Although it’s possible write a blog post in less than 60 minutes, almost half of small business owners say that writing one blog post takes one to three hours. Sixteen percent say that it takes at least three hours to create a single post, and much of that time can be attributed to conducting research. Finding research materials, reading various articles to understand differing perspectives, and forming solid arguments from all the information you find are among the most time-consuming tasks in business blogging. But, once you have conducted your research, the blog post comes together much more easily. Here are three quick tips you can use to streamline your blog post research so that you spend less time finding and reading, and more time writing and marketing.
Create a Folder in Your Email Inbox
Create a folder or label in your inbox specifically for any emails that include or link to facts, articles, newsletters, contact information, quotes; anything that you think you’ll need for a future blog post. In order for this folder to be effective in streamlining your blog post research; it can’t be designated as a catch-all for every single subscription email you get, since that won’t reduce the time you spend researching for your next post. What goes into this folder must be placed into it deliberately by you because that email contains information that you’d like to use or to refer to for a future blog post.
Find Enough Information to Write the Post, and Then Stop
To write a great blog post that’s backed by solid research, you don’t have to review every single source and reference for your topic. First, that’s probably not possible given the vast amount of information available online now. Second, you can overwhelm yourself by having too many options and examples, which only makes it harder to start writing because you won’t be able to decide what references to keep and what references to leave out. Third, if you overdo the research stage you end up wasting valuable time looking up references that you will ultimately cut out, when instead you could’ve started writing the blog post as soon as you had enough information to make your point effectively. Don’t keep researching because there’s a small chance you may have missed something. Stop once you have enough to start writing your blog post and move on to drafting the post.
How much information is enough? That depends on the topic, as well as the desired length of the blog post. However, if you find out that you don’t have enough information after you get halfway through the post, then you can always take the time to do additional research then. This is a much better use of time, because at this point it’s likely that you’ll know what kind of example you need to look for and that will help you focus and identify one quickly.
”Research” opportunities can appear at any time. For example, a conversation with a friend may expose you to a new book or blog relevant to your industry, which could be used as a valuable research tool for several upcoming blog posts. Or, you may be invited to a webinar that offers cutting-edge information about your field that you can repurpose for an upcoming post.
Blog post research doesn’t always have to be dedicated time set aside in your schedule. Opportunities and materials may present themselves to you at any time in a variety of formats, you just need to be prepared to capture them. The email folder from the first step of this article is one way of doing this, and apps like Evernote can help you organize other materials outside of your inbox as well.
As an expert in your industry, you may not always have to do blog post research. You may be writing about a topic you’ve written about before, or that you know so well all the information is in your head. However even as an expert you won’t always be able to write your entire post from memory. There will be times you have to check facts and figures to make sure they are accurate, or you may need to look for additional information to supplement what you already have in your mind. When these occasions arise, if you follow these three tips you will have a pool of information readily available to draw from that will make researching faster and more effective for your company. For additional tips, check out our article on how to improve your blog posts.
Have you come up with any tricks of your own to reduce the time you spend doing blog post research? If so, share your tips in the comments!