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How Long Does It Take You to Blog?

Inspired by a post on Inbound and the follow up about processes, I wanted to ask you this question:

How long does it take you to blog?

Does that feel like the right question? I tried to answer it and felt like maybe it wasn’t.

Writing Time – Does It Matter?

Business blog posts generally fall into two categories: how-to (technique) and informational (who, what, why, where & when?)  These are just a few of the top how-to articles on Inbound at the moment:

How To Convert Blog Traffic Into Customers With CTAs: The Complete Guide 

5 Call To Action Tips to Increase Your Conversions and Sales!

And a few informational topics:

Revisiting “Navigational,” “Informational,” & “Transactional” Searches in a Post-PageRank World

Ask Inbound: What is your favorite editor when writing a blog post?

Informational blogs can be daily news and a quick “did you see this” or link round up. One of Seth Godin’s latest blog posts is 63 words. Another is 74. Are these useless, valueless blog posts or simply insightful bits of wisdom inserted into the reader’s day? The two posts have a combined 1500 Facebook likes and almost 1000 Linkedin shares. They have a lot of Twitter engagement as well. In fact, Seth’s most popular blog in the last 3 months has just 370 words. His second most popular has 43. That’s just over 400 words to generate 4000 likes & over 2000 shares directly on his page. This is counting the ones directly from his blog.

stand out from the blogging crowd

So clearly you don’t need to write 4000 words to matter.

Seth’s blog succeeds because he has built the brand of Seth Godin and he’s been consistent. Seth has blogged very, very consistently and built a strong audience through his writing, public speaking and knowledge of business. He doesn’t write detailed “how to” articles because that isn’t what his blog is meant to be.

Factors in Writing Time

After you decide whether writing long, detailed articles is even right for your blog, how long will it take?

Outlining: Are you organized? The more frequently you write the better you will get at it. You will require less planning and just say what you need to say. You won’t need an 800-word outline because a simple outline will accomplish the task.

outlining & planning blog posts

Writing Speed: How fast do you type? You can have the best idea in the world. You can write like it’s your job because maybe it is. But if you type half as fast as the next guy, it’s going to take you longer to write the post.

Images & Graphics: Do you source images from a site like Pixabay or draw your own in Illustrator? I can tell you that downloading images from Pixabay to use in your blog post will take you about 40 seconds. illustrating a complicated idea may take you 4 hours or more. (Going back to Seth’s blog – he doesn’t even use images. But we consider them must-have, right?)

Formatting: Are you a WordPress expert? Do you use the WordPress cheat sheet? If you write in Word, how long will it take you to convert your text into a blog post? Does your blog have a consistent style? I use H2 tags as subheadings. I use bold text as sub-sub-headings. I already know that before I start formatting so I don’t have to think about how I want my posts to look.

What Are Your Goals? Who Is Your Audience?

how long does it take to write a blog post?I started answering this question on Inbound before I realized my answer was a blog post itself. My initial response was “it depends on what you want to achieve.”

Goals: Are you trying to get readers to sign up for your mailing list? Do you want to get them to buy your latest product or download your ebook? The same type of content that establishes you as a thought leader is not the same content that drives a quick sign up to your list.

Audience: I write this blog for marketers but I write my agency blog for small business owners and those who have very little experience with marketing. If I wrote a 4000-word epic skyscraping, monster blog post about The Definitive Guide to SEO Tools and I linked 150 tools and discussed each one, guess how many small business owners would read it or even click more than 1 or 2 links?

Small business owners are generally too busy to read 4000 words. They read our blog to simplify marketing so they don’t have to learn complicated, in-depth processes. I can write epic posts but they aren’t interested, won’t read them and definitely won’t share them.

Conclusion

You shouldn’t try to be Seth Godin. That role in this life is already taken. Creative content doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be complex. It just has to be unique to your audience, your tone of voice and your goals.

It takes as long as it takes to write a blog post. When your blog has 500+ posts, consider optimizing every visit and every word that comes from it. Until then, it really doesn’t make as much difference as you think. Write because you have something to say about something that is important to you.

This blog took exactly 53 minutes to create from start to finish. My process was: sketch outline, quick draft, find a few images, add text to one image, write blog post inside of WordPress formatting as I went, add images, categorize, check Yoast title & meta description and press publish. I normally use WP Image Inject so it could’ve gone faster. Sometimes I shoot my own photos so it could have gone slower, too.

 

 

About Matt Antonino

Matt is a marketing consultant in Melbourne, Australia. He teaches businesses to market smarter and faster through multichannel marketing including SEO & Content Marketing, SEM, Email & Social Media.

5 comments

  1. I’m a fast, rapid-fire writer most of the time. I’ve tried outlining things more before I write them, but it never feels authentic to me.

    • Many of my posts are well-researched but I call that phase “learning” or “self-education.” Or even “skimming my feed reader.” I don’t typically go out and write a term paper like I did for college when I want to explain how something works. I did it. I lived it. I think you write very similarly to that. You write what you already know – through experience, education and observation.

      When I write about generating a ton of leads, I know how it’s done. I’ve generated a ton of leads. I think sometimes people write JUST outside their comfort zone and that’s fine. But take the thing you’re most passionate about in the world and write 500 words about it. It won’t take 40 hours.

      On the other hand, I absolutely get the counter to this discussion – that business blog posts have to be done, they can take a lot of time and you do have to source, check everything three times, do outreach, work in a few keywords because your SEO guy said so… I get it.

      No post on this blog, my agency blog, my microstock blog or any other one of the over 1000+ posts I’ve written has ever taken over 10 hours to write. I did write a post for Moz.com that took almost 6 hours. That’s among my longest, though. My “First Year in a Startup” took maybe 3.

  2. I have started using dictation on my MacBook Pro, the benefits are huge.

    I can pump out and edit a 500-600 word post in 40 minutes.

    I type as slow as molasses on a cold winter morning so this is a huge time saver. Plus it lets me write with a more conversational tone.

    I highly recommend it for blog posts and writing copy. I do it almost every day.

    • Geoff,

      That’s not a bad idea at all! Dictation would definitely be a way to speed the process if it works for you. For whatever reason, when I do dictation it just all jumbles. The words don’t make any sense and I spend more time editing than I would just writing it.

      The conversational tone thought is worth exploring, though. I could record my own and then just transcribe it myself.

  3. Hi Matt, great post i like it. I have an opposite question to you. How Long Does It Take You to Blog on different language? Let’s say you want to write a post of 750 words for Chinese audience or for Russian audience. Let’s assume you know the language ( you can speak, but speak with an accent ) and you know the topic. Will it take you 53 minutes ? It would be great to hear your approach to this

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