How to Write a Blog Post in One Hour or Less
January 17, 2014
By Dolly Howard
Blogging is an essential part of any inbound marketing strategy. It is used to drive qualified traffic to your website, educate potential leads about your industry, and offer more substantial content to encourage a movement down the sales funnel. Not only that, statistics show that 61% of US consumers have made a purchasing decision based on a blog post written by the company they purchased from. In short, if you're not blogging yet, set up your blog now.
One of the challenges many marketers face is how to write a blog post in a short amount of time. Some marketers report spending upwards of three hours writing one blog post. We both know that just won't do. A marketer's life is busy. Just think what you could do with two extra hours in your day! This post is going to help you discover a formula that will help you plan, write, publish and promote your post in one hour. Here we go:
6 Elements of Successful Blog Posts
The key to saving time is understanding the components that make up a blog post. You can print this list or jot it down for future reference. Once you understand what needs to be included in each post, the planning and writing process will be a breeze.
A blog post must always include:
- A memorable and search friendly title: An enticing title to capture your target audience that includes one long tail keyword for optimization is ideal. One keyword is enough.
- A simple introduction: A clear and concise introduction that states the problem you are solving within the post is absolutely necessary. Don't spend too much time over analyzing this though. You simply want to identify with your target audience and then get to the point. Stats are good to use here as well to establish authority on the subject matter.
- Clear and concise points: An organized body that segments your talking points clearly by utilizing bullet points, numbered lists, and headers will help deliver your thoughts in a structured fashion. We do this so the reader is not overwhelmed with information.
- A summed up conclusion: Many blog readers scan an article as opposed to reading it word for word. By writing a conclusion that sums up your major points you will provide value to readers who don't have enough time to read through each individual point. You can also ask a question at the end to encourage commenting.
- One CTA that is relevant to the post: Typically people reading an industry blog are doing research. By offering a more in-depth piece of content at the end of your post, you set yourself up to get more leads in the door. This also helps prove the ROI of your blogging efforts to other team members in your company.
- Tags, a meta description, and internal links: You can add these in last. All of these components help your blog post get found and provide pathways to educate your target audience.
How to Allocate Your Time When Writing a Blog Post
Many marketers lack optimization and efficiency in their process. Now that you understand the elements of a post, here is a quick rundown of time allocation to get you started. Once you master this portion you can bend and adapt to times that suit your method.
- 20 Minutes: Research, plan and outline your blog. This includes finding featured images, potential titles of your post, stats you'd like to include and key takeaways for the reader. Don't forget to decide which call-to-action (CTA) matches your post best and the keyword you're intending to rank for in the title.
- 20 Minutes: Write the blog post. Now that you have it planned start with the introduction and work your way down. Do not worry about spelling, grammar, or formatting at this point. You'll come back to it. The goal is to get your thoughts down on paper as quickly as possible.
- 10 Minutes: Edit, format, add in internal links, images and CTAs. This is the part where you make everything pretty and easy to read. Since you're working with about 600 words, 10 minutes should be a sufficient amount of time to edit provided you used the entire 20 minutes to plan your post out. Most marketers get caught up in this stage because they change the direction of the post while editing. Stick with your original idea and save yourself time. Jot down your new idea for a future blog post.
- 5 Minutes: Publish your post. Check to make sure you have a meta description in place, tags that correspond with your topic, the correct publishing time, and that the proper author is chosen in your settings. Once confirmed that everything is in place, publish.
- 5 Minutes: Promote via social media. By using a social sharing tool, publishing via social media shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes to complete. Make sure you're utilizing the appropriate channels for your company. That is the only way to ensure the most amount of qualified traffic to your site.
Additional Tips for Success:
There are a couple of other things you can do to make sure you stay on track to get your blogging done in one hour, such as:
- Set a timer for each segment of creation and stick to it.
- Plan little by little over the course of a week so the night before you can write your post and schedule for the appropriate publishing time
- When you have free time, plan out the next titles of the blog posts you want to write that month. You'll find that just having a topic will help you get in the mode of writing more frequently
- Blog as often as possible. By blogging frequently you will make your process more efficient overall. Think of it like running...you might start out jogging a 12-minute mile, but after a few months of practice and conditioning you will be able to cut that time down by a lot.
- Turn off distractions while writing. That includes your cell phone and chit chat with other people in the office. Go into a conference room and write if you find coworkers aren't catching your hints to quiet down.
- Steal like a marketer! Okay, that doesn't mean you should plagiarize. You should never plagiarize. You should, however, get inspiration from other industry experts, form your own opinion and then write about it. Inspiration is half the battle.
To sum things up for you: follow the time segments listed above, understand and know the 6 elements of a blog post, and set yourself up for success by planning your posts and eliminating distractions. Think you can write your next post in an hour or less?
About the author
Dolly Howard was formerly Director of Marketing for SmartBug Media. Previously she worked as a senior marketing consultant leading SmartBug Media clients in strategy for lead conversion improvement and total marketing ROI. As a past HubSpot employee, Dolly is excited to share her knowledge and help enterprise companies grow their business. Read more articles by Dolly Howard.