And we continue featuring our glorious verified authors on the official blog to show the world how awesome they are! Reminder: we support Google Authorship for guest blogging and thus help blog owners find real established authors for their sites. Enjoy!
Let’s face it, you can’t just sit down at your computer and decide to write a post. You’ll stare at your screen and nothing will happen.
Every great post you’ve ever written has mulled around in your head for hours, days, or even months before putting pen to paper. And then what happens? You write an incredible blog post in no time at all.
Here’s how you do that:
Document your ideas non-stop
There’s no way you could just blog all day. What would you write about?
I’m saying this to point out that your day-to-day activity sources your blog. To be an effective blogger, you need a list of ideas prepared before you begin writing, and those ideas come to you from outside your blog. When you’re tweeting, building links, reading other blogs, etc. This is when you can’t help but come up with some ideas for new posts.
I spend about 20% of my time writing content for my business’ blog and other blogs, and I like to think that the other 80% of my day I’m sourcing new ideas.
Outline your post ideas immediately
When you need to write another post and you visit your list of ideas, you might forget the inspiration that caused you to write down the idea in the first place. This is why you need to outline the post immediately when you have the idea.
With a short outline, your memories will come back to you and you’ll have structure and ideas for your post. It’s also easier to create an outline before you start writing your post because you’re still looking at the idea from a high level, rather than worrying about your next sentence.
Also, if you can’t come up with at least 4 bullet points for your outline, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to produce a complete post out of the idea. This will save you from writing a post that ends up being 350 words long and has to get fluffed up later.
Write your draft in one pass
Your voice when writing will stay mostly the same, but will change subtly throughout the day or week. Writing your entire post all at once creates consistency in the mood and style. It will also save you time.
You can copy and paste your outline into your text-editor or just follow along as you get to each point in your post. Don’t worry about images, SEO, or even other articles you plan on linking to. Just make small notes in your copy about where you’re going to add a link or image later.
Use distraction free writing
WordPress has a built-in distraction free writing tool that a lot of people forget about. It makes it easier to stay focused and avoid time-drains like checking out how your post looks so far or messing with formatting.
When you’re done with your first draft, click save and leave it alone for the rest of the day.
Edit your post: round one
After leaving your post for a day, come back to it and edit it for readability. Does the structure make sense? Does it flow?
This is when you would move parts around, split up your paragraphs, choose where to add images, etc. It’s also a good time to add links to other sources. After the first round of editing, you should have a complete post that reads well.
Edit your post: round two
Now is when you optimize your post for social sharing and search engines as well. Preview your post and make it more visually appealing:
- add images where necessary
- bold important phrases
- create bulleted lists
I don’t recommend worrying about search engines until this point. Your content should be written for people to enjoy and learn from, and that inevitably will get you links, traffic, and the coveted Google rankings.
I won’t cover how to optimize a post, but I simply recommend doing some keyword research and adjusting the language used in your post. For instance, you might write a post about “online marketing tips,” find out that “internet marketing tips” as a keyword gets more search volume, and then use “internet marketing tips” more often or in-place of “online marketing tips.”
Optimizing your post in this manner sets you up for more search engine traffic, and also improves the readability of your post because you will use more popular language to describe the same concepts.
Edit your post: round three
You’ve probably heard from many sources already how insanely important your post title is. When you save it for last, you already know what your post is about and you’ve done your keyword research.
My point here is to save it for the end. As for writing a great title, this is the best post I’ve read on the subject in a while.
Create an outreach plan
Not every blog post needs an outreach plan, but you should have one for your best posts. Figure out some people you want to Tweet or otherwise share your content, and come up with a plan on how to get them to share it.
This could be as simple as linking to another blogger’s article and tweeting at them when you publish your post. The key is to be creative and authentic so you’re not just blatantly asking for retweets.
At this point, your post is totally done and your outreach plan is ready. You’re organized on a per post level, but let’s take it one step further.
Install the Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress. With the calendar plugin, you can view your entire publishing schedule in one screen.
You can drag and drop your post drafts onto upcoming dates and they’ll be automatically scheduled. This way, you can keep an overview of all your upcoming post content and always be ready for the upcoming week.
So there’s my complete blogging workflow. Is it similar to yours? Do you have any tips that help you blog better or faster?
By Ben Sibley