This guest post is by Jennifer Fulwiler of ConversionDiary.com.
When I announced to readers of my regular blog that I had accepted a paid blogging gig for a national newspaper, my email inbox was flooded with one question: “How do you do it?” I have four children under the age of seven and am also working on a book, so, needless to say, before I accepted this new blogging position, I had to think carefully about how to write quality blog content with minimal effort.
I am happy to report that everything is going well: I’m able to keep up with both blogs without taking time away from my other priorities, and I’m getting great feedback from readers.
So how do I do it? Here are my top five secrets.
1. Keep a clean list of post ideas and update it frequently
When fellow bloggers tell me that they have trouble updating their blogs frequently, my first question is always: Do you keep a list of post ideas? I’m surprised at how often the answer is no, since I find this to be the key to regular blogging.
When the blank screen looms in front of you, there’s no way you’ll be able to recall every good post idea you’ve ever thought of. It’s critical to have a clean, well organized list to turn to. If you update this list frequently, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you amass great ideas (the list for my personal blog includes 87 items). The more ideas you have to choose from, the easier it will be to find a topic that inspires you when crunch time hits.
2. Have ideas for easy posts at your fingertips
There are times when life gets crazy and I simply don’t have time to write a regular post. That’s when I turn to my trusty list of easy post ideas, each of which allows me to touch base with my readers in a short amount of time. Some of my favorite go-to techniques are:
- asking readers a question (I keep a separate list called “Questions to ask readers” for this purpose)
- posting a roundup of my favorite links from around the web
- creating a “best-of-comments” post, where I highlight the most helpful comments from a previous post
- posting an interesting excerpt from a favorite book, with just a couple paragraphs of commentary (I highlight favorite passages in the books I read, which makes these posts especially easy)
- asking a question on Twitter and posting a screenshot of responses
- doing a photo post with one or multiple pictures with minimal commentary
- answering a series of “getting to know you” questions and asking readers to do the same (e.g. “What time do you get up in the morning?”, “What is the most dangerous place you’ve ever visited?”, etc.)
- reviewing the top products that make my life easier in the area related to my blog
- asking a fellow blogger to write a guest post
- writing an “awards” post where I name my favorite people in a certain category (e.g. “My 8 favorite female bloggers”)
- rerunning an old post.
3. Embrace deadlines
My new blogging job requires me to write three posts a week, on a set schedule. This has been a new experience, since with my personal blog I could updated whenever I felt like it. To my surprise, having deadlines has been a great benefit to me. It’s taught me to cultivate self-discipline, stay organized, and stop wasting time. Consider setting deadlines for your own blog, even if you don’t have to—you’ll find that it transforms your mindset from “amateur” to “professional” overnight.
4. Let go of perfectionism
One of the most fascinating discoveries of my new blogging venture has been seeing the benefits of lowering the bar. In order to keep up with both blogs, I’ve had to pull items from my post ideas file that I normally would have skipped. I’ve had to publish posts that I didn’t think were perfect. And you know what? My readers have loved it. I’m now sharing information that I would have normally kept to myself, and the response has been fantastic. In fact, my four most popular items within the last month have all been posts that I never would have written if I weren’t under deadline pressure.
My new motto for whether a topic makes the cut to write about is simply: If it’s interesting to me, it’ll be interesting to someone else.
It doesn’t have to be a magnum opus. It doesn’t have to include mind-blowing commentary that will change the world. It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to include tons of links. If I’m doing nothing more than conveying a simple insight or tidbit of information that I found helpful, that’s enough; there are undoubtedly many other people out there who will find it helpful as well.
5. Remember that it’s not all about you
Before I had so much blogging to keep up with, I felt like everything had to come from me. Each post had to be based solely on my own personal wisdom. With my new workload I’ve been forced to share: I link to other bloggers’ content, ask for guest posts, share excerpts from good books, interview interesting people, post link roundups—and a bunch of other things that highlight someone else’s talents. The result has not only been a grateful response from other bloggers and writers, but my own posts have been better as well.
What tips can you add to help others run multiple blogs as part of their already-busy lives?
Jennifer Fulwiler is a freelance writer as well as the chaos manager for her busy household, which currently includes four young children. Her personal blog is ConversionDiary.com.