How to Write Epic Blog Posts in 30 Minutes or Less with the 5 Question Method
If you're writing a blog while working full-time, I feel you girl. I did it for years, and I know how hard it is. You can't quit your job to pursue blogging because of your finances, your living situation, whatever it is… but you don't want to give up on blogging completely because you love it! So you make it work.
When I was working a 9-5 desk job, I used to wait for the minute my boss would leave our tiny office. As soon as he was gone, I would open up my blog and start typing away as fast as I could, listening intently for the footsteps that signalled he was coming back.
Even in the evenings when I was supposed to be spending time with Scott, I had my blogging notebook open in my lap. If we were watching a movie, I was also scratching out a blog post (and bothering him with questions when I couldn't figure out what was going on in the movie!).
I had such a hard time "turning off", even after a full eight hours of work. But I loved blogging and writing so much that I couldn't imagine stopping. If you're in the same boat — struggling to make it work but not ready to give up yet — this post is for you!
I know that you only have a few precious hours each week to spend on your blog, so working quickly is a must. Over the years, I've developed a simple yet effective strategy that allows me to write blog posts in 30 minutes or less — without cutting corners or sacrificing on quality. I call it "The 5 Question Method".
Ready to learn what it is?
The 5 Question Method
After writing down your answers to the five questions below, you'll be left with a crystal clear outline for your blog post — including an introduction, the body, and a conclusion, all packaged in a way that makes sense and is engaging for your readers. Before you jump into the five questions, the only thing you need to do is decide on the main topic of your post. Then you're set!
Q1. What questions does my audience have about this topic?
I know I always bring this up, but I'm saying it again: Successful bloggers blog for their audience, not for themselves! That’s why the first step in writing a helpful blog post is to come up with 3-5 questions your readers have about the topic you want to focus on. Stick to more general questions as opposed to the nitty gritty stuff (which you can get into in your actual draft later on).
Not sure what your readers want to know? Ask them! Use Instagram, Facebook, or your email list to figure out exactly what your audience wants to learn next. Then grab a notebook and jot down a few main questions your readers have about your topic.
Once you've decided on the questions you're going to answer in your blog post, jot down a few notes about how you'll answer them. A good blogger writes about what she knows, so if you're struggling to come up with answers, it’s probably a sign that you should pick a different topic that you're more comfortable with.
These questions and answers are what will form the "meat" of your blog post. You can even use them as the headings in your post if you like — either leaving them in question format, sharing them as steps to a process, or transforming them into a list.
Q2. What's the easiest way to digest this information?
Now that you know what you'll be sharing and teaching in your blog post, you need to figure out the best way to share that content and information. Different content is better suited to different formats, so it’s important to choose the format that makes the most sense.
Here are a few formats you can choose from:
Graphs and pictures
Stories and quotes
It's important to keep your audience in mind when deciding on the format. They're busy people, so you want to make it easy for them to absorb what you're sharing by putting your content in the format that makes the most sense.
For example, a "how-to" guide with lots of steps might work best as a numbered list. An update on your home renovations might work better with less text and lots of pictures. Get creative with it, but always make sure that the format matches the content.
Q3. How can I draw people in?
The worst mistake you can make is starting off your blog post on a super boring note. An engaging introduction is crucial for getting people to stick around and read the entire post.
When working through this step, brainstorm ways you can make your first few paragraphs stand out. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:
Share a relatable story or anecdote (like I did at the beginning of this blog post!)
Use graphs and statistics to show a “before and after” transformation
Share quotes, testimonials, or success stories
Think about what makes you want to keep reading a blog post. In fact, check out some of your favorite bloggers to see how they start off their posts. How do they inject life into their writing? What kind of imagery and wording do they use in their introductions? Take inspiration from what others bloggers are doing successfully and then put your own twist on it!
Q4. What's the big take-away message?
For this step, ask yourself: What’s the main, overarching message I want people to remember once they've finished reading my blog post? Deciding what your overall message is before you start writing will give your content a greater sense of purpose and cohesion. If you know what your end goal is before you begin, it's a lot easier to get there, trust me!
Your take-away message should be something simple and easy to remember, but still hard-hitting. When writing the conclusion of your blog post, your only mission is to drive this message home. This usually works best as a brief summary where you re-state the main points in your blog post and tell people why it’s so important that they take action.
Q5. How can I provide extra value?
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, what can you do to make sure your content is absolutely unforgettable? Yep, I'm talking freebies here!
Epic content is all about helping people, and there's nothing people love more than free stuff. Before you sign off on on your post, why not come up with a way to increase the value of your content? This could be by adding:
A free printable
A bonus workbook
An e-course or e-book on the topic
Not only will people love you for giving them free stuff, but offering those extras as opt-in freebies is a great way to build up your email list. Not sure how to create the perfect freebie? Check out this post for all the deetz!
You can create your freebies with tools like Canva, Adobe Illustrator, or Photoshop (*affiliate links) and then make them fillable with PDF Escape. Then simply deliver the freebie with your email list platform — I use ConvertKit (*affiliate link).
Once you've written down your answers to the five questions above, writing your actual blog post will be a breeze! Take this post as an example. I created an outline in less than five minutes using these five questions as a guide, and it only took another 20 minutes to actually type this entire post out. After proofreading and adding in images, this blog post took me 30-40 minutes to put together. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!
To sum up, here are the main points to remember:
The basic format of a killer blog post is as follows...
Draw readers in with your introduction
Answer their most pressing questions in the body of your post
Choose a format that suits the content
Re-state and emphasize your message at the end
Provide extra value with a bonus freebie
Will you be trying out the 5 Question method? What tips do you have for blogging quickly when on a time crunch?