Yeah, you read that right. You can write blog posts faster and cut your content development process time in half with a few handy tricks, tips, and tools. Content development, mainly writing blog posts, is one of the most time-consuming aspects of content marketing for most people. I’ve spoken with people who take 2-3 days to write a blog post. I do most of mine in a few hours. How? It’s all about preparation. Creating your weekly content shouldn't feel like a chore; it should simply be a task on your to-do list. Let me share my streamlined process so you can learn how to write blog posts faster, and that, my friend, will help you get better results (that means more traffic, leads, and sales from your website).
The secret? It’s to batch your content! It’s that simple. But it works. It saves you so much time because you focus on one part of the process at a time. You do that same step for each blog post you want to create in the batch before moving on to the next step.
Creating your batching process can help shave hours off your content production times. You can stay focused and work ahead by working on a handful of posts at a time. The key is to lay the foundation for your program ahead of time so you're all set when it’s time to write. The number of posts you batch at once is completely up to you. I teach my students to start with a batch of 4 pieces if they're creating content weekly. That allows them to create a month's worth of content and then take a bit of a break. You can create more at once as you get more comfortable batching content. I often do 12 pieces at a time and enjoy the break it gives me.
I’ll share my exact batching process. I use an Excel spreadsheet to map all my content topics and monthly content calendar. This process was developed and then refined numerous times over the years. I have this process to manage content production workflows for multiple clients simultaneously. Keeping hundreds of pieces of content in the queue and moving on track was challenging - the organization was key to not missing anything. The organization is a big part of speeding up your process.
Keep a running content topic list. I have a note on my phone and add topic ideas to it as they arise when I’m out and about, talking to people. Many of the blog posts I write directly result from a client or prospect’s question about content marketing best practices, challenges, or issues they’re facing. I find writing the idea down immediately helps. If I don’t, I forget it. Anyone else?
You can use AI tools such as ChatGPT (which didn't exist when I originally wrote this blog post in 2017 but does now in 2023) to help with content ideas. Don't use it to write your content for you, but it's a great brainstorming tool. If you're curious about how to use ChatGPT to help with your content production and what not to do with it, check out this blog post.
Marketing Pro Tip: Answer your customer’s questions with the content you develop. Don’t just try to push your agenda. Provide information they need and they’ll want to read what you write. They might even share it! And isn’t that the goal?
Planning and being organized help speed up the process in several ways. If you keep a running list of ideas, it’s easy to have topics to work with when creating your content calendar. Creating a schedule is key to speeding up your process. You always know what needs to be written next.
Have you ever sat down, known you needed to write a post, but had NO IDEAS? What happens? You check Facebook, respond to emails, look at pictures or videos, and get no work done. An hour later, that blank Word doc or WordPress page still stares you in the face. And that stinks.
When I prepare to create a content calendar, I start with the master topic ideas tab and see which ones will work for the current content plan.
Before I start writing a word, I think about which posts I should write and where they should be shared. I write for my website, as well as industry sites. I note where the post will be shared right in my monthly content calendar. You can skip this step if all your content is posted on your blog. It works for me but may not be necessary for you.
Since I write for multiple audiences on this blog, it’s essential to ensure we provide information that’s useful to all of them on a regular basis. Due to this, I also determine which content pillar each topic idea aligns with, ensuring there’s good coverage for each. Some of my readers are small business owners; others are course creators, coaches, or Realtors. I've got multiple audiences to connect with each month, and you may too. Consider who will read the content as you plan it to ensure you have something for your different audiences.
I teach my students to choose four content pillars or topic areas they will focus on each month. If you're writing a weekly blog post, this makes your content planning process pretty simple. You need one topic idea for each of your four pillars for the month, and you're done. Consider your ideal customer and niche to determine your content pillars or topic areas. How can you break your business down into four areas or topics? Maybe you're a Realtor, work with buyers, sellers, and investors, and have a specific farm community; those four areas might be your pillars or topic categories. If you're a health coach, you might have topic pillars that include healthy recipes, workouts, inspiration, and making time for yourself. If you haven't yet determined your pillars or content topic areas, do that before you start the batching process, and it will help you write your blog posts faster.
Do you have an ideal customer? Have you figured out your niche? Have you created an ideal customer persona yet? They're fun to do and very helpful when creating content.
What does a persona look like? Sometimes, companies have personas that include pictures, names, interests, etc. Some will print the personas off and keep them in the marketing office; others know who they are and refer to them when necessary. Some like to note which persona a specific piece of content will target. I don’t record the persona in the master content plan, but I note which content topic pillar it addresses (and those all align with my personas). My ideal customer is Jessica, and I think about her and what questions she has as I create my content plan each time.
When I was in college, I interned at the local ABC affiliate station in my hometown; the summer before I graduated, we had a research team help us with our ideal customer profiles based on consumer research, and we had mock-up photos of them in the newsroom, and we had to answer why they would be interested in the story we were pitching. If they weren't going to care about the story, we didn't cover it because it wasn't newsworthy to our audience.
