Neil Patel

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Tips For Writing A Blog Post In Under 60 Minutes

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Great content is one of the most effective ways to drive business growth.

It’s also hard.

There are moments when you’re chock-full of motivation. Ideas leap out of your mind and straight onto the page.

Other times, you might spend hours trying to come up with a good idea, much less writing your first sentence.

It happens to all of us.

However, blog posts are still the top asset to engage with your audience and generate leads for your business.

In fact, blogs were the second most popular marketing channel in 2022, according to HubSpot’s State of Marketing Trends Report.

A graph with the top marketing channels in 2022.

Not just any old blog post will do, however. If you want to really drive conversions, then you need to create persuasive content.

This is why I put so much time, money, and effort into creating exceptional content with all the persuasive checks and balances.

I’ve mentioned this before: When I was starting a blog, my content failed to hit the mark. But now, I have a fine-tuned system that helps me with writing a blog post in record time. You can do it, too.

In this post, I’ll give you specific tips for writing a blog post that I use to craft quality blog posts in under an hour.

Step #1: Create A Bank of Content Ideas

Honestly, I have a difficult time coming up with great ideas — which is why I developed a process to get my creative juices flowing.

When you can’t think of what to write about, there are four simple ways you can come up with viral-worthy blog topics.

First, create a master spreadsheet to serve as your idea bank. The headings should look something like this:

Creating a master spreadsheet to store content ideas.

Now, it’s time to add ideas to your spreadsheet. Here’s how to come up with them.

Analyze Your Products and Services

While blogging consistently isn’t a direct sales tool, you do want to be intentional about choosing topics that are aligned with what your business offers.

This way, you’re not blogging for the sake of blogging and are more likely to see a return on your investment.

Consider each product or service individually, and ask these questions.

What hurdles are preventing your prospects from making a purchase?

Addressing the objections people have about your business is the best way to improve your lead generation efforts.

A gold mine for finding these objections is on webinar chat boxes. You can either examine your own webinars or those of your competitors.

You’ll find a scenario like this:

Webinar chat boxes giving inspiration for blog post ideas.

More questions to use when considering your products/services:

  • Why are you the best person to solve their problems?
  • Why not your competitor?
  • What’s the urgency?
  • Why is your product relevant now?
  • Why is your product the #1 solution?

Use these questions to brainstorm ideas and add them to your spreadsheet. You can then use the headline formula I provide later to create a custom headline.

Audit Your Popular Blog Posts

The best way to know what content will delight your audience is to pinpoint blog posts that already hit the mark.

Check your analytics and note the categories of your most popular posts.

You can also use Ubersuggest to find your most popular content. Here’s how:

Navigate to Ubersuggest, enter your URL, and click search.

Ubersuggest's home page.

From there, navigate to the left sidebar. Click on “Top Pages” under the “Traffic Analyzer” section.

The side bar of Ubersuggest's website.

Finally, analyze your results to better understand which pages of your website are attracting the most visitors.

Top traffic pages for Neilpatel.com from ubersuggest.

The screenshot above displays your top traffic pages, in order, along with other data such as:

  • estimated visits per month
  • number of backlinks to the page
  • number of social shares on Facebook and Pinterest

A quick review of the top results shows that my audience is most interested in affiliate marketing, SEO, and content marketing.

When you do this for your own site, you’ll have a better idea of where to focus your content creation efforts in the future.

Conduct a Competitor Analysis

I believe in making your competitors work for you and not against you — and one way to do this is to look at what is working for them.

I’m not saying copy their strategy. Rather, look at what content is ranking well and look for ways you can do it better.

Can you cover a different angle? Add more research? Maybe include downloads that make your content more useful.

You can also use Ubersuggest for this.

Simply plug in your keyword and click search.

From there, click on “Content Ideas” in the left sidebar. Here’s what you end up with.

Ubersuggest's content ideas for the term "blogging".

The goal is to find the most popular content for your keyword. Do this by focusing on the number of backlinks to the URL and the number of social shares.

For example, the first listing when searching for “blogging” is How To Make Money Blogging (In No Time).

Not only does it have more than 300 backlinks, but it’s been shared on Facebook and Pinterest almost 150,000 times. This proves that it’s popular among your target audience.

