How I Write a Blog Post in Under an Hour

HOW I WRITE A BLOG POST IN UNDER AN HOUR

I’ve written hundreds of blog posts over the past ten years for myself and clients, and by now, I’m pretty fast. Unless I have to do a lot of research, I can write an 800-word draft in 20 minutes.

Most of the time, I can write a blog post in under an hour with another quick edit right before I publish.

This comes from practice, of course, and from being a really fast typer, but I’ve also dialed in my process so that I minimize habits that slow me down.

It doesn’t have to take you forever to write a blog post! Here’s how I do it.

 

How I Write a Blog Post in under an hour

 

Step 1: The Dump Draft

This isn’t exactly a first draft, but a pre-draft. I call this a dump draft because I think of it like dumping all my material out so I can shape it later. Think of dumping clay on a table so you can start sculpting.

This step is the KEY to writing anything quickly. This immediately gets you past the blank page jitters, which can save you so much wasted time waffling about what to write!

The idea is to get all your ideas on paper, even if they’re out of order or misspelled or make no sense. No editing allowed! Just get it all out. Write anything you can think of about your topic, story, or ideas. Anything you want to mention in your post. Write it down now, even if it’s out of order. No room for perfectionism here.

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
― Shannon Hale

You might be freaking out right now because you’re probably a perfectionist and the idea of writing a messy draft is terrifying. Trust, me, I get it. It gets easier the more you do it.

Try these tips to get started if you’re just plain stuck.

Tips for writing your dump draft:

  • Try making a really loose outline of your article. It’s okay if the points are out of order. Edit later.
  • Freewrite on your topic for a few minutes.
  • Start in the middle or start with the steps. The hardest part of writing an article is just starting it, so skip that part! It’s a lot easier to write an intro and conclusion after you’ve written the bulk of the article, so jump right to the good stuff first.

After you’ve gotten the bulk of the post on paper, write a simple introduction and conclusion. Think of this like a school essay: the intro tells your reader what the post is about and what to expect. The conclusion just wraps things up. You can even reiterate the introduction and add a new thought to leave with your reader.

Remember, it’s okay if your dump draft sucks! It’s supposed to. You can edit later.

 

Step 2: Organize

So much of writing is just organization.

After I dump out all my thoughts, I start lumping them together in an order that makes sense.

To do this, read through your dump draft and move sentences or paragraphs around to group like topics with like topics. Ask yourself what your reader would need to learn first, second, and third, and put your thoughts in that order.

Chances are, your thoughts are already somewhat in order, but things might still need to get moved around. There will probably be holes in your thoughts and things might feel disconnected, but don’t worry. We’ll fix that in the next step.

 

Step 3: Edit and Revise

This could be two steps, but I tend to do them at the same time. Read through your text and continue organizing, but this is the part where you start filling in holes.

Do you need to explain something a bit more? Do need to cut any unnecessary or repetitive parts? Should you include more examples? Would something made more sense if you reworded it?

Flesh out and clean up any confusing or under-explained parts. When you think you’ve done a pretty good job, it’s a good idea to let someone else read it and make sure it makes sense.

 

Step 4: Final Proofread

When you feel like your article is almost ready, do at least one more read-through to check for misspellings, grammatical errors, punctuation or capitalization mistakes, or usage errors.

I suggest taking some time away from your post before doing your final proofread because after you’ve read something 576 times, you stop seeing errors like typos. (Trust me, I’ve learned this one the hard way.)

I usually proofread after editing, but I ALWAYS do another pass right before publishing or sending off a client piece, and I almost always catch something I missed on the first pass.

 

Writing a Blog Post Doesn’t Have to be Hard

If this process seems intimidating, that’s okay. Writing, like everything else, gets easier with practice.

Final tips:

  • Don’t edit while you draft.
  • Don’t skip the dump draft.
  • If the post doesn’t flow right, try moving sentences or paragraphs around.
  • Do a final proofread before publishing.

