How to Create a Successful Blog: Batch Produce Your Posts

How to Create a Successful Blog: Batch Produce Your Posts

What does your blog post writing process look like?

For a lot of bloggers — whether they’re blogging on their own blog or as a freelancer — writing blog posts involves:

  • Struggling for an idea, under deadline pressure.
  • Leaping in without a plan.
  • Putting off writing a post altogether because it seems like such a huge task.                             
  • Getting distracted while editing, adding links or finding images

One great way to make writing blog posts easier and more enjoyable is to batch produce them.

Think of batch production in terms of cookies.

If you’re going to make a dozen cookies, you don’t do it like this:

  1. Check the recipe.
  2. Prepare ingredients for one cookie.
  3. Mix ingredients.
  4. Bake the cookie.
  5. Wash up your equipment.
  6. Repeat 11 more times.

That would be, clearly, a massive waste of time. Instead, you do it like this:

  1. Check the recipe.
  2. Prepare ingredients for 12 cookies.
  3. Mix ingredients for 12 cookies.
  4. Bake 12 cookies.
  5. Wash up all the equipment.

With blog posts, it’s similar.

You could get an idea for one post, plan one post, write one post…or, instead, batch similar tasks together so you’re producing lots of ideas and plans at once.

Yes, it takes a lot longer to complete 12 blog posts than it takes to bake 12 cookies.

You don’t necessarily have to create a “batch” at every stage of the process (in particular, you may only want to draft one or two posts at a time). Even if you can batch together just some of your writing tasks, you’ll find it makes your blogging life a whole lot easier.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Brainstorm lots of ideas

You don’t have to do this on paper, but I find it helps to get away from the screen. Sit down with a notebook and jot down all the ideas that come to you.

You might want to create a mindmap, use specific prompts, or whatever else works for you. I find  some of my best ideas come when I’m away from my usual work environment — so you may want to try leaving your desk and heading to a local coffee shop. (If you want to go beyond the coffee shop, check out some of these suggestions for new places to write.)

Allow 20 minutes for coming up with ideas.

Don’t worry about whether they’re any good or not…just write everything down.

Sometimes, a so-so idea can lead you to a brilliant one.

2. Create several blog post plans

Choose four or so of your best ideas and write a plan for each one. I’d suggest spending 5-10 minutes per plan.

In the plan, jot down:

  • The message or core idea of the post (you might want to try coming up with a title at this stage).
  • The key points or steps the post will cover.
  • Any thoughts about resources you might link to, experts you might quote, etc.
  • A “call to action” for the end of the post.

The great thing about creating plans ahead of time like this is that when you come to write, a lot of the work has already been done for you.

This makes drafting a post feel much less overwhelming.

3. Draft one (or more!) blog posts

Once you’ve got several plans in place, grab one and flesh it out into a full post.

This is the biggest single step of the process…but it should go smoothly if you have a solid idea and a clear plan in place before you start to write.

If you tend to get distracted while you write, try:

  • Switching off your internet connection. If you need to look up a fact or figure… don’t. Just pop a note in the document and come back to it when you edit.
  • Writing in timed bursts. You might try Pomodoros (25 minutes writing, five minutes break) or  set a timer for however long you think it should take you to finish the draft. While the timer is ticking away, you’re writing.
  • Listening to music through noise-cancelling headphones. I find this hugely helpful in blocking out distracting noises (especially when I’m working in a coffee shop or library and other people are moving around and chatting).
  • Find an app that helps you to stay focused. It could be a timer, a distraction-blocker, a time tracker like RescueTime, or something that plays sound/music that helps you concentrate.

4. Edit several blog posts

If time permits, write three or four blog posts before you edit.

The “editing” mindset is quite different from the “writing” one, and you may find that once you get into the swing of editing, it becomes easier to spot your overused words and clunky phrasings.

The other big advantage to editing several posts at once is that it makes it easy to create connections and links between them…or to avoid inadvertently making them too similar.

5. Find (and edit) images for your posts

Do you ever spend more time than you’d like to admit trying to find the perfect image for your post?

By seeking images for several posts at once, you’ll likely find it’s a quicker process. Maybe something that comes up isn’t quite right for the post that you had in mind … but it’ll be perfect for a different one on your list.