If you can find a way to make that topic even better, there’s a good chance your content will get a lot of traction.

Look At Customer Pain Points

It amazes me how many people neglect this step.

You want to tell an effective story, create hyper-relevant content, and be perceived as an authority. Ignoring the people you’re trying to reach is not the best way to accomplish this.

The best way to do this is to get into the heads and hearts of your audience. Here’s where you can get that insight:

  • Blog comments
  • Quora
  • Niche forums
  • Amazon book reviews (pay special attention to the negative reviews)
  • Facebook groups
  • Twitter search
  • Your own site search

What questions are your prospects asking? What objections do they have? What do they need help with?

Take down these ideas word for word. The goal at this point is not to form a concrete hook but to generate ideas.

Ask Your Customer Service Reps

If you have a customer service team, now is the time to loop them in. What questions do they get asked the most? What pain points do they hear about?

Is there a part of your own solution that causes issues or prompts questions?

Gather those ideas and see if there’s a way to make a blog post. At the very least, you might come up with some good Frequently Asked Questions to add to your post.

Don’t have a customer service team? Check out your chatbot or email support inbox. I’m sure there are a few diamonds in the rough you can use to create compelling content.

After you’ve completed these five steps, you’ll have an arsenal of raw data that can be transformed into custom blog topics.

Step #2: Gather Sources & Get Started on Research

What if I told you that writing a blog post is just like carving a sculpture?

You are the artist. Your research document is your block of marble. You just need to chisel away at the unnecessary material to give life to your post.

The only question that remains is: how do you conduct research fast?

The process is quite simple:

  1. The same steps used to generate blog topics can be used for your research. Instead of focusing on the idea, you focus on the content.
  2. As you read to gather your research, jot down the ideas that come to mind. Let reading be the input and writing the output.
  3. The goal is to create a valuable, data-driven post. Use the following sources to gather your data:
Types of supporting data and where to source it.

After you’ve done your research, let it sit.

When I let my ideas marinate overnight, they become more refined, I gain more clarity, and the direction of my post becomes concrete in my mind.

Here’s another pro tip to save you time — save the best research results as a bookmark or in a Google Doc. Next time you need research, you’ll be able to find it right away rather than having to sift through the search results again!

So how do you know what to chisel away in order to sculpt your blog post? It’s all in the framework.

Step #3: The 6-Point Framework of a Persuasive Blog Post (Plus an Outline You Can Steal)

There are few things in the world that people hate more than being marketed to when they just want information.

If your readers detect even a hint of sleaze in your blog posts, they will make a dive for the exit button.

The only way to escape that unfortunate fate is to stop selling and start persuading.

There are six pressure points that you need to tap into:

6 point persuasion framework.

1. Likeability: If your readers don’t like you, everything else is irrelevant. Naturally, people are skeptical of perfection. So be vulnerable, tell your story, and document the imperfections. Eighty-eight percent of consumers say authenticity is important when choosing a brand to do business with.

2. Credibility: Your readers not only need to believe in you, but they need to believe in their own ability to produce results. That’s where providing easily consumable and actionable content comes into play.

A great way to create more bite-sized content is to add images every 100 words or so. In fact, bloggers who use seven or more images in their posts are 2.3 times more likely to see strong results. Just make sure that if you go this route, be sure to compress/shrink the file sizes so your page doesn’t load too slowly.

A graph showing how bloggers get better results when they add images and videos to their blog.

3. Urgency: You need to help your readers overcome their tendency to procrastinate. The way to do that is to emphasize the urgency.

Why does the information in your blog post matter today? A genius way to insert a call-to-action in your post is to create content upgrades

4. Authority: Your authority is increased by creating comprehensive, data-driven content with unique insights. The more authority you command, the more people will bet on you to deliver the transformation that they seek.

5. Reciprocity: Attention is currency in the online space. So when someone gives you their attention, you reciprocate by providing value with no strings attached. In fact, giving away your best content for free can help you reap big rewards.

6. Authenticity: Who is ever their absolute authentic self in every scenario? Consistency is a key part of being authentic, though. It means showing up day after day with a congruent message.

If you’re shaky with your ideas or complacent about the way that you express them, you won’t hold up to scrutiny. A study of 27,000 consumers revealed that consistency is critical for trust and loyalty.

