Help! I Don’t Have Time To Blog – Time Saving Tips for Small Business Owners.

For years, I’ve debated blogging. For years, I’ve found a million and one excuses not to blog. Until now. I have run out of excuses. Why? Because for years, I have “played” small business owner. For years, I have tried to grow my design business while avoiding blogging. The truth is, as I now understand, to obtain clients and create a following, I need to build trust with my target audience. No more excuses. It’s important. It’s essential for client retention + business growth. So, here I am, at the start of my blogging journey.

Let me start by saying this: Blogging is an investment over the long haul, pure and simple. That’s probably why I have successfully avoided it to now. I am amazed at how many businesses (mine included) believe they can put in a small amount of effort, push a button, and populate instant brand recognition. Get a logo, post on a few social media sites, write the occasional blog post and Presto! Poof! Voila! Instant brand recognition. Sorry. It doesn’t quite work that way. Growing your business reputation and eventually, your sales is exactly that. GROWING. It takes time.

I get it. You only want to do the things in life that you feel are of value. That’s why I haven’t prioritized blogging. Until now. Ultimately, I didn’t see blogging as overtly valuable to growing my sales and brand reputation. I also had a hazy idea of my target audience which allowed for a plethora of blogging excuses. So, how did I determine blogging is valuable to growing sales and my brand reputation? I listened to others with successful businesses. After enough successful small business owners recommended, encouraged, emphasized blogging, I accepted its inherent value. If you think blogging is only for the wayward traveler, stay-at-home mom or geeky techie, think again. Check out this post from Hubspot.

Now that we’ve cleared up the value of small business blogging and we understand the long-term investment requirements, let’s explore some ways to streamline and commit to the task. Can I count on you to be my accountability partner? Great! Let’s get started

    1. Change Your Mindset. I’ve been thinking about how I spend my time and why I spend it the way I do. What matters? What doesn’t? Am I doing things that make a difference in the long run or am I busy for the sake of being busy? We have time for what we want to make time for. This is almost always true (barring obvious things like illness or little kids who need our constant attention.) But even then, there is a season to our time and priorities shift during different seasons.

      My Challenge to You (+ Myself): Take a few days and note each time you say or think “I don’t have enough time.” It might surprise you. Now, spend the next week saying this instead. “It’s not a priority, for me.” Go on, see what happens. You may notice the things that truly matter, the priorities in life, will rise to the top of your activities while less important filler tasks fall off your agenda. Let’s try it, shall we? For one week. Instead of saying “I don’t have time”, let’s make that mental shift to “it’s not a priority, for me”. Let me know if the things that actually matter get to the top of your list!

    2. Let’s get clear (on your motive). Most small business owners could benefit from a little more clarity. Many need better answers to questions like:
      • Who is my target audience? (And where do they already hang out online?)
      • What are their desires, goals, fears and frustrations?
      • How will I get them to visit my blog?

      Clarity on questions like these comes from committed thought, research, and experimentation which are exactly the kinds of things that get neglected when time seems short. Instead of certainty, we need something else. Motive. A powerful motive puts fire in your belly and helps you to push through your uncertainty. And a powerful motive comes from looking at why you want to blog in the first place.

    3. Jump in. Now that we know our motive and we’ve changed our mindset to prioritize blogging, it’s time to jump in. The number one challenge most bloggers face is not really lack of time but confidence. Can you agree to just jump in?
    4. Set Aside Sacred Blog Time. How long will it take you to write your short essay? Two hours? Carve out and gift yourself two quiet, undisturbed, productive hours each week.
    5. Keep a notebook. Inspiration can strike at any time and it’s important to be ready. When you have a thought, idea or rant, write it out at that very moment, when it’s fresh and you are full of passion.This is the most efficient way to write and it almost always results in a great post. Keeping a notebook nearby can help you keep track of your ideas. That way, when it’s your sacred blogging time, you’ll be ready to jump.
    6. Set a Timer. Give yourself a certain amount of time to write. This will act as a micro deadline which is one of the world’s greatest productivity tools - a deadline. Setting a timer may force you to stay focused, get to the point, and keep the schedule you’ve set for yourself.
    7. Write and Keep At It. The more you write, the easier it will become. At least, that’s what people say. Shall we try it? Great. See you in an hour?
    8. Quit Comparing. You are YOU. You don’t need to be anyone else. You have your own set of skills and your own business journey so quit wasting your time and energy comparing yourself to others. Learn. Aspire. Grow. And continue to be YOU.
    9. Stop Second Guessing. Once you’ve gotten your main ideas down, you’ll want to take a break then come back and refine your post a few days before publishing. Proof it. Tighten it up. After 20 minutes, stop! Don’t waste your time re-writing and second-guessing yourself. It doesn’t need to be immaculate.
    10. Streamline your process. You might find it easier and more time efficient to outline all of your weekly (or monthly) posts in one sitting then set aside time through the week (or month) to flesh out the posts. Then, you can create all the graphics in one sitting. Take time to think about each step and when you are going to do this. Put it on your editorial calendar. Because if you don’t take the time to think through this content, you’ll never get it done. You have to create a schedule and account for it in your schedule.
      • Start each post by coming up with a strong title. Your headline may not be the first thing you consider when you write a new post but a catchy title is pertinent to a good blog post. Studies show that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline but only 2 out of 10 will read your entire content. Headlines are crucial for drawing the attention of your ideal audience.
      • Create a simple outline and flesh it out. Write out the different points you want to make using headers and subheaders. Brainstorm an intro and conclusion to make sure there is a natural flow. Coming up with an outline will be much easier than writing the entire post in one sitting. Then, come back and flesh out the details of the post into smaller paragraphs at a later time.
      • Edit the post, create graphics and set it up to go live.
    11. Answer Their Questions. What questions have your clients/target audience asked you? This is a great way to build blog content. If you are just starting out in business this may be a little tricky. Online forums and informational interviews are a great place to collect common questions asked within your industry by your target audience. Over time, you will be able to compile a list of questions which can be turned into blog posts. Answer your audience’s questions. Really answer them.

    12. Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. Want to reduce the amount of effort and time spent on your blog? Think about ways to repurpose your content over time. Can a previous blog post become a video blog? Could a comment on someone else’s blog become a full post? Maybe an e-mail response to one of your clients? How about repurposing a previous blog’s content to answer a new question?
    13. Start Out Slow. If the frequency of blogging scares you, start out slow. You don’t have to blog all the time. Pick a blogging schedule that works for you and be consistent. If you want your blog to gain traction and appeal to the right clients, you have to be consistent. If you’re sporadic and only post every blue moon, you aren’t setting a good expectation for your readers. People won’t know to check back if you don’t set a precedent for how often a new article will be published. How many times are you going to publish a new post each week or each month? What days are you going to post? Perhaps bimonthly or monthly is all you want to try at first. That’s fine. Write it down on your blogging calendar and commit to sticking to your schedule. You can always increase your blogging frequency as you gain confidence.
    14. Recruit Help. If, after all is said and done, you just don’t want to blog - but you understand the marketing value for your business - you may want to consider seeking help. Over time, you want to work in guest bloggers to your blogging schedule. You can also hire a ghostwriter to write your entire blog. Just remember, it’s important to find someone who can capture your brand’s voice and appeal highly to your target audience.

I hope this helps hold you accountable to blogging success, even when time is tight. What other time-saving tricks can you recommend?

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