Digital content creation: How long does it take to write a blog post?

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

Let’s write a blog post. Is it done yet? I wish it was that easy, but as companies are seeing the value of writing good blog articles to drive company visibility it’s an important question: How long does it take?

To write a blog post sounds simple and some companies truly oversimplify it:

  • We need you to write a blog post on this topic.
  • Please go ahead.

Strategic writing – like anything that takes an advanced skillset – can take time and include a certain amount of steps. Those steps can help us be on track for content success. Of course, it’s good to know those steps to understand what’s involved. Even when it’s just at a high level.

Jacob McMillen discussed copywriting misperceptions on this podcast episode with me. Not understanding the purpose of the content or the process of getting useful content can slow things down.

To start, it’s good to remember that the writers might not be the subject matter experts on the topic. And googling the topic won’t help you become an expert and offer a unique opinion. But nonetheless, keyword research matters. The first step once you have a topic in mind should be to see what people are searching for.

Step 0: The Strategy

Make sure you know who you are trying to reach, what topics to cover, and determine your publishing frequency.

Read next: Why a content creation strategy must include getting on a blogging schedule

Step 1: Keyword research

I use Ubersuggest and Keywords Everywhere on Chrome to validate the terms people search for. I then consider what can flow naturally into the content I have in mind.

Read more about SEO:

How to measure SEO performance

Are you ready for voice search SEO?

Finding your blogging niche

Step 2: Outline and questions

When I produced training in the financial industry, I spent much time on outlines. That outline was then reviewed and approved. For some topics that makes sense, but it also adds a ton of time. Today, I mostly just think about the questions I want the blog post to answer. Seeing what people search for and what’s already been covered helps me a ton there. Jotting those down helps, but I’m also not married to the outline. Sometimes, I find additional information later and simply add it into the content where it makes sense.

These questions get you the details to make the content meaningful.

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Step 3: Get the answers

Next, we need to get the answers to the questions we identified. I would not recommend just googling them and regurgitating what’s already out there. Instead, talk to internal subject matter experts. Interview the founders. Chat with the product team. Consider asking customers when that makes sense. To get that unique content, we have to create it and that goes beyond just copying and rewriting what’s already out there.

A few years ago, when I worked in healthcare, I got the answers by interviewing physicians and then writing articles based on what they said.  The interviews were recorded and easy to go back to and find content – oftentimes – for multiple stories.

Today, I prefer the “Going Live” model when interviewing experts. Instead of interviewing experts behind closed doors, which was kind of the only or at least best way to conduct those interviews then, we do it live on air.

In this model, I invite experts on my podcast and livestream to talk about the topic of interest. The answers are given publicly while we stream to social media networks – usually using Restream. (Affiliate link)

Step 4: Determine where to use the answers

I write new articles from some podcast episodes. That especially holds true if I haven’t written about the topic previously. Other times, I may use bits and pieces in existing blog posts that could use a refresh.

Step 5: Getting it through approvals, published, and distributed

The approval process also should be included in the answer to the question of how long it takes to write a blog post. Sure, if I can write it in 2 hours or 4 or whatever, that’s great, but if it takes two weeks to get approved, that all counts. Also, consider how long ideation can take. I somewhat jokingly created this T-shirt to recognize that thinking also takes time. (Affiliate link).

So how long it takes to write a blog post all depends on what you count into the process. Ideation and being creative certainly are important parts of the process. So is the actual writing part. But the writing isn’t the only thing that is part of writing a blog post. Finally, we also need to follow basic best SEO practices to make our content useful and findable.

At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be a question about how long it took to create, but is it working? Are people finding it? Is it being consumed? Is it helping us make a difference from a business standpoint?

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