You have an awesome idea for a blog post. It’s the most epic title you have ever come up with. But beyond that? Nothing. Or you know you want to make a post for a specific category on your blog, but you don’t know what exactly it is you want to write about. Believe me, I’ve been there – and every other blogger probably too. This is why I want to talk about my creation process for blog posts today.
1 | From Idea to Paper
Yup. I use good, old-fashioned pen and paper to write down the ideas I have for my blog posts. Most of the time it’s just the title of the blog post, but, once I’ve written it down, I know that I will remember it and can work with it. This is something that I also tell my students when they’re sitting in lecture. Write things down by hand. I know it’s tempting to bring in your laptop, but you retain more information if you write things down with a pen. And just imagine losing your epic idea for a blog post! Always carry a notebook or binder with you to jot down ideas as they strike.
Writing ideas down on paper is also a good visualization of what you want to convey. You know this feeling when you have the best idea ever? The title sounds perfect in your head? Make sure it also sounds perfect when it’s actually written down and people are reading it. And don’t be afraid to scrap things. That was one of the things I learned in college: If you’re in love with one sentence in your paper, scrap it because it will hold you back from making your whole text perfect.
2 | Bring in the Categories
If you already have a blog with specific categories, it’s time to think about in which category you want to place your blog post. Maybe you could even do a ranking of the categories your blog post would fit in. In any case, you have to decide where it would fit best. What are some popular categories on your blog? Which ones drive the traffic? Is your blog post something that your audience would be interested in reading or is it something completely outside of your scope? These are things you need to think about when you look at all the blog titles/ideas you have come up with above – and prioritize them by that ranking. If you want to make money off of your blog, you need to write for your audience and figure out what they would like you to talk about.
If you do not already have a blog with categories or you’re just starting out, you need to figure out who your ideal audience is. Who is it you want to reach with your blog? Do you want to make money with your blogging and maybe even take it full time at some point? Consider all of these things and structure the categories of your blog around them. These categories are a part of your brand strategy and you need to put some thought into them.
3 | Flesh out Your Ideas
Okay, so by now, we have a killer title (but remember, this might change once you’re done with your blog post) and the category we would like the post to go into (this might also change depending on what you come up with in this part). Now it’s time to flesh out those ideas and give them life. You can really do this any way you want and in a way that works best for you. Some people might like mind maps, while others prefer simple lists of points to talk about in their post. Something that I would advise again, however, is to do it with pen and paper. It’s all about retaining that information and who knows? Maybe you’ll figure out a whole series of blog posts that way!
At this stage, you need to make sure that you have enough talking points to fill a whole blog post (or maybe you could do a miniseries with very short posts – whatever works best for your blog!). That’s when I like to come up with and choose at least three talking points from the list or mind map you have created (I love breaking things up into smaller portions – it makes things easier for your readers). And then you do the same thing again with the single points. Flesh them out and give them substance.
Think of it as a very elaborate outline for your blog post. If you have it written down, you can put it next to you while you’re writing and never lose track of what you are trying to convey in your post. It’s really helpful to keep your mind on track and give your readers the most valuable content as it is at this stage that you also realize whether a blog post can actually work or if you just had an amazing title idea but hardly anything to back it up with.
4 | Actually Writing the Post
Yes, we can’t forget about the most important part after all of this work, can we? Finally, you can go to your computer and let the awesomeness seep from your mind onto the screen. Keep your worksheet next to you as a reminder of all of your talking points and just get to writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect on the first try because you should definitely check the copy afterwards for grammar and spelling mistakes. But you can also go do some more in-depth revisions later on.
Grab a cup of coffee or tea and get to work on the most important part of your blog post. The content. It’s true that the title and the graphics (we’ll talk about this in the next point) are a large factor in drawing in traffic, especially considering the use of social media, but, if your content is not up to par with the presentation, you have a problem. If you don’t give your readers the kind of value they expect from the title or graphic, then they’re not going to be repeat readers and that is your ultimate goal – have people come back for more because you have established yourself as an expert.
5 | Graphics for Your Post
So you have written your blog post by now. But that’s really only half the work, isn’t it? Your presentation and your content need to be on one level. There is no point in writing the most epic blog post when no one is actually looking at your content because they are not pulled in. This is where graphics come into play. Try to find a style for your blog graphic and try to stick with it (as you can see, I’m not really following my own advice yet because I’m still trying to decide between images and simple text-based graphics). Especially if you want to use social media like Twitter or Pinterest, you should put effort into your blog graphics.
Think about the main points of your blog post and try to find stock images that represent those points. You want to draw a connection between the images you are using and the words you have written. In combination, these things will be the force that drives your traffic. This is why you cannot neglect either the graphics or the content – if you only focus on one or the other, you will not retain your reader. Now you can hit publish.
6 | Social Media
Now, you should have a complete blog post including graphics and everything you need to reel your reader in. But you need to let your readers know that you have a blog post up, right? Try to come up with a plan of when you want to share this blog post and on which platform. Maybe you already have a system in place – something along the lines of, I only share my own blog posts on Mondays or Fridays. Whatever your system is, you need to incorporate your blog post into this system now. Come up with great Twitter copy and share your post with your followers; the graphics should take care of Pinterest; together the content and the graphics help you on Facebook and Tumblr.
7 | The Finish Line
You made it! You wrote an awesome blog post and shared your epic content with the world. Keep on promoting your content and make sure that you are visible to your readers. Without the readers, your blog will start to feel like it’s lacking something. So share it with your friends and your followers and let them know that you have put this out there! And remember to get your own free blog post worksheet!
Image credit: @DeathtotheStock