I know writing a blog can require so much motivation to keep going each week. Other people seem to do it so easily, but when you really sit down to write, you realize there’s so much to the process than you ever thought.
Do these questions pop up to your mind every now and then?
- How do I come up with blog post ideas when everything seems to be written about already?
- How do I structure each post? I seem to get distracted by having so many tabs open; how do I stay focused?
- Now after my brain dump, how do I edit my work?
- Woah, after writing my posts, now I need to design pins and social posts to go out with it?
- Do you find the formatting and publishing process tedious too?
For me, I realize these are the basic five stages of writing a blog post.
- Blog post ideation (or research) mode
- Blog post writing (or brain dump) mode
- Blog post editing (or refining) mode
- Blog post design mode
- Blog post publishing mode (phew, yay finally done!)
I’ve tried many ways to stay motivated to write and have tried different processes over time. This one so far has kept me the most productive. At the end of the day, I’ll still have to create the content. But “batching” has helped me create enough content that lasts for months when all I have to do is write for 1-2 weeks straight.
The only requirement before writing is to make sure you really care and like about the topic you write about. Otherwise, this whole process will be a chore to you. I personally, only love the actual writing (aka “brain dump”) stage and that’s the core motivation behind every blog I’ve started. And that’s to get everything off my head, but at the same time help someone.
If you’re on my email list, you probably have heard me talk about this before (oh hey!), but this is the official blog post for it. I’ll go more into detail here. If you haven’t joined the list, don’t forget to sign up!
I’ll also share with you the tools I use along each stage because those really help me streamline my workflow.
#1 Ideating Mode – Google Search/ Pinterest/ Trello
This is also known as the research mode. A while ago, someone asked me if I do my research before I write. I do sometimes, but not always. The majority of posts written on this blog is written after research, meaning:
- I search to make sure it was something people search for on Google or Pinterest
- I see if it’s a topic other people have written about
- I also use outside examples to support some of the points I talk about (other times I talk from personal experience)
Overall, I prefer researching to see if it’s a hot topic. I usually go for keywords with at least 1,000+ monthly searches. I love using KWFinder and Google Keyword Planner for this.
When I do my fair share of research, my posts tend to be more popular and it gets more clicks. An example of this is “11 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Blog and Why No One Is Reading It.” The post name also sparks curiosity because people want to know what they’re doing wrong on their blogs — and then fix it.
I do this by going on Pinterest and type in a blog topic I want to talk about and see what keywords pop up. For example, when I decided to write this post, I typed in “blog writing” to see if it was something people searched for.
The answer came back positive so I added the idea to my Trello board list. I have an entire list on Trello about blog post ideas. After I get about 10 blog post ideas, I start picking out the one I feel like writing most.
Note: Sometimes I trash a blog post idea or save it for later because I either don’t feel like writing about it or want to gather more data to back up my point.
The only thing I wouldn’t do here is to research for one topic and then go ahead and write it immediately. For me, my goal is batch about 9-10 blog post ideas and have enough content for 9-10 weeks. If you post once a week, you have 10 weeks worth of content done. If you post twice a week, you have 5 weeks worth of content.
Ultimately, the number doesn’t really matter, but since our goal is to “batch” here, you want as many ideas as possible. I spend about 1 hour or so just coming up with ideas on Pinterest or Google search. I usually don’t dive into writing until the next day.
#2 Writing Mode – Google Docs
Before I started this “batching” process, I use to set aside one day each week just for writing. Now that I compare my old process to this batching routine, I realized how much time falls through the cracks just by switching between these five modes.
I use to set Saturdays as my writing day and researched, wrote, edited, designed, and scheduled for publishing all in one day. By the end, it usually took 5-6 hours for the whole process for a post that’s 1000-2000 words.
Not too bad huh? I hear it’s about the same for some people too.
But the thing with that was… I only had enough content for the upcoming week!
That means I would need to repeat the same process the next week.
And the next.
And the next.
And the next.
And it just seems like a hamster wheel. The worst feeling was that I never felt good about having just enough content.
But with “batching” I can have enough content for 2-3 months, depending on how much I push out.
I also don’t feel rushed or tired after writing. I actually feel productive because I’m taking small steps every day.
So how long does it take me to write one blog post?
I can usually do the brain dump in 1-2 hour if I was writing something less than 2000 words. Most of my posts are at least 1000 words, but I love it when I can get to the 2500+ words point.
I usually write one post if it’s a weekday and two posts if it’s a weekend. If I write seven days a week, that means I will have 9 posts after the end of the week.
Now after one week, you have 9 weeks worth of content. That’s a little more than 2 months of worth of content.
Now it may sound a little hardcore if you’re not used to writing, but writing like many sports is a muscle you can flex. You get better at it the more you do it. And if you want to get better at it, you need to do it consistently so your mind gets used to it. And when you’re writing 7 days a week with at least 1000 words, that’s as consistent as you can get.
Of course, there’s no right or wrong number of days you can consistently write. I switch mine up. But just so you know, the more you write, the more future content you would have ready to drip out to your audience.
So where do you write your posts?
I use to use Evernote, but I have all my digital assets on Google docs now. The system is so user-friendly that I’m hooked!
#3 Editing Mode – Hemingway App
I’m not going to go too deep into this only because I’ve already written an entire post on how to edit your blog posts. My goal is to make my posts conversational and “flow like the river.”
Don’t forget, I don’t start the editing phase until I have a handful of posts written — 10 is a good number.
But to sum it up, I use these tools to edit my post:
#4 Designing Mode – Canva
Now at this point, I put on my designer hat and hop on over to Canva to create my pins and post. For every post, I create at least one pin and one Twitter post. The Twitter post also doubles as my top featured image.
Since you want all your designs to be branded, designing on Canva is super quick. Once you have locked down your brand fonts, colors, and pin sizes, I literally create a copy of my finished pin and use that as a template for the next pin.
Do this 10x for 10 different posts and it’s probably going to take 1-2 hours max.
#5 Publishing Mode – WordPress
We are finally down to the publishing mode!
This part isn’t challenging, just tedious.
I use WordPress and here are the basic steps I take:
- Format my post (headings are important for SEO!)
- SEO-ify my post using the Yoast plugin
- Schedule a date and time for the post to go out (I usually go with 6:00 AM, but you can also check your WordPress stats to see what time has the highest interaction on your blog)
- Use Optimizilla to decompress my image sizes for faster page load before uploading ‘em to WordPress
And voila! That’s it.
So these are the five modes of “batching” blog posts so I don’t have to switch between 5 different tasks and modes each time I sit down to write. Most importantly, I can have enough content to go out for the next two months without worrying about next week’s content. It keeps me sane and more productive.
You will also realize that with each mode, I only have 1-2 tabs open to avoid getting caught into the 20+ tabs open dilemma. Let’s take a look:
- Blog post research – Pinterest or Google search → Trello
- Blog post writing – Google docs
- Blog post editing – Google docs or Hemingway app
- Blog post design – Canva
- Blog post publish – WordPress
Now having 20 tabs open makes it seem like you’re doing a lot, but is that really the deal?
Now there’s no shortcut around blogging. You must create helpful content, but if you realize that writing isn’t your jam, I shared with you how to start a blog without writing.