On Blogging…

26 Mar 2014 Gaining Traction No Comments

I’ve told people before that they should be able to write a blog post in an hour. The answer is pretty much this coupled with a dumbfounded face:

“An hour??!”

Yes. An hour. How else do bloggers and brands churn out so much content? If you read from a blogger about how to blog, they’ll tell you that if you’re spending more than an hour on a blog post you’re doing it wrong. I’m inclined to agree. (More on that later!)

No, I’m not one of those people who posts every day, but a blog post typically takes me about an hour. How, you ask?

Well, first, I think saying that a single post takes an hour is a bit misleading. Some of the most avid bloggers I know and/or follow on Twitter are also constantly online. Like, I’m not sure how they have time to breathe they tweet so much.

They comment about putzing around online and take BuzzFeed quizzes every 5 seconds…all while they should be writing. So there’s an element of that in all of us!

The thing about blogging…

…is that you never really stop thinking about writing. Anyone a musician? Or have kids? Love your job? Have a hobby? The second you’re away from whatever that thing you love is, you’re trying to figure out how to get back to it. Everything reminds you of it. Moms, you’re at the store alone (finally!) and you can’t decide which cereal your kids will like more. Musicians imagine playing a song they’ve never tried before and can’t wait to get back to their instrument to test it out. You just realized how to finish that project you stepped away from and you can’t wait to get back to work…

That’s how it works with blogging–the process doesn’t take an hour, but the writing does.

For me, someone who blogs about marketing, I think like in the world of marketing on a regular basis. I am constantly analyzing…everything. There are numerous stores and events that I see and think, “Gosh, they could have done this so much better! They could have ten times the amount of people here!” Or I see an ad that I really like or try to figure out what they could possibly be thinking with an ad that doesn’t make sense.

Often I think: could I blog about this?

So by the time I sit down to write a blog post, I’ve actually been thinking about blogging for quite some time. I may not know how to start a blog post, but I can get a lot of thoughts typed up.

Personally, I then take a few steps back. I come back to my blog post a day or two later to edit. I’ve had a chance to refresh and can really think of how I want to phrase something. I’ve often found the beginning or ending I was missing.

Now, here’s the next key to blogging: I only edit once.

One time.

That’s it.

Why? Because now that I’m a writer, I’m also a perfectionist. My blog will never be posted if I come back to edit multiple times. My blog will never be as good as the guy who has been blogging for years now. It’s just not as polished, and…well…he didn’t write it. I did!

(And for the record, I often find typos from “that guy” who has been blogging for years. There are also blog posts that I think, “gosh…that could have been phrased better…”)

So I edit once, I might have someone read it and make sure it’s not terrible, and then I click publish (or schedule if I decided to work at 3am instead of a normal-person time).

There. Blog post “in an hour.” The process is a commitment, but so is anything you want to do well at.

Other blogging tips:

One. This isn’t a post about setting a timer for one hour and making sure you finish in that amount of time. It’s about having a limit to the editing and allowing yourself to write and share. Don’t spend forever on something or you’ll never do it!

Two. If you’re not sure you’re up for this…try it out! With practice at blogging, you’ll either get better or decide there is something else you’d rather do. Have a purpose for your blog, set a goal (mine is currently 1 blog post per week), and keep it up as much as possible. If you miss a post, that’s okay! Sometimes it happens, but you always have another chance to write.

Three. Make sure you take time to add a graphic too. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just breaks up all the words and is good for SEO.

Want to read what others have to say about blogging? Here are 5 really helpful articles I’ve read:

Why should you use images in blogs? by Socialable
10 Horrible Blogging Tips by Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff says it took him 13 years to learn this blogging lesson
Super helpful and a little more in depth from Pam Moore: 10 Reasons Nobody Reads Your Blog and How to Fix It!
Does your blog just need a refresh? Check out this article from Pam Moore.

Do you have a blog? How long do you take to write a post? Tell us about it here, and make sure to share a link to your latest!