The topic I’m writing about today was dictated by a HubSpot blogging contest and it’s not going well. Because the reality for me is that the blogs I write for our clients and our agency take a lot longer than an hour. So my first thought is, should we be blogging in less than an hour? The answer to that question depends on the topic and the ultimate goal of the post. Let’s set aside daily micro blogging and B2C blogging which can often be executed fairly quickly. But crafting meaningful and sometimes technical articles for B2B companies takes time. The writing needs to be muscular to provide value to its industry educated readers.
Seth Godin addressed this trend of “ignoring the useful in exchange for the short or the amusing” in a post earlier this month about “tl;dr”. That’s internet talk for “too long; didn’t read”. Says Seth, “Please give me something long (but make it worth my time).”
Think of it this way. As B2B marketers, we have to balance feeding the content beast on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. Should we feed it quick morsels that go down quickly or memorable and nourishing meals? Maybe there should be a new internet talk acronym of dr;wtb…did read; where’s the beef? Doesn’t it annoy you to click on a search page that has the perfect title and then…bleh. Nothing very useful or thought provoking. And aren’t you grateful when you click on an article that provides fresh and meaty insights on a topic?
Still…this topic is intriguing because who wouldn’t want to be able to turn around a blog post in an hour when necessary? I thought back through the 100 or so blog posts I wrote last year, and what made some of the writing flow more quickly than others.
Here’s are my 8 take-a-ways for what spurs faster blog writing:
1. What gets your pulse racing?
Anger immediately clarifies feelings about a topic. So take note when you are feeling angry and write it down in the moment. You can always wait to post it, but if you wait to write it, the urgency and clarity of thought cools.
Excitement is also a powerful clarifying tool and it’s contagious. If you have a new offering or learned a new methodology, write about it while you are still “buzzing” with excitement with this new information. It will show in the writing, and the writing will come more quickly.
2. Note your personal “aha” moments
Those moments where you get a fresh understanding about a pain point, a new tool, or a strategy are writing “gold”. Writing about your own “aha” moments flows naturally and organically and more quickly than writing about someone else’s “aha” moment.
3. Choose the right topic
Avoid heavily technical or stats driven topics. Finishing a blog like this in an hour is just not likely to happen. In fact, it shouldn’t happen.
4. Make sure you understand “the thing” before typing a word
You know what I mean. Sometimes the premise and the angle of a topic is so clear it just about writes itself. Other times, it takes a few drafts to get down to the nub of why you are writing it and why someone needs to read it.
Here is a great writing tip to get around a mental block on how to get started. It was given to me by a veteran news writer I worked with early in my career. Pretend that you are explaining what you are writing about to a friend or a family member. Start with, “It’s like this” and go on to describe in a few sentences what the issue is.
5. Write for a “person” not a persona
It’s very important to know who the buyer personas are that will be reading your blog. It’s equally important to stop thinking about them as a “persona” and write to a real person, whether it is a client or a client’s client.
6. Use fewer compound sentences
Writing conversationally helps to tell the “story” of the information you are conveying and speeds the flow of words.
7. Don’t boil the ocean. Choose ONE aspect of a topic to write about
Get very granular on a methodology or “how-to” type of blog. Avoid the temptation of explaining the whole surround. Think of the person who needs this specific information and already knows the surround. Speaking of temptation…
8. Get off Google or whatever search engine you use
There are so many interesting rabbit trails to follow. Just say no when you are under a time sensitive deadline. The information will still be there when you finish writing.
Best practices for B2B blog writing do not usually include a dash-it-off mindset. But it is helpful to know HOW to write a blog in hour if under deadline and which topics lend themselves to a quick turnaround. As a B2B Content Marketing agency, we believe this practice should be the exception, not the rule. And the truth is that If you are not Seth Godin, where hundreds of thousands of people already line up to hear your pearls of wisdom, if you are a marketing manager for a B2B enterprise, or the Creative Content Director for a B2B marketing agency, well, you better bring it. Every time. Because your clients (be they internal or external) demand it and the people who are reading it know when they are being helped and when the emperor has no clothes.
Never miss another great post. Sign up to get new blog posts sent straight to your email.