I’ve been blogging for a long, long time.
This has enabled me to fine tune my ability to write run-of-the-mill client blogs super fast.
The result? More money in my back pocket, and more time to do other stuff. And that’s all from simply learning how to write blogs fast.
Like so many things in life, you don’t realise quite how proficient you are at something until you stand back and take a look at what you’re doing. I did that recently and realised that I can smash out a 500 word blog post in 20 minutes.
You can do this too, and it’ll either make you more money or help you pump out personal content which doesn’t need acres of your time. And that’s cool – there’s nothing wrong with ‘pumping out’ content – providing it’s your own work.
Why write blogs this quickly?
There’s a misnomer that the days of the 500 word blog post are gone.
I’ve been writing blogs of that size (thousands of them) for the last five years, and continue to do so. Clients want them, and they pay well for them.
This kind of content serves a purpose, but it shouldn’t take you ages to create. And that’s for one good reason: it’s less valuable and therefore shouldn’t eat up your time.
Businesses want to keep their blogs topped up with well-written, relevant content, but this isn’t always content which needs three hours of research. It’s content which has been written a hundred times before.
Trust me – there’s lots of paying work out there for this kind of stuff. And, if you can nail the process of creating it quickly, you’ll not only enjoy creating it, you’ll experience the following benefits:
- you’ll earn more (I’m going to keep repeating this);
- your writing ability will improve;
- you’ll regain time elsewhere for more exciting stuff;
- you’ll be able to more accurately quote for work;
- you can promise delivery of a blog – and stick to it.
What type of blogging does this work for?
A 20-minute blog post only works under very specific circumstances.
- It must be client work (or your own work) with which you’re already comfortable and familiar
- The target word count should be around 500 words (although you’ll find yourself pushing that to 700 with practice)
- It needs to follow a tried-and-tested structure (for instance, a listicle)
- You need to be a relatively quick typist
What type of blogging does this not work for?
Applying the 20-minute blogging strategy to the wrong kind of work will be disastrous. Avoid ‘smashing through’ these kinds of pieces:
- One-off blogging projects (unless you’re super-comfortable with the topic)
- New client work (it takes time to get comfortable and prove your worth)
- Thought pieces (can you really think that quick?)
- Research pieces (don’t get it wrong!)
- News blogs (ditto)
If everything checks out, and you feel you’re in a good place to attempt a 20-minute blog post, here’s how to do it.
1. Nail the title
Depending on the relationship you have with the client and the type of work you’re undertaking, this might be given to you. If so – you’ve saved yourself five minutes.
If not, spend that five minutes nailing the title. Keep it simple, tempting and descriptive.
2. Find a similar blog
We’re not about to copy or plagiarise, but you probably will need a little bit of inspiration. Scan that research blog to get a feel for the stuff you need to include.
3. List out the sub headings
This is why listicles work so well for 20-minute blogs. I start by listing out the sub headings, including the wrap up section. That way, I know exactly what I need to write.
4. Write the intro
Two or three paragraphs which set the scene and tell the reader what’s about to come. Don’t waffle.
5. Write the wrap up
This might sound odd, but by writing the intro and wrap up of the blog first, you’ll have a nice little content sandwich to fill and a perfect idea of where you’re sitting word count wise.
Keep your wrap up simple, actionable, and a maximum of two paragraphs.
6. Write out the individual sections
A couple of paragraphs for each sub heading should do it. Refer back to your research article if you need to, but if you’re confident with the topic, the words should flow.
7. Give it a quick proof
Read through it once and correct any errors.
8. Use Word (or similar) to spellcheck
I write everything in Ulysses and export to Word for a final spell check.
Whatever writing tool you use, make sure the blog post is sent through the spellcheck to catch anything you missed.
9. You’re done!
That’s it. Pop it in an email, send it off, get paid. Simple.
How long did it take me to write this?
As I look at my Toggl timer, I’ve thus far spent exactly 19 minutes on this blog post.
So. I’ve broken the 20-minute rule, because I’m yet to proof read it and spellcheck. But that’s ok (it’s 900 words-ish, after all); the 20-minute blog post doesn’t have to take you exactly that amount of time. It’s just a target within your sights, and one which you’ll naturally hit the more you write.
Just remember – this isn’t a silver bullet for new blogging projects or for winning new clients; it’s a productivity technique which you can master over time, and which will help you smash through comfortable client work.
That’s how you become a more profitable writer – trust me.