I don’t know about you, but for me, writing blog posts takes time. Too much time.
So this year, I’ve been trying something new.
I don’t write my blog posts.
I speak them – to my phone.
Even if you’re a great typist, which you probably aren’t, it’s a lot quicker to talk than it is to type.
For me, this is the main reason recording blog posts saves me time. I avoid the temptation to start editing when I’m only halfway through the first draft.
When you’re writing, you sit there thinking about the SEO, about whether that word is the best it can be. You worry about what you want to say. But when you record a post, you just talk. You get through your first draft quickly.
Of course you still need to edit and review, but if you do this as one process at the end, it’s a lot quicker.
This one is really important.
Most people out there want to hear somebody talking easily, with personality. They don’t want gobbledy-gook. They don’t want formal speech. You may know about readability scores too – natural speech is a great starting point for a good readability score.
If you record your blog post, you’ll be writing something that sounds the way you talk. Even when you tidy it up afterwards, it’s going to remain natural.
Maybe you’re five minutes early for a meeting. Maybe you’re in the car stuck in the traffic. Now you can record your blog post and use that time effectively. You could do it on the bus, but you might get a few strange looks.
Recording is the easiest and simplest way to do an interview – whether for a blog post or not. It stops you breaking the flow by having to stop and write notes. So neither you nor the interviewee gets distracted. Plus, it’s easy to cut and rearrange afterwards.
Even if you’re not writing an interview post, recording an interview can really help with some clients. So many people can’t write a blog, but they come alive when interacting with another person. With clients like this, I record a conversation. I ask them questions. I tap into their expertise. And I get something useful, personal and interesting, like this post on the side-effects of acupuncture.
You might need to be a little more careful with this one – it doesn’t allow so much editing of the original recording. But podcasts open a world of new opportunities.
Like the radio, podcasts are audio only. You can listen on the bus, on the train, in the car. While you’re cooking dinner or cleaning up the study. Suddenly, your content and your information is available and accessible to people at a time when they’re doing something else. It makes it easier for them to find times to listen and interact with you.
Now you have seven good reasons to record blog posts instead of writing them. So how do you go about it? Here’s my personal process.
Be sure you know what your topic is and what your main points are. List those in order, make notes of any key examples you’re going to quote. Without this preparation, you’re likely to go off track and ramble.
It’s actually the same process as doing an interview. You might have an introductory section, then a list of questions that you’re going to work through. It’s all about having enough structure to stay on track, but not being limited.
Once you have the bare bones of the structure, you’re ready to record. You can do it just about anywhere. Try to avoid too much background noise, or anything which will distract you. (The kids!) But unless you’re going to podcast, the sudden motorbike roar doesn’t matter at all. Your transcriber will ignore it.)
If your phone doesn’t already have voice recording software, download an app for free. Just go to Play Store or the App Store, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find something which suits you. (You don’t need high production values – just enough that someone can understand and transcribe.) I have an Android phone and I use Voice Recorder by Green Apple Studio.
Get your post transcribed
But it isn’t. There is an absolutely fabulous site called Rev.com, which will transcribe your recording for just $1 a minute.
That’s one U.S. dollar per minute. For me in Australia, and for Tom in Canada, it’s a bit more than a dollar a minute in our local currency, but it’s still pretty damn cheap. Remember the average blog recording is only 5 minutes or so. Recording blogs saves me hours of time faffing about in front of the computer tweaking words, all for less than $10 a time. My time is worth it and I bet yours is too!
Other great things about Rev.com:
• You can specify your accent, so it gets transcribed by someone who understands the way you talk.
• You can list unusual words or acronyms which the transcriber might not know. Useful if you’re blogging in a technical field.
• If you have multiple speakers, you can provide names and they’ll add them.
• You can rate your transcriber. If you don’t like the quality, your jobs will never go to that person again. (I’ve never had a bad job, though.)
I’ve never waited more than 24 hours. I often get jobs back within 4-6 hours.
When I said people like conversational language, I wasn’t quite accurate. What they really like is cleaned and tidied conversational language. Unless you’re a practiced public speaker, you’re going to need to edit.
But once you have the entire post transcribed, editing is short and sweet.
I’m not going to go into detail on editing as that’s not the topic of this post, but just a couple of tips.
• If you care about SEO, be clear on your target keyword(s) before you start editing.
• Break it up. Add headings and bullets.
• Keep that Flesch-Kincaid readability score above 60. (Or 5-10 points above your competition if you’re writing about something polysyllabic like post-operative complications.) Check readability here.
Every post needs images! I have to say a big thank you to Tom in relation to images. Pixabay was something that I had never heard of until I found a link to this list of free image sources on his site.
Now I use it regularly. At first it was a bit of a pain, because the images weren’t very searchable, but the search filters are now so much better that it’s a fabulous site. I’m actually considering giving up paying for images at all.
Of course, with all the planning, editing, optimisation and image selection, your blog post will still take time. But try this process. I’ll bet for many of you it takes a lot less time than it used to.
One final tip on recording blogs to save you even more time:
Most posts are only about 5 minutes of speaking time. (This one was 6 minutes.) Set aside an hour to plan and record 3 or 4 posts.
This is the only way I have ever managed to get ahead of my editorial calendar – and boy does it feel great to be that way!
It’s also fantastically time-efficient when you’re working with a client. Give them 3-5 topics to prepare, then interview them. Now you’re set for the rest of the month. You write up, they approve, but you don’t have to mesh your schedules any more.
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