The Simple Way to Streamline Your Blogging Process

blogging process

blogging process

Blogging can be the bane of a solopreneur’s workday. You know it’s important to share valuable content with your readers, but it kills you to think of spending the majority of your day writing one. single. post.

Luckily, there’s a way to streamline your blogging process, and it all starts with batching. You’ve probably heard of batching: The productivity hack that tells you to spend focused chunks of time on similar tasks instead of cutting up your day with a series of unrelated projects.

You can batch many of your solopreneur tasks, but my favorite is blogging. By nature, blogging requires you to focus on several unrelated tasks: brainstorming, planning, writing, design, formatting, and proofreading. Batching allows you to streamline your blogging process in a way that isn’t possible if you try to take a post from “brainstormed” to “scheduled” all in one day.

It takes time for your brain to move from writing mode to design mode to proofreading mode, but if you batch pieces of your blogging process, you can take advantage of focusing on a single task and shorten the overall time you spend creating content.

All it takes is a little planning ahead and a few smart systems to streamline. I rely on these four systems to shave hours off my blogging process!

1. Capturing and organizing ideas

Ever sit down to write a post and waste an hour on social media because you can’t figure out what to write about? Having a system to capture your blog ideas when they come to you will save tons of time and help you be prepared to write as soon as it’s time to crank out a post.

There are plenty of apps to help you store and organize your blog ideas, including Trello, Asana, and Evernote. Whatever option you choose, be sure your system includes writing down each of these elements when an idea strikes:

  • Possible headline
  • SEO keyword
  • Main ideas for the content
  • A launch, promotion, affiliate offer, or series the post fits into (if applicable)
  • Possible call to action

Just imagine pulling up a note with your latest blog post idea and having all this information already at your fingertips. You’ve practically got a post outline with all the relevant information ready to go!

2. Blog post template

Thanks to the extra details you wrote down when you first had your post idea, you’ve already got the bare bones of your content ready to go. Now you can speed up the writing process by having a blog post template to plug your ideas into.

Most of your posts probably follow a similar pattern, right? It only makes sense to write that pattern out as a copy/paste template for speedy blog writing. You could even streamline further by creating a template for each different type of post you write, such as tutorials, income reports, and lists.

I like to create my templates in Google Docs with full formatting using their built-in headers and subheads. Here’s an example of what a post template might look like for you:

[h1] Headline

Introduction

[Insert blog image]

[h2] Subhead

Main Point 1

Bulleted List

[h2] subhead

Main Point 2

Click-to-Tweet

[h2] subhead

Wrap up

Call to action

3. Blog graphic template

Having a template for your blog images makes it simple to switch out colors or photos, add in your new headline, and have an on-brand graphic ready to go in just a few minutes. Instead of starting from scratch every time, you’ll be able to create consistent, branded images in a snap.

You probably already have a preferred program for creating blog graphics. If not, I’d recommend one that lets you save a template to work from, such as Canva, Pages, or InDesign. Your template will look different depending on which program you use and what your brand looks like. Most brands use a formula to create consistent blog images, such as

stock photo + solid shape overlay + text

or

colored background + border + text

Play around to find the formula that fits your brand and is easy to create with the design template you use. (This resource from the Branded Solopreneur will help if you get stuck, and sometimes, outsourcing the initial template design is easiest.)

4. Social media promotion

One of the most time-consuming parts of blogging happens after a post is published! Unfortunately, it’s not a “write-it-and-they-will-come” scenario, in most cases. Promoting your work on social media is a necessity if you want people to actually read your content, and it doesn’t have to be a huge time-suck.

Creating a system for your social media promotion not only lets you batch-schedule posts in advance, it keeps you from getting lost in your Twitter feed when you should be focused on client work.

Use different scheduling tools for social, to plan out your posts in advance. Here are a few examples:

  • Twitter/Facebook: CoSchedule, Buffer, and Edgar make it easy to schedule posts in advance to several different platforms.
  • Pinterest: Boardbooster and Tailwind are simple options for getting your posts pushed out
  • Later is the perfect way to plan your Instagram posts.

(Bonus tip: Many of these apps work with Zapier and IFTTT to send out automated social media updates each time you publish a new post -- you won’t even have to lift a finger!)

Every solopreneur has preferred tools that work the best for them. Spend some time experimenting until you find your favorites, then set aside one block of time to batch-schedule your social media promotion for the upcoming week. Having a system for this step alone has saved me hours per post!

Ready to streamline your blogging process?

A few smart systems and the magic of batching are all it takes to shave hours off the time you spend blogging each week!

What are your favorite tools and systems for keeping blogging time to a minimum?

Batching: Your Productivity Sidekick

How many “productivity hacks” have you encountered or read about lately? They’re prevalent for a reason: every solopreneur is out to do the same -- get more done with less, and make the most of our (seemingly limited) time.

The truth is, there are truly great methods out there -- the Pomodoro Technique, unplugging, taking breaks, you name it. And different things work for different people. But there’s one trick I’ve witnessed that has worked time and time again for countless solopreneurs.

The key: batching

I'm sure you've heard of it before: batching. But what exactly does it mean?

The term "batching" simply means focused blocks of time spent on one task.

Multi-tasking is no longer the be-all, end-all for productivity that it was once thought to be. In fact, multi-tasking is actually a costly habit to form. Instead, adopting a batching process promotes getting your mind into a state of flow, where a singular focus leads to increased productivity.

When batching works best

While batching can be used for any to-do list in your personal or business life, I find that batching works best for me when I have a pretty hefty list full of either diverse tasks or clients.

As a copywriter and editor, I find it particularly helpful when it comes to adopting voices. Singularly focusing on one client means I can adopt their voice through-and-through for a set amount of time. Making a rule that I won't check email or write social posts during that time keeps me from attempting to switch between the client's voice and my own.

Even just hopping over to email to respond to something "real quick" means a mindset shift, and a break in your state of flow. Getting back into the groove of that client's work takes at least 15 minutes. Those quarter hours add up quick!

How you can apply batching to your day

Batching can be applied in a slew of different ways. Here are a few ideas:

- Client tasks and projects
- Content creation for your own business (blog posts, newsletters, etc.)
- Collaborative projects
- Writing and scheduling social media posts
- Reading and responding to emails (Tim Ferriss has been doing this for years.)
- Setting up and improving the logistical processes for your business

You can batch your list out either by the actual type of task (i.e, writing), or by the client. In my case, it certainly works better to batch by client, then further batch by the type of work. So with clients for whom I write blogs posts, newsletters, and social posts, I first batch out a block of time to work specifically on that one client, then within that time, I batch the blog posts, then the newsletters, then the social posts.

Make your list, check it twice... then attack it by batching!

Take a look at your list and divide it out by either task or client. Then get out your calendar and batch out blocks of time.

Stick with it, not matter how hard it gets, for three weeks -- after all, a new habit takes a minimum of 21 days to adopt, on average. Keep track of what you get done with an app like iDoneThis. Watch your productivity skyrocket.

Batching leads to greater productivity, which leads to happier clients, and a One Woman Shop with more time to read, play, relax, or hey, take on more clients. Not bad, eh?