I regularly hear from lawyers that blogging takes too much time. Many just lack the passion, but for others they’re not taking advantage of blogging practices that can save a lot of time.
CNBC contributor and author Carol Roth (@caroljsroth) shared in Entrepreneur Magazine this week five tips for writing better and faster that I think will help you blog faster. I practice each of the five.
Roth first nails the need for entrepreneurs, like lawyers looking to develop business, to write.
Being an entrepreneur doesn’t absolve you from having to write. Most small-business owners have a lot of writing to do. Whether it’s composing great content for social media, blog posts, books or client presentations, writing comes into an entrepreneur’s day in many ways.
Now Roth’s tips as applied to blogging, liberally sharing my own practices.
1. Write in blocks.
It’s difficult to shift back and forth between blogging and other work. Clear off time to blog on calendar. Maybe it’s 45 minutes, maybe it’s longer. Try a comfortable location, whether sitting back in your chair with your laptop or iPad. Perhaps head to a coffee shop for a latte – I’m always there Saturday morning.
Block out distractions for this time. No email, no texts, and no social media. Write as much as you can. You’ll be surprised that you’ll get your post completed or nearly completed in as little as 45 minutes or an hour.
2. Embrace the bullet.
Use bullets that support your position on key points. It’s easier to make lists than to write prose. It’s also easier for your audience to scan such lists than read paragraphs.
I often take an article or blog post I have read and break down the key points into bullets. It’s my way of adding greater value to to the information I have pulled from a reporter or blogger.
You can try what Roth does in making notes in bulleted form. She does it on paper or on her smart phone. Then with a post like the one I am referencing here, she has her five key bullets to write from.
3. Write with your mouth.
Blogs are a conversation. Take it literally by writing just as you would talk to someone over coffee or dinner.
For some lawyers, dictating your posts to be transcribed or speaking into voice recognition software may be a good fit. When you have the draft, quickly edit it.
Though I type slowly I like keying in my thoughts so I can think through my post as a I see it on the screen.
4. Focus on function instead of form.
When you start to blog, just write. Key up what you are thinking on the point you are addressing.
Again, pretend you’re sitting across a table in a coffee house from someone. You’re not going to wait 10 minutes to formulate your thoughts before speaking. You’d look like a fool. You’ll speak based on the knowledge you have.
Same with blogging. You have knowledge and expertise. Don’t over think things, there’s no perfect post. Your pride and professionalism will protect you from the “foolish” post.
If you’re engaging others by referencing what they’re writing, as you should in blogging, writing will come easier. You’re offering your insight and commentary to what you’ve read. Just answer the question “what do you think now that you’ve reading “X.”
Find others with great news, information, stories and insight regarding your niche. Follow their blogs and news columns in a RSS reader. Monitor key words and key phrases in feeds from Google News.
Share what you’re reading and tell your audience why. Pull block quotes, paraphrase what the other party is writing adding your insight, or weave the content into your own story.
I’m not sure I’d have 10 posts if I didn’t reference and curate what I was following in my news reader. Like here.
The Fair Use Doctrine allows you to make liberal use of third party content. Not only should you not feel guilty “referencing” other’s content, it’s the highest form of blogging. You’ll be engaging and, in time, meeting thought leaders and reporters. You’re also show off to clients and prospective clients that you stay up to speed.
Some of the best law bloggers on the LXBN Network are writing posts in 20 to 45 minutes. They write with passion and say what they are thinking (to a point).
Try a few of the five tips. I think they’ll save you some time.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Takashi Hososhima