Lately, I’ve been getting back into blogging and creating helpful content for SecuraCart. I'm here writing another blog post, something I've done many times before - And you know what? It never gets any easier! Sometimes writing is hard, and our brains are great at making up a plethora of excuses for why we should head back to our comfort zones. But all this doesn't matter if you have a fail-proof system in place to help your blogs come together quickly. And that's what today's post is about.
It’s OK, we all feel these exact same things - myself included.
But the thing is, I know from first-hand experience that blogging can reap massive benefits for your business, including free traffic and promotion on social media, audience engagement and feedback in the product design process, and a community to bounce ideas off of when creating a brand.
In 2014, my co-founder and I started a blog called Easy Agent PRO. EAP was a bootstrapped company that started with nothing but some blog posts and a WordPress site with free hosting. We later grew that site to over 120,000+ monthly visitors in the real estate marketing space, while creating a product used by over 1000 real estate agents and teams.
The reason I bring this up is: we were able to successfully grow a business - not because we had the hottest product on the market, but because we gave away an immense amount of value in the form of 300+ blogs, ebooks, videos, free training, webinars - you name it and we did it. We established ourselves as the best source of information in our niche, and this allowed us to earn trust and loyalty from our readers.
This is exactly what I want you to take away from this post today. If you’re going to build a successful online business - especially without funding, you need to make your content generation a major focus. It can feel like a chore sometimes, and we all have lazy days, but we need to make sure we’re doing the right work at the right time.
Today I want to share with you my process for quickly writing blog posts in an hour or less. By the end of this guide you should be able to have some great timesavers to take and apply to your writing workflow.
The amount of time you spend researching will make a huge difference in the overall quality of your content output. It’s tempting to just sit down in front of a text editor and start slamming away at the keys. And while this can work for some amazing writers with a fantastic ability to craft readable works of art - most of us are not professional writers.
Start your initial research with keyword research. This process helps navigate you towards search terms that people are actually searching for. If you're not sure where to begin on keyword research, I'd suggest checking out this guide by Neil Patel.
Try typing a search into Google. As you type, take notice of the suggested searches Google makes for you. These are real questions that people are asking, that your blog post can help answer. Can you see how much easier it is to offer value when you're trying to help answer questions?
Read through the results and take note of the phrasing and value being offered. It’s important to analyze top SEO results so you can ensure you’re competing for real keywords that people search, which has the added benefit of seeing who your competitors are. When first starting out, target smaller keywords with lesser-known competitors.
We all cognitively understand that there is a big difference between saying something and saying something that is backed by facts.
Including facts and statistics in your blog posts not only makes you look more credible to your readers, but it also makes you look more credible to Google. Think about it: you’re linking to great resources and you’re sharing multiple sources of information - this is exactly what Google wants people to find.
When you thoroughly research a topic, one of the biggest benefits is you become aware of all the different angles companies are using to present a topic online. Knowing this allows you to make better-informed decisions when it comes time to writing.
For example, if you are researching keywords and all of the posts are list posts (ie 5 Ways To Get More SOMETHING), does it make sense to try and compete with them? We could always make 100 Ways To Get More SOMETHING?
This sounds like a terrible idea and here's why: your chances of outranking a large company like Hubspot, or LifeHacker, are very slim. These websites have a ton of authority and Google will always prefer their content for top rankings.
However, we can use the same topic to create a different angle to write about. Instead of "Top 10 Landing Page Examples" we can write a post like What is a landing page on a website? that can feature much of the same content, but with very different focus and search terms.
While this is a contrived example, most of the time we want to look for a way to add value while not imitating exactly what all the other blogs are doing.
This is the ultimate reason why you should spend more time on research today. By being well educated in a subject, you are able to have unique insights that only you have thought of. And this type of content is what people love to read. By having unique insights, you can then have an opinion and a voice on the topic in your niche. This allows people who align themselves with your same ideas, to be more easily attracted to your brand. It’s a win-win.
Ok, by now you should know what you’re going to write about and you have some great ideas for how awesome your post is going to be. Ready to write? Not yet!
Creating an outline based on the research I want to present has been the greatest time saver in terms of staying on track with my writing. See, when writing 500-750 word posts you can get away without an outline. There’s a basic structure and it is short and still digestible. This all falls apart when you start trying to write 1500, 2000, 3500+ word posts.
I’ve found it much easier to create an outline that breaks a single blog post into multiple tiny posts.
Can you see how much more approachable the post looks when you divide it up instead of treating it like one big megalith? Assign a fact to each topic and discuss your opinion and interest in the topic and your post is almost done.
If you'd like to learn more about creating blog outlines, check out this great resource from CoSchedule: The 10-Minute, 10-Step Solution For The Best Blog Outline
Write 2-3 sentences to introduce the topic to your audience in a personal and friendly way. You’re not a news site. Chances are your readers are looking for help to solve a problem they are having. Introduce the problem and cover what the benefits of reading this post will be.
