I’m calling everything a hack now. 😀
So I’m guessing a lot of people can relate to this – not having time to blog full-time or even just producing one of those long form blogs that’s super helpful to people, but still mostly time-consuming.
And that’s the #1 problem when it comes to content strategy – time. If you’re not a natural blogger who enjoys nothing more than putting words on … screen, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with fresh content on a regular basis. Especially when other things are vying for your full attention.
So two things inspired this post – my own struggle to come up with a “lighter content load” for people who have no time (or desire) for blogging and the Content Marketing Pyramid, which you can see below.
As you can see, curated content and micro-blogging are least time and energy-consuming, and those are perfect for today’s hacks.
Hope this helps! Write on. 😀
Hack #1: Listicles
Listicles are basically the most shared content on the Internet. However annoying and tiresome they can get, they are also useful because any curation helps with the “content shock” syndrome. Now, I’m not suggesting you should do listicles instead of full-fledged blogs, but if you don’t have the time, listicles will do. So consider the following:
- Make a list of helpful lists your target audience will appreciate.
- If you’re struggling for ideas, just find another blog which does a lot of listicles (like the CreativeLive blog for creatives & freelancers) and borrow/rephrase some of their titles. Not the curation.
- On the list of titles constantly add ideas, tools, and links, so that when you have to choose what to write about, you’ll have all the resources ready, and you’ll just have to write it up. Simple, no?
That’s my current system anyway. If you prefer to just pick up a title and do the whole research as well as writing it up, that’s your choice. For me, it’s easier to do those separately, so instead of doing this huge block of time, I’m doing what I normally do and the write-up is quick and painless.
(If you’re not curating content in one form or another, you should start.)
Hack #2: Micro-blogging
Micro-blogging could mean:
- posting snippets on your blog
And anything that comes in a mini-form. Like these guys:
I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone nailing micro-blogging since it is so specific and everyone does it differently, but I’ll give you a few examples you can see and try if you think they’d work for your readers:
- 99u’s content strategy is divided into articles and “workbook”, the latter consisting of short excerpts and notes, like the latest on Bad First Ideas. This is incredibly clever and useful for those looking for a quick read.
- Tweet-storms, which you can then turn into a blog post if your twitter followers liked them. I did this with the Content Marketing Checklist for Startups. And even if you don’t turn those storms into blogs, people will appreciate your advice/opinions on twitter anyway.
- If you think your target audience would enjoy a curated or funny tumblr kind of thing, you can see Shit People Say to Women Directors (which is both timely and outrageous) and UX Reactions. It’s all about putting yourself in your reader’s shoes, figuring out what they enjoy reading, and also using what you already have and/or enjoy doing.
- Gary Vaynerchuk does micro-blogging on Medium, but he’s an expert, so that could be why everyone recommends and shares his content. Nevertheless, you can try it, but not before you read the next hack.
- Micro-fiction? Hey, it can be done.
Hack #3: Stories (and Medium)
Even though the creator of Medium – Ev Williams – says that Medium is not a publishing tool, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for blogging. That means you can naturally migrate your thoughts to Medium if you’re a twitter junkie like me. Mostly because the integration between those is seamless, and because Medium is trying to be more network-y than publish-y.
(I should really be ashamed by that last sentence, but I’m not.)
But the “hack” doesn’t have anything to do with any one method or any one person’s “success story” (although this guide is pretty useful). The hack is all about what type of content is received well on Medium.
Fact is, stories and life lessons perform best on Medium.
Every article on top of the Medium charts has been:
- a listicle
- a story of someone’s success
- a story of someone’s failure or pivot
- a life lesson resulting from someone’s failure or success
- a philosophical piece about a timely issue (or maybe that was just me)
- a deeply relatable story / opinion piece
Yeah… I see the word “story” everywhere. Someone said if Content is King, Story is the Queen, or maybe it was Content is not King, Story is.
Whoever said that, they’re right. People on Medium seem to respond very well to stories and life lessons – and my latest article confirms that – so if you want to avoid doing a long article where the research alone takes you a day or two, just whip up something from your life like I did.
Now, if you’re trying to blog as a brand, then the rules change. First of all, it won’t be a life story, but a brand perspective. Second, it will somehow concern your target audience. Finally, check out the featured tags.
Technically, if you can choose one of those tags and tell a story about it, that’d be perfect. And don’t forget, stories are a universal human language. So it’s not just Medium that’s crazy about stories. My feeling is,
If you can write a relatable story, you can publish it anywhere.
I bet it can even work on tumblr in mini-form. 😀
- If you don’t have enough time/energy for blogging, try these hacks:
- Make a list of listicles and collect all links and resources before you have to write them up, so you have ready material to go.
- Feel free to borrow ideas and methods from other blogs, just not the content.
- Consider micro-blogging on a platform your target readers enjoy (whether that’s tumblr, twitter, or Medium). Also, consider different methods, like using quotes and funny gif’s.
- Give people a story – one from your life or from your brand’s life and add what you learned from it. The more timely and human it is (not to mention outrageous), the more it’s likely to go viral.
- And have a schedule because people like to rely on things. Just like I blog every Thursday, you should decide how often you’ll do your thing and stick to it. Consistency has to be the mother of success. – tweet it
What about you? Got any blogging hacks?
6 thoughts on “So you don’t have time for full-fledged blogging? Try these hacks.”
When i run out of ideas, I usually send out a thought-provoking question to my fellow bloggers and some influencers, then collate their best responses into one article, which I then summarize with a quick bullet list or an infographic (if I’m feeling fancy). Hope this is helpful! 😉
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Absolutely helpful, thanks, Lauren! Yeah, this gives me an idea – to do a quick google form (because email definitely slows down things) and collate those responses. Wow, I’m gonna try this soon for sure. 🙂
My ‘hack’ to writing a full fledged blog post every week is, making a new note in evernote at the start of the week and then everytime I think of something good to write about I write a paragraph here and there during the week and then on the weekend I sit down and compile it all together into a blog post 🙂
Wow! That would never work for me, but glad it works for you, David. 🙂
p.s. I’m just incapable of putting together things – it’s either write it all at once or don’t write anything at all. Wonder if anyone can relate.
I think presentations/webinars are a good way to engage an audience if you have a very specific know-how about something that your audience is dying to know! This is something i am definitely at.
But I am still big on blogging and writing full form posts on your own ‘site’ first before going out on 3rd party channels like medium (unless you have a big following there). Medium also lets you cross post on your blog so thats fine.
I agree about webinars. As for presentations, they take a lot of energy and time out of me. Anyway, keep hustling and thanks for stopping by. 🙂