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January 23, 2014

How to Write a Blog Post in an Hour: 20 Tips From People Who've Done It

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timer-hourToday is a big day, people. Today is the day that skills are tested. That careers are made. A day when only the strong will survive.

Today, we write a blog post.

(Ahh!)

In an hour.

(AAAAAAAAHHHH!)

If you don't know about today's 1-hour blog challenge, you can read about it here. But in a nutshell, at 12:00 p.m. EST, a bunch of people (including us -- Ginny Soskey, more specifically) are going to sit down at our computers, write one blog post, and when 1:00 strikes, we're hitting publish. No matter how finished or not finished we are. (It's part of the fun -- and the competition!)

We'll be checking out all of the posts that get published -- so tweet yours with #blogfor30 -- and featuring the best later this afternoon on the blog.

But to help you out -- and to prove that writing a post in an hour is possible -- we asked some of our top partners to give you some advice on how to write a blog post in 60 minutes. And they all had to actually do it in just one hour, too (because we love being meta). So to get you prepped, here's the advice they had to give.

How to Write a Blog Post in an Hour: A Roundup of Advice

1) From Heather Sloan's Post on Inbound Insurance Marketing

"Maintain 'ready-to-go' research. Research is the biggest time drain of blogging. Here’s a better way: Every morning, as you scan through your email, save any articles that contain citable research."

2) From Gail Kent's Post on The Buzz Factoree

"Write your blog post directly into the blog software rather that into a word-processing software program. This will save you the extra step of having to transfer it into the blog."

3) From Steve Brown's Post on ROI Online

"Choose a topic you are interested in and knowledgeable about. If you have no idea how to cook and are known around the office for starting fires in the break room while heating up your Smart Ones, best not write a blog about cooking techniques. Stick to what you know."

4) From Eric Pratt's Post on Revenue River Marketing

"The best way to save time and create a better finished product is to start by outlining your points in bullets. Build your article framework top to bottom instead of left to right. Then, work back from the bottom to fill it in."

5) From Laura Hogan's Post on OverGo Studio

"I try to give people titles on the topic that they have the best knowledge on. Knowing what you’re talking about cuts down on time you need to do research and also helps the blog flow better if you can type from experience instead of solely research."

6) From Alisa Meredith's Post on Scalable Social Media

"Turn off chat programs, close email and Facebook, turn off Signal notifications, and silence your phone."

7) From Seth Fendley's Post on ClearPivot

"Think back to the week's events. Is there anything that stands out that could be turned into a blog article? If I feel like I can write a post that aligns with my company's marketing mindset, then I will go this route. In doing this, we will have a relevant blog post that is also timely."

8) From Alex Sobal's Post on Weidert Group

"Have an area you know you need to come back to? Highlight the text, and leave a note to make it stand out. Once you’ve finished your initial draft, go back and make those edits that have been eating at you."

9) From Dolly Howard's Post on SmartBug Media

"A clear and concise introduction that states the problem you are solving within the post is absolutely necessary. Don't spend too much time over-analyzing this though. You simply want to identify with your target audience and then get to the point. Stats are good to use here as well to establish authority on the subject matter."

10) From Luke Summerfield's Post on Savvy Panda

"One common trap (which I often fall victim to) is something we call 'Feature Creep.' This is a development term used when new ideas and features keep coming up and are added to the product. The problem is this draws out the production time and, next thing you know, you’re way over budget and over deadline.

This can also happen in your content you write. As you write it, more and more ideas pop into your head, and you feel like you need to add those in. All of a sudden, you’ve spent 3-4 hours on one blog that is now a staggering 1,500 words.

Keep your blogs very focused and to the point. Outline your blog, and stay disciplined on following that outline."

11) From Jared Broussard's Post on BlinkJar Media

"The most effective blogs use common, everyday words. By taking this authentic approach, you are not alienating any potential readers, and you are supporting your efforts to keep your blog time under an hour."

12) From Virginia Bussey's Post on LyntonWeb

"Coming up with your topic can often be the hardest part of writing a blog article. You can avoid the anxiety of picking a bad topic by speaking with your sales or customer support team -- the people who talk to potential and current customers."

13) From Carol Casey's Post on Marsden & Associates

"Don’t boil the ocean. Choose ONE aspect of a topic to write about. Get very granular on a methodology or 'how-to' type of blog. Avoid the temptation of explaining the whole surround."

14) From Jessica Thomas' Post on PCR Agency

"Finish with formatting. If you've got a good writing flow, there's no reason to interrupt it with the monotony of formatting. However, be sure to finish your post with this critical step."

15) From Eunice David's Post on Adhere Creative

"One of the things I have found very helpful in producing content quickly is knowing how I'd like to conclude. It's hard to start writing without a goal in mind. Knowing what point I want the readers to get by the end of my article helps me with a couple of things. It helps me channel my thoughts on the page to support my article as well as its purpose. It helps me filter and refine my ideas to a single purpose to keep my writing consistent. It helps me develop an effective outline."

16) From Britt Schwartz's Post on Impulse Creative

"Writing content, even more so when on a time constraint, can be tasking. Take one minute and walk away from your computer or put down the pen. Go grab a glass of water, stretch, and -- if you’re like me -- get a snack. This will help you come back to your writing with refreshed eyes and give you a clearer perspective of the blog as it is. DO NOT CHECK FACEBOOK OR TWITTER. You will lose your focus, because … squirrel."

17) From Victoria Hoffman's Post on Search Engine People

"Read over your post and correct any spelling, grammar, or 'flow' issues (I find that reading it out loud helps). If you're not confident with your writing, have someone on standby to do a quick read-over."

18) From Scott Yates' Post on BlogMutt

"An hour is a great goal for writing a post, so it’s good to think about it in terms of how you spend that hour. If you are researching something for 45 minutes, you won’t have enough time to get it done. Now, that may be okay -- maybe you can get two or three posts out of your research -- but be sure that what you are researching is solid enough to spark several ideas. If not, find the best bit of research you’ve gotten after 20 minutes, stop doing any more research, and start writing."

19) From Liz Levenson's Post on Sigma Web Marketing

"Remember to add in enough time to finalize the title, edit and review the post, and add at least one image. Maybe you need to try to write in 30 minutes to get the rest down in the second half of the hour."

20) Advice from me, who took more than an hour to write this post, but has written a lot of posts in an hour or less.

"Don't try to curate. It took me longer than an hour to write this post for a reason -- curation is really, really hard. While a list post is great due to the inherent structure it provides, the research alone will end up taking you about an hour. (If you're finding good examples, anyway.)"

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