10 Things to Do when you Write a Blog Post #GuestPost
Do you have a checklist before you publish a blog post? I do! It makes it easier for me to plan my posts, work around a schedule and get content out on a regular basis. While this list below may seem tedious or like way too much work, trust me, it helps. After a while, it becomes simple and almost an afterthought as you work on auto-pilot.
Pic Credit @Shutterstock.com
1. Visualise the Concept
Ideas are everywhere And the problem is you get them anywhere! In the shower, on your morning walk, in the middle of a work meeting, you get my drift. But when writing a post, it makes sense to understand exactly what you want to get out of it. How can this piece help my audience and how best can I express it? Take a few minutes to jot down bullet points and how to lay out the post. Sequencing is a lifesaver.
2. Write your first draft
You don’t want to publish the first thing you write.The first draft is called that for a reason. It’s essentially your ideas pouring out of your head. Unless you’re a seasoned writer/novelist whose every word is gold, you are bound to make mistakes. Don’t worry about how it looks at first glance. Focus on getting it down. If you have a word count in mind, write based on that. Else, just write freely and cut down on the words later.
3. Do keyword research
This is how I do it.I write the draft first and later look for keywords that should be in my post. Why? Well, for one thing, I write on instinct. I write based on how I express myself. If I write for the keyword, I end up writing to fit the content to the keyword! Instead, if I write the draft first and then look for relevant keywords, I end up writing naturally and then optimising the post for Google or Pinterest keywords.
4. Work on SEO
Now that you have your keywords, use the SEO feature on your blog to ensure that the keywords (focus words or long tail keywords) are distributed through the post. There’s a natural way of doing this without stuffing the post with too many keywords. A bit of trial and error will help you figure it out. On self-hosted blogs, the Yoast SEO plugin is a valuable tool. For everyone else, use Google Keyword planner and/or the Pinterest search bar. *Did you know? Google favors posts that are at least 1000 words long. On Pinterest, though, your post can be even 50 words long and it will be enough!
5. Add Images
We are a race stimulated by visual cues. Even Google agrees. A good picture that tells a thousand words is a great hook for a good post. Ensure that it aligns with the theme of the post. Add at least one featured image and one Pinterest-sized image in your post. *On WordPress, depending on your theme, the size of the featured image will vary. Check and optimise images accordingly.
Pic Credit by @Shutterstock.com
6. Proofread and check for errors
Like I said, please proofread your post. Every writer makes mistakes. These can be spelling, syntax, grammar or even things like extremely long sentences or paragraphs. Keep the content comfortable for readers to engage with. A typo here and there may be forgiven but if your post is riddled with errors, people are going to veer away from your post.
7. Add relevant categories and tags
Such a simple step, this one, but I’ve seen so many posts being shared with the tag ‘Uncategorised’. It’s a two-second step and will ensure that readers know what category they are reading about. Tags are equally important, especially if you want to batch similar posts under a menu heading, later in the day.
8. Publish the Post
Okay, now it’s ready to go live. Hit the publish button after you’ve gone through everything. In case you want to schedule it for a later date, check and do that. If you want to feature the post on the front page of your blog, add it to the ‘sticky’ button. You will find this under ‘Publish’ in your WordPress dashboard.
Pic Credit by @Shutterstock.com
9. Have a Social media share schedule
Depending on where your audience is and where you are active, share your post across different networks. Keep it written down at first so you don’t forget. Images size also matter, so if you can crop your images to share differently on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, that’s even better!
10. Craft a different caption/excerpt for each platform
Study what works for each platform and share accordingly. On Facebook, a dash of humor or a way to offer help always works. On Instagram, a bit of excitement plus a good image helps in click-throughs. On Twitter, the shorter the better. Content moves incredibly fast on that platform! On Pinterest, it’s a combination of keywords, hashtags and of course, visually appealing images with an inbuilt call to action that generate views to your site. And that’s it! Which of these do you follow already? Which tip would you modify or add? Do let me know in the comments.
Big thanks to Shailaja for accepting my offer of writing a guest post for me. Make sure you do not miss out her blog that I have listed below. They are must read.
About Shailaja: Shailaja Vishwanath is a parent blogger and fiction writer by passion and an editor by profession. Her work has been featured/published in The Huffington Post, Blog Her, Yeah Write, WordPress Discover, White Swan Foundation, Women’s Web, WritersMelon and Blog Adda.
She shares life lessons on parenting & blogging and social media tips on her blog Diary of a Doting Mom. Shailaja also writes flash fiction and creative non-fiction on her blog, The Moving Quill. You can reach her via her blogs or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.