I know this sounds like a lot of criteria for one blog post to meet.

To do it all in 45 minutes? Sounds impossible.

Not necessarily.

I’ve created a simple outline that satisfies every point of this framework.

I challenge you to use it and see your writing skills improve by leaps.

An outline to use when creating a blog.

Step #4: Flesh Out Your Outline In Record Time

Now it’s time to execute.

By this point, you should have come up with a stockpile of blog topics.

You’ve filled out your research document, and now it’s time to create your outline without wasting any time.

A flowchart showing how to create a blog in 45 minutes.

I suggest putting on some concentration music and diving into the outline. I also use a digital timer to keep myself from getting pulled down rabbit holes. Sure, you could spend two hours researching — but you’ll create better content if you can stay focused.

Ready to create your outline? Here’s how to get started

Craft a Heavy-Hitting Hook (5 Minutes)

A crappy headline is the kiss of death.

You might as well beg people to go read any one of the other millions of blog posts that are published every day.

Here’s how to ensure that your headline delivers a solid punch:

Rule #1: Be super-specific. Use numbers in your headline and avoid ambiguous words like amazing, awesome, and great. There are other lackluster words that put readers to sleep, but these are the common culprits.

Rule #2: Flirt, don’t reveal your total solution. If you uncover your solution right away, there’s no incentive to keep reading. Be mindful that there is a fine line between a curiosity-infused headline and desperate clickbait.

Rule #3: Invoke an emotional response. This Harvard study shows we make decisions on an emotional basis and only appeal to logic to justify these decisions.

By now, you already know that great ideas aren’t formulaic, but the vessel in which they are contained is.

Your headline is that vessel.

Here are 11 proven headline formulas that work:

1. Breaking News Headline

Formula: [Story] + [Effect]

Example: New Google Algorithm Gives Top Blogs A Heavy Blow

2. The List Headline

Formula: [Number] of Ways To [Desired Outcome]

Example: 127 Ways To Market Your Online Course

3. The Burning Question

Formula: [Pose A Provocative Question]

Example: Is The Money Really In The List?

4. A Fun Juxtaposition

Formula: [Present two conflicting ideas or positions]

Example: How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers

5. The How-To Headline

Formula #1: How To [Method] To [Achieve Desired Outcome] Like [Gripping Simile/Metaphor]

Example: How To Use Content Upgrades to Grow Your Email List Like Wildfire

Formula #2: How To [Method] To [Achieve Desired Outcome] In [Specific Timeframe]

Example: How To Use Persuasion To Write Blockbuster Blog Posts in 45 Minutes

6. The Ultimate Guide

Formula: The [Ultimate/Complete] Guide To [Total Transformation]

Example: The Ultimate Guide To Content Marketing

7. The Name Dropper

Formula: [Famous Person] [Method, Advice, Tips] For [Achieving A Desired Outcome]

Example: Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer

8. Introduce The Evil Villain

Formula: [Evil Villain] That [Specific Misdeed]

Example: The 10 Types Of Pseudo-Experts That Are Robbing You Blind

9. Address A Resident Emotion

Formula: [Appeal To A Fear/Other Strong Emotion]

Example: An Open Letter To Entrepreneurs Struggling To Make A Profit

10. The Mistakes, Errors, Warnings

Formula: [Number] Mistakes People Make [Specific Action]

Example: 12 Fatal Sales Copywriting Mistakes

11. Leading With Why Headline

Formula: [Why] [Specific Thing] [Outcome/Adjective]

Example: Why Creativity Is Overrated

Write A Magnetic Opening (5 minutes)

Your lead serves as the gateway to the rest of your post, so you want it to be inviting, entertaining, and full of promise.

Some rules for writing a hypnotic blog post opening:

Rule #1: Keep your first sentence short, snappy, and snackable. Short sentences boost content readability.

Rule #2: Aggravate the problem and use emotive language to paint a picture of your big promise. Here are some power words that you can use to create an emotionally gripping narrative.

Rule #3:Use personal anecdotes and mini stories to boost your credibility and authenticity factors.

