I’ve been reading an ebook on productivity by a well-known marketer. His system came highly recommended, and I’m always interested in being more productive.
One of his recommendations stopped me cold.
Taking too long to write a blog post? Set a deadline – say, ten minutes. Write as much as you can in ten minutes. Then take whatever you’ve got and send it out.
That’s scary. Sometimes I write a paragraph and realize it’s total nonsense. Or I realize the post is moving in a direction that won’t appeal to my readers.
Even more, people have different writing styles. My first drafts tend to be pretty awful. I might write a first draft in ten minutes but my best insights will come halfway through…and there goes the timer.
What is your work style?
Some writers work better when they’re forced to put words on paper. Others, like me, can put down words, but half the time they’re garbage and end up being tossed.
What is your story archetype?
Some business owners can get by with a blog post that states “old” material in a new way. Some send out short messages filled with free and low-cost offers. Some send long messages but less frequently.
That’s why I’m suspicious of products that promise to give you blog post templates. They may help you get started, but you’ll inevitably have to modify when you’re ready to put the final touches on your email message or post.
If you spend more time writing, are you doomed to be unproductive?
No way – here are 3 ways to rethink productivity:
1 – Use each piece of content at least 3 times.
So you spend 30 minutes on a blog post but use it in 3 places – that’s 10 minutes per placement. A half-baked blog post won’t get much traction.
2. – Save time by structuring your post with a story.
You can use the “Dear Abby” problem-solving style, the step-by-step narrative, or the “two guys” story. Once you’ve got the structure, the post practically writes itself.
3 – Evaluate productivity by ROI, not input.
When you present an original framework or solution, you may need extra time to develop your concept the first few times you write about it. Yet this piece of writing will generate more shares and comments than a run-of-the-mill cookie cutter post.
One successful business owner, an Educator archetype, sends out one long email each week. I’m sure it takes a long time to write, but the content tends to be powerful. I spend more time reading her posts. Sometimes I write a response. She’s built up a huge reservoir of credibility.
A copywriter spends 20 or more hours on what he calls “epic” posts – memorable content that encourages visitors to spend more time on his website.
After all, when you review your investment portfolio, you look at returns – not inputs. Why not do the same with your content creation?
Bottom Line: To be most productive, discover your own work style. The type of content you create may require more than 10 minutes. It’s not about spending 10 minutes vs 45 minutes on a blog post. It’s not about spending too much or too little time on a blog post; it’s about writing a post that reinforces your brand and attracts more clients.