MORE Blogging in 10 Minutes a Day

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on November 04, 2010 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Tips in 10

You might remember back to one of the earliest Tips In Ten articles, I talked about how you can blog in ten minutes a day.

Recently I sat down and was reviewing some of the past issues to make sure that the content was current and to see if there was anything I might consider revising. Blogging was one topic that I think I’d like to give you a few more ideas about.

In the previous blogging issue I suggested that one way you could blog in ten minutes was to take a relevant article from somewhere online, link to it in your post, summarize it in one paragraph, and then write your own opinion on it in the second paragraph.

It’s an effective way to blog relevant content easily and quickly, and I still use that method today. But, as I was reviewing my past Tips In Ten articles, I realized that there were other ways that I blog that can also produce interesting blog post content in just ten minutes. So I’m writing two more of those ways in this issue so you have a bit of variety to mix into your blogs.

Let’s call that previous method (from last year’s blogging issue) the “Ten Minute Blog Post Method #1. Now, I’ll now give you two more…

Ten Minute Blog Post Method #2: The “Tips” Post

This “tips” blog post is a really popular kind of post because lots of people read blogs (especially business blogs) for tips and ideas and guidance rather than just straight-up opinion. Here’s how to write it in ten minutes.

Step 1: Decide on the main skill or activity you want your reader to be able to do once they are finished with your blog. (Duration: 1 minute. Really, this shouldn’t take very long at all!)

Step 2: Write down the first sentences and the last sentences. They will be similar. Don’t worry, no one will hold that against you; that’s just good writing. (Duration: 1 minute).

Step 3: Write down as many tips, guides, ideas, ways, things, tactics, steps, etc., that pertain to the skill or activity you want to empower your readers to have or do. It doesn’t have to be comprehensive, because it never will be and no one ever expects it to be, but it should be insightful and drawn from your position as an expert. (Duration: 8 minutes).

So, here’s an example:

Let’s say the main skill I want to impart on my readers is to be more productive on the phone. (Okay, that took about 10 seconds to decide).

Then I write down my first and last sentences…

[First sentences] Productivity helps us to do more business in less time; but when we’re on the phone, we sometimes lose track of time. In this blog post, I want to give you some tips to be more productive on the phone.

[Last sentences] Use these tips when you’re talking on the phone and you’ll increase your productivity, which will have a direct impact on your business.

Easy. That took about 45 seconds.

Now let’s write the main part of the blog post (and, of course, we’ll squeeze it in right between the first set of sentences and the last set of sentences that you’ve just written). So I would write something like…

1.    Have a plan about one key takeaway you want the other person to have by the time your call is done.
2.    At the beginning of your call tell the other person how long you have to speak to them. (“I only want to take 3 minutes of your time”). Make sure you stick to that number.
3.    Take notes. You’ll be surprised at how helpful this can be later.
4.    Schedule your calls to increase the likelihood that you’ll reach the other person.
5.    Group your calls together.
6.    Be prepared to leave a message (and even practice it before you dial) so that you’re not caught off guard and end up leaving a cryptic or unhelpful message.

Done! Five and a half minutes. I have time to spare!

Hit post. You’ve just written a helpful blog and you’ve done it in less than ten minutes.

BONUS TIP: If you like writing these, why not sit down on a weekend, brainstorm a dozen of these blog posts, write them, and schedule them to be published over the next two or three months.

Ten Minute Blog Post Method #3: Opinion

While people like to read tips and guidance posts, like what I showed you above, one of the things that make blogs enjoyable (and more compelling than a newspaper) is the lack of balance: People want to read opinions. They want to see polarizing viewpoints. They’re drawn to it. And you’re going to give it to them in this ten minute blog post.

It starts in a similar way to the previous ten minute blog post writing method.

Step 1: Decide on the main viewpoint or opinion you have. (Duration: 1 minute. Again, this won’t take very long because they are already your opinions!)

Step 2: Write down the first sentences and the last sentences. Again, they will be similar and that’s okay. (Duration: 1 minute).

Step 3: Write one paragraph describing the dissenting view and one paragraph describing your opinion. You might want to add a source if you have time or if you need to back up your viewpoint. Remember, the purpose of your blog is not to lay out all the facts and debate it cleanly to sew up the argument. The rest of the web is for that. You’ve got commenters in your audience who will want to voice their opinion in your comments and on their blogs. You’ve got Twitter followers who might have an opinion, too. The purpose of your blog is to start the discussion and stake your claim in the argument. (Duration: 8 minutes).

So here’s an example.

Let’s say the main opinion I want to have is that a little procrastination is healthy. Having an opinion is easy for most of us so that took about 2 seconds of my time to come up with an opinion-topic. The stronger your opinions are and the less worried you are about criticism from others, the easier and more rewarding this kind of blog posting will be.

Now I want to write the first and last sentences. I might write something like this:

[First sentences] We try to fight procrastination at every turn and while we don’t want to procrastinate 24/7, I believe that a little procrastination is actually good for us.

[Last sentences] So, while the world speaks out against procrastination, and I agree for the most part, I’m not going to do anything about it until tomorrow… or the day after.

Easy! That took about a minute.

Now we write two paragraphs about the dissenting position and our own position. (I suggest writing your own position second since it’s usually going to be your stronger and more passionate paragraph). And again, these two paragraphs get sandwiched between the first set of sentences and the last set of sentences. So I might write something like this:

Ask most efficiency experts and productivity gurus about their opinion on procrastination and they will tell you that it needs to be eradicated from our lives. Their position is that procrastination is laziness and avoidance, and it’s only action that will lead to success.

I believe, however, that a little procrastination can sometimes be helpful. If we spend too much time in action, we wear out faster, we don’t leave ourselves any margin for creativity, and we lose focus. But, by procrastinating within reason, we can find the rest that will lead to creativity and we’ll be a little more motivated and focused when we get around to working.

And then I hit “post” and the blog is done. As you can see from this topic, it’s not a full argument but that’s okay. It’s not meant to be. You can spend much longer on full arguments, cultivating your viewpoint, handling objections, and writing what is essentially an essay. Sometimes it’s good to blog like that. But I also know that most of us can avoid blogging because it seems to take too much time, yet it doesn’t have to. A ten minute blog like the one above can just start the conversation (and you’ll have more material to talk about in a later blog when you want to expand on the opinion you started here).

There! You now have three ways to blog in ten minutes. Mix them up, add some variety to your blog, and blog prolifically. And it only takes ten minutes a day!

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