Want formulas? Here are 9 power hitters:

  1. The Quote Lead: Use a quote relevant to your blog post. Your readers should be able to recognize the author of your quote, so it’s best to use an influencer in your niche.
  2. The Impending Danger Lead: This is where you introduce an evil villain and lean strongly on emotion.
  3. The Counterintuitive Lead: Open by presenting a solution that goes against the grain.
  4. The Empath Lead: Let readers know that you understand how they feel, you’ve walked in their shoes, and that they’re not alone.
  5. The Shock Value Lead: Open with an unexpected fact.
  6. The Storytelling Lead: An intriguing tale goes a long way to draw readers in. It could be true or metaphorical, as long as it’s within the context of your blog post.
  7. The “Get Right To It” Lead: The no fluff, “I won’t waste your time” lead. You have to establish the premise of your post right away.
  8. The “Call Out” Lead: Have the audacity to call your reader out. Do they have a bad habit that’s keeping them in the dark? What are they complacent about?
  9. Pop Quiz Lead: Open by providing a list of options and set it up where there can only be two or three outcomes.

Here’s an example:

how to write a blog post in 45 minutes write a better lede

One quick tip — make sure to use your target keyword in the first 300 words. This indicates to Google (and your readers) what the topic is about and can help you rank higher in SERPs.

I used to go really heavy on narrative intros, but recent Google updates have made this less effective. So be interesting, but not long-winded.

Step #5: Pack Your Post With Value (30 minutes)

Naturally, this is where you’ll invest the most time.

If you take your time in the research phase, it’s a matter of chipping away at the unnecessary information and tightening up your post.

Here’s the blueprint for shaping each point in your body:

How to create the most critical point in a blog post.

Some quick tips for writing dynamic body content:

Tip #1: Strike the right balance between emotion and reason. Hitting the emotional hot buttons is critical, but your readers have a need for logic, particularly if they’re being promised something sensational.

Tip #2: Readers should be able to easily implement your solutions themselves and see an immediate benefit or result. This is going to amplify your perceived value and keep people coming back, day after day.

It’s all well and good trying to go viral, but your chances of doing so are slim to none. Instead of focusing on creating viral content (when you have less than a 1% chance of producing it), focus on creating useful content.

Tip #3: Let your personality show up. Your unique writing voice will take time to develop, but here’s what you can do to accelerate the process:

  • Brainstorm two words that describe your personality. Find words and phrases that are synonymous or associated with these two keywords. Let that serve as your swipe file of personality power words and use them in your SEO writing.
  • Create an imaginary reader, name them, and write like you’re having a conversation with that ONE person.

You should also add personal anecdotes where appropriate. People prefer reading content that has stories versus content with just facts and data. If you don’t have personal stories that you can tie in, that means you are probably blogging on the wrong subject.

Tip #4: Think about how people will read your article. Most of the people that come to your website won’t read. Blogs tend to have an average time on site of less than 1 minute.

There is no way your average visitor is going to read your 2,000-word blog post in under a minute. That means people skim.

Make sure you write your content with the assumption that people skim. From leveraging headings to even writing a conclusion at the end of each post, this will help your readers get value out of your content even when they don’t fully read it.

Bonus Time Saving Tip: Use a voice typing tool so you don’t have to physically type. Simply dictate your points and most voice typing tools will spell out the words with remarkable accuracy.

Step #6: Write A Solid Close And CTA (5 Minutes)

Take a minute to analyze a few of your blog posts.

Do you notice a specific pattern in how you close your posts? I bet you do.

That’s because when we do a task over and over, we subconsciously develop a mental protocol to save time and effort.

You may have noticed that I always pose a question as the final interaction, and I always end with a positive outlook.

You don’t have to use this same structure, but it works well — which is why I keep doing it.

While there are no rules, there are some tips and tricks for closing effectively:

Tip #1: Emphasize the main message. You don’t want your blog post to be linear or incomplete. Did you lead with a mini story about Mark? Make sure Mark shows up in your closing. Did you lean on a particular emotion in your opening? Call that emotion to action in your close.

Tip #2: Give readers a reason to act with urgency. What’s the big benefit? What’s the ultimate promise? Remind them so they’ll be inclined to act on your solutions.

Tip #3: Positivity and optimism will trump fear any day. Be inspiring. Be motivational. Be a cheerleader.