If you create branded images for your blog, it’s generally quicker to make several at once: that way, you don’t have to repeatedly open up your image-editing software and set up the right colors and so on.

One great benefit of batching your blog post writing tasks like this is that you’ll be able to make better use of the ups and downs of creative energy.

When you’re feeling keen to explore ideas and come up with high-level plans, you can work on those stages of the production process.

When you’re feeling focused and creative, you can write — without thinking about everything else.

When you’re in a more critical, analytic mode, you can do lots of edits at once.

When you’re having a bit of a slump, you can do some of the more mundane bits of blog post production — like finding and editing images.

You’ll also be able to take advantage of bits of time when you’re not at your computer: ideas can easily be jotted down in a notebook, as can plans…and if you print out your drafts in advance, you can edit anywhere too.

If you’ve not tried batch production before, set aside some time to give it a go during the next week. I’d suggest:

  • Spend one 20 minute session generating ideas for your blog (or your client’s blog).
  • Spend another 30 minute session outlining at least four posts, draw from those ideas.

Investing less than an hour in this way will make it so much easier to get your next four posts written.

Have you tried batch producing blog posts? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

Filed Under: Blogging
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15 comments

  • daisynosh says:

    Good Post…!!!

    Thank you

  • Excellent advice about streamlining the blog-writing process.

    I’d like to add another task that can be done in batches for the sake of efficiency, one that really should be built into your workflow in one way or another: Having a fresh set of eyes read each post sometime before it goes live.

    Some bloggers have the good fortune of having a good friend or family member with an eye for detail who will do this for free, and others are able to arrange a trade with another blogger to read each other’s posts. If you can send the posts in batches, they can perform this favor for you with fewer disruptions to their own schedule.

    However, not everyone is a born editor, or knows one willing to do this work (and it is work) for love rather than money. Many professional editors, including myself, will perform this task at surprisingly reasonable rates. It’s a short gig we can always fit between book manuscripts, and it gives us a chance to get to know a writer and his or her work.

    If you are starting to work out a batch processing method for many of the other steps in your blogging, I suggest that you reach out to an editor you always thought you might like to work with and see if you can negotiate a rate that is fair to both of you for X number of blog posts.

    Remember, your blog is an online portfolio that potential clients will use to judge your ability as a writer. It can make or break a writer’s career. You need to take it as seriously as you would any other writing assignment.

    I wish you all success!

    Trish O’Connor
    Epiclesis Consulting LLC
    Editorial Services and Writer’s Resources
    epiclesisconsulting.com

    • Ali Luke says:

      Great addition, Trish. I think an extra pair of eyes is always worthwhile — it’s something I particularly advise for cornerstone content or for important guest posts.

      I think most readers are forgiving of an occasional error, but I have seen some quite high-profile blogs publish posts riddled with typos … and it doesn’t look good.

  • ev nittel says:

    Good ideas! It would probably make just as much sense to batch associated social media promotion tasks for the bundled blog posts.

    • Ali Luke says:

      Absolutely! I batch my Twitter posts using Buffer — and there are plenty of other apps you can use to streamline your social media activity too.

  • Colin says:

    Pre-planning by jotting down ideas is sensible advice. Blogs need to be managed, but also engage the reader, without over complication. Good editing technique is a requirement and requires tenacity of purpose. The ability to compose an interesting blog is a needed ability for those of us who promote novels, short stories or poems online. Thanks very much for the useful recommendations and advice.

  • Anish Sah says:

    Excellenet Post! 2017 is content driven, and it’s very important to write blog posts that are meaningful and meant to serve people.

  • Tamara says:

    I’ve done some kind of batch writing posts for this year’s A-Z challenge. I had a theme, and several posts had connections to each other, so I basically wrote them (well, a raw version) all in one go.

  • Megan Sharma says:

    This is a fantastic post, Ali! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  • Tina Marie says:

    I write in 30 minute bursts, spaced between reading and research tasks. I use the timer on my cell phone. This has been really helpful in keeping me focused. I also brainstorm a certain amount of posts in each category before I start writing. When I go to my list later, I start out with blog posts that may require the least amount of research, so that I know I won’t be faced with blocks when I do sit down to write. The posts that require more research, I can do in bursts as well, so that when I get to that post, much of the work is done.

  • Firman says:

    Awesome post, Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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