I’m sharing about how I make time to write because of a conversation I had with fellow San Diego entrepreneur, Stefanie Bales, of Stefanie Bales Fine Art. She responded to an Instagram story of mine about my last blog post (Simple (And Free!) Ways to Get Leads From Your Blog) saying that she knows she needs to blog, but can’t find… the time.
Unfortunately, she’s not the only small business owner who feels this way, which means that many small business owners are ignoring their blog. This is one of the most valuable business tools you have. Not only do you already pay for it (hosting pays for your entire website, of course), but great content is an invaluable asset for your business. It allows you to:
- Drive more traffic by ranking for a range of related keywords
- Build trust and familiarity with future customers
- Show your expertise within the industry
- Bring your authentic brand story to life
If you’re struggling to make time to write blog posts, I’n here to help. Check out some of the tips I’ve learned in 10 years of writing.
Plan Topics Ahead of Time
I just spent the last 3 hours updating my site instead of writing a blog post. I started down the let’s-rewrite-every-page-on-my-website path when I couldn’t decide on a topic. This is inevitably the first roadblock you run into when you say to yourself, “Okay, I know I should write a new blog post, I’m gonna do it now!” That motivation quickly fizzles into to frustration when you get ready to put fingertips to keyboard, but realize you have no idea what to write about.
The best way to get past this roadblock is to avoid it in the first place: plan your topics ahead of time. I know what you’re thinking, “But that takes time too!” Get ready for the hard truth: Yes, yes it does. I hate to break it to you, but if you want to write for your business blog, you need to spend time doing work at some point.
When you plan topics ahead of time, however, you significantly reduce the time it takes to come up with one when you’re ready to write. I have a long list of topics that I turn to; here’s part of that list:
|The Argument for Taking a Minimalist Approach to Content Tech|
|How to Identify Great Content Opportunities for Your Blog|
|12 Content Goals: One for Every Month in 2018|
|The Organic Content Marketing Tactics You’re Not Using Yet|
|How I Write 5 GREAT Articles in One Day—And Why You Should Care|
|Maintaining Individuality: How to Be a Great Editor Without Losing the Writer’s Voice|
|Writing Efficiency: Finding a Balance Between Diving In and Getting it Done|
|Guest Posting: Where Personal Branding and Content Connect|
|The Power of Attracting Your Productivity Into Your Life|
|Content Marketing Reporting: The Metrics I Look At|
|The Role of Content in Your Product Marketing Plan|
|How to Work With a Stubborn Tech Team|
|8 Reasons for Executives to Pay for a Ghost Writing Service|
|Content Marketing Strategy: A Checklist for Success|
|How to Kick Ass at Content Marketing|
|The [Free] Content Tools I SWEAR By|
|Make Marketing Fun Again|
|How to Drive Authentic Brand Impressions With Content|
Now, when I’m ready to write, I just decide what I feel like writing about. If you send a monthly newsletter or run a business that’s tied to the seasons, you can even plan when you’ll write each piece of content. This way, you have one choice when you finally make the time to do it.
Pro tip: Find the SEO keyword ahead of time, so you don’t have to do that work when you’re ready to write. See the example from my content list below. Use Neil Patel’s tool, Ubersuggest, to find the best SEO keyword for your topic.
|content strategy||Content Strategy: Paid Versus Organic and How They Work Together|
|content marketing strategy||Content Marketing Strategy: A Checklist for Success|
|content marketing||How to Kick Ass at Content Marketing|
I Pick One Day
In January of 2018, I said to myself: Okay, I’m going to write four blog posts each month. Did I do that? No. And I didn’t even start publishing ANYTHING until May. When I did make time to write in May, I still didn’t hit my goal of four blog posts live. Instead, my trajectory has gone something like this:
- May: 2 articles live
- June: 2 articles live
- July: 3 articles live
- August: 4 articles live
- September: 4 articles live
- October: 4 articles live
I got on track in August when I began setting aside just one day each week to write my blog post. That day is Sunday, and every Sunday, without fail, I must write a blog post. To be fair, I almost didn’t today—but here we are.
By picking just one day, there’s less agonizing about when I’ll write it throughout the week.
I Make It About More Than Just the Blog Post
It can be impossible to motivate yourself when it feels like you’re writing just to write. I mean, if you don’t love writing like us weirdo content marketers, it feels pointless. So, I’ll make it easy for you: don’t do that.
