracked it. This method might not be for everyone but it works for me, so try it.
Brainstorm some topics
This is where you create a content calendar for your submissions to a blog. It might be your own or it might be your company’s. Whichever it is, you need to have some ideas for content written down and scheduled as placeholders for when your piece is due. It also helps to have a calendar alert 3 days before the piece is due to nudge you into starting to write.
Think about it and think early
Yes I know! Sounds obvious right? But I’m talking about formulating the post in your head way before you start putting digits to keyboard.
What’s the business problem you’re trying to solve for people? Where’s the hook at the beginning? What data is out there to back up your thinking? Where can you link externally to help flesh out your story to the reader? What’s the “go-do” or action you suggest the reader take to fully benefit from your wisdom? What kind of image do you want embedded in the post to enhance it across social networks?
These are all questions you can be cogitating on the way to work, while you’re cooking dinner, during TV commercial breaks (except during the Super Bowl obviously), and as you drift off to sleep.
Start Writing and Refresh
Once you’ve been thinking and it’s a few days until your deadline, cordon off an hour max and start writing. You know what you’re going to open with, you know where you’re going to link to, and you know what your conclusion is going to be, so get on with it.
When you’ve dumped no more than 800 words into a Word doc, then walk away. Leave it for a few hours or come back to it the next day refreshed. Then take another pass, change a few things around and edit it down so it’s nice and concise.
Maybe ask a peer to take a peek to validate the message you’re trying to get across and get it out there.
Done and dusted.
OK, so maybe the process might take a little longer than 30 minutes with a bit of thinking here and there, but the ACTUAL writing should take no longer than 30 minutes as I’ve demonstrated here.
Finishing up at just about 700 words, this post took about 25 minutes to actually write. I’ve written it in the morning when I’m fresh and feeling creative, it’s out the way now and I have the whole day to look forward to.
It can really be that easy!
Please let me know if this was helpful and if you have any questions in the comments below.
Even better, let everyone know if you have a different method. Not everyone is the same and we’d love to hear yours!