How to write a blog post in 10 minutes

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Stopwatch

Part of a series. Original version at AlexandraSamuel.com.

In my recent blog post about how to sustain your social media presence in just 3 hours a week, I advise drafting 3 blog posts in under one hour. That may sound unimaginable if (like me) you've fallen into the habit of turning each blog post you write into a mini-manual or philosophical essay.

But back in the day -- you know, before Twitter -- a lot of blog posts consisted of simply sharing a link and saying, hey, here's something useful you should read. Now that we've got Facebook and Twitter, people tend to share links in 140 characters or less, and the blog-post-as-link-share has largely disappeared.

I'm all for sharing links in an efficient way, through Twitter or Facebook or even delicious. But we've lost something in this rapid-fire micro-sharing: we've lost the conversation about why something is worth sharing (or reading). We've lost the reflections on what we learned by reading the post we're about to share.

And we've lost a great, valuable route to sustaining a blog. My 3-hour social media method relies on bringing back the "I read this and so should you" blog post. But in the era of Twitter et al., just sharing the link is not enough. You've got to provide some additional value....something that makes the reader glad to read your blog post, and not just annoyed you didn't point them towards the original.

Here are seven ways to add value to a blog post you are sharing:

  1. Summarize the main argument of the post (but in a way that still encourages the reader to read the full post)
  2. Share a (brief) excerpt or two from the original post that you think was exceptionally interesting or useful
  3. Explain why you think it's worth reading, or what you enjoyed about it
  4. Suggest another way to apply the original post's advice or insight
  5. Raise a concern, criticism or missing piece of information
  6. Ask a question prompted by the blog post
  7. Point to another related or complementary resource, or draw a thematic connection between multiple blog posts

If you can add value to the post you are sharing in one (or more) of these ways, you can draft a useful, legitimate blog post in 10 minutes or less. Don't believe me? Then watch this video, which records the process of writing yesterday's blog post about digital fasts.

Full disclosure: I cut 6 seconds from this video to remove a confidential search string that auto-filled in Google while I was searching for my previous digital fasts post. But the total drafting time still came in under 10 minutes!

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