Lastly, have fun with it. I know that sounds super corny, but it’s true. If you let yourself enjoy the process, your words will flow more freely. Blogging is a marketing tool, but it can also be a beautiful creative outlet!

 

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What should your first blog post be about?

What should your first blog post be about? - The Cafe Wordsmith

You’ve decided to start a blog to market your products and services. You’ve created your site with Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, or some other program, and now it’s time to actually publish something.

You stare at the blank page with the default “Hello world!” title, wondering what the heck to write.

You might wonder, does your first blog post even matter?

How can you start things off on the right foot?

My answer: Your first post DOES matter, but it’s nothing to stress about. Chances are, not many people will even read your first post, at least not at first. Blogging is meant to build an audience, and if you have no audience, that first post might not get much love right away.

I don’t say this to discourage you, but to liberate you! This is your time to experiment. You don’t have to get it perfect right off the bat, and you can always update that post later.

But you have to start somewhere. I’ll walk you through it.

 

Before you start your blog, make sure you have a few other things in place.

Before we get into your first post, I want to make sure you have your two things first:

Your about page. I’ve seen bloggers treat their first post like an about page while their actual about page is pretty sparse. The problem with that is that your first post gets buried in your site pretty quickly and your about page lives on your main menu bar (at least it should!). This is the most visited page on your site, and it serves as an introduction to your readers and tells them what you’re about and how you can help them.

A goal for your first post. If you want to show potential clients that you know what you’re doing, point to your opt-in, or start educating your audience, that’s great! If your goal is just to publish something to get over the first post jitters, that’s totally fine too. When you know the purpose of your first post, it’s so much easier to write.

We’ll talk about your about page in another post, so let’s talk about your goal for your first post and how you can accomplish that.

 

Here’s What Your First Blog Post Should Be About

So what is your goal? What do you want your first post to accomplish? Write that down first. It usually comes down to three things:

You want to get clients

You want to point readers to an opt-in or paid product.

You just want to get it over with so you can stop freaking out about it.

If you’re looking for clients:

If your blog is serving as a portfolio, just jump right out of the gate with a post that shows off your knowledge and why your audience should work with you.

When I first started my business, this was my goal, so one of my first blog posts was 6 Blogging Tasks You Can Outsource. It’s general enough to educate my audience but also specific enough that I can be like “Hey, I can handle all these tasks for you!”

If you want sales or signups:

Your first post can point people to a product, service,  email list opt-in.

This might be your reader’s very first step in their journey with you, so talk about something that would logically lead to your opt-in or product. Ideally, your reader will read/love your post and want to learn more, so the next logical step should be to sign up for your list and get your freebie!

To get ideas, ask yourself what your reader might need to know before they can use your offering. You can also blog about the same topic that your offering covers.

For example, you’re probably here because you want to learn about blogging. One of my early posts was called 5 Types of Blog Posts That Get You Sales because I knew my ideal reader (that’s you!) is interested in blogging. So at the end of the post, I included a link to my blog post checklist to help them use what they learned in that post.

If you just want to post SOMETHING so you can stop losing sleep:

Another great approach is to write about a pillar of what you do. This could mean writing about why your topic is important and how it can help your audience (i.e. Why Your Business Needs a Blog.)

So what is the basis of what you do? Are you a virtual assistant? A social media manager? An OBM? A health coach? Do you make personalized, handmade jewelry?

Write about what you do and how it can help your audience.

Examples: 

“Why personalized jewelry is the perfect gift.”

“Why hiring a health coach is the next step in your fitness journey.”

“How an OBM can take your business to the next level.”

Think something basic and powerful that teaches your audience what you do and how you can help them, but also educates them. That way, they can walk away with something of value even if they’re not ready to click “buy” yet.

The nice part about having a strong foundational article like this is that you can always refer back to it and link to it in other posts!

The main thing with a first blog post is to get over the fear of the blank page. It doesn’t have to win a Pulitzer. Do your best, but don’t get so stuck in your head that you don’t publish anything. And remember, you can always edit it later!

 

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