When you’re busy working in your business, it’s hard to figure out when to fit in things that require time and energy like creating blog content.
Sometimes blog content ends up being something you whip out the day before you’re set to publish…and other times you can find that you’ve not blogged for weeks (or maybe even months) because you just couldn’t fit it into your schedule….
That ends today! I’ve been a blogger for nine years on my own blogs, and been working with clients on blogging for nearly as long, which means I write a lot of blog posts.
Along the way, I’ve learned a lot of shortcuts to make content creation productive and manage my time for maximum results, which I’m going to share with you to help you do the same.
Content Batching: Why It Works
My preferred way to save my time and creative energy with blogging (or any content creation for that matter) is by batching.
With batching, you streamline everything so you’re saving time by not switching between tasks. Just think about how long it takes to get going each time you sit down to write a post. I know for me, it can take 10 minutes or more to get things flowing, which if I sit down each time to write a post is a lot of time wasted.
This “context switching” where we have to find our place each time we start a new task costs us valuable time we could be using on other things.
Batching also works as it helps you think more strategically about your blog and avoid the last minute content creation dance. You approach your content creation with an overall plan and set aside time to make it happen.
It make take some time to get going, but once you do, you’ll be able to work ahead so you can take time off and relieve the pressure of having to create new content every single week.
Get Started with a Schedule & System
To be able to batch your blog content effectively, you need two core things, a schedule and a system.
Start by creating a system so you know every step in your blog post process so you’re able to see what exactly needs to happen. When it come to your blog posts, it’s easy to underestimate how long each task will really take, so creating your system first will be a big time saver.
Your system may vary depending on if you do everything on your own or if you have a team, but knowing the steps in advance will help you create an approach to batching that works for you.
With your system in place, you need to schedule time in your calendar for batching your posts. For example, if you create four posts a month, you may opt to take one week each month and dedicate a time block each day that week to writing, editing, finalizing and publishing your posts.
The key is that you schedule time into your calendar so there’s time for you to actually spend on batching.
At this point, we typically create blog posts for the coming month in the first 10 days of the month before. That means I need to schedule blocks for writing posts the first week of the month before I pass them off to the rest of our team.
Create a Content Plan
Have you ever had the experience of looking at your screen wondering what you’re going to blog about? Not cool, and definitely a buzzkill on your ability to batch.
If you’re going to batch your blog posts, save yourself by taking an hour each quarter and planning out your content for the next 12 weeks.
Your content plan is MORE than an editorial calendar. The goal isn’t for you to just come up with a list of 12 ideas and check it off, but for you to look strategically at what’s happening that quarter and plan your content accordingly.
Questions to ask as you come up with your content plan:
- What am I selling or promoting?
- What do people need to learn from me?
- What does my brand stand for?
Ultimately, your blog posts should support your business goals and be a key part of your customer journey so your content helps to create the know, like and trust factor.
Develop Your Writing Process
The bulk of your time batching your content will be spent on writing your content, so it’s important that you consider how to make the most of the time you spend here.
It’s important that you understand when you’re at your most creative so you’re able to tap into that. Maybe it’s writing early in the morning, or late at night with a Lifetime movie in the background. (I don’t judge – the key thing is that it works for you.)
Embracing your writing flow will help you batch in a way that makes you feel like you’re not only getting it done, but it feels natural and easy.
Next up, develop rituals for how you approach a post and the steps you take each time.
For example, I always start with some research for my post and doing a braindump of all the ideas I have. Then I organize my thoughts and start putting together my headline and subhead so I can see how everything will fit together.
Creating this outline helps me get all my thoughts together. Here are some questions for your outline:
- What’s the goal of your post?
- What’s the #1 thing you want them to learn from reading your post?
- What are the key details? (Think: 5Ws)
- What do you want them to do when they are done reading your post?
With your outline, you can dive into writing the post. Your goal should be a “crappy” first draft, not perfection. You’ll definitely find that sometimes the post ends up differently than your outline, but at least it gives you a starting point.
As you’re batching, focus on writing the post, and not editing it. That should be a separate step you do at least one day later when you have a fresh set of eyes.
Refine and Finalize Your Post
Writing your post is one thing, but the real magic happens once you have your first draft done and you start refining it.
Notice I said, refining and not editing?
Editing is really only the start of the process, and here are a few things you can cover off in this stage of the game:
- Checking spelling and grammar
- Word choice (Bust out the thesaurus)
- Consistency and style
- Optimizing your headline/subhead
- Reorganizing content
This may take as long as actually writing your post, but it’s an important part of the process that shouldn’t be skipped over.
With this done, you’re ready to finalize your post and then move into publishing your post, which may include creating images, adding to WordPress, and promoting your content.
Getting going with blog post batching will take some commitment but you’ll quickly see rewards in terms of the time and energy you invest in creating content. And remember, these same steps apply to any type of content you need to create, from podcasting to video blogs to social media content.
Now, get out there and get batching! You’ll be so glad you did!