With so many online and social tools available today, it can be overwhelming trying to juggle them all. You know you need to tweet every day and don’t forget about building relationships on Facebook and LinkedIn, not to mention creating videos for YouTube. Oh yea, then there’s blogging you need to do too.
We’ve all been there. Maybe you’re driving to your next appointment and then realize, “Oh crap, I forgot to write my blog post this morning.” It happens. Don’t feel bad, because you’re not alone. Balancing your marketing efforts along with the day-to-day tasks of running your business can be overwhelming. This is especially true for those who are new to the whole digital marketing thing.
Fear not. I have some suggestions to help you find time the to blog.
1. Time Blocking
As much as we would like to wake up and see where the day takes us, this isn’t always the best strategy when it comes to time management and ensuring we accomplish our tasks. Time blocking is an effective strategy to carve out chucks of time each day to perform specific tasks. For example, if you feel most creative in the mornings, then you can set aside 2 hours a few days a week for blog post writing. During this 2 hour period, write several articles and schedule them to post on the appropriate days.
During these blocks of time, it’s important you don’t check your email or jump over to Facebook to see what’s going on. If you do, you will lose your focus and time will quickly slip away. Create blocks of time to answer emails, follow up with clients, and work on marketing your business. Using this effective time management technique should help increase your productivity.
2. Use Downtime
Have you ever been driving or sitting in a waiting room and have a great idea for a blog post pop into your head? If so, you can use these moments to get a jump on your articles. If you are in the car, you can use the voice recording app on your smart phone and record your thoughts. I have dictated entire blog posts and even eBooks while driving in the car. Once you have your thoughts recorded, you can transcribe them into your blog post.
This same idea is also true for times when you are sitting in a waiting room. Now, this may not be the best place to use your voice recorder but you can either jot down the outline for a blog post or write it in your mind. Think about what you want to title the post, how the first paragraph will start and what the main topic is. Once you’ve already thought through the main points of the post, it will be easy to type them into your article once you return to your computer.
My clients find that one of the most difficult parts of blogging is coming up with the topic. So when inspiration hits, don’t let it slip away. Take note of your ideas before they disappear.
3. Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is a must for content creators. As I mentioned before, coming up with a blog post topic is one of the most difficult parts of the process. If you are anything like me, once you have an idea for a blog post, you’re off and running. Believe me, you really don’t want to find yourself staring at the flashing cursor on the computer screen.
Start small and plan two weeks at a time. Determine how many days you want to blog each week and then plug in blog post topics for each of those days over the two week span. Additionally, brainstorming ideas for blog post topics is one of those tasks that can be included in your time blocks. Having your blog post topics planned ahead of time is a lifesaver for those days when you are extremely busy. You can simply look at the editorial calendar, see what the day’s topic is and start writing.
Without a pre-planned topic, in a pinch you are more likely to not write the blog post at all.
4. Break it Down
There are several elements involved with blogging. You need to brainstorm post topics, create your editorial calendar, write the post, and then increase your readership. When you look at it this way, it can be extremely overwhelming. For this reason, I recommend breaking these elements into smaller pieces that are easier to manage. Plan to do your brainstorming on Friday afternoons. Then on Monday, spend a couple of hours writing several posts. Perhaps on the 15th of each month you create your editorial calendar.
Breaking all of these tasks into smaller bits helps to make such a large task more manageable. Additionally, you can write the blog post in the morning, save it as a draft and then return in the afternoon to proofread and format for publishing.
5. Set Priorities
I know, personally, how difficult it can be to set priorities. I would much rather log into Facebook and get caught up in the news feed than work on some of the other tasks on my “to do” list. However, if you do those “not so fun” tasks first and get them out of the way, it will definitely relieve some of the stress you’re feeling. Just bite the bullet and get it done. Check out Amy Baumcratz’s recent post, Siri? The Tool To Help You Keep Your Resolutions?, about how Siri can help you stick to your blogging priorities.
It’s also a good idea to take a look at how you’re spending your time. Are you spending your time effectively? Are you concentrating on the tasks that will help you grow your business? Are you looking for other less important tasks to tackle because you’re procrastinating? Ask yourself these difficult questions. Make a list of the tasks that are necessary for you to grow your business and complete those first. After that, then you can spend some time watching funny videos on YouTube.
What do you do to ensure your blog doesn’t go days, weeks or months without a post?