In order to improve your blogging effectiveness, sometimes you have to do the counterintuitive: Slow down your pace and spend more time on certain key tasks – instead of automating them and trying to finish them as quickly as possible.
Now, I can hear you asking, “Why on earth would I do that? Isn’t the idea behind being productive to tackle your task list as quickly as possible and move forward on many fronts at the same time?”
Nope, my friend, it isn’t. Sure, I can understand that you want your tasks done quickly, but sometimes you have to take the opposite route instead.
Here I present six strategic changes that you should implement and which put more focus on the key tasks in your blogging.
1. Spend more time on creating one single blog post
I have read many blog posts (and even some e-books) which talk about creating your blog posts in 20 minutes or less. Unfortunately, this idea is strange to me.
Yes, it’s possible to create a simple blog post in a very short time, but who really wants to do that? If your purpose is to create content which truly gives value to your readers, I suggest you spend a bit more time on your next blog post than just 20 minutes.
In the past, the average amount of time I spent on writing posts was around one hour (+1 hour proofreading it) and it was easy for me to batch-process the blog post-writing. In fact, I used to write content for the whole next two months in just a couple of days (I publish content on this blog on a bi-weekly basis).
However, those days are behind me and nowadays I treat every single blog post very differently: By spending as long as it takes on creating one single post. As a result, I’m able to produce content that is much more in-depth and gives more value to my readers.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should spend 9 hours on your blog posts just for the sake of it. Instead, I’m asking you to spend as much as is needed – until you can say that you gave your best with the current skills and the knowledge you had.
In my case, writing a post takes anything between 2-5 hours (proofreading and installing the post takes another 2-3) and I usually spread the creation of a post over various days.
With the current amount of time I spend on writing posts, the average word count is anywhere between 1500 – 3000.
There is still one important thing related to creating blog posts that’s worth mentioning: They shouldn’t be just purely text. They can (and should) also be:
- Expert quotes
- Research data
Which one of these have you included in your posts lately? When it comes to my blogging, I try to add whichever of these components, as long as it supports my article and somehow adds value.
Creating a post with these components takes time, but as you learn more about your topic, your industry and your blog readers are more likely to see you as an expert on this matter.
2. Spend more time on promoting your content
In the past, after publishing a blog post I used to get my promotion work done in just 30 minutes. However, what I have learned is that people who really get attention to their blogs sometimes spend even more time promoting the post than what it took them to write it.
In my case, I’m just getting a grip on solid content promotion and I’m still on a process of discovering the most effective promotional methods.
However, what I have already witnessed is that guest blogging is my number one way of promoting my blog (and my content). I also actively link to other bloggers, whose content I find valuable and worth passing on to my audience.
In order to make the whole content promotion process smoother, you can do the following:
- Write down your promotion process on a document
- Figure out which parts of the process can be automated or simplified (see the image below)
- Figure out which parts of the process can outsourced entirely
- If taking the outsourcing path, properly document the steps you make, so that someone else can easily do them for you.
Anyway, if you want to learn more about this topic, I suggest that you check out these great blog posts written elsewhere on this topic:
- Promote Your Blog: 10 Steps to Ultimate Blog Promotion [My Personal Cheat Sheet] (Traffic Generation Cafe)
- 32 Experts Share Their Best Blog Post Promotion Tips (Kikolani)
- How To Get Over 50,000 Visits to Your Blog in the First Month (Think Traffic)
3. Spend more time posting on other sites
Particularly when you are starting out with blogging, there is one thing that you can do differently to what other bloggers are doing: Instead of writing insanely useful articles to your own blog, you should post the majority of them to other blogs.
Why is that?
Well, no one really reads your blog when you are starting out and you have to get more eyeballs to view your content – especially in the beginning. Later, when you have an audience that follows your work, spending more time on your own blog is justified.
In 2012, I wrote over 70 guest posts and reached almost 1000 subscribers to my e-mail list. Comparing that to the fact that I wrote only 24 posts to my own blog, the difference is obvious.
If you haven’t guest posted before, how do you get started? First, check out this blog post on CopyBlogger, which describes a straightforward way of writing guest posts. It’s of course only one way to write them, but it’s a solid start.
Next, if you want to take your guest posting skills to another level, I suggest that you purchase a training program called Write Like Freddy (affiliate link).
It’s the one I can recommend and with its system (also featured on the CopyBlogger link above) I have been able to write majority of those 70+ posts out in 2012 (even to blogs like ProBlogger or Think Traffic).
