How I Write Quality Blog Posts, Fast: 5 Tips

Earlier this month, I shared how I make $5,000 a month as a paid blogger. One of the questions I got in comments was on how I can execute 50-60 blog entries in a month, meet all those deadlines, and still keep the writing top-quality.

So here are five techniques I use to crank out lots of compelling blog posts — fast. Some of these will work for generating more blog entries for your own blog, too.

  1. Get organized and find ideas. For my own blog, I use WP Editorial Calendar to plan and easily move around my post ideas — really helps me think ahead and save ideas. To generate the story ideas I need for my clients’ blog posts, I get Google Alerts and SmartBrief emails that expose me to a lot of possible topics on my clients’ subject niches. My most important online sources I even go that one better, and build a desktop of RSS feeds for that client’s topic, so I can look at dozens of ideas at a glance. Getting into a last-minute scramble to find more blog ideas is a real time-waster.
  2. Pitch efficiently. I try to take one meeting monthly with clients who need to approve my post ideas before I write. I come to those meetings prepared with lots of possible ideas. Bang, and we’re done, and I’m off to create blogs.
  3. Keep posts brief. I’ve learned that for most business blogs, the ideal post length is about 6-8 paragraphs. That’s it. If prospective clients ask me to write 1,000-word blog posts, I explain to them that for most blogs (Copyblogger being a notable exception), short posts do best. That’s what most people want to read on the Internet. Brevity is really a virtue. They’ll seem smart if they can be concise. Of course, it also greatly improves my hourly rate on that fee if each post is less work because they’re 350 words, so it’s win-win. This one is basically why paid blogging pencils out for me.
  4. Eliminate the editor. If you are a meticulous proofer and fabulous grammarian and speller, you can impress your clients that they don’t need to edit your blog posts. They likely hired you in part because they’re very time-pressed, so if they see you write clean they will often give you admin privileges and say, “Sure, just put it up.” Obviously, this saves a lot of back-and-forth editing time. If  you write sharp and have been delivering for a client for a while, ask for the privilege of posting blogs directly onto their site. They’ll probably be thrilled to realize they can completely outsource their blog to you.
  5. Write in batches. I may have clients that need a post or two a week, but I don’t write them one a week. I grab a big block of time — a half-day or more — and then write them all at once, in a single block. That way I get into that client’s voice and stay there, making the blogs flow out much easier. It takes energy to get into a groove writing posts for a blog other than your own. (Actually, it takes time for your own blog, too.) This approach saves me tons of time.

If you blog a lot, how do you make it an efficient process? Leave a comment and tell us about your approach.

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Photo via Flickr user ichaz

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29 comments on “How I Write Quality Blog Posts, Fast: 5 Tips
  1. justinplambert says:

    Excellent ideas! I also use the Editorial Calendar plugin, and I love what it does for organizinga and even generating post ideas. Combining this article with one I read earlier from Chris Brogan, I'm really jazzed to get writing! Thanks very much!

  2. thewordofjeff_a says:

    These are great tips! I use Google Alerts and RSS feeds already and write in batches, but haven't tried a calendar yet so that will be next up for me.

  3. Adam says:

    Working in batches is key! If I am working on a block of posts I do all of my brain storming first, my outlining next, my writing and then my editing. If your mind is already in one "mode", why fight it and try to constantly shift gears.

    Blocking distractions is the most important thing for me though. I am Captain ADD and will easily find myself looking at an email, watching a You Tube video, jotting down ideas for another project etc. I try and minimize everything possible and make sure I can't see that new mail has arrived for a large block of time. Listening to Pandora to block out everything else also helps a ton.
    My recent post Huge Sale at Huntington Surf and Sport!

  4. pm27 says:

    WP Editorial Calendar!
    Could you please elaborate on that item?
    Thanks,
    Patricia
    My recent post MIND MAP YOUR NOVEMBER!

    • TiceWrites says:

      Hi Patricia —

      I am thrilled to share this great free resource with the people. WordPress Editorial Calendar has really changed my life. Before this I had a Word doc with a disorganized blob of random thoughts spewed in it. Now, I have all my personal blog topics mapped out through the end of the year, and I've written everything pretty much to the end of this month already. The calendar makes it really easy for you to move posts around as new ideas occur to you, too.

