21 May 2011

How To Write A Killer Article In Less Than 30 Minutes

It is well known in the blogging sphere that pillar content is key to getting a good following and driving traffic to your blog. Problem is that unless you are a 10 finger system guru and have everything ready in the back of your head it takes hours to create pillar content. Therefore you need to have an alternative approach that works well between your pillar articles. If you follow a few hard-earned and proven techniques you should be able to push out a top quality post after less than 30 minutes of focused writing. Sometimes

I have actually experienced that posts created this way turns popular and attract good attention. Articles written in a short amount of time are often better than well-researched ones because they come across more original and with more real language. I believe the reason is that people are busy and if you manage to deliver value in a short and to the point post they have time and energy to read through it, leave a comment and if you are lucky “like” it on facebook or stumble it.  Keep in mind though that writing fast is not the same as compromising on writing well and giving up delivering high quality. It is just an approach you can learn to get your job done faster while still keeping up with your standards.

1. Take notes in a structured way

Whenever you find something interesting that could be valuable to share with your readers you should spends a minute to make a record of it. I use OneNote from MS Office  2007 but there are also free alternatives. A key thing to remember is to structure the notes when you make them. Don’t put a link on your desktop or into a note organizer without considering in what context it may be useful at a later stage. I personally like to add tabs for potential post ideas and then put links, text, screenshots etc. into these. Once a post idea tab has matured for some time it is much faster to write a post and at the same time this process is good for the quality of the post. Compared to searching desperately for all the ideas in one go you get the top picks you have found and found useful yourself.

You may also have a note book in your car and in your pocket… you see if you are like me you get great ideas when not expecting them. Problem is that if you don’t write them down instantly they are typically lost before you get in front of a computer…

2. Check your Notes every morning

Try to get into a habit of checking your notes every morning before picking up any writing and surfing. The reason is simple. You need to have your current post ideas refreshed in order to spot new ideas effectively and place them into the right tabs fast. Also you may find that one post candidate is actually more or less ready for being written.

3. Allow your ideas to mature

One of the most important elements of speeding up your writing is to allow your post ideas to mature over time. Forcing yourself to write a post on a topic you are not ready to write about will potentially take ages for you. It can sometimes be very useful to let a topic sit for 3-5 days even though you are eager to get it out. This way you may stumble into new info and add it  to your notes.

4. Don’t stress it too much

If you struggle with a post and a specific topic you decided to work on then put it away for some time. It is OK and it will save you time in the long run. Make sure you save your current state and put in notes is possible to make it easier to come back later. If you let it go like this inspiration may strike you later the same day or some time later… When it does your writing will be back on track and the post will be finished much faster and at a much better quality level.

5. Keep it short and to the point

This is a no-brainer but I have to add it here. You see it is very easy for bloggers to fall into the “I need to elaborate more in this…” trap. If you do so you keep polishing something that is already clear and well written and it will not add any value. In fact it may give your readers a “phew that is a lot of text…” feeling. Remember that most of your readers are intelligent and sharp. They can add 2 and 2 and you don’t have to spell it all out as if you where writing to a kid… Leaving some parts open for reflection may even inspire your readers to leave a comment.

6. Lists are fast and popular

You probably know this. List posts are very popular in general and typically attract more readers than traditional document style posts. You can use numbers as I have done here or bullets I don’t think it matters a lot. The list style writing however help you get the job done faster because you can jump from list item to list item without need for writing good transitions from one idea to the next.

7. Use mind maps

Another great way to organize your thoughts and ideas is to use mindmaps. Mindmaps are actually excellent for creating list posts and each branch can represent the bullets in your post. The visualization of your idea can speed up writing a lot as you have mentally put it all into the right spots. You can try to create mindmaps for free here.

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The above article was originally published at: http://www.tripwiremagazine.com/2011/02/how-to-write-a-killer-article-in-less-than-30-minutes.html