When writing online content there is nothing more detrimental to productivity than having too much going at the same time. This is especially true if you are a typical blogger who has Twitter, Facebook open in separate windows while you are trying to type out a new blog post and respond to comments in other browser windows. This can really reduce your focus on writing articles and lead to mistakes as well as affect quality the quality of your writing as well.
Before I suggest how to manage your time effectively, you need to decide how often you want to publish articles on your blog? Once a week, twice a week or daily? Obviously if you post articles less frequently than once per day than you can devote less time to writing articles and more time to social media and other networking avenues. This article is primarily geared toward those who want to write articles daily or every other day though some of the tips will help writers posting on any schedule. For the purposes of this article let’s assume you dedicate 2 hours to blogging every day, which is similar to how I blog.
Find A Time Slot
The first thing you need to find is whether you do most of your writing in the morning, afternoon or at night? Knowing what time of day you write most often or have the most time is the first step in improving your writing efficiency. Some people write best first thing in the morning with their coffee, while others write at night before bed when the rest of the family is sleeping (as I do). Once you find your most likely time slot then you can focus on optimizing that slot to make sure you can churn out your best work and do it more efficiently.
Set The Mood
You cannot write effectively while distracted and you must set the mood to help keep you on focus. Close out all windows on your computer except for your writing software (Live Writer, Word, WordPress…etc). Avoid distraction and make sure especially Facebook, Twitter and Email clients are shut down. If you enjoy writing while listening to music then queue up some ambient music to help set the writing mood. I find that music without lyrics works best for me and I will often pick something with a slower tempo rather than a fast beat which tends to make me hyper.
Write and Proof
Write an article completely and proof read it after you have written it, make sure it gets the points you want to make across in a clear and concise way. Reduce typo’s or using the same words too often (use a thesaurus if you have to), mistakes can hurt your credibility and professionalism and should be avoided. You can’t solely rely on a spell checker as often somebody will type a valid word (the wrong word) which a spell checker won’t mark wrong. If you had two hours per day to blog then I would spend the first hour here and solely here in the writing and proofing section.
Once you finish an article you should write another article or several articles while you still have dedicated time if you haven’t used it all up. Find a quick topic with Google News, Twitter Trends, or if you have one off the top of your head that is even better. Write as many articles as you can finish and save any ones you didn’t to draft. Schedule your articles for future publishing dates and leave a few unscheduled and in permanent draft format that you can use later in case you run into writers block or need an article in a hurry (for a guest post or your own site). What I typically do is spend 1 to 1.5 hours out of my dedicated blogging time to just article creation. I would spend an additional 1/2 hour in writing additional articles or prepping them for the next day.
Engaging on Social Media
Building an online presence is an essential way to establish a relationship with readers and peers and should be more than just a means to promote your work. In fact you probably will get very little traffic from Twitter or Facebook if you consider the amount of traffic vs the time you put into using the networks but the real value lies in branding, recognition and connecting with your audience. Real time communication allows conversations more fluidly than simply replying to comments on a blog post and can be a great way to bring in inspiration for articles as well. I recommend you take some time every day to connect with your audience, find others who share similar interests and network like crazy. Even though this time isn’t writing it will benefit you and your brand in the long run. I would spend the last 1/2 of your 2 hour blogging window here engaging on SocialMedia.
Saving Time with Auto Promotion
The following are recommended tools and tips that I use to help auto promote my blogs on social networks without me having to tie up more hours which could be spent writing. These are highly recommended for bringing in traffic and keeping the appearance that you are more active than you are.
- Tweet Old Post
WordPress plugin Tweet Old Post is a must have if you have a blog with over a hundred articles and will help showcase your older articles to vitalize them at random intervals. If you don’t have very many articles on your blog set a low interval to every 6-8 hours, but if you have thousands of articles and a large social network following then you could consider every two hours or hourly.
- BlogEngage RSS Syndication
BlogEngage RSS Syndication will auto feed your blog posts into BlogEngage without you having to manually submit it to the network, for only $1.99 per month this will cover a single blog that posts 1x or 2x per day and is worth the 5 hours per month of time savings to submit articles manually. If you run many sites or publish more frequently they have packages that range up to $19.99 for the business package. I myself own 2 packages, the $9.99 one and the $1.99 one and submit 4 of my blogs to BlogEngage RSS Syndication, I did a review of BlogEngage RSS Syndication on why I value it so much.
- Digg Auto RSS Submit
I have Digg configured to read in my RSS imports and auto submit my articles so I don’t have to, this is a time saver and means I only need to visit Digg to vote on other articles. You have to configure this manually in Digg itself and I wrote a post how to auto submit blog feed to Digg.
- More Auto Submission
One great auto submission weapon is OnlyWire where you can 1 click submit your blog article to dozens of directories and networks automatically. I did a review of OnlyWire and it takes about 1/2 hour to initially setup all your networks and download/install the client. Once you do you can 1 click submit all your articles and this is a big time saver.
As a part time blogger I can’t be everywhere at once, but you would think I was online and blogging all the time based on the tools, tips and methods that I use to optimize my blogging efficiency. With only 15-20 hours per week to blog I am able to not only churn out 90+ articles (25 of them are poems for my poetry blog) every month but I can keep up with almost all conversations on social media and have presence 24×7. These are some of the tips and tools that I use to make my blogging time as efficient as possible.