Publishing a blog post often gets simplified into coming up with an idea, writing about it, and hitting publish. But as anyone who has a blog will tell you, it’s never that simple. Here is the process that we go through at Fluxe for our content and our clients’ content. I recommend you always take these steps when publishing great material.
1. Decide On Your Goal for the Post
Whenever you publish a blog post, you should have a goal for the content. What do you want your content to accomplish? (Tweet This) Do you want to attract new readers or prospects? Are you hoping to engage existing prospects? Do you want to educate beginners or start a conversation with peers? This is the difference between writing a post for beginners or advanced marketers, or writing something that is broad instead of very specific. If you don’t have a goal in mind before you choose your topic, you’ll have a much harder time choosing something and sticking with it because there’s no way to qualify it. Every blog post’s topic should fit into your content marketing strategy.
2. Choose Your Blog Post Topic
If you already have a blog schedule or a list of ideas, that’s excellent. If not, it’s time to generate some topics you can write about that accomplish the goal you set in Step 1. Focus on helping, not selling. People buy from others they know, like, and trust. If you focus on helping before selling, you can actually accomplish each of those three things and build a relationship to lay the groundwork for the sale. Also, try to focus on one big point per post. If you find yourself skipping around to different topics, break them into smaller posts and keep each one focused on one major point. Think snack size content. I like to write a one sentence goal for the post before I start, and that helps me stay on track.
3. Outline the Main Points You Want to Cover
Everyone has their own way of doing this, but I’ve found it’s helpful to set the direction of the post by outlining the primary points you want to discuss. This allows you to fill in the info below each point, which also turns into a sub-heading for your post. Keep in mind the different sections of a post (intro, conclusion, call to action, etc.) to help guide your content. If you need to do any research, this is also the time to do it.
4. Write the First Draft
Now that you have your outline, fill in each of the points. Don’t worry too much about making it look good, just get your ideas down. You should have already done your research, so don’t get distracted by doing more, just get the information you have into your outline. Don’t be afraid to show a little personality in your rough draft. Remember: out of the know, like, and trust requirements, showing your personality will help people to know and like you.
I’ve saved the headline for now, because many times you don’t know exactly what shape your post will take in the beginning. Spending a lot of time on your headline can be a waste if you end up going a different direction later on. I like to save a space at the top for a headline, and if I think of ideas while I’m writing I will add them to the list.
After I finish the first or second draft and know the direction of the post, I come up with a few more possibilities. Aim for at least 5 or 10 possible headlines because, believe it or not, your best ones will come after 10 tries. It’s not a stretch to say you should spend almost as much time creating your headlines as you do your content.
6. Edit and Proofread
Now it’s time to get picky. Start making your content look good and flow correctly. Look for grammar mistakes, look at tenses of words and make sure you speak in an active tone. Out of all the steps, this is the step I am the worst at. Thankfully, I have an awesome content manager, Whitney, who catches those mistakes and helps me to sound a lot better.
After you’ve made revisions, do a final read through to make sure everything flows. It’s really helpful to step away from your content for a while before reading to give you a better perspective.
7. Select the Picture(s)
Now it’s time to add the finishing touches to your post. Find a featured image and any other images or graphics that you would like to use in addition to your content. A great strategy for finding pictures is to use the keywords in your post that best describe what you are talking about. Analogies work well, too. For example, the obvious words I would search for in this post are publishing, steps, blog, content, writing, etc.
8. Upload to Your Blog & Optimize it
Up until this point, I’m assuming you’re using a word processor (probably Microsoft Word or Google Docs) to edit your post. It’s much easier to write and edit the content there than in the blog editor, so that’s what I recommend.
Now it’s time to upload the article to your blog and optimize it. If you’re a WordPress user, optimize your post with tags, select categories, name your image and upload it, use your SEO plug-ins, and interlink to other content inside your post. Also, take advantage of the preview option. Make sure your headings and subheadings look correct, the spacing between paragraphs is the way it should be, and overall, everything looks just right.
9. Publish or Schedule
You’re almost there! Once you have finished optimizing and everything looks great, it’s either time to publish the post or schedule it for the optimal publishing time.
It doesn’t matter how much time you spent on a post if it’s published and no one reads it. Promotion is a critical part of the process that can’t be overlooked. Send your blog post out to each of your social networks and to your email list, if applicable. There are several other steps for promoting your content, but our main focus in this post is just getting the content published. One thing you don’t want to forget, though, is making sure you reply to any comments on your blog to engage with your audience.
11. Reuse and Repurpose
Just because you have written a post and promoted it doesn’t mean that you’re finished!. There are a dozen other ways you can get leverage out of your existing content and reuse it to accomplish your content goals. Check out my post on all the different ways you can reuse your content. It’s easy to underestimate what it takes to publish a good blog post.
As you can see, each of these steps are critical to creating great content for your brand. What point did you overlook or realize you need to add to your content publishing process? Let me know in the comments!