If you're unsure who your Ideal Customer is or haven't truly figured out who they are in-depth, this blog post can help you get started. Take the time to figure it out now; it will make your content production process much easier and faster for sure.
Now that we’ve got a list of ideas, audiences we’re addressing, and a sense of where our content will be published, it’s time to create the actual content calendar. I like to keep each quarter on a separate tab within my Excel Workbook to ensure it’s easy to reference, answer questions, and double-check when necessary.
In the beginning, start by batching one month's content at a time. As you get more familiar with the process, you can increase the number of posts you batch. But you want to start in a way that feels manageable and easy to do.
Start by deciding what you will write for each of your four posts. Choose one topic for each of your four pillars or content topic areas. If you have a brainstorm list that's handy, then choose one from each section for this batch and get started. If you don't have a list yet, that's OK, do a quick brainstorm and think about the topics that could be good for each of your content pillars this month and choose one. Save the topics you didn't use this month so you can use them in the future. Again, make it faster for yourself next time.
I recommend posting new content weekly. This is easy to implement if you break your content topics into four pillars. There are four weeks in most months, meaning if you're using four content topic areas, you can connect with each of your audiences at least once a month. It keeps things simple and straightforward, and that makes things faster. You don't have to think about how many posts you are going to write; you know you need to write four.
Marketing ProTip: The right posting schedule is the one you can keep up with that works for your business. If you get enough leads with one post per month then maybe once per month is right for you. If you find 10 posts per month generates more leads for you, then maybe you need to post 10 times per month. There are best practices and guides but they’re just that…. Practices and guides, not real life data. Real life data should trump best practices in your decision making. Businesses that blog more often do get more leads but you need to do what you can manage consistently.
Start filling out your posting schedule with the names of the blog topics that you came up with earlier. Ensure you’re covering the content needs of all your audience members by choosing one from each of your topic areas.
SEO ProTip: Do your SEO keyword research now - don't choose final topics without verifying there's search demand for your idea. And choosing a keyword now lets you create a title and content that incorporates that keyword so it's easier to rank higher in Google's search results which will let your blog posts bring traffic to your website. If you're not sure how to do all of this take my free class and I'll show you how to get started.
I break my content planning and production into two separate parts to make my focus easier. You can do whatever works best for you. I’ve found it’s easier for me to stay in a creative mindset this way. I block time out on the calendar to focus on the tasks without disruption. Setting aside a block of 2-4 hours is the most beneficial. It gives me enough time to focus on writing blog posts and not having to stop for meetings or school pickup or whatever in the middle. Choose your time block based on when it's the best time for you. If you're most creative in the early morning, you probably want to write early rather than trying to do it from 3-5 pm. I like to write all of my blog posts one day and be done for the month. If writing isn't super fast for you, you might want to start with writing two of them one day and then set another session a day or two later to write the other two. Again, do what works best for you.
You'll edit your blog posts at a different time. You don't need to worry about that when you write. Just write your blog posts, and the next time you work on content, you edit. If you're a great editor, awesome. If you're like me and you're a really good writer but not-so-good editor, use a tool like Grammarly to help you out. I had a college professor tell me to stop worrying about editing and focus on writing because I was never going to be employed as an editor, but I could write better than most (this was in journalism school 🤣), and today, thanks to Grammarly my editing isn't half bad either.
Marketing ProTip: Physically block out time in your calendar for both content planning and writing your posts. It will help speed up the process by allowing you uninterrupted time to focus on the projects. Do them on two separate days so you can focus on the calendar one day and writing & editing another.
I keep all of my content in folders and subfolders on my computer. For example, my file structure is - Content, Blog, Quarter, Month, and everything I'm working on for the month is in that folder. On my master spreadsheet, I note what stage things are at - idea, draft, edited, uploaded, scheduled, etc. It makes it easy always to know where things stand for the upcoming month. I'm also a bit Type A, so if that's too much structure for you - do what works for you, my friend.
The final step before you publish your new content is to ensure it's optimized for Google. If you followed the process I taught you in this post, you chose your keywords before you started writing. Now, you will go back through and optimize your page for that keyword. Choose one most important keyword for this page and use it in your title tag, meta description, image file name, image ALT text, and copy. If you're not sure what any of those elements are or what the rules for SEO include, be sure to click on the terms and read the corresponding blog posts. And then request a copy of my free SEO Content Quick Start Guide right here - it's got everything you need to know to get started with SEO on your website.
You can write blog posts faster by using AI tools to help with your brainstorming and being very organized and focused in your approach. Writing a blog post is easier if you have everything you need to start when you sit down. Spend time focusing on the research and organization part of the process ahead of time, and you’ll be able to write much faster.
*Updated May, August, and November 2023 by Rachel