In the spirit of efficiency, let's get right to it:
Keep a list of topic ideas with you at all times. Have you faced an obstacle while trying to complete a project? Did something funny happen to you on your way to the Monday morning meeting? Write about it. Even better, did something happen to you while standing in line at the grocery that made you think, “There’s got to be a better way to do that.” Blog topics are all around you, so make sure you capture these topics at the moment you think of them. Nothing sucks up more time than searching online for a new article idea that will resonate immediately with you and your audience. Not every post you publish has to give profound insight into an industry specific issue. Finding topics to write about is as easy as keeping a grocery list.
Edit, but don’t obsess. A blog post should be grammatically correct and free of typos, but it doesn’t have to be literary perfection. If a three-paragraph post takes you more than an hour to revise and edit, then you’re probably spending too much time on it. My rule: Write it, spellcheck, take a break, re-read it for typos, then publish. If you are more concerned about writing quality than I am you can add a step where someone else reviews it as well. I'm a big believer that decent writing and great content is better than the other way around.
Readers love bullets, lists, and numbers. Remember, it’s a blog post, not an article for the Harvard Law Review. Keep it short and to the point and keep your content easy to read. Numbered lists (like, say, Five Tips for Efficient Blogging) pull readers in because they know from the start how much content you plan on covering. Bulleted lists are also a visual cue that your content will not take forever to read.
Finding links the easy way. Reporters will do a lot of research before writing an article. This is time consuming, but they will also have a lot of additional resources to point someone towards once they write the article. But, for blogging, sometimes the chicken can come before the egg when linking is concerned. If you have a specific topic you want to cover, it's usually faster to write your content first before finding relevant links to include. Once you have the article, you can search for other blog articles and resources to use for links if you want.
Respond to comments only when appropriate. Responding to your reader comments is crucial if you want to keep and grow your audience. But it’s difficult to maintain a sense of efficiency if you’re trying to respond to every single comment from every post. Three quick questions to consider before responding to every comment: Is it a legitimate question regarding your post, company, or product? Do you they make a false statement that needs clarification? Is the comment from a loyal reader who comments on a regular basis? Depending on your readership, responding to comments may become an overwhelming task. Certainly, you need to be an active part of the commenting on your own blog. But you do not need to respond to every comment. In many cases the article you wrote is your response.
Originally published Jan 31, 2008 2:58:00 PM, updated July 28 2017