12 Blog Shortcuts Every Blogger Should Try

A Dozen Ways to Facilitate Social Media Content Creation

What blogger doesn’t need a few blog shortcuts to help shave some time off of their blogging? Remember when you were young and tried figuring out how to take the least amount of time to do something? May be it was cutting through a neighbor’s yard on the way to school or doing boring cores around the house.

Shortcuts can be useful, unless you’re like one of my nephews who excelled at spending more time figuring out how to do less homework than it would have taken him to just do the homework in the first place. When it comes to blogging, shortcuts go beyond reducing keystrokes, it involves helping you to sit down at the computer and produce great content with the least amount of work necessary.  Here are twelve blog shortcuts that take into account the possibility that, occasionally, you may need to trick yourself into doing the work.

  1. Editorial calendar saves time because you know what you’re going to write and when it’ll be published. As a result, you can theoretically jump into the writing. There’s no time wasted trying to find a topic. For example, Margie Clayman’s made her calendar for August public.
  2. Photographs. A picture’s worth more than a 1,000 words when it comes to luring readers in. Photographs are a must-have for engaging blog posts. Use your own or other people’s. Check rights and permissions and acknowledge the photographer. (By the way, Flickr now marks photographs that can be used commercially.) Also, don’t overlook using photographs as the core of your blog posts as The Satorialist and Cake Wrecks do.
  3. Graphics. Skip the prose and just show your stuff. This can be a cartoon or other visual. Gaping Void and The Oatmeal have blogs filled with images.
  4. Videos. Reach out and touch your viewers by showing them how to do something in real time. You can just sit at your computer and talk.  Chris Brogan does this well.
  5. Infographics. These graphics integrate diverse data into an easy-to-consume format. Many people are visual and these data-filled images are reader magnets. Make sure you take the time to make them colorful and attractive.  (Be aware that infographics follow my nephew’s approach to homework; they can take a deceptively long time to create.) Here’s a nice infographic.
  6. Guests. Invite experienced bloggers to write for your blog; you get content and they get exposed to a new audience. Want some tips on how to be a great guest blogger? One perfect time to do this is when you’re on vacation. Lisa Barone asks a variety of experts while she’s off the grid.
  7. Interviews can be done in prose (think email or chat) or via video. You get content and the interviewee gets promoted to your audience. Don’t forget to include a photograph of the person being interviewed and a link to their website or blog.
  8. Presentations. Are you talking to me? After spending time thinking through a topic for a presentation, why not share the PowerPoint deck or write a short summary of the topic? Lee Odden of Online Marketing Blog is a master at leveraging this form of content.
  9. Roundups. Give your spin on the best of your recent reading. Many bloggers do this on Saturdays. Of note is Gini Dietrich.
  10. Quotes. Have other people said something better than you have. Can you use quotes as the meat of your post? Don’t you just love copy and paste? Don’t forget to check permissions and rights. Here’s an example of how to put together quotes from this blog.
  11. Lists. Sometimes it’s easier to enumerate your points than it is to write prose about them. Even better, long lists attract readers. Additionally lists provide clear direction to search robots. Here’s one of my lists (It’s a blog checklist with 60 points—click through to see how to improve your blog.)
  12. Links. Instead of writing more about something that you or someone else has already explained, just link to the pertinent information. Bear in mind that when you link to your own content, it can increase time on site.

Remember everyone needs blog shortcuts whether it’s to get ahead of yourself during quiet periods or planning for a vacation. It’s also useful when you have blank post syndrome and need to get something on the blog.

Do you have any blog shortcuts that you can add to this list? If so, please add them in the comments.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

BTW If you need some writing inspiration, here are 99 Free Blog Titles (or what I did for my summer vacation!).

Photo credit: nSeika via Flickr

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4 Responses to 12 Blog Shortcuts Every Blogger Should Try

  1. Joan Stewart says:

    I am known as The Publicity Hound and in my publicity blog, I summarize my Top 10 “Dog Tweets” of the Week–the best content I shared on Twitter. I link to those posts from my twice-a-week ezine. I am ASTONISHED to see how much traffic they get! And here’s the best part: my assistant does all the work. Take a look: http://publicityhound.com/blog/dog-tweets-7-tips-on-how-to-write-sticky-memorable-blog-posts.php

  2. Joe Moody says:

    One thing I’ve found when blogging is to have a cohesive theme for my blog, it helps people know what to expect and makes a blog stand out more. I recently focused on blogging about my novel-in-progress, something people wouldn’t be able to read about elsewhere … it’s also made life more simple. Happy blogging!

  3. Lori Johnson says:

    I just started using an editorial calendar. And let me go on record as saying, it’s not just theory. Having the hard work of figuring out what to blog about really does free me to just write about it. For July, it took me a solid hour or two to come up with the next 5 blogs post titles. I got the first one published on time but I’m off by a few days for the second one. However, that is a lot better than knowing I want to get another post done and not knowing where I’m going with it yet. For me just having that roadmap has made blogging more enjoyable. I’m forcing all my other blog writing friends to listen to me sing the praises of the editorial publishing calendar. Hopefully, I will still have some friends by the time the excitement wears off me. LOL!

  4. Great post, Heidi. Really appreciate the helpful links. I gotta admire Margie Clayman and her editorial calendar preview. Totally organized – wow.