One obvious question is: Which are the best blogs to guest post on (which have a big enough audience)? My answer is that you take a look at this great list compiled by Peter Sandeen. It consists of 130+ best blogs which accept guest posts.
If you want to learn how to become very effective at guest posting, you can also take a look at my guest post on Think Traffic about my system. One piece of it is keeping track of the written posts, posts in progress and ideas for future posts:
Guest posting is in many aspects the same thing as writing posts on your own blog. Also, the ways to differentiate yourself from the rest of the guest post writers are the same: By adding more to your posts than what an “average Joe or Jane” would, in the form of images, videos or statistics.
4. Spend more time on repurposing your content
In my previous post, which was about 15 ideas for blog posts (and for other content as well), I talked about the importance of recycling your already written content.
The key message was that we have a content goldmine (our archives) which just sit on our blogs and we don’t take any advantage of it.
But what if you just took even one of the ways I mentioned and spent more time on repurposing your older content to another format? For instance, you can create a quick video out of it or even turn your past content into a SlideShare presentation.
For instance, the way I have used my old content has been by:
- Creating a guest posts (related to my latest blog posts)
- Taking old articles into an e-book
- Created tips for my e-mail list
Finally, there is also a great source of information that you should take a look at: Andy Crestodina’s The Periodic Table of Content.
It’s a simple and ingenious way of describing what kind of content exists, what its lifespan is and what its typical length is. It’s also great for showing how you can repurpose content, so I urge you to take a look at it!
If you are still on the verge of wondering why you should spend time on repurposing your content, you should clearly see the benefits of it and how to do it in practice. In that case you can check this article by Search Engine Watch as a great starting point.
5. Spend more time on creating relationships with others
Sure, content is a very important (some say it’s king, while others are more doubtful about that) part of blogging, but there are other elements which play an equally as important role in determining how successful your posts are going to be.
I’ve already talked about promotion, but there is also another very important thing that I want to emphasize: Creating true, genuine and helping relationships with others.
So how do you start creating relationships? For instance, it could be by visiting another blog and adding value to your comments. And when you have been doing that for a while, you could then e-mail the blogger directly about the great work he/she has done and why you look forward to reading more from him/her.
Eventually, this can lead to guest posting opportunities (you post on his/her blog, while you invite the blogger to post on your blog as well) and other types of collaboration.
For instance, just some time ago I visited a great blog called Blogging Wizard and I left a comment to one of the posts there:
This lead to a conversation with the blog’s owner, Adam Connell. We then agreed about the social sharing, guest posting and other opportunities later on.
Even with this simple example, you should now have a good idea of why it pays to focus on relationship building. When you do something good for the others, it will come back to you in some form, either instantly or later on.
6. Spend more time building your e-mail list
Sure, you can have successful blog which has thousands of RSS followers and which gets a lot of social shares and comments on each post. Unfortunately, those things don’t necessarily mean a thing if you are trying to build an online business.
An e-mail list is the cornerstone of any online business and the more you spend time on building and taking care of your list, the better. By doing this, you ensure a solid foundation to your (future) online business.
Having an e-mail list means at least the following benefits:
- You have an audience which (at least part of them) are willing to purchase the products and services you offer
- The people on your list have given you their permission to send messages to their inboxes – both commercial and non-commercial
- You can use your e-mail list for your content promotion (for instance driving traffic to your latest blog posts)
- Even if Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms just vanished one night, you still have your e-mail list (your followers).
- No matter what Google update comes next (and which potentially affects your SEO rankings), your e-mail list is intact
Ok, enough of the benefits – how do you actually spend more time on building your e-mail list? Well, I think that there are really four parts to this:
- Creating a landing page (with ongoing optimization and testing) with an offer (e-book, e-mail course, video series …)
- Driving traffic to your landing page
- Creating exclusive content for your list (videos, reports, articles …)
- Increasing the engagement with your list
And if you still haven’t even started an e-mail list, I recommend that you check out the post by Pat Flynn on the topic. It gives you a good start on building your list.
Are you ready to make these strategic shifts in your content creation? Good!
Just take your time and read the points again (and the posts I linked to) and digest this article at your own pace. There is no reason to rush and you know at which pace you are able to implement these points.
Take the challenge and spend more time on these six things. If you do that, you’ll reap the rewards later.
PS. Now that you are spending more time on your content, make sure to use effective time blocking strategies to help you focus on your work ;)
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