Blogging is a lot different from other business processes. It’s a creative pursuit and requires inspiration — or caffeine, I can never remember.
We’re often asked to produce large amounts of content in a short period of time, and I know from experience how tough that can be. However, with the right approach and a collection of useful tools you’ll see your productivity soar!
At Process Street, we focused our growth strategy around content marketing. We’ve covered topics ranging from implementing agile management in development teams to the most complete compendium of team building exercises you’ll find online.
And that’s only in the last 2 weeks!
We don’t just write about standard operating procedures and workflow management, but cover areas we believe our users may find value in.
To keep this strategy going we write three long-form articles each week. There are a lot of tools we use and I’ll cover a range of options as we work our way through – try to guess which one we think is the most important of all.
Google Docs Helps You Write as a Team
Firstly, you need a space to write and software which can help you do it. MS Word is still the most comprehensive option for writing documents, however, it’s no longer my favorite.
I’m a convert to the Google Apps package, specifically Google Docs. There are a host of reasons, but I’ll focus on three:
- Ease of use. It has a simple layout and light design which removes distractions and helps me focus on writing. It has a range of more comprehensive features as add-ons for increased functionality. You can access it anywhere on any device, from desktop to mobile, with all your files waiting for you – provided you have internet.
- Cloud collaboration. Working with Google Drive and Google Docs allows you to easily share work amongst your colleagues. You can edit collaboratively in real time or add comments to be seen later, including people not on your team so no one needs to own specialist software. Share documents, files, and folders freely.
- Connect to everything. The Google Apps software integrates with many different SaaS platforms providing an easy low-tech way to save time and automate actions. Save your Process Street checklist into Google Docs or use Zapier to have your Typeform survey save into Google Sheets. Automatically import your Google Doc into WordPress. Imagine the possibilities.
I’m not receiving commission from Google (yet) so it is worth mentioning that Google’s services are limited offline and the Microsoft office package has been following in Google’s cloud based steps. Both are fine choices, but I use Docs.
Process Street Makes Your Team Stick to the Standard Procedure
At Process Street, we have our Blog Pre-Publish checklist public for new users to play with and build from. Our internal checklist for pre-publishing is built from this base. We use our process to help us edit, to guide our keyword analysis, and to format and structure.
Every time we publish a post we run this checklist first, going through each step and checking them off.
This approach ensures consistent quality and optimises our content. If you’re going to produce regular long-form content, don’t undermine your extra efforts. Play with the Blog Pre-Publishchecklist to see how you can adapt it to fit your needs, or those of your team.
Some of the example steps are:
- Check for filler words.
- Can you link to any relevant interesting articles?
- Add correct alt tags and titles to images
Let the Hemingway Editor Guide Your Style
When I started, I was told to spend at least one third of my time per article on editing. I was uncertain which tool to pick out and recommend for this section as different tools focus on different areas of the editing process.
One tool my colleague swears by is Beegit which lets you write and edit in markdown. It results in HTML friendly formatting for WordPress, letting you avoid the WordPress rich text editor. If you’re working as a team, Beegit also allows for collaborative work similar to Google Docs.
However, my standout editing tool for style is the Hemingway editor. Either write directly into it or paste in your work. It is lightweight and easy to use. It also has Hemingway living inside it.
The internal algorithms discourage complex sentences or ones which are hard to read. It highlights the use of adverbs and passive voice. When writing, you can miss mistakes and obtuse sentences can mask themselves. Hemingway won’t let that happen to you.
Use Canva to Professionalize Your Design
Design is a difficult area for a lot of writers. Unless you have an inhouse designer whose time is dedicated to making your writing look sexy, you’re probably doing this yourself.
When we rebranded our startup we had a designer from Koombea create a range of images and icons which we use to ensure our branding. If you’re a company and recognize the value of this investment, I recommend you do similar.
For creating simple professional images online, Canva provides many premade templates to choose from. It’s easy to use and categorizes its templates so you always have the right dimensions and style for the purpose. Create a banner image for your social media or create an infographic to illustrate complex points clearly.
Find Niche Keywords With Quora and Reddit
We all know how important SEO is to having a digital presence. If your readers can’t find you they won’t read you.
There are a couple of key areas we optimize. Our titles are often keyword heavy while also being enticing. Using sites like Quora or Reddit to see the questions your audience are asking and the words they’re using, will help you hone your titles. It also gives you an insight into the current conversations on those topics.
Finding niche keywords with Reddit and Quora is the first part of any solid keyword research process. Find out more about keyword analysis here.
Organize Yourself With Pomello
Remember when I asked you to think about which tool is most important to achieving 3 long-form pieces a week? Here’s a clue… it’s this one.
This isn’t a single tool, but for the sake of the article it’s Pomello. With this Chrome extension, you can integrate a Pomodoro timer into Trello. The Pomodoro technique is a way of approaching productivity where you work without stopping for 25 minutes at a time and then take a 5 minute break – whether you want to or not. There’s a bit more to it than this, but you can read more about it here.
Trello is a project management system, great for agile approaches. Use a series of cards with tasks on each to monitor and prioritize your work.
We use Trello to organize individually and to organize across teams too. We employ Trello to help us stagger our writing efforts; writing out a concept and plan one day, a first draft another day, and a final version all within the week while still creating time for feedback and review at every stage. There are a number of ways to approach this but Trello and Pomello will help keep your organization tight and your productivity high.
Put It Into Action
We’ve spilled our beans. You’ve seen our secrets. Surprisingly simple in the end. Keep well organized with high productivity, collaborate with your team, use checklists to cover all your tasks, and just write. Just write.