Every blog writer has a unique skill set. Some of us have an amazing ability to get the right words into our content in the first draft. Others are brilliant researchers. When it comes to the tasks that are involved, we all have our personal preferences. Still, we all have one thing in common when it comes to blog creation: we need ways to be efficient so we can publish as many high-quality blogs as possible.
Efficiency requires you to develop a workable process. While no single set of steps is likely to be equally effective for all writers, every writer should continuously seek ways to reduce mundane, laborious activities while increasing the flow of ideas, accuracy — and enjoyment for both the writer and reader.
Developing a Personal Process For Efficient Blog Creation
Examine All Parts of Your Writing Experience
Few bloggers simply sit down and write perfect prose on the first pass. You probably agree that each piece involves multiple tasks, from finding ideas to publishing final content.
Develop a Method for Idea Development
There are countless sources of inspiration, but ideas don’t always hit you while you’re sitting at the computer to write them down. Over time, you should find a repeatable process for issues related to idea development.
Regardless of how many subjects you cover, you will find great comfort in having some standardized sources and methods for revealing great article ideas. Internet searches are likely to be a top choice, while many people get brainstorms from news reports. Others take advantage of free newsletter subscriptions to get their creative juices flowing.
Unfortunately, sudden inspirations can get lost when you have no immediate way to jot them down, so you have to develop reliable ways to save them instantly. Smart phone recordings provide a great method for retaining ideas, no matter where you are. You can use the recording app to say a few words while driving (hands-free, of course). You can even record when the light bulb goes off in the shower, as long as a nearby towel lets you keep your phone dry.
The bottom line is that inspiration is a vital tool for bloggers that becomes more reliable when you find ways to partially automate the process, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Use the Writing and Business Tools That Work Best For You
Blogging requires efficiency. You want to spend more time on the creative aspects of your work, and less time dealing with cumbersome writing and business tools.
While many software packages and devices provide amazing features, your ability to use them effectively depends largely on how your mind works — and what operations seem intuitive to you. Consider smart phones. On the surface, they appear very similar, but actual operations can be very different. Without preliminary testing before buying, you may struggle to use them effectively.
Word processing (WP) software is probably the tool that you’ll use most often, so pick something that lets your mind focus on writing, rather than figuring out how to get your words on the screen. Intuitive style sheets and macros are two options that make formatting and repetitive tasks a breeze, as long as you can use them without running to the online help.
Of course, today’s WP software typically comes complete with spelling and grammar checkers. For greater accuracy, however, you might consider looking for external tools that can help create flawless writing.
Business tools are equally important. You need the right software to easily track money flowing in and out of your business and file your taxes based on accurate numbers. Additionally, if you are running a business that requires contracts between you and your clients, you’ll probably find that you need to fax contracts from time to time. Rather than buy a physical fax machine, consider looking for an online fax alternative that lets you handle this task easily.
When shopping for tools, always remember that the right features won’t help if you find them cumbersome or confusing. If you can try before you buy, you have the best opportunity to ensure the best choices for you. When trials are not possible, however, try to find an online user manual that you can review prior to buying.
Become Proficient at Identifying and Using Research
The Internet makes it easy to conduct research, but contrary to the popular joke, information found on the Internet is not necessarily true. You need to develop efficient methods for selecting and using your sources while choosing source material that is reliable.
- Use sources that you recognize: Health information found on the Mayo Clinic’s website is more trustworthy than facts discovered on a site called Bob’s Odd Ways to Stay Healthy.
- Verify facts and statistics on multiple sites: When you find data on a site that you don’t recognize, continue your search until you find the same facts on several sites. Hopefully, those sites don’t use each other for their information.
- Find the most recently-available information: Whenever possible, favor research that is dated within the past year or two. Even scientific “facts” can change over time.
Make Legal Considerations a Habit
In addition to dealing with contract and tax issues, There are two legal risks of publishing your writing. The first is learning how to habitually avoid unintentionally plagiarizing information obtained from your research. The other is facing charges of libel, which can arise if you happen name certain individuals in less-than-glowing terms.
In today’s litigious society, any writer can face false charges regardless of their degree of care. One way to reduce your chances, however, is to pay close attention to the research you do. This includes the above research tips, but it’s equally important to thoroughly verify any information obtained from interview sources as well.
Naturally, you might also have your words stolen, and becoming the target of a libelous rant is not out of the question, so your process might include ways to monitor the writing of other people, as well. You may not completely avoid the need for a good lawyer, but you should also educate yourself on important legal issues. By internalizing that knowledge, protecting yourself will become automatic.
Choose the Most Efficient Publishing Tools
Whenever you have the option of choosing your publishing tool, look for something that makes the publication process as painless as possible, preferably one that allows you to transfer formatted text directly from your WP documents. Link-editing tools should be intuitive to use, and the ability to preview before publishing is very helpful.
Don’t forget to consider process when making this important decision. For example, WordPress is probably the most popular tool for creating websites and publishing content, and it lets you choose posting-related roles that others can perform. This feature leaves you free to spend more time writing blogs.
An Open Mind Creates an Ever-Evolving Personal Process
Don’t expect any well-defined process to last forever. Not only do the tools change in unexpected ways, but the standards that you follow to write your content are in a constant state of flux. Marketing strategies evolve and search engines alter the rules used to elevate the search results in the list so you need to remain flexible.
The right mindset will help you to remain efficient regardless of necessary changes. Train your brain to remain constantly open to process development, and you will quickly alter your process to keep improving over time.