What do I mean? Instead of writing just to write, make a list (mental or physical) of all the ways you’ll use, promote, and derive value from this new blog post. For this particular blog post, that list looks a little like this:
- I’ll be sharing on social media next week—on LinkedIn once, on Twitter at least 2-3 times, on Instagram feed twice and on IG stories 2-4 times.
- I’ll be including this blog post as a resource in the new new content marketing flow I’m creating now and launching in January.
- I’ll be including this in my upcoming newsletter.
- I chose a specific keyword to help this blog post rank on Google. Over time, the post will drive traffic so I can publish less and still get people to my site.
- I’m appealing to my target audience: small business owners who know the value of content, but may not have time to facilitate it. Ideally, this helps me drive leads.
On point number one: remember that, in 95 percent of cases, you need to get social media followers back to your website to turn them into customers. Fresh blog content is a great way to do that because you can intrigue and entertain them, all while getting them one step closer to becoming a customer or lead.
I Tie It Into Something I’m Already Doing
Every month, since August, I’ve done an overview of my content marketing reporting—see August & September. The value in this is that I’m already doing the work of reporting and turning that quantitative data into qualitative insights. Why not turn it into a blog post too?
For me, this makes sense because reporting is critical for content marketing, so it’s something I want to show potential clients that I do and understand. Consider how a recurring task can be turned into a blog post that’s of interest to your potential customers.
For example, Stefanie may want to write one blog post each month about the mood boards she makes each week. She’s already putting the boards together and sharing them on social media—why not put that into a blog post? This might provide insight to potential customers about about the way she thinks about art. For most, art is very personal, so this could make her a more appealing artist to some potential buyers.
Here’s a bonus idea (I’m looking at you, Stefanie!): What about creating a marketing “process” for each new piece of art. Not only does this allow you to promote your new work more often, but makes it easier to decide what and when to write. For example, your marketing process might be:
- Finish new painting
- Prepare 2-3 social media posts about the painting
- Prepare 2-3 IG stories about the painting
- Write a blog post about the painting answering: why, what, who and how much.
This not only forces you to make time to write, but gives you a simple promotion plan for each newly finished piece, ideally allowing you to sell more.
More Tips for When You Can’t Make Time to Write
If you’re still thinking, “UGH, I’m just never gonna make time to write blog posts,” I have a few more tips for you.
Take Advantage of Inspiration
We all have moments of inspiration. It’s what we do with those moments that dictate how valuable they are. When it comes to writing, some of us can only put pen to paper when inspiration strikes. So don’t miss the moment.
If you’re feeling inspired, just start writing—let your thoughts spill onto the page as they come to you. When it’s all out, refine and turn the content into a formatted blog post.
You’ll be amazed at how much faster and easier writing is when you’re inspired to do it, as opposed to when you’re simply checking a task off your to-do list. If this is your main method for making time to write, however, hold yourself accountable to actually doing the work when inspiration comes rolling in.
Get Rid of Distractions
When I’m doing something that I don’t want to do, I’m very unproductive. I start, then stop to check Instagram; start again, then stop to check my email; start again, then stop to get more water. If this sounds like you, a great course of action is to eliminate the distractions.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Close yourself in a room (away from kids, husband, sink full of dishes, etc.).
- Use a distraction-free app or program, like Focus for Mac.
- Put your phone in another room, or at least out of reach.
- Use the pomodoro technique: write for 25 minutes, take a short break—so on and so forth. Check out the Pomodoro desktop app to make it easy to track your time.
Hire an Intern or Freelance Writer
If you absolutely cannot make time to write blog posts, it’s time to find someone who can. Luckily, there are many great writers out there, you just have to hire one of them. In this case, you have two options: hire an intern or a freelance writer.
Note, however, that this new writer will need direction, so you still need to plan and assign topics. You’ll also need to edit the content before publishing to make sure it has your voice, tone and branding.
If you don’t want to do as much work—I mean, the point is to spend less time on this task—check out my “Need. Blog Posts. Now.” Package. With it, you get:
- 4 SEO-optimized blog posts for your business blog monthly
- Meta description for each blog post
- Social media caption for each blog post
Remember: You CAN Make Time to Write Blog Posts
The blog is a tool that’s chronically underused by small business owners for one simple reason: lack of time. Don’t let great, lead-driving content fall on your list of, I’ll-get-to-it-eventually. Use these ideas to make time to write blog posts, whether you hand the task over to me or finally step into your inner writer and do it yourself.
Let me take the time to write for you.
Use this form to answer one simple question: what do you want to blog about?