Blogging efficiency should play a key role in your personal branding success strategy.
“Occasional excellence is not enough; blogging and personal branding success require a process, or system, for delivering consistent performance”
To become an efficient blogger, one who offers helpful, relevant information week after week on your blog, and as a guest blogger elsewhere, you need a system, or a process, for efficiently creating your weekly blog posts.
There are additional benefits, too:
“Once you have an efficient blogging system you’ll find it relatively easy to take the next steps, like compiling your blog posts into longer publications, like books, ebooks, and white papers.”
Although there are no cookie-cutter, universal systems, there are a few tips that work for many others. By picking and choosing from proven techniques used by others, you should be able to create an efficient blogging process that will work for you.
Here are some ideas and tips based on the process that works for me, as well as others:
1. Plan your blog posts offline
You may recognize the ideas in the above graphic of handwriting on a yellow legal pad. It’s the actual page that was the starting point for last week’s Personal Branding Blog post, Reading and Personal Branding Success.
You can see from the PDF I created by scanning my notes, all of the important elements that appeared in last week’s blog post are included: the title, the main ideas, and the tips at the bottom.
I plan my blog posts the night before I began to write the blog post.
In this case, I only needed one planning sheet; other times, however, it takes three or four tries, on different pieces of paper, to get it right. In many cases, the title undergoes several changes before I post the blog.
2. Write the first draft as quickly as possible
The next day, right after I started to work, I wrote the first draft. The secret to success is to write the first draft as quickly as possible, without self-editing or judging what I write.
Writing quickly, only hoping to get the ideas on the screen, is a great way to prevent procrastination.
In the past, the draft stage used to take me hours. Now, I save lots of time by simply “typing out my ideas,” frequently referring to my handwritten notes.
By the way, I write and format my first drafts in WordPress, because I like to watch the post take shape, preview what I’ve written from the reader’s perspective, with subheads and lists. (From frustrating experiences in the past, however, I’ve learned the importance of frequently copying and pasting my posts to a word-processed file as I’m writing. )
While writing the first draft, I also remind myself to frequently save my draft while I’m writing.
3. Put the blog post away, then edit
If I’m running late, and the blog post is due at the end of the day, after finishing the first draft, I put it aside for 30-minutes to half an hour before returning to it for editing.
Ideally, of course, after completing the first draft, I leave it alone the rest of the day, and return to edit it after a good night’s sleep.
This “2-day approach” to blogging, of course, brings up the importance of giving yourself enough time to work without the stress of impending deadlines.
After years of stress caused by fighting deadlines, I’ve learned to pace my writing and create my blog posts in a series of short working sessions, instead of a long, panic-driven last-minute marathon.
4. Print and edit one last time
The best way to give your blog post a thorough editing is to print a hard copy of your blog post for offline editing. Printing offers several advantages:
- Makes it easier to locate errors. Missing or repeated words or awkward, long sentences become more obvious when you encounter them on a printed page.
- Creates an archive of previous posts. Most important, by printing on 3-hole punched paper, you can create a 3-ring binder containing all of your blog posts that you can review for possible use in “best of” compilations or ebooks.
Before printing your blog posts, I encourage you to expand the line spacing to one-and-one-half lines. You can do this by using the Edit, Select All command to highlight all the text, then choosing 1.5 line spacing in the Format Paragraph dialog box.
The extra space helps you concentrate on one line at a time. The added line spacing makes it easier to insert and replace words as needed.
You might also add 12 points of “After paragraph” spacing in the paragraph dialog box to emphasize paragraph breaks.
The final editing step is to read your blog post out loud. When you’re reading something you previously wrote, your brain tends to fill-in missing words and ignore awkward or repeated words and phrases.
Missing words and awkward phrases, however, become immediately obvious when you’re reading out loud. Reading out loud also helps you locate long sentences that you might have previously overlooked.
Developing a blogging success strategy
There are, of course, additional strategies for blogging your way to personal branding success. these include choosing your topics well in advance of their intended publication date and thinking in terms of serializing your main ideas, i.e., writing multi-part blog posts. However, the above represents the core of my personal branding strategy.
What about you? Would this 4-step blogging strategy work for you? Would it help you efficiently prepare a weekly blog post to promote your personal branding success? Could you work up to posting 2, or, even, 3 blog posts each week? More important, do you have any additional blogging tips to share? Share your ideas, tips, and questions below, as comments!
Roger C. Parker offers advice, writing assistance, and tools for building your personal brand. Get his free 99 Questions to Ask Before You Start to Write workbook or ask him a question about blogging.