I’ve been at this blogging thing since 2014 and frankly, it’s a huge passion of mine. But one of the absolute WORST things about blogging is how long content creation can take.
Writing is a very labor-intensive task and although it’s exactly what you sign-up for when you start a blog, many people underestimate just how long it takes to create content.
I’m no different.
Since 2014 I’ve owned a portfolio of 10+ blogs and although I outsource a fair bit of content on some of my sites, this site is an exception to that rule.
But, as you can imagine, with all of my years of experience blogging I’ve learned a thing or two about how to speed up the writing process, and today I’m going to share with you the exact 5-step process I use to spend less time writing blog posts and more time making money on my blogs.
(If you’re short on time, my biggest secret is Dragon Naturally Speaking software. It helps me cut my writing time by about 80% because I can “speak” the words I want to type and it dictates automatically)
1) Mind Mapping
Whether, you’re a beginner or a long-time blogger, the first step toward creating a great blog post is brainstorming. Now, there are lots of ways to do this, but one of the fastest and easiest is mind mapping. It only takes about 10 minutes.
If you don’t know how to mind map, here’s an image of what a successful mind map looks like.
Basically, mind mapping is when you draw a circle with the main topic in the middle, and then create main blog post ideas coming off of that. This is one of the best ways for coming up with blog topics, section headings, subheadings, and supporting details. In short, mind-mapping can help you get all the building blocks you’ll need to put together a great blog article fast.
In the image above, this is the first idea, second idea, third idea, fourth idea. Then, you create points to mention in each of the ideas.
As you draw the map out on paper, you’re coming up with these ideas on the fly—you’re not going to the internet and doing any research.
You should ask yourself, “What else should I talk about that’s related to this particular blog article I want to write? What is really important to include that the reader will want to know?”
After your brainstorm is done, I recommend you take your main topic, type it into Google, and look at the top three results, but do not copy them. The reason you’re doing this is just to see what others have included in their articles.
The top three results are what Google likes, so look at what they’re doing. If there’s something that they put into theirs that you forgot, feel free to add it to your mind map as one of the main points you should cover.
When looking through the results, also try to notice what keywords are being used most often. Part of creating great posts is ensuring that your posts are found on Google and other search engines.
This process is called SEO — or search engine optimization. While there are many parts that go into SEO work, keyword research and competitor analysis is the best place to start.
2) Create an Outline
Step two is to create an outline. This should really only take you about five minutes. This is when you sit down on a Google or Word Doc and create an outline to understand what you are going to do, in sequential order, when you write the blog post.
You’ve already got it all on your mind map so it’s visually laid out. Now, how are you going to organize it? What reader flow makes the most sense? What main idea should be first, second, third, etc.
First, there will be an intro of course where you introduce your topic and give a little information. Then the body will be divided into several sections, each with a primary section heading. Some primary sections may be broken up into subsections while some may have be shorter and not need subsections.
Below is an example of how it should look:
You may want to skip this step and just jump right into writing blog posts. But I can’t caution you enough:
DO NOT skip this step. You may think that it’s not needed, but I promise you it’s worth laying everything out, it’ll make you faster later and help you create the highest quality content possible.
For new bloggers, there is a certain learning curve. While you may be a natural and start pushing out high-quality blog posts from day one, its more likely it’ll take some time before writing blogs posts feels natural. Fortunately, the mind mapping and outlining really help to break things down, so that you can write blog posts fast.
3) Start Writing (With Your Voice)
The third step in the process is when you begin writing your content. If you’ve done the mind mapping and outlining effectively, this third step should only take around 15 to 20 minutes. However, if you skip the first two steps, you could spend hours trying to get your first draft written.
First, the introduction is crucial. You need to tell a story or do something to hook the reader so they want to read more of what you have to say. They should want to read the full article because you’ve grabbed their attention from the very beginning. This is a very important part of your blog post, so spend some time on your introduction to make sure it’s good.
After that? we get into the biggest time-saving hack that I personally discovered while in my doctoral program writing 10-12 page papers every week. It’s my secret to writing thousands of words in a very short amount of time.
It’s a software called Dragon Naturally Speaking Software.
This platform allows you to speak into a microphone while it dictates exactly what you’re saying. You can “type” incredibly fast by doing this.
They claim that the software is three times faster than typing, but I don’t type very fast. Using Dragon, I am able o increase my writing speed so that I am able “type” 300-400 words per minute. It’s also 99% accurate, so what you say is what’s going to show on the blog post you’re creating.
This a great time saver and a useful way to writer’s block.
If you want to see the software in action, this quick tutorial shows me using it in a YouTube video I created:
Now I know, there are free options out there that do this same thing, even Microsoft Word has a tool like this. But here’s the thing…
Other tools are not as accurate as Dragon Naturally Speaking Software.
I know because I was too cheap to buy good dictation software when I started and having inaccurate software slows down the process exponentially.
