Success in blogging requires a simple principle that applies everywhere.
And that’s working smart.
Working smart involves directing most effort into the strategies and how you use your time.
It is more concerned about the quality of work that you produce, rather than the number of blog posts you publish.
This means, strategies and systems to produce great work with least energy and time consumed.
I discovered three strategies, which if implemented in your daily work, will improve your blogging productivity at least 3 times.
1. Having a writing schedule
A writing schedule is a well laid out plan of when you’ll write.
It’s a timetable which takes away the decision making process and energy and reduces the number of decisions you have to make.
How many times have you woken up and wondered when and what to write?
How many times have you faced writer’s block because you have no inspiration and motivation to write?
A writing schedule takes away this uncertainty and waste of time and energy.
You start by setting out a certain time every day to write without fail. A time to pour your ideas.
It can be in the morning, as soon as you wake up, maybe the first two hours, or even in the evening, once you’re out of work probably before getting into your sheets.
Just having that specified time to write and following through, sets you into action.
When planning your schedule, have these questions in mind one,
Can you maintain this schedule consistently?
Why come up with a schedule, then one week later realize you cannot keep up with the schedule.
Maybe you didn’t consider your work, house chores and other activities to realize you don’t have enough time to allocate a couple of hours to writing.
Or you realized how much time you need to put into writing high quality content and only set an hour daily, which means you’ll hardly put out 2 articles a week.
That is why you need to allocate the right amount of time to write which doesn’t affect time allotted to other important activities.
Google likes consistency. It tells the algorithm that you are committed in the content creation process, a factor proven to affect site traffic.
Can you write high quality content consistently?
A lot of content is produced every day. Millions of articles are published daily and all these articles are seeking attention from search engines.
Yet most of this content deserves no attention. It’s basic and regurgitated.
High quality content sets you above the rest but it’s very hard to produce consistently.
That’s why when planning your schedule, make sure it allows you to produce high quality content consistently.
You’d rather have 20 well curated high quality articles than 200 short boring articles that adds no value to anyone.
Will you have enough content to achieve your goals?
You should have a goal before starting a content marketing or blogging project.
What would you want to achieve over a certain time?
And based on your goals, ask yourself if the schedule will let you publish enough content to achieve your mission.
For instance, on average, you need 100 articles to get at least 1000 views per month, 100 good articles. Some get more views with less blog posts.
Well, to produce 100 good articles in three months, you need to write more than one article per day.
- trains your audience to expect your content
- increases your SEO rankings and traffic
- builds your authority
- makes you a better blogger
When planning your schedule, also consider writing at your peak performance period.
This is a time when you are most energized and mentally focused to handle serious tasks such writing high quality blog posts.
Not everybody works best in the morning. Neither does everybody produce great content in the evening when they are tired and out of work.
Find out when you’re most productive and then utilize this time to create content.
2. Create a distraction free environment
Distraction is a major impediment to productivity.
Nowadays, everything is seeking our attention.
Our phones keep us notified on every little detail most of which adds no value to us and instead give us little time to focus on ourselves.
And this is why most people are unproductive in whatever they’re doing, bloggers so much included.
So how do you set up a distraction free environment?
First of all, set a space where you will write every day. A space designed to allow you to focus will prepare your mind into becoming highly productive.
Working in your peak performance period in your own space is the best and the easiest way to be more productive.
Secondly, organize your desk in your working area to have access to the things that you require.
I have realized that having so many things on your table, books and machines and other things impedes focus.
Get every clutter out of your table and only remain with the three, four or five things that you need to do everything that you want to do.
Then do away with your phone. It’s the biggest distraction tool in modern times.
Research has shown that people are 26% more productive if they don’t have their phones close to them.
Put your smartphone on airplane mode or turn it off entirely and place it in a different room. That way, you will not have any excuse to seek your phone as a distraction to your work.
Then, while typing you work, disconnect the internet connection and write from your outline and notes. We’ll see more about this in the next tip.
If you need the internet, you’ll be inclined to open many tabs and access your social media platforms in the process of writing content.
Lastly, use a simple blocker on your browser to prevent you from accessing social media platforms and other websites which impede your productivity
Remember allowing yourself to be distracted constantly is like working out at the gym daily. The more you do it the better you become.
People have become experts in being distracted. They are constantly seeking distraction because their minds have perfected that art and sees it as normal.
3. Break your work into stages.
Blogging is not just about writing and publishing content.
There are many different activities that come with writing and publishing great content.
They 10 steps in take to write great blog posts include
- Fast draft
- Extended draft
All these steps cannot be taken in one single sitting.
Yet most bloggers try to get everything done in one single city.
Instead of being productive, they end up stressing their minds and burning out after afew days
Don’t expect to produce high quality content when your brain is tired and is not in its best performance state.
It’s best to start by breaking your work into stages.
Start with ideation and planning.
Ideation is a process of generating ideas (either from the internet or through mind mapping and other techniques) of content that you will write for your blog.
Your ideation process involves some bit of research and brainstorming.
At the same time, you can create a content plan since it’s highly related with the ideation process.
Transform your plan into a content calendar.
The second stage can include research and outlining.
Whenever you start writing a blog, which you pick from your content calendar, you need to gather enough information and confidence to write good content.
And this involves a lot of research and curation of content,
Great writers don’t necessarily need to create new ideas, most just jumble up ideas from the internet and present them in a very good way.
Gather high quality information from authoritative sites and write some bits of notes.
You can also implement some form of mind mapping to understand the relationships between every idea in that topic, and then in the process, create an outline for your blog post.
An outline is basically the structure or skeleton of your blog post.
And these can be done very well during the research process.
After this process, make sure you take a break for instance, a 20 minute break and do something totally different and easier.
This allows your brain to relax and rejuvenate it. Then when you get back to work, you will have better ideas and you will see things with a different set of eyes.
Then comes the first draft. Writing your first draft involves transforming your outline into an article.
And this can be done by typing down or dictation.
While writing has been the normal system of writing content, I believe dictation is a better way of generating ideas and writing first drafts because you’re forced to put down your ideas from start to finish in one flow.
On the other hand, if you’re good at writing, you should write without any editing.
And as soon as you finish your draft, it is also essential to take a longer break
Bloggers like Neil Patel advise that you can even take a single day off so that you can come to compete and continue with your article the next day with fresh ideas.
Next you’ll be extending your draft. This includes adding examples, case studies, analogies, and other elements to make your content more credible and relatable.
Meanwhile you can edit your work using tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway App to make your work more concise and specific and remove fluff from your content.
Take a small break, then move on to optimization, which involves making your content more appealing to Google and other search engine platforms.
SEO is an essential part of content marketing.
It includes making your keywords prominent in your content.
Use synonyms and add these keywords in multiple places of your content. Remember to make your content appear natural.
Once you have optimized your content very well publish it and take a break before you proceed to the next blog article.
You need to give your article time to be recognized by Google before distributing.
If you do your writing based on these stages, then it is more likely that you will improve the productivity of your content production system and get more success faster.
Wrapping it up.
Productivity is all about being smarter rather than working harder.
And being smart involves using systems and techniques that let you produce the most work in the least time possible.
These three strategies are very simple to implement, yet they have the power to transform your entire blogging work.
Now get to work