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How to Write Blogs Faster (Without Sacrificing Quality)

Blog writing is fun. You get to tackle new subject matter, read some interesting sources and, who knows, maybe even include a Star Wars AND Simpsons reference in the same blog.

But when you’re on the clock, sometimes speed and efficiency takes a backseat when it should be sitting shotgun. For those who love to blog or do it as their full-time gig, here are some ways to write blogs faster without sacrificing quality.

[Related Content: Is Business Blogging Still Worth It?]

1. Start with an outline

There have been a few times in my writing career where I’ve tried to go full-Jedi and write a blog blindly. No outline, no organization. Just a topic, a blank content edit window and the Force.

I, however, am no Luke Skywalker.

A good outline will provide a map to keep you from focusing too much on the organization. “…It’s easy to get stuck because you’ve come to a standstill or gone off on a tangent,” according to Daily Writing Tips. They suggest putting your map on paper (or on your screen), ensuring you have your next subhead or paragraph point to keep you moving forward.

Not the outlining type? More of a bulleted list kind of guy or gal? That’s OK, too. Any pre-writing organization that works will keep you on track and help you write more quickly. Just make sure you do it.

2. Separate the research from the writing

Thanks to the internet, there are so many places to turn when it’s time to conduct research for your blog, especially if you’re in an industry that a LOT of people like to write about (*cough* content marketing *cough*).

However, it’s a double-edged sword because it’s easy to fall down the research rabbit hole. You start researching marketing automation and before you know it, WHAM! You’re on Purdue Varsity Glee Club’s Wikipedia page, wondering why they have a mascot and why in the world they named it “Glee Club Pete.”

The best way to avoid this spiral and its inevitable impact on your focus is to separate your research time from your writing time.

Do your research first and, in your outline, include quotes, facts or anecdotes you wish to cite. Then turn off your information-gathering mind and flip on your writing mind.

While you’re writing, if you come across a section that needs more research or a fact check, insert a comment or a filler like “lorem ipsum.” Then highlight the text so you don’t miss it when you go back after finishing the draft.

Talk to an expert

To save even more time, consider nixing the research process and talk to an expert instead. This can be helpful for highly technical topics that may take an actual human explanation.

For example, I’m not a technical SEO pro, so I referred to our web development team to help me communicate step-by-step instructions on implementing structured data.

Though I conducted research prior to speaking with them, the dev team’s explanation made a lot more sense and I was able to write the post differently than what already exists. This made it ten times easier to write the post AND it provides more credibility to the content.

In addition, if you interview expert sources and include their quotes in your post, they are likely to share it with their social networks. Then your site benefits from a traffic boost. It’s a win-win for both parties.

what-is-google-eat-and-how-does-it-improve-quality-of-content

3. Ditch quality (at first)

I get it. You’re a writer. A professional. A perfectionist. You don’t want to put your name on anything less than Oscar Wilde quality (if Oscar Wilde had a health and wellness blog).

Though it’s imperative to have high standards, it can be a mental barrier big enough to hinder your productivity on your first pass. (Besides, Oscar Wilde wouldn’t have a health and wellness blog. He’d have an HVAC blog and it would be called “The Importance of Cleaning Furnace”).

The more you think about ideal word choice, proper sources and perfect spelling and grammar, the more likely you are to have the almighty train of thought completely derailed.

Again, insert a comment and highlight the text to remind you to go back at a later time. It’s important to JUST KEEP WRITING.

Though grotesque, Brandpoint’s other blog writer Val Turgeon is a fan of “vomit” writing. In her first draft, she throws ALL of her ideas down on the page, no matter if they’re gold or, well, vomit.

“I think a lot of people write as if someone is looking over their shoulder, judging their early drafts. Usually, that’s our inner critic, which can be crueler than any editor,” she says. “Vomit writing is without barriers. I feel free to get out my ideas, knowing that I will then excavate the gold at a later stage.”

There’s a tool that promotes this idea to a drastic degree. It’s appropriately called the Most Dangerous Writing App. Set your session time from 3-60 minutes, then write. If you stop for a few seconds, all your writing will be lost. Gone forever. Poof. We don’t recommend using this for a big project, but it’s an excellent app to use as practice.

Once your first draft is complete, if possible, get an editor to help identify the small mistakes or determine if a sentence makes sense. (Here are a few other ways an editor can help you save time with your blog writing.)

4. Minimize distractions

At the end of the eighth-season episode, “Homer vs. The 18th Amendment,” temporary bootlegger, Homer Simpson, credits alcohol as “…the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

I feel the same way about the internet.

While the internet is a modern marvel of technology, it also has the power to be EXTREMELY distracting, as do emails and other messages.

You probably collect a Skype for Business message, a Slack notification or at least a handful of new emails over the course of a couple hours. Our minds tend to prioritize new messages as very important and trick ourselves into thinking each requires our immediate attention.

Knock it off.

If you feel overwhelmed by people trying to reach you, log out of those channels to put a barrier between you and the people who always ask you for stuff. If you’re starting to feel the FOMO creep in just reading that tip, I get it. But trust me. Most of those emails can wait.

If logging out of your email isn’t an option, try blocking off some time on your calendar for writing to let people know you’re unavailable. Or, set an out-of-office message for a few hours, letting whoever just sent that email know you’re busy but will respond when you get a chance.

The same applies to social media. Tell your browser to forget the password to all your social platforms and put your phone in your purse or your pocket. Maybe even leave it in your car so the temptation is out of sight (and, as the saying goes, “out of mind”).

5. Conquer the frustration

Even if you take every single piece of (high quality, unbelievably professional) advice, sometimes writer’s block will strike when you’re almost done or maybe haven’t even started yet.

If you’re having trouble getting rolling, look at your outline and find the section or sections you know you can cruise through. This will give you momentum that can carry you throughout the tougher sections.

If you hit a snag in the middle, grab a pen and some paper. “Brainstorm or free write to shake something loose,” suggests Jodi Rogstad, a senior writer at Brandpoint. “Plus, we use a different region of the brain when we write with a pen versus type on a computer.” It can often be a way to center yourself and your thoughts and keep you moving in the right direction.

Take a break

Sometimes there’s no way around the pesky writer’s block. If you just can’t seem to shake it, don’t be afraid to put that particular project away for a day or two (if possible) and focus on something else. Especially for longer posts, it’s easy to get bogged down. When it’s time to come back, you’ll usually be able to finish it in no time.

If all us fails, visualize yourself being done with the post. How good will it feel to be able to leave the office and know that you finally conquered that tough post? Pretty. Darn. Good.

Get crackin’

Some writers can sit down and crank out blogs without a care in the world. Those people are called unicorns. Writing quickly and efficiently while maintaining high quality is an ongoing challenge for all of us, to one degree or another. Take a deep breath, read this blog again if you need to and get writing.

CTA to Content Marketing Operating System ebook

 

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been updated for clarity and comprehensiveness. 

December 5, 2018

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