Mary Kate McGowan
How to Write Better Blog Posts Quicker and with Less Stress
Writing quality blog posts to promote your small business should not feel like a side-hustle. Blogging is a proven marketing strategy that drives traffic to your business’ website and increases sales, but writing about your product and service is not why you started your business.
Instead of looking at blogging as a necessary evil, I suggest slicing the blogging process to better fit your time constraints and schedule. Plus, breaking up the process can help you write higher quality blogs.
Sounds like a win-win to me.
This multi-day blogging process takes you from beginning to end with less overwhelm and stress. I use this process when I write (including this post). My posts have been stronger with fewer errors since adopting this approach.
It’s time to break down this process of how to write better blog posts.
Day 0: The Post-It Challenge (About 45 minutes)
Before you start writing, you must have an idea. One way to come up with a slew of blog post ideas is to complete the Post-It Challenge. Here’s how it works:
Sit down (or stand) with a stack of sticky notes and a pen.
Set a timer for 20 minutes.
During that 20 minutes, write down any blog post topic that comes to mind.
Tip: If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, think about the questions you get the most, the parts of your business that you struggle the most with, lessons you’ve learned lately and new products/services you’re creating.
When the timer stops, you should have some quality blog post topics to write about.
Now, make a schedule of when you’re going to publish a blog post on each topic. This is a fast-and-loose version of a content calendar, which can help you keep your ideas straight.
Before you end the exercise, make sure you write down the blog post schedule in your official content calendar. You don’t want to forget anything!
[Coming Soon: How to Optimize Your Blog Post for SEO]
Day 1: Create an outline (About 30 minutes)
Outlines can be easy-to-use tools that help you write better blogs and tighter copy. They are great brainstorming tools that allow you to list everything you want to include in your blog post.
By outlining what you want to write about in your post, you take the pressure off yourself to remember every detail and example you want to include.
To create your outline, first, take about 10-20 minutes to write everything that comes to mind related to your topic. Using what you wrote down, pick out your three or four main points.
Once you have these, go back and fill them in with examples and supporting details. Write down the reasons why readers should learn about those topics. Make a solid argument about why your main topics are important.
Outlines make it simple to build blog posts full of useful information. And they can be as long or as short as you want.
Day 2: Write the Blog Post (About 1 hour)
The time has come for you to write your blog post. While usually, you would be staring at a blank page, you are now well on your way with your outline.
Because you’ve already created your blog post’s structure and know what topics you’re going to write about, all you have to do is add to your outline.
Writing should be easier because your ideas are already out of your head. Your road map is clear. Now, you just have to add some sentences to create a blog post.
Day 3: Edit the Blog Post (About 1 hour)
When you’re done writing your well-thought-out blog post, back away from it. Give yourself some time before you start the editing process. This helps increase editing accuracy and effectiveness, and it will help space out the blogging process, eliminating some overwhelm.
After a bit of time (at least one hour), the first editing step is reading the whole blog again. Don’t make any notes or corrections this time. Just refresh your memory about what you wrote about.
On the second pass, you can start making changes and fixing typos. Sometimes, you’ll want to move whole paragraphs or even change the order of your main points. Substantive editing is great, and it does result in stronger writing.
On the third pass, read the blog post from the end to the beginning. Read “backward” helps you catch more errors. Trust me!
When you’re feeling good about the blog post, copy and paste it into editing software and read it by paragraph. Reading your blog post in a different format will also help you catch even more errors.
Day 4: Publish the Blog Post (About 1 hour)
Congrats! It’s time to publish your blog post. After the time you’ve been into this post, it’s ready for others to read it.
Before you hit “publish,” read through the post one more time. (Just to make sure it’s clean.)
Here’s a quick checklist to make sure your content is ready to go.
You will also want to make sure your blog post is optimized for search engines. HubSpot has quality information about SEO.
Make sure you include at least one photo with your blog post. Also, be sure to add alt-text to your photo. Alt-text helps increase your blog post’s findability, but it also helps people who do not load images.
When you’ve published the blog post on your website or wherever you house all your content, be sure to post it on other sites such as LinkedIn and Medium.
Day 5: Promote the Blog Post (About 2 hours)
You have already scheduled this blog post in your official content calendar. Now that it is published, you can start promoting it on social media and in your email newsletter.
Your blog post can be the basis for a few social media posts and your email newsletter. Put your blog to work!
You can easily turn your weekly blog post into engaging social media posts. You can do this by breaking down your blog post into bite-sized pieces of content that allow readers to easily digest your business’ expertise and knowledge without feeling overwhelmed.
Think of graphics and photos that represent what you wrote about in your blog post, and those can become your Instagram posts. You can even talk about why you wrote about that certain topic or elaborate on some of your main points on Instagram Stories or on Facebook Live.