So why is this important?
Well, you want to make it easy for your readers to determine if your post is right for them. There is a lot of noise on the internet these days, and we’ve all clicked something that we immediately regretted. Reassuring your readers that they’re on a friendly and helpful website, and hooking them into the rest of the article is a great practice to decrease bounce rate, and increase time on page.
Even when pre-filling in metadata like meta description with Yoast or similar tools, Google may sometimes prefer content from the intro to your post. If this isn't very compelling copywriting, it will perform worse overall in search result click-throughs.
If you’re following the order I described in the outline step, writing the body paragraphs (the “meat-and-bones”) for our article should be the easiest part.
Now instead of writing a giant, long post... We’re writing 3-7 mini-posts based on the topics we decided on. We should include links to resources and our stats, as well as discuss any unique observations we’ve made in the area. Each paragraph should topically flow into the next paragraph.
You already have your introduction and conclusion finished by this point, so make sure you're relating your body content back to the overarching idea/concept. Each paragraph should get you one step closer to the conclusion.
Remember the old adage “say what you are going to say, say it, then say what you said”? Well, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with our Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. We want to write a thorough and helpful conclusion to close down our post. Here are a few things that help make great conclusions.
Reiterate the value that the reader received by reading this post. They should have a new piece of knowledge, skill, or answer to one of their questions. Summarize the main points of your post and any last thoughts for your reader. Walk them through all of the new and exciting possibilities they can do with their new-found knowledge.
Your most engaged readers are your biggest fans. And this one’s for them. Offer links to resources, guides, or further reading if a reader would like to continue on the topic. If you have a product that fits into the topic of your article, now would be a great time to mention that as a resource as well.
Don’t forget this important step! You worked hard to create this post, and are most likely planning to promote it on social media. Write a firm call to action to either download something like a lead magnet (Ebook, guide, video, training) or a direct link to sign up for your product. If a reader made it this far, there’s a good chance they received value from your post and are more likely to convert to lead/sale.
Almost done! We need to get some beautiful images added to our post. Images help make it easy to scan our content, as well as break up large chunks of text. This helps keep our reader’s attention while sparking curiosity. But we can’t just use any images. Stealing random pictures off of Google can lead to big fines and copyright infringement. So what are our options?
There are many ways to generate images online, but I’m going to share my top two. One for people that would prefer an image-building app, and the other is for those who prefer to create custom art with Sketch App or Adobe Photoshop.
Canva is an amazing tool that has helped make creating images for blogs, social media, and more a complete dream. You can choose from hundreds of premade templates that are styled and ready to go. This makes creating a cover image, or custom Pinterest image take less than 5 minutes.
Learning how to use any image editing software can have major perks when it comes to creating custom images for our websites. Avoid the temptation to design “THE BEST” artwork you’ve ever done, and instead focus on creating a system for quickly creating beautiful images.
Things like having set sizes for all of your images (Facebook, Pinterest, Blog) will save you from having to re-upload or edit after you’re done. Try keeping all of your blog images in one .sketch or .psd file for easy inspiration and cloning when making a new image.
My process is to visit undraw.com and grab an image that fits the color palette of the article. From there I edit the image in Sketch App and add things like patterns, logos, words, and other attention-grabbers to make the image more interesting.
However you decide to generate your images, try to do it in a repeatable, scalable way. This is easiest by creating both a system for making the artwork, as well as one for adding it in. This is why we wait until the end of our post to add images. It’s much easier (and faster) to add 5 images at once to a post, versus adding 1 image at a time as we write. Avoid distracting yourself while writing for best results.
That’s all there is to it! If you follow the steps above you should be able to write faster and produce more content the next time you sit down to write. These gains all lead to publishing a blog in less than an hour. But remember, creating content in one hour is not reallllly our goal. We want to create VALUABLE content in as LITTLE time as possible. So if you go over one hour, don’t worry about it. Just like anything else, creating content is a skill that takes time to develop.
Just Ship It!
Spend a reasonable amount of time grooming your post for typos, rephrasing, and edits. But don’t fall into the trap of not publishing, or holding off until another day. Your post doesn’t have to be revolutionary, and it doesn’t have to be “perfect”. Ship the damn thing and move onto your next one! I think you have some research to do… 😄
Creating a blog post in an hour or less is all about making it easier for yourself to start writing. This means helping yourself by doing research in advance, and maturing concepts in your head. Creating a schedule and method for exactly how you prefer to write and output content makes everything run smoother.
The best part of creating a system to help you write blogs faster?
You’ll know all the ins-and-outs of creating quality content and will have the process documented. This makes it much more realistic to think about outsourcing your content to another writer or member of your team.
Do you have any tips for creating blog posts in record time? We’d love to hear! Share with the SecuraCart community down below in the comments!
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