By Ryan Kh
If it isn’t already, blogging needs to be part of your business’s growth strategy.
But dribbling out a blog post each month won’t do. Neither will sticking to a blog schedule for a month or two, then falling behind as your attention turns to tasks that you perceive as higher-value. A dormant blog does no good, and if it remains visible on your company’s website, it may actively harm your lead generation efforts.
Business blogging is most effective when it’s done consistently and frequently. According to HubSpot, businesses that publish more than 11 blog posts per month generate three times more web traffic and four times more leads than companies that publish zero to one posts per month.
Blog Less, Do More
All that blogging takes time. If you can’t afford to outsource your blogging activities — let alone your entire website management operation — to the professionals, you or a team member need to take point on maintaining and updating your blog. With everything else you have on your plate, can you really devote the necessary time?
Yes — if you follow practical tips for blogging. They’re all built around simple changes that you can make tomorrow without radically reordering your routine or paying anything out of pocket.
1. Use Simple Post Formats
Keep your blog posts’ formats simple and to the point. Keep their organization tight and hierarchical, with sections and subsections devoted to specific topics or points. Lay all your ideas out in a “skeleton” or wireframe outline before fleshing out specific points.
Consider organizing your ideas sequentially — for instance, in a “how to,” procedural, or list format. Once all your main points and sub-points are laid out, completing the post is just a matter of filling in the blanks.
Also: though adding images to your posts is basically non-negotiable, you can reduce the time investment with a stock photo subscription that enables you to locate and lift thousands of relevant photos with a few clicks.
2. Develop Topics Ahead of Time
Do you have a content plan yet? Make one. Spend an hour or two each week generating new blog topics and performing cursory research on each — finding sources or examples that you’ll want to use during the actual research and writing phases. Organize everything in a spreadsheet and use notes, columns, or color codes to keep track of proposed, in-progress, and published posts.
3. Block Out Distractions
Even if you don’t think of yourself as easily distracted, you’ll work better when your attention is undivided.
Throughout the week, set aside discrete time periods during which you (or the person/people responsible for creating your blog content) do nothing but plan and write blog posts. Don’t check email or address other non-emergency work matters during these blog.
4. Give Yourself a Deadline
Maximize the efficiency of your “blogging blocks” by setting hard deadlines for completing each post.
Begin each block with a clear goal: completing two posts, outlining five new posts, setting out 10 new ideas in your content plan.
Within each block, set mini-deadlines or milestones to break up the work you’ve given yourself. “Celebrate” each by taking a short break from the grind.
5. Leverage Expert Sources Whenever Possible
Expert sources are your friends. A well-placed quote from a subject matter expert or a stat straight from the mouth of the person who developed lends gravity and credibility to your blog content, making your company look better by association.
GIJN wrote a quick primer on finding expert sources at low or no cost — try their suggestions to see what fits your needs best.
Bottom line? You can create great blogs in less time. The key is to maintain quality and not cut corners.
Ryan Kh is an experienced blogger, digital content & social marketer. Founder of Catalyst For Business and contributor to search giants like Yahoo Finance, MSN. He is passionate about covering topics like big data, business intelligence, startups & entrepreneurship. Follow him on twitter: @ryankhgb.