I recently came back from my company’s annual customer conference. As tiring as this event is, I enjoy it. It’s good to meet with customers (even though I’m no longer in a product management role), see what they are doing, hear what they want to learn, and hopefully educate them – what a cool time.
At any rate, this year (like in years past), I tasked myself with creating media at the event – from tweets to pictures to posts. And each year, I encourage others to do so with me. Some of the hesitation I get is that people think that they simply can’t blog, aren’t good bloggers, they don’t know what to write about, don’t have the time, …
I published four or so posts while there, and I have four more in the can going up soon. I want to unpack what I did for two of those and give an honest-to-goodness time allocation to each sub-task to really understand how long this took. THis is to show some others who may be reading this just how little time it takes. Or, perhaps you’re reading this and thinking, “Yes – I’m going to share this with someone so they can now see what it takes.”
Before I get into this, I want to state up front that the example post I’m usingis an audio interview I did. You might be saying, “Oh, well that’s cheating.” To which I reply, “No, it isn’t.” Blogging isn’t text only. It’s media. And frankly if you like this approach, then consider creating an entire blog that uses only this format. There’s nothing against it. The point is that you can take this idea and extrapolate it a bit for an all-text blog. The general structure stays the same, but the time is lengthened a bit for the actual writing.
- Create a SoundCloud account: 2 minutes
- this is a one-time effort, and wouldn’t need to be done every time
- Pick a person to interview: 30 seconds
- I know the space; I know who’s attending for people that might work for an interview. Truth be told, I thought about this while driving home from work a few weeks ago, so technically, it’s zero, since it wasn’t time I’d otherwise be doing something else.
- Think of the questions to ask: 3 minutes
- I’ve read their posts and listened to their content before, so I know what they are like [honestly, you’d need to do this for any interview]. I balanced the questions with something I think readers would generally want to know vs. something that’s going to get eyeballs/headlines [like the image I used in this post].
- Since I kept it to 3 + 1 questions, this wasn’t hard. I thought about it, opened up Evernote, jotted them down, refined the, scratched one off the list, thought of another, refined them, and then reordered them. I said to myself that it was good enough for now, and that I’d revise them once I secured these guys for an interview. Plus, I did this on the plane – another example of when I wasn’t already doing something else.
- Email these guys to set up the interview + pick a place: 30 seconds
- I used Twitter, actually.
- Meet and run through logistics: 4 minutes
- I told them in advance what the three questions were, but saved the fourth/bonus question for a real-time response. It’s not as if they had a ton of time to prepare, but I didn’t want to blind-side them to lead to a huge dead spot of air.
- Fire up SoundCloud on my phone and record the interview: 9.5 minutes
- We did this in one take. This isn’t a challenge if it’s a conversational interview.
- Thank them, take a picture, end the meeting: 90 seconds
- I used my phone for the picture, and even took two just to be safe.
- Listen to the interview: 9.5 minutes
- After I named the file, SoundCloud loads it up to the cloud automatically – it just appears in my account. I listened to the file while…
- Draft text to support it: 8 minutes
- This included the intro text to set up the interview, get the links to their respective sites, copy + paste the questions [part of the reason I wrote them in Evernote in the first place], format the text, spell check it, and read it through again.
- Insert the picture: 1 minute
- This could have been faster, but I didn’t have my USB cable, so I had to email it and then save it as an attachment.
- Embed the SoundCloud player: 4 minutes
- This took longer than it should, but 3 of these 4 minutes are now a one-time spend of time; I now know what to do and not to do.
- Give it a title and tags: 90 seconds
- Tags take about 10 seconds; the title is a bit harder, because you want to try to bring the reader in; this was a pretty straightforward post. Purists will say (and I partially agree) that you should spend a lot of time here. Again, I normally agree, but this post didn’t need to).
- Publish it: 1 second
- It’s one click, ya know.
That’s it. Then there’s the whole piece of promoting it (which I’m saving for a separate post), but at a high level, that entails sharing it on social networks, telling these guys I wrote a post so they might share it, share it inside the community where the blog is hosted, etc.
So what’s that… 44 minutes, 1 second. I’d venture to guess that if you wrote a full post, it’d take about as long, since I had to record the audio, then play it back. I listened to this while I was writing the text, so the 9.5 minutes and 8 minutes in the post-work section were actually concurrent, effectively knocking this down to 36 minutes.
Not bad. And this is average. I’ve written some posts in half this time. Others have taken longer. Think of all the tasks you do at work every day. There probably aren’t a lot that you can complete in 36 minutes. Writing a blog post isn’t as time-consuming as you might think. image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bibi/4597071511/