Plus, there is a 30-day, money-back guarantee with Dragon Dictation software, so you can feel comfortable giving the software a shot to test it out yourself.
If you use this software, it’s important to remember to be casual and “write how you talk”. I tell people this because typically blogging is informal and you want to connect with your readers and let your personality shine through.
Of course, there are certain blogs out there where you need to be more rigid, like healthcare-focused websites, or financial websites.
However, if you’re being engaging and writing like you’re in a conversation with your reader, people will be more receptive to you. When you get really rigid with your writing it can be tough for people to stay with you.
The key here is to speak as you normally would while dictating content.
NOTE: It will take time to get used to this. At first, this will feel very unnatural but as you do it more often, things will become easier.
One thing to note, absolutely do not edit while you’re creating your content. If you do, it’s going to slow you down dramatically.
Instead, just speak through all of your thoughts and get them all on the page so you’ve written an imperfect version of your blog post.
4) Review Your Content
The fourth step in the process is to review the content, and this should take another 15 minutes. You need to proofread everything that you put into your document with the Dragon Dictation Software to remove any typos and ensure that you’re using correct punctuation grammar.
Dragon Naturally Speaking Software does a very good job and as you use it, it actually gets better at understanding your voice and dictating what you say, even if you have an accent like my wife.
But, you still need to make sure you read through the content to make sure it all reads well. I also recommend that you use Grammarly.
First, you can run it through your regular Microsoft Word or Google Doc spellcheck, and then run it through Grammarly, as well. Together, those two things will catch a lot of errors.
Take the time to inspect your tone, how you transition from one idea to another, and your flow.
Then, read through it once more to make sure it reads well.
5) Format Content and Post
Number five is to format the content and post the article. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
At this point, the post has been written and you’ve fixed the punctuation and grammar, but now you need to add underlines, bold texts, italics, headers—things that will make the content stick out.
Additionally, you don’t just want large blocks of text. Try seeing where you might be able to use bullet points to make lists. For example, in the next section, I include a list of various ways to market your content once it’s been published. Modeling lists in this way can be very helpful.
You also want to make sure that your website is using a template that makes it easy for the reader to scroll through the article on desktop and mobile devices. I personally use WordPress for my websites because of all the great templates, plugins, and other features there.
This is when you’re trying to enhance the post to make it more than just a bunch of text blocks on a screen. You need to break it into different paragraphs and make it look pretty. It takes a little bit of time to do, but once you’ve completed this step, your article is complete.
If you haven’t been keeping track, the amount of time it should take to create a 4,000-word blog post is about 60 minutes from the idea all the way to publishing.
Again, this is after years of blogging and optimizing the process to make it as fast as possible and I promise you this works well if you go through the steps I recommended above.
6) Share Your Post With Content Marketing
While you may have created a great article, it’s not of much use if no one’s reading it. While you don’t need to spend a lot of time sharing your blog posts, you should put in some effort to make sure that the time writing actually pays of.
There are many different ways to share your blog posts including:
- Email: You can send out posts on email to subscribers who signed up to be on your email list in a variety of ways. One way is sending out new blog posts as soon as they’re written. Another is to include them in weekly or monthly newsletters.
- Social media: There are quite a few social media networks where you can share your posts. For more professional blog posts, you might consider using LinkedIn. But other great places to share your posts include Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and many others.
- Google: You can share your posts on Google by paying for ads or by using SEO, which we mentioned above, to make sure that your posts trigger the Google Search algorithm in the right way. With consistent practice and the use of SEO tools, you can get your posts to rank number on Google for targetted keywords.
Sharing your posts across multiple channels is a great way to increase blog traffic, gain a following, get opportunities to write guest posts for other blogs, and even make money while blogging. You don’t have to write the perfect blog post to build an audience, but you do need to actively share all of your previous posts.
BONUS WRITING TIPS: Outsource for Faster Results
If you have some extra money to invest in your blog, you can transform it into a successful online business by outsourcing content creation for even faster results.
Of course, you can always outsource the writing itself, but if you’re not comfortable with that you can take other steps.
- Outsource Reviewing Your Content (Step 4): One of the best things to outsource is the editing of your content. The reason? When content gets a second eye on it, it tends to get edited even more critically than if you do it yourself. Plus, usually someone can edit content in 15-20 minutes, so it’ll save you some time and it’s very affordable.
- Outsource Formatting Content and Posting it to Your Website (Step 5): This is a no brainer in my opinin. With simple tasks like this, you can find someone in the Phillipines using Upwork.com and hire them for $4-$5 per hour. Very affordable and if it saves you 10-15 minutes per post? Well worth the cost.
If you’re skeptical about this process, don’t be; it really does work. Dragon Naturally Speaking is the best dictation software out there and once you get used to this process, you’ll wonder why you did it any other way.