OK, so maybe we fibbed here. If you’re superhuman you may be able to outline, write, finish, and edit a blog post in 60 minutes, but even us professionals can’t do that. Heck we have a three-person team involved for every post!
But what you can do is outline, and make a heck of a solid first draft in 60 minutes. This amount of time allows you to dump every thought you have about what you’ll write about so that you can edit it to perfection later on.
Writing a blog post is easy. Writing a good blog post is less easy. And figuring out how to write a good and effective blog post? Not always so easy.
We’ve been talking a lot in the office about the who, what, when, where, and how to write an effective blog post.
Does it come down to perfect grammar and spelling? Is it about breaking the rules of “proper” English and writing sentence fragments for the sake of conversational flow?
Maybe an effective blog post is about energy and spirit.
Or perhaps there’s a secret club for blog writers. Sometimes it seems that way. There are more than enough websites on the interwebs that will give you the secret to writing a blog post – for a small fee, of course.
I hate to be the killjoy¹ here, but guess what? There is no magic wand that will teach you how to write an effective blog post. The first rule of blog post club – there is no blog post club!
That’s right. Roll up your sleeves and get yer hip waders on. Writing a blog post takes work.
Here’s the thing, while there is no blog post club or paint-by-numbers sheet for writing a blog post, there are steps you can take to write more efficiently, more effectively, and in a more approachable way.
Before you begin, though, it is a good idea to have your ingredients together.
In the culinary world this is called mise en place. It means having everything in place so that you aren’t tearing your kitchen apart trying to find the garlic press before your kale burns.²
Setting your blog post up for success
Some of this advice is directed toward the editing process, and some is directed toward preparation. But when you are in the moment, when all your prep work is done, what do you do to write an effective blog post? How do all these elements fit together to make a blog post work?
More importantly, how do these elements help you write a blog post quickly and effectively?
Let’s figure that out, shall we? And let’s see if we can do it in 60 minutes.
Writing a blog post in 60 minutes
1. 0 – 5 Minutes: Gather your materials. All those notes you’ve been taking, the coffee you’ll need to drink, and your fully-charged or plugged in computer should be set up and ready.
This is the time to turn off distractions, turn your phone to silent, and set phasers to stun (for those poor souls who try to interrupt you).
3. 10-15 Minutes: With your materials in place (
including especially the coffee) write a thesis statement. What is your point? Where are you trying to go with your blog post? Can you imagine reading a book with no plot?³ Why should a blog post be any different?
Even if the point is minimal there has to be some reason for your readers to read your post. People are investing time and energy in reading your thoughts. Reward them with something – useful tips, some humor, food for thought, or a helpful analysis of the engineering fiasco that made it possible to destroy the Death Star with one proton torpedo.
4. 15 – 60 Minutes: Write. Write like there’s no tomorrow. Write like there’s a glass of wine waiting for you when you finish. It won’t be perfect at first, and you can always file it in the “lousy first draft” folder and come back to it later.
You can get a lot done in 45 minutes of focused writing. Worry about editing later. Yes, you will have to edit. Please, don’t even think there is a writer on earth who can go from 0 to complete in 60 minutes if they plan on turning out anything enjoyable. Except maybe Charles Bukowski, ’cause that guy was a genius.
There you are. Easy peasy lemon squeazy. Now what?
Edit and hit submit
Look, no one is a born writer. It takes practice and attention, just like any skill. Don’t worry, though. We won’t leave you with just a good luck and good bye.
Use this handy handy dandy list of tips and tricks to help you write that blog post effectively.
Find a comfortable space, put on some good music, have a healthy snack and some water and coffee nearby. Finding focus will do wonders for your efficiency.
Start writing anywhere. You don’t need to start at the start (I’m trying real hard not to insert a Loverboy joke in here). In fact, many experienced writers don’t begin with the first paragraph. Work on the body of your blog post. Even disjointed ideas give you something to work with later when you edit.
Few writers can sit at a computer and work for hours on end. Take a break. Get up and stretch. Work standing up if you can. Just keep moving. Movement helps your brain stay engaged and keeps your body from getting antsy.
One great thing about working with a team of writers is that you can ask your colleagues for help. Are you stuck for a direction or don’t know if that great paragraph you just wrote makes sense to anyone else? Ask.
And while it is nice to have a team to harras with questions, you don’t need to have coworkers to get help. There are forums and groups for writers all over social networks, and most of us probably have that one friend on Facebook or Twitter who is an English major.
5. Cut yourself some slack:
Seriously. We can’t all write a hit song every time. Some of us may never write a hit song. That’s okay, too. There are a lot of great writers out there that never make it to the bestseller list, yet they continue to write engaging, smart pieces of work. Life works that way sometimes, and not just for writers.
In addition to writing, I play music. I’ve done it for a long time, and I can assure you that there have been some bad nights on the bandstand. I will probably never be on the Billboard Top 100 list, but I’ve played music for people from all over the world, and watched them smile and dance.
If I can manage to help a few people smile and dance – figuratively –by writing a blog post, then I have succeeded. So can you.
Do you feel like you know how to write an effective blog post now? Let us know in the comments what questions you have, or what helps you when you write.
Writing good, targeted blog posts is what we love to do, and we’d love to help you do it for your business.
¹I actually don’t mind being the killjoy at all.
²I made up everything after “everything in place,” but you get the idea.
³I’ve done this. It was terrible. I wouldn’t recommend it. No, not even on a double dog dare.