When I first started blogging about a year ago I was struggling to make it to 2 blog posts per week, 3 blog posts felt like a stretch. Lately I’ve been posting 5 times a week on this blog. I have a full time day job and 2 Etsy shops to run in addition to this blog, so over the past year I’ve devised 10 ‘strategies’ to become a more efficient blogger!
If you don’t already have a blog but would like to start one, see this post for a tutorial: How to start a blog (step by step tutorial)
10 Strategies for efficient blogging
1. Do it every day – stick to a routine
Just a little bit every day makes a big difference. The more practice, the better you get.
On my morning and evening commute to my day job I draft or at least outline blog post ideas. I’m writing this post right now from a packed train on my morning commute. Oh the joys of the 9 to 5.
The more I blog, the more ideas for blog posts I come up with. If I do it daily the ideas keep coming and the posts write themselves. I write blog posts fast – usually in less an hour (and they’re still usually 1,000 words) – because I’m writing what I know. I’m not researching information or regurgitating stuff I’ve read elsewhere.
By blogging every day you make it a habit. If you follow along on the 52 planners in 52 weeks challenge you’ll notice that I tend to do the same tasks each week, and typically on the same day. Doing things at set time helps a lot.
For example, I’m rather self-conscious and have never been good at public speaking, so when it comes to recording videos for my YouTube channel, I only record videos when my sister is out of the apartment. I’m that self-conscious I won’t even record a video even with my bedroom door shut! When she does the Saturday morning post office run for her planner supplies shop, I’ll record a couple of videos. It’s a non-negotiable thing I do at a set time each week. By having a set time that I do things (especially things I don’t really like doing), I don’t procrastinate, I just get on with it. It also means I don’t get to the end of a week and think oh crap, I forgot to do this or I ran of time to do that.
The 3 main tools I use for automating blogging tasks are:
- Planoly for scheduling Instagram posts – I hate sifting back through tons of photos on my iPhone to try and find the one I want to post, then typing on the tiny phone keyboard. Planoly allows me to upload photos, add descriptions, URL links and hashtags from my computer. Since I can type so much faster on a keyboard than a phone it saves a ton of time. I can schedule a time when I want to post it then recieve a notification on my phone so I also don’;t have to worry about remembering to post – one less thing to think about
2. Boardbooster – Given about 90% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest, Boardbooster is a no brainer. For a couple of dollars per month it loops my pins on autopilot. I don’t have to worry about going back and re-pinning old blog posts
3. ConvertKit – This is the company I use for my email list. I set up a landing page in a couple of minutes and an email sequence (I just created a free email course on how to make a weekly planner). Plus, I never have to worry about manually sending an email to subscribers each time I post, ConvertKit sends it to them automatically.
Here are tutorials on how to use them:
- How to use Boardbooster to increase traffic to your blog or Etsy shop (tutorial)
- How to use Planoly to schedule Instagram posts from your computer (plus free printable list of 100 hashtags for planner addicts!)
- How to set up ConvertKit and how to make a subscriber opt in image video tutorial
- How to make pinnable graphics for your blog posts (step by step video tutorial)
I’ve just signed up with AdThrive to manage ads on my blog so now I don’t have to worry about figuring out where to place ads. They analyse my stats and decide on the optimum placement. In the 2 weeks since it’s been running on my site my advertising income has increased 525%! 🙂
A few months ago I decided to hire a virtual assistant for 10 hours per month to manage my Pinterest account. I love Pinterest but if I go on there it’s a huge time guzzler as I want to click on all the pins and read all the blog posts for those pins.
3. Set a Timer
You probably don’t realise how much time you spend on stuff when you switch tasks and stop and start things all the time. Set a timer so you can track where your time goes. Another option is to write down literally every thing you do during an entire week then analyse it at the end of the week and see where your biggest time wasters are. Hint: it’s probably TV (I save so much time by not watching any TV).
It’s not so much as ‘finding the time’ as making what I need to get done actually get done within a set time.
One way I achieve this is by using templates. I use Canva to create Pinterest optomised images. I shared a tutorial in this post: How to make pinnable graphics for your blog posts (step by step video tutorial). I shared a tutorial on how I create my subscriber opt in images, such as the one below, in this post: How to set up ConvertKit and how to make a subscriber opt in image video tutorial.