Tip #4: End with a conversation starter. Asking a question at the end gives readers a nudge to engage and comment on your post.

Step #7: Consider AI Writing Tools

Want to beat writer’s block? Want to try out multiple angles at once? Then maybe it’s time to consider AI writing tools.

Over the last year, there has been a proliferation of AI-assisted writing tools, from grammar checkers like Grammarly to full-blown content-generation platforms like Jasper. There’s never been a better time to augment your writing practice with technology.

AI writing tools come in all shapes and sizes and can be used for a variety of different purposes.

One of the most common purposes is to quickly generate an article outline, which you can then write yourself or send to one of your team’s writers. In some cases, AI tools will even use results from Google to provide SEO-optimized outlines that ensure you hit all of the relevant points.

You can also use AI writing tools to get your creative juices flowing by quickly generating half a dozen ways to start your article. If you’ve been stuck staring at a blank page for more than 10 minutes, it can be well worth seeing what an AI writing tool can generate. It may not be the best piece of writing ever, but it can certainly give you a jumping-off point.

Some tools can even write the entire article on your behalf. Or they can rephrase content you have previously written to make it unique.

Finally, you can use AI to optimize your finished article to make sure it includes all of the relevant keywords to rank well in Google. Tools like Surfer SEO and Frase make it easy to compare your article with what’s already ranking on page one of Google. That way you can make sure it’s more in-depth and relevant than the best piece of existing content before you hit publish.

Tips on Writing With AI Tools

If you’re going to use AI tools, then I have a couple of tips you should bear in mind.

These are supplements, not substitutes. It may be tempting to think that in a pinch, an AI writing tool suite can be a cheaper alternative for a proper writing team. Absolutely not. Even the best tools out there still need skilled human writers both to operate the tools as well as polish the material into finalized content.

Be very clear. Whether you are using an AI tool to create an outline or write your entire article, make sure you provide very clear instructions. The quality of the AI’s output will directly correlate with your instructions. In some cases, it can be beneficial to provide specific instructions for each subheading rather than just one single instruction for the article as a whole.

Heavily edit everything. AI writing tools aren’t always the most accurate or the most talented writers. You may find they use outdated information or completely make up statistics. They can also write in a convoluted way and repeat themselves. All of this leads to a poor reader experience. But you can rectify everything with a good edit once each article has been generated. It takes a little effort, but in many cases, it’s still faster than writing the article from scratch.

Add your own research. AI-generated content has a tendency to look very generic. That’s not great for brands who want to use their content to separate themselves from the competition. It’s important to add your own research (statistics, quotes, etc.) into every article to ensure you create an informative and authoritative piece of content.

FAQs

What is the key to writing a blog post fast?

Creating a repeatable process. Creating a process keeps you moving forward and prevents you from getting bogged down in the details. I also recommend using a timer to keep yourself on track.

How long should it take to write a blog post?

With the right process, you can create high-quality blog posts in around 45 minutes, including research and writing. It’s all about creating a solid outline and staying focused.

What tools can I use to write blog posts faster?

Use Ubersuggest to research topics, find ideas, and perform a competitive analysis. A voice-to-text tool can help you write faster. I also suggest a digital timer to keep yourself focused. AI tools are also great to trim time down, but you still need to polish the work before it’s finalized.

How long of a blog post can I write in under 60 minutes?

With the right process, research, and focus, you can easily create 1500 to 2000-word posts in less than an hour.

Conclusion

Hopefully, these tips for writing a blog post have helped. Even if you’re a self-proclaimed terrible writer who spends weeks writing and editing one blog post, you can create a persuasive powerhouse of a blog post without consuming days of your time.

This is not to say your first blog post will take 60 minutes — it probably won’t. However, over time this process will become second nature and you’ll find you can crank out a high-ranking blog post in less than an hour. You’ll soon be a more productive writer.

I’m proof that it doesn’t require any form of wizardry or extraordinary talent. What it takes is commitment and trust in the systems proven to generate results.

There will be moments when the process gets grueling, but when your traffic and conversions go up, you’ll know it was worth the effort.

What’s your process for writing quality blog posts quickly? Do you have any tips and tricks that I didn’t mention in this post?

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