In my contest (running until May 30th), I ask everyone who doesn’t have a blog why they don’t. It turns out most people say they can’t find time to blog – even though most people in the digital marketing space want to blog.
Most of us know the tremendous, opportunity-catalyzer impact that blogging can have (check out what I’ve written about it for personal blogs and job opportunities).
Even though we all have those 24 hours per day, how come some people manage to get much more done? Like have a full-time job, kids and at the same time find time to blog? How the hell did I write 33+ weekly blog posts in a row?
We’re all overwhelmed by way too many things, but I find that people who succeed, bloggers included, all have something in common: priorities.
Given the right ones and a good system in place, everyone can find time to blog! Current bloggers can also become more efficient.
Let’s see how to find time to blog:
Step 1: Priorities & Goals
Like with most things, if blogging is not a priority for you then you won’t do it. Same goes if you have not goals, you will get discouraged and stop.
Starting to blog is not the hard part, it’s staying consistent about it in the long run.
Make your Blog a Priority in your Life
One can only have so many projects going on at the same time. If you’re serious about blogging, it should be one of your top projects. I consider my blog as a company with its own revenues, resources & time appetite.
If you’re not ready to include your existing or new blog among your top priorities, forget it you will never find time to blog.
Have Priorities & Goals for your Blog
The next logical step is to have a vision for your blog and based upon it, a clear focus for your current blog’s life phase.
Do you want to attract new leads for your startup? Or do you plan on releasing a paid ebook or online course? Your vision is yours, but you should have one! It is also what will help you find time to blog.
Let’s see how it could look like:
- A brand new blog
If you’re only thinking of blogging, your priorities should be 1) creating your branded website (you might want to check my blog about how to create and set up a new blog How to Start & Setup your WordPress Blog from A to Z, a Step-by-Step Guide) 2) creating lots and lots of content.
- A growing blog
Have a defined timeline for your blog and break down goals
Everything should look clearer at that point. Now, it’s time to set a timeline for your blog: what do want to accomplish in what timeframe?
“How can you achieve your 10-year plan in the next 6 months?” – Peter Thiel
Breaking down your objectives into smaller tasks is always a good practice to make them more achievable and work backward to them.
If you want 1000 unique visitors per month, how are you going to get them? How many via each channel? How many will convert? Working backward will force you to get very specific and really think things through.
That’s how we got 28’000 participants for our viral app launch contest at Yellow Pages!
Step 2: Decide What you Will or Won’t Do
Often, new bloggers think they have to do everything themselves. You don’t (and shouldn’t) have to do all of it on your own. Else you won’t be able to find time to blog as you will be too busy polishing your design or something like that.
If you have enough resources to outsource some of your blogging tasks, don’t hesitate to pay a developer 1 hour instead of wasting two days fixing a bug or having someone helping you with your blog posts promotion process and so on.
If you don’t, friends can help as well! For instance, most of my blog posts are proofread by friends, my sister helped me with my branding and some friends wrote some guest posts.
You’re in power when it comes to what you do versus what you automate or outsource. If you want some more guidance about how you should treat your tasks, my article about Total Automation: The Time-saving Power of Automating your Life can help.
My general guidelines about this are
- Automate only what works and what you can automate
And you’re in luck; automation is my passion! Below are blog posts about how I automate blog-related processes:
For anything else, IFTTT & Zapier can do wonders by connecting different services & apps together to perform tasks for you. For instance, I use Zapier to make sure MailChimp sends you your contest referral link after filling the google form survey!
- For what’s left, decide what high value-added activities your should be doing (you’re good at) or enjoy performing
That’s how you can decide what you will do yourself (writing blog posts for instance) or outsource (let’s say transcribe your interviews).
Congratulations, you have your winning system!
Step 3: Optimize your Actual Blogging Time
Now that you know what’s automated, what you outsource and what you do yourself it’s time to optimize the time you actually find and spend on blogging. Note that your automation & outsourcing will also have to be optimized along the way, especially at the very beginning.
What’s left is optimizing the time you spend working on writing your blog posts and, more generally, activities/tasks you’ve kept for yourself.
We’ll get more into writing blog posts here but for anything else, I highly recommend you read my article sharing 40 Productivity Hacks, Habits & Shortcuts.
When it comes to consistently writing blog posts, I have put together a foolproof method ensuring anyone following it writes at a set frequency (It’s been nearly weekly for me for about 32 blog posts). Not only does it give you a clear and non-negotiable timeframe to work with, but it you promise your audience they will get a blog post a week, you have to write it.
All of it is detailed in my How To Blog Consistently Without Killing Yourself article and goes like this:
- Understanding how to blog in your case and hack your brain to blog efficiently
- Why and how to break down your writing process into 3 steps:
- Topic selection, plan and research
- Proofreading and promotion
- Why and how to block time to make it work
For instance, I’m writing this blog post from the van between Vientiane and Vang Vieng in Laos. It’s the monsoon, the driver is a madman, and we’re on sand roads but I’m here blogging. That’s how committed I am. You can always find time to blog.
Step 4: Have an Editorial & Creative Strategy
Your system is now in place, time to use it and make it yours. But like every system, it needs fuel to be powered. When it comes to blogging, that fuel is a mix of creativity, inspiration & time. Creativity to come up with blog posts & images, inspiration to write 1500 words blog posts & time to get the work done.
We’ve already seen how to hack time, now let’s tackle inspiration & creativity.
When you have to blog week after week, even if you follow your blogging schedule religiously, sometimes you will lack inspiration, or you won’t be sure what to blog about. You might even feel more in a rush and choose wrong topics. This is the reason why bloggers use editorial calendars and have systems in place to generate new blog posts ideas. It also allows bloggers to always be one (or several) steps ahead regarding what content is next on their blogs.
Aware that this is a recurring issue among bloggers, I’ve written an in-depth article about how to come up with blog post articles (hint: by asking your readers) without having a panic attack.
Talk about a foolproof blogging system: clear tasks at blocked out times off your schedule with pre-defined blog post topics!
Leave Time for Creativity
You might be thinking “OK I get it, it’s all about systems but what about creativity?” and you’re completely right! For too long I’ve had a tendency to be too much in the process of blogging or else to the point that I don’t take time to think whether it’s about strategy, a blog post’s structure, etc.
I’ve since realized my mistake: it’s really important to leave room for creativity. I can be some time off now and then (think blogging vacations) or incorporating some of that free time to think inside your blog schedule. For instance, my blogging process is composed of 3 steps that I do at different times so that I have breaks between them and can reflect on the past one and think about the next one(s).
Almost every smart individual wants to blog in 2017 because they grasp the incredible opportunities & business that can come from blogging.
And most people who start their blog set themselves for failure by lacking a real vision and system to not only launch their blog, but stay consistent at it over the long run. More importantly, it’s about how to find time to blog.
With the content of this blog post, I believe you have every thought process, systems, and the right attitude to be successful at blogging consistently.
Here is what we’ve seen:
- Step 1: Your blog must be a priority, have clear goals and timeline
- Step 2: Save some time by automating or outsourcing some of it
- Step 3: Make the most of the time YOU spend blogging
- Step 4: Be future-proof with an editorial and creative strategy
BLOGGERS & NEW BLOGGERS, WHAT OTHER TECHNIQUES HAVE YOU USED SUCCESSFULLY OR PLAN ON USING?