I tend to write blog post drafts in word and then copy and paste it into Wordpress and polish it up as my internet connection sometimes drops out do make sure don’t lose the whole post. I have a super-organized Word Document that I use and will be sharing in an upcoming post (make sure you subscribe to be notified when that post is published).
4. Being intentional with your time
It’s not just a case of I spent an hour on the blog today it’s a case of ‘I spent and hour and I invested that time in high ROI activities.’
Here are some things I don’t do:
- Spend a lot of time in Facebook Groups. Facebook just isn’t my thing. I’l occasionally go into groups when they do their weekly ‘share a blog post, drop your link’ things but only for popular Facebook groups
- Sit on Instagram all day – I have a self-imposed rule that if I go on Instagram I have to post something – I usually only go on there once per day
- Check emails all day – I check emails three times a day – first thing in the morning, during my lunch break for my day job and last thing at night. If I read an email I deal with it then and there. I don’t sit on my phone all day and I don’t have notifications turned on for anything other than Planoly.
- Spend a lot of time on Pinterest. I mentioned above that I have a virtual assistant that manages my Pinterest account for me. Saves me so much time – money well spent!
Before I start writing a blog post, I ask myself:
- Does this lead to a paid product?
- If this is the first post a reader sees, does it leave a good impression?
- Is it helpful ?
- Does it offer a unique perspective?
- Is it detailed? (I hate reading 200 word blog posts that don’t contain any real helpful information and just state the obvious – I never want someone to think that about my blog!)
5. Recycle and re-purpose
Repurpose a roundup post. I did a post with planners people had probably never heard of. Some of that information could be extracted into a separate roundup post eg my favorite vertical format planners. So rather than finding a new photo and re-researching (in this case) or re-writing just copy and paste parts from a previous post. Once you do enough of these you can recycle the content and churn out posts very easily – just make sure you space apart when they’re going to be pub listed.
As for re-posting, it depends on the rate you produce blog posts. I’m publishing 5 posts per week at the moment, so if I pulled out one from 6 months ago people probably aren’t going to remember it.
6. Write down ideas as they come to you
I keep track of blog post ideas in 3 places:
- On my iPhone using the notes app that comes free with the phone (no fancy apps required!) See this post
- In notebooks dedicated to blog post ideas (and only blog post ideas)
- Recently I’ve trialed using KanBan flow which has been working really well – (tutorial / blog post on that coming soon!)
7. Keep a quick blog post ideas list
Here are 10 ways you can finish a blog post in 1 hour or less:
1. Repost an old blog post
You can see what month you posted a blog post in WordPress. Go to ‘all posts’ then the menu at the top has a min the option that you can filter it by. Click on a month from 6 to 11 months ago
2. Update and expand an old post
Choose 1 item from the post that you briefly touched on and expand it into a full post. For example, in my blog post about how to color code your planner, I briefly touched on some categories you can use to color code. I expanded that into this post:
3. Go into more detail
If a post is getting a lot of traffic, the next thign to do is published more posts on related content that you can link to within that original post. You want to create a ‘web’ so that people will stay on your blog for longer.
Choose 1 item from the post that you briefly touched on and expand it into a full post. For example, in my blog post about using ConvertKit I added a brief tutorial on how to set up an image to entice people to subscribe to your blog. I could expand that out into 1 post. It’s great to have meaty in depth posts, bur you also want the quick wins. People want one specific thing from a blog post.
4. Extract out of a big roundup post
Roundup posts are great for driving traffic to your site but so are top 10 posts which take much less time to write. A 3 ways to _____ type post is another quick and effective option.
Related: 7 Tips for Creating Blog Post Titles
5. Use more photos
A photo diary is an ideal way to quickly create a blog post. Use the photos to add captions and explanation to fill out the post. This is ideal for a tutorial post or a daily journal style post if you’re a travel blogger.
6. Use examples
Using example makes it faster to finish writing the post and also makes the posts longer with more words – longer posts are like to be picked by search engines – just note there’s a difference between going in-depth and rambling! Examples also help reinforce your point. This list of 10 quick blog posts are example of how I’m able to publish a lot of blog posts. For each of these ‘tips’ I’m not jsut sating ‘republish and old post’ I’m going into more detail about how to actually do that.
