“I don’t have time to blog!” Oh, the number of times I have heard that statement!
Do you have time to do 10 minutes ‘internet research’ that turns into 40 minutes of looking at friends’ status updates on Facebook/browsing your next online purchase/reading some random news articles? Do you have time to call a friend for a quick chat that ends up being a marathon rant about the good and bad things in life? Do you have lots to do in a short amount of time but end up procrastinating and get less done than you intended?
Many of us, when faced with a To Do list as long as our arm, will look at ways of reducing that To Do list. We will prioritise the tasks and ensure that we spend our time efficiently getting the tasks done that are deemed as most important. Unfortunately blogging is often deemed as one of those less essential tasks. But it shouldn’t be. It plays an important part of your online marketing plan. And you should keep on top of it.
Now, I’m not saying that blogging comes before all other tasks. It doesn’t. After all, we deserve and need a 30 minute walk around the block. And we also deserve and need some time indulging in our guilty pleasure (Facebook updates, reality TV, celebrity magazines, a game on the PlayStation – whatever ticks your boxes). It’s essential (for both our sanity as well as our productivity) that we get away from work sometimes. But there are times in our day when we could be more productive and more efficient. And I’m speaking from experience when I write that last sentence.
For those of us who are thinking “I don’t have time to blog!”, below is a selection of tips that have helped me be more time efficient in creating my own blog posts.
Write every day
Even if it’s for only 20 minutes, make sure you write something. Daily writing gets you into the habit. Perhaps it can be first thing in the morning when you’re drinking your morning coffee. Or perhaps at the end of the day when you don’t really want to start on anything taxing because you’ll be heading home soon. Choose a time that suits you. Set aside 20 minutes and just write. It doesn’t need to be long and detailed, and it doesn’t need to formally structured. Just get some words down and you’ll be surprised how quickly those daily 20 minutes will become a coherent and legible blog post.
Book time into your diary
Treat your writing as a business appointment. Think of the work tasks you complete each day / week – checking emails, returning phone calls, reconciling invoices, trips to the Post Office, daily bank transactions, project meetings, updating stock levels, client meetings … Treat your blog writing as another appointment that must be attended and book it into your busy schedule. By setting aside time for it, you are more likely to get to it and therefore less likely to get behind on your blog writing. And if you follow the tip above and create a 20 minute appointment, it’s less likely that you will dread the thought of sitting down to create some copy. In a busy work day, 20 minutes doesn’t last long plus you can always set a timer to ring at the end of the writing session.
Schedule a set day to publish a blog post
Choose a day of the week that you would like to publish a post and stick to it. If you are more consistent with releasing blog posts, your readers will know when to expect new content from you. If you use a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, you are able to schedule your blog posts to be released at the date and time that you specify. You don’t need to be sat at your desk to press the ‘Publish’ button. Instead you could complete your blog post on Monday and schedule it to publish on a Friday. That way, once your blog post is completed, you can move on to starting the next one.
Create a list of blog headlines / topics
To start with create a list of 10 topics / headlines that you would like to blog about. This may sound like a lot to begin with but as you start to create the list it’s surprising how many you can actually come up with. Take inspiration from news headlines or changes in your industry. Perhaps a new industry regulation is coming into force later in the year, maybe you have a new product launching soon, or you’ve recently attended an exhibition event. Create your list in a place where it’s easy to access it whenever an idea crosses your mind. I use an app called Evernote for mine as I can access it on my phone or my computer but there are lots of tools (on phones, tablets, laptops and even good old pen and paper) available that you can use. Just make sure that it’s easily accessible because the more you start thinking about potential blog topics, the more ideas you will come up with.
Aim to publish 4 blog posts a month
The reason I advise clients to aim for 4 blog posts a month is because it roughly equates to 1 blog post a week. If you are new to blogging, you want to ease yourself in gently. You don’t want to feel the pressure of creating a blog post everyday, or every other day. 1 blog post a week is manageable (especially if you follow some of the other tips above) on a busy work schedule. Also, 4 posts a month is a nice number for the search engines to get their teeth into. By publishing weekly content on your website, the search engines will need to keep coming back to trawl through that content as they will see that your website is being kept up to date with fresh relevant content, which in turn helps with your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO). And that’s always a good thing.
Of the above tips, you don’t need to follow all of them to be more time efficient when it comes to blog writing. You could just pick one or you might find that a combination of one or more works best for you, or the list above may just give you ideas of your own. The important thing is to find out what works for you and keep at it. Blogging, as part of an overall Marketing Plan, is an area that needs time devoted to it and it needs consistency.
So the next time you start thinking, “I don’t have time to blog”, consider this question ‘Do you have time to read and answer emails?’ The answer is ‘Of course you do!’ You ensure that you make time as this is essential to your business growth and success. Think of business blogging in the same light as you do emails and customer enquiries. It is an essential part of building your online presence and to show your customers that you are knowledgeable in your industry and service/product offering.
For other helpful advice on business blogging, take a look at our Business Blogging Basics Series.