AKA: What I Learned from Writing over 2,200 Blog Posts and Generating Millions of Dollars Through Blogging

Spoiler alert: when you write over 2,200 blog posts in less than 10 years, you learn a thing or two about how to write better blog content faster. In case it’s not clear, that’s what I did from late 2010 through this year.

Can we call out the elephant in the room? Reports on the death of blogging are greatly exaggerated. Blogging is alive and well and you may be surprised to see a swing back to more popularity with blogging over the next five years for three key reasons:

  1. Approximately 7.8% of the world’s population relies on reading/writing as their preferred learning style. With the world population at 7,808,381,876 as of right now(happy birthday to someone), that calculates to roughly 609,053,786 people who have little to no interest in learning from video or audio content.
  2. The inundation of audio and video content on audiences around the world is actually creating AV fatigue. Your audience doesn’t want more flickering pixels — they want something truly fresh.
  3. It’s easier than ever to create content and most content hitting your audience’s screens is lousy content. Anyone can whip out a phone, go live or record some video, and then launch that video into the wild. It takes true craftsmanship to produce a high-quality written piece of content that satisfies your audience’s palate.

Re-enter blogging. With the pendulum swinging back to embrace written content, how do you get on the front of this new wave of blogging?

First, we need to recognize blogging can become a huge time commitment. Orbit Media recently published its annual blogging survey of over 1,000 regular bloggers. Did you know that the average blog post takes three hours and 57 minutes to write? That’s an insane amount of time for anyone to take for one blog post, especially overdriven entrepreneurs trying to create any sort of momentum with their business. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I’m going to share with you how to create great blog content in a fraction of the time. Even if you’re already crunched for time, don’t have any idea what to write about, or hate writing, this is for you.

Tip #1: Focus your research.

Research is like leg day: it’s not sexy. It’s not exciting. However, it’s the single best advantage you will have over others in your industry trying to create great blog content. What many bloggers try to do is jump into research like it’s a float trip down the river: let’s just see what we come across. No, you have to focus your research. Set a timer for 30 minutes or an hour and use sites like answerthepublic.comSEMRush.com, and Moz.com to start your research using keywords important to you, your audience, and your industry.

When doing research on what to write, create a space for collecting ideas. That could be in a note writing app, such as Evernote, or in a simple spreadsheet, like Google Sheets. The goal is to have one reliable place for storing your ideas for blog content. With a focused approach to research and a collecting point, you can be far more productive with your time. Most importantly, it creates source content for adding links to strengthen your content’s credibility.

Tip #2: Obsess over having only one big idea.

Before you write anything else, identify a single big idea for your blog post. If it’s “You can lose 10 pounds in two weeks,” focus on that one idea. There will be other details competing for attention: diet changes, exercise requirements, schedule shifts, etc. A blog post about five ways to lose 10 pounds in two weeks can quickly turn too much attention on one of those five ways. Those can all be subideas inside your blog post, but those aren’t the one big idea: losing 10 pounds in two weeks.

One of the biggest time-wasters I experienced with blogging is creating content that doesn’t align with the one big idea. Tame your tangents and obsess over your one big idea. The more you deviate from your one big idea, the harder it is for your readers to follow along. Better alignment with one big idea means a stronger, more succinct message.

Focus on one big idea. It will be automatically better for your audience.

If you’d like to get better results with your message than ever before, take the first step here.

Tip #3: Create (and follow) a blogging framework.

Starting each blog post from scratch is an awful strategy. If you want to create better blog content in less time, you need a framework for writing your blog posts. Here’s one example of a basic working outline for blog posts:

  • Introduce your one big idea
  • Personal story/research/data to contextualize your one big idea
  • Subpoint 1 to reinforce your one big idea
  • Subpoint 2 to reinforce your one big idea
  • Subpoint 3 to reinforce your one big idea
  • Conclusion with Call to Action (CTA)

Use this outline or create your own. Whatever you decide to do, create a template for your blog posts and stick to it. Starting with a blank screen each time is a recipe for disaster if you’re not that experienced with blogging.

Tip #4: Block your time and protect it.

If it’s not on your calendar, it’s not on your priority list. Disagree with that or not, the reality is you make time for matters more to you. If creating blog content is on your calendar, that makes it more of a priority.

That said, no, I don’t recommend blocking out three hours and 57 minutes every week. Start by blocking now more than an hour. If you’re already crunched for time, then block out only 30 minutes. Write over your lunch break if needed. Protect that time as much as possible and use that time only for creating your content.

Tip #5: Just get something on the screen!

What if you hate writing? Use a talk-to-text feature such as the one in Google Docs. Just hit record, talk out loud for five minutes, and stop recording. You can edit the ‘transcript’ from there, but at least you got something on the screen. The blank screen of death is a giant time vacuum. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but with some practice, you may love the ease of ‘writing’ new blog content.

Tip #6: Edit your work.

The challenge is not using that whole block of time for just writing. You need to edit your work more than you realize. Writing without editing is sloppy and makes your work read like a diary. No, thanks. You need writing and editing to create great content for your audience.

Divide your block of time into writing and editing. If you blocked an hour for creating blog content, spend 40 minutes writing and then 20 minutes editing. That ratio may be off depending on your personality, writing style, and time commitment. Find what works for you.

Tip #7: Write for Your Audience’s Direct Benefit.

The fastest, most effective way to create better blog content is to focus on serving your reader’s needs. Blogging isn’t about just getting your thoughts out there. It’s about directing your expertise towards solving a felt need in your audience. Don’t write for yourself — that’s called a diary. Write to someone else’s interests: the person you want to serve.

You need to abandon your ego for your audience’s benefit. You may write a section or even a full blog post that you love, but if it doesn’t actually serve your audience, cut it out. You can save anything to write, but you don’t have to publish everything you write. Not everything that I put on my screen is supposed to stay on the screen for the reader.

Those are seven solid tips I’ve seen work over and over again to create stronger, more engaging blog content across 40+ industries. Pick one or two (or all seven) and implement it for your next 20 blog posts. Find what works for you and obsess over serving your readers. They will love you for your hard work.

If you’d like to get better results with your message than ever before, take the first step here.