7. Favorite tools post
This is a staple post that every blogger, regardless of their niche, should have on their blog. Here’s the link to mine. I place the most popular topic I blog about at the top of the list and the least popular at the bottom of the list.
8. Roundup links to your old posts
Have some posts you know are good but for whatever reason they aren’t proving popular? Combining them into a roundup post is a quick and effective way to increase traffic to those posts – especially old posts people may not have seen.
9. Record a video
Videos are fast and easy to make. You don’t need to show your face. I love doing videos for tutorials – so much quicker than taking screenshots and writing instructions. If I need to learn how to do something I’d much prefer to watch a video than read steps. Some people do actually prefer to read, and in that case you can get a transcript of the video and polish it up to add to the post.
10. 10 blog posts that will ___ save you so much time bogging – add a phoo from the post, a brief paragraph about it a link to that post and tyouy’re done
I can know extract that list out and turn it into another blog post.
10. Photos only
Do a blog post with only photos and captions. This method is ideal for roundup posts and for travel diaries. A post with photos of planner inspiration and ideas is on my to do list!
8. Keep all of your drafts in the one place
I’ll be sharing an upcoming post with the template I use to keep track of all my blog post drafts in Microsoft Word. Make sure you subscribe to be notified when that post is published.
When I outline a post on the go in my Iphone, I email it to myself and add it to the Word document where I draft posts when I’m at my desk. That way when it’s time to post I can do a CTRL and F to find the post idea, then just copy and paste it into WordPress. I have another word document when I copy and paste published blog posts. I’d rather not be solely reliant on WordPress to back things up. I’m a bit paranoid and like to back things up in multiple places.
It’s easier to search 1 word document then sifting through a ton of blog posts in WordPress.
9. Use headline templates
I wrote a book with a list of 200 blog post headline ideas. I shared some of my strategies in this post: 7 Tips for Creating Blog Post Titles
I also wrote another ebook with 1200 blog post ideas so I never run out!
10. Color code your blog post ideas
If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I’m obsessed with color coding. It’s so much easy to look at colors than a see of black text on the page. By color coding each category that you blog about, you can maintain balance in the content you post.
A few more blogging tips:
- Write in dot points. I do dot points when outlining a post. If it’s a review post with pros and cons I leave it on dot point format this makes it quicker to write the post and easier for people to read it as well
- FAQ posts and tutorials teaching something you do all the time are also quick options. Rather than a monster FAQ post, do separate posts. For example, I have 1 big post with all of my favorite tools, and then separate posts with my favorite tools for blogging, favorite tools for planning etc.
- Batch write posts and have backup posts. I try and have 3 posts on hand as backup in case something happens. I also write when inspiration strikes – I draft a lot of posts in the notes app on my phone while on my commute and then email it to myself, copy and paste and flesh out the rest of the post on my computer. When i have an idea for 1 post that usually leads to another post and another related / spin off post idea and before long you have hundreds of blog posts ideas and notebooks full of them. Then the hardest part becomes which one do I post next!
- Quick tips post. Just make sure they’re not so quick that they’re useless – just because it’s quick doesn’t mean it still shouldn’t add value to your readers
- Numbered lists always do well. For whatever reason the numbers 7 10 and 100 are always popular
- Create a series e.g. I’ve written quite a few blog posts about pens (I’m just a tad addicted to them!) – I could combine those into a roundup post such as ‘a step by step guide to buying pens for planning’ step 1 could by the blog post I wrote on how to choose colors for color coding etc.
- Have a content calendar so you know what you’re posting when and so you don’t scramble at the last minute trying to think of post idea and doing sub-bar work
- Keep a separate list of quick post ideas
I hope you found these 10 blogging strategies helpful 🙂
If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog but aren’t sure how see this post for a tutorial: How to start a blog (step by step tutorial)
- Using the Mi Goals planner for monthly blog post content planning
- My weekly blog planning process (how I organize and plan for the week ahead every Sunday)
- 7 Tips for Creating Blog Post Titles
- 101 Blog Post Ideas (for any type of blogger)
- How to keep track of blog post ideas on your phone (no paid app required)