The start of 2022 offers an opportunity reflect on your your experiences blogging during the current year and identify possible ways to save time blogging during the coming year. Start by asking: “What were the lessons and takeaways you learned while blogging during the previous year?”
Many bloggers might immediately respond “blogging took a lot more time than I had expected!” If you spent more time blogging than you would have liked, it’s time to explore 7 ways you can save time blogging during 2022. This might help you free up time you can devote to other marketing tasks (like writing a book).
Below are 7 easy ways you can not only create more efficient blog post during 2022, but you can save time writing, self-editing, and promoting your blog posts. The following ideas are easy because they don’t require a lot of learning or execution time. They’re practical because they have proven their value over time.
- Commit to consistency
Consistency refers to creating the habit of posting fresh blog posts on the same day of every week. This doesn’t mean that you need to post fresh content every day of every week. But, it does involve publishing fresh content on the same days of every week you’re scheduled to post.
If your schedule only permits two blog posts a month, you might choose to post every Tuesday on the first and third weeks of each month.
The payoff is the consistent visibility it offers. Your followers will soon anticipate new content from you on Tuesdays of the first and third weeks. More important, you’ll soon get in the habit of creating the first draft of your blog post on Wednesdays of the preceding week and self-editing your copy and choosing a graphic the next day, i.e., Thursday.
Soon, what was once viewed as an easily procrastinated “necessary task” will become a natural part of your habits each Wednesday and Thursday.
- Choose topics in advance
Once you have identified the schedule of your blog post, and the days when you will write and fine-tune each post, you need to choose a topic for each post. Trying to simultaneously choose topics and write about them as deadlines approach is an invitation to disaster. The stress that accompanies writing under last minute deadlines will evaporate your passion for the topic, opening the door to embarrassing errors and missed deadlines.
A better solution is to choose the topics for upcoming blog posts before you need to start writing. You don’t need to know every idea and supporting details you want to include in future blog posts, but simply knowing the topics in advance gives your brain time to process your ideas and organize the structure of your post. During the time leading up to your writing session, your brain will also be on the lookout for relevant ideas. Choosing topics in advance makes it easy to immediately begin writing when you sit down to write.
- Identify key words and phrases
There’s another benefit to knowing blog post topics in advance: you can fine-tune your message to include the keywords and phrases that will help attract the right readers. Your choice of words and phrases can significantly increase (or decrease) the traffic you are targeting. Over time, by tracking your market’s response to different words and phrases, it will become easier to select the words appropriate to your blog post content.
You might start by assembling a list of the key words and phrases that are both frequently used by your competitors, but are not so popular that your post won’t be able to appear on the first page of search results.
- Create a hashtag list
In a similar way, you can choose the hashtags most relevant to the various topics your blog posts addresses. Many of your competitors may choose hashtags at the last minute, which can be very inefficient. But, if you already know the hashtags relevant for each blog post topic, you’ll find it significantly easier to choose high-performance hashtags.
- Explore a series approach to blogging
One of the easiest ways you can save time blogging during 2022 is to explore the benefits of a series approach to blogging.
Many bloggers tend to view each post as an independent creation, isolated from other blog posts. One of the disadvantages of this approach is the need to continually search for new blog post topics.
A series of blog posts, however, can significantly increase traffic to your blog. Each post in a series performs two important functions.
- Each post promotes the next post in the series.
- More important, each post can promote previous posts in the series. A blog post series of 3 posts can actually be easier to prepare than one long post. In addition, a series of 3 posts are also more likely to be read than a single long post.
Here’s how you might structure a blog post series:
- Use the First blog post in the series to introduce the series. Similar to the Introduction to a book, the first post can describe the challenge or goal that readers want to address. This introduction can discuss the background or symptoms to be addressed in the following posts. The first post can also refer to ideas or techniques that have been tried, but are no longer valid. After describing the challenge or goal, you might build anticipation for the posts that follow by concluding with a brief overview of the steps involved in successfully addressing a challenge or achieving a goal.
- In the Second, Third, and Fourth (or more) posts that follow, you can describe the steps necessary to solve a problem or achieve a goal. These “steps to success can be accompanied by case studies and examples that have benefited from following your advice. You could also describe the experiences of different industries, states in different parts of the country, or the results of different age-groups.
- The eighth (or last) blog post in the series can be used to summarize the challenge or goal described in the first post as well as the problem (or goal) and the tips shared in previous blog posts. You might also use a “before and after” structure to describe the change—i.e. benefits—achieved by acting on your advice. The last part of the concluding post can include links where additional resources can be found.
In the conclusion of each post in the series you might include a “coming attractions” list of upcoming topics in the series. Stressing the “service” goal of your series, you might include a link and brief description of the previous posts in the series.
A major advantage of the series approach is that, when completed, you might be able to use your blog post series as the foundation of your first, or your next, book or ebook. Completing the book, ebook, or white paper might be as easy as adding new content to your previously created posts—each of which becomes a chapter of your book.
- Invite guest posts
Another easy way to to save time blogging is to invite guest post contributions to your blog. Guest posts are win-win situations for both the guest as well as the owner of the blog post. The guest gains valuable exposure to your market. You, of course, gain valuable access to their market.
As always, as preparation for participating in a blog post exchange, you should prepare a letter of agreement specifying each party’s responsibilities, deliverables, and schedules. A simple letter of agreement can eliminate problems down the road. Sources of potential issues include promotion activities, inclusion of your photograph and other graphics, and each party’s rights to republish the original shared content.
Guest posting relationships work best when they are reciprocal, i.e. the guest gains from exposure to your market, and—if agreed upon in advance—you get a chance to contribute a guest post to their blog. Often an exchange of guest posts can lead to future reciprocal agreements, i.e. podcasts and video interviews, etc. Ideally, you might discover a compatible co-author for your next book!
- Include monthly lead generators
Experienced bloggers view each post as the beginning of a prospect’s introduction to their book and—potentially—an introduction to their products and services. This can’t happen unless you include a lead generator at the end of each post.
Lead generators are an efficient way to build your email list, so you can contact readers in the future. Optimum results are based on creating a partnership with readers of your blog posts. This is usually accomplished by obtaining permission to add the prospect’s name and email address to your email list in exchange for a downloadable bonus, such as a sample chapter or other content that can be shared via email.
Lead generators range from simple to complex. At minimum, a lead generator can consist of a list of best practices or time-saving tips, a table of contents to your book, or a free sample chapter. You might also offer other reader benefits, such as a glossary of terms used in your book or updates as new ideas and resources appear. Other options include a workbook that readers can use as they read your book.
The 7 suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. No one is expected to immediately adopt each idea on January 1, 2022.
I share them from the perspective that blogging, like writing a book, is a process, not an event. And, as a process, success requires continuous challenge, change, and growth. As an author, you probably want, or expect, each book to be better than the one before. (You probably don’t want to achieve a Successful Author diploma!)
Hopefully, the above will help you move on to the next level of blogging success and book promoting success.
Roger C. Parker is a 30-book author and book coach. He’s written over 30 books and has helped authors around the world. Email Roger to schedule a free 20-minute “Meet the Coach” call and get a free copy of Roger’s Author Platform Evaluation Worksheet.