      What I really love is it helps me to do what in radio I learned to call forward promotion — where I can easily mention the topic I'll be doing next week to help keep readers interested.

      Enjoy!

  5. @dkanenh says:

    Do you use HootSuite (or a similar program) to automatically update your blog posts? Great post, I've learned more in the two weeks I've signed up for your RSS feed than I have in a year!

    • TiceWrites says:

      Wow — glad to hear you're finding the blog high quality!

      I don't use HootSuite – thought that was for tweeting your blogs on a schedule. I find I like to go on Twitter and poke around at random times. I'm sure I'd save time with a scheduling tool, but so far I've resisted.

  6. diane says:

    Great tips. I use your #5 tip of writing in batches all the time. You are so right when you say the ideas flow when you are in your client's mind. It also relieves the pressure of an impending deadline which is an added bonus.

  7. @AnneWayman says:

    I've got to try that editorial calendar – and I wish I had your eye for proofreading… I just don't, so it's copy editors for me, although usually I get the client to provide (and pay for) those.
    My recent post The Anatomy of a Story

  8. Awesome points, Carol. I've found the last point–writing in batches–to be a great way to get a lot of writing done quickly. It's especially the case when I'm "feeling it" or "in the groove" or whatever you want to call it. Thanks, Carol!
    My recent post These Are Not the Droids You’re Looking For- Using the Force to Influence Other Bloggers

  9. Thanks for mentioning WP Editorial Calendar. That's just what I needed to get a visual cue for when I want to post! It can be difficult to keep track of things, and that plug-in will help a lot.

    • TiceWrites says:

      Love that tool…and seeing all the reactions to it made me think I should do a post about all the free tools I use that I love…which of course I have now scheduled into my WordPress Editorial Calendar!

  10. Kim Kircher says:

    Love the advice on the WP Editorial Calendar. I will give that a try. Do you mention anywhere on your blog how much to expect to make as a guest blogger? I’ve been asked to do some guest blogging and in return have traffic driven to my site. Which in turn can drive sales of my book. Worth it?

    Thanks for you advice.

    • Carol Tice says:

      How much I expect to make as a guest blogger? I don’t know many places that are paying for guest spots, they’re free — it’s a marketing cost. The idea is it drives new subscribers to your site whom you can then eventually sell things.

      Whether it’s worth it depends on how busy the site is, how similar the audience is to what you’re looking for, and how well set up your site is to capture those visitors and make them want to stick around, among many factors. The only way to know if it’s a good time investment is to try it a few times on a few different sites and see.

      I’m going to be doing a whole week about guest posting later this month, so stay tuned for much more about the world of guest posts!

      I’d add that at the high level — folks who post on Copyblogger or Lifehacker or some huge site like that — people are known to make $30,000 in a day selling an ecourse or admission to their paid community off a guest post they do. But for most mortal guest posts, return can be little or nil, or can take time to build up. If you only have a single book to sell, it’s tougher.

  11. Thanks for sharing – definitely would have been handy for my very first assignment but I’ll be better prepared for my next one!!

  12. Eric Pinola says:

    Great tips and strong information! Even the comments on this post have helped me with the little rut I have been in! -found you on Copy Blogger-

  13. Rehmat says:

    Hey Carol, some very nice tips. Regarding with the length of the post, SEO experts say that there must be 500+ words. You are saying perfect that extra lengthy posts don’t do well, but 350 words per post should be the minimum limit. A posts containing around 500 words is considered perfect..
    Rehmat recently posted..How to Write a Great Blog Post in 15 Minutes or Less

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, I’m less hung up on SEO-ing everything to death, and more worried about making sure I’m providing useful information to my readers. So far it’s working out just fine. ;-)

      • Rehmat says:

        Yes quality is always superior. But that is an advice of “SEO PROFESSIONALS” :) . I also don’t believe in filling blog posts with a lot of words which deliver no value to the visitors.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "How I Write Quality Blog Posts, Fast: 5 Tips"
  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Angie Atkinson and Nancy Passow, Carol Tice – Writer. Carol Tice – Writer said: How I Write Quality Blog Posts, Fast: 5 Tips http://goo.gl/fb/Ml3n1 [...]

  2. [...] If you’re trying to establish your blog, posting regularly really helps drive traffic. The problem with that is that you have to find time to write. Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing gives you some tips on How I Write Quality Blog Posts, Fast. [...]

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