How to Turbocharge Your Blog Post Production: What You Need to Know

How to Turbocharge Your Blog Post Production: What You Need to Know

How to Turbocharge Your Blog Post Production: What You Need to Know

 

Every startup has heard that they need to update their website in order to stay relevant to Google and the little bots that crawl around on the interwebs. But how many of them actually start blogging? Very few, unless forced! Don’t ask me how I know–I just do.

You Can Do it!

You Can Do it!

You Can Do it!

So, how do you get started? Here’s a pep talk: How to Create a Wonderful Blog Post in An Hour. Know that you can create something in an hour. That’s the most important thing to keep in mind.

Make an Editorial Calendar

There are many ways to create an editorial calendar, and I’d opt for the simplest if you’re just starting out. A spreadsheet on Google, shared by the entire team would probably do it. Here are some examples:

If You Can Speak, You Can Write

If You Can Speak, You Can Write

If You Can Speak, You Can Write

 

My blogging buddy, Bridget Willard, taught me that and I’ve never forgot it. If you don’t think you can write, start by speaking. You can get help with cleanup (that is, editing) later. Don’t worry too much about that for now.

Break it Down

Break it Down

Break it Down

As my friend Randy Clark explains, writing and editing use different sides of the brain. So do your writing first, then your editing. Don’t edit as you go for a faster experience. You might want to get some great examples of blogging at Randy’s blog about car wraps. And Randy’s book, How to Stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever, on Amazon is a bargain!

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Research First

Research your topic before you dive into the writing. Or, if you’ve already started writing, create space where the researched topics need to go. For example, you could say something like add backup link here, and then keep writing. Since researching and editing use a different part of the brain, you can keep your creative juices flowing if you write this way.

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Make an Outline

What do you want your post to be about? Create an outline before you start. Write a header first (here’s a post on How to Write a Headline That People Will Want to Click), then at least five paragraph headings. End with your call to action. Now go back and fill in each of those five paragraphs with two or three sentences.

 

 

What Ifs

What Ifs

What Ifs

Secret confession time: I hire both an editor (when I need one), and a full-time graphics person. I’ve been writing for years. Give yourself a break and hire it out if you don’t want to do it. Focus on your strengths!

  • What if you have bad spelling and/or grammar? Hire an editor!
  • What if you aren’t artistic? Hire a graphic designer!
  • What if you are a terrible writer? Hire a writer!

Blogging Buddies

Blogging Buddies

Blogging Buddies

As mentioned earlier, a blogging buddy is a gift you can give yourself. Find someone else to inspire you. The blogging buddies idea can catapult your writing! Brainstorm ideas, and talk to your buddy when you’re stuck!

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The Reward System

Like anything else, it’s good to give you or your team member a reward at the end of a successful session. Recognition is also an excellent idea, as outlined in an article from the Next Web: Rewards and Recognition: Two Highly Effective Ways to Reward Your Employees.

Start the Next Post Early

My best blog articles have been sitting on the back burner for days. I like to write in 15-minute chunks, sometimes once a day, sometimes twice. If you start your next post, it can simmer for awhile. Even if you think you’re not thinking about it, you really are! And don’t procrastinate, since that way madness lies!

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How Do You Speed Up Your Writing?

Or do you speed it up at all? Maybe you’re more the type of writer who grinds out words one at a time. Let me know in the comments! And thank you!

 

How to Write a Headline That People Will Want to Click

How to Write a Headline That People Will Want to Click

How to Write a Headline That People Will Want to Click

Do you get stuck writing your headlines? Here are some things I do to make my blogging life easier! Thanks to Bridget Willard (read her posts if you never have!) for the idea of making this into a blog post!

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You Want People to Read

As bloggers, we all want extra eyes on our posts, whether we’re writing for a brand to gain SEO, or personally, when sharing our stories. Some people, like Ogilvie, believe that a headline is worth 90% of the cost of advertising. So spend some time.

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Pick Your Topic (and Use Your Brand Voice)

What topics would entertain, entrance, or help your audience? Try to stick with those topics. Clement Lim has created the definitive post about branding: Creating a Kick-Ass Brand Identity, which I highly recommend for finding your brand voice.

Plug Your Topic Into a Good Headline Analyzer

My Secret Headline Analyzer

Plug Your Topic Into a Good Headline Analyzer

My first secret is the CoSchedule headline analyzer. Start with anything you want to write about. Go ahead: I’ll wait here. Keep trying different headlines until you get a number you’re happy with. For the blog you’re reading, I tried 15 different headlines. When I first began this method, I had to try 20-25 headlines, by the way. The process gets easier.

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Get a Good Mix of Words

I like to have some common, uncommon, emotional, and power words in each headline. And I like either a B+ or an A+. The CoSchedule analyzer helps with the word balance and gives you the score, too. Since most people will retweet/share your post without reading it, according to The Verge, the headline has to be extra delicious to make people click on it.

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Put the Headline Into Your Blog

I like to write right on my blog. There are always a bunch of drafts, in various stages of writing. So before you forget your wonderful headline, throw it into your blog. You can come back to it later. Spend some time on your headline, though. Having a robust headline can help you whether you plan to post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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Write for 15 Minutes

I like to write for a minimum of 15 minutes. Do you have 15 minutes? Sure you do! Write as fast as you can for 15 minutes. You have permission to stop after 15 minutes. But maybe there’s something else you want to say. I like to use an old-school egg timer. For some reason, the ticking sound helps. Sure, you know that writing a headline is a pain in the asterisk, but go ahead.

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And Another 15 Minutes

The writing process is not about correcting yourself. You can do that later! Or you could hire an editor to help you with it. Either way, just get started. Keep writing. And don’t edit yourself.

Read Your Headline (and Article) to a Friend

I am blessed to have an editor friend for when I get stuck. Remember, you can’t call your friend all the darn time to have them help you. Pay them or take them out to lunch, for the love of Strunk and White.

Tweak the Headline

If what you’ve written no longer reflects the headline, go back and tweak it. You might want to run it back through the headline analyzer tool.

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Need Help Writing?

Yep, I do help others with their blogging and social media.

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What I’ve Learned from 100 Blog Posts

What I've Learned from 100 Blog Posts

What I’ve Learned from 100 Blog Posts

If you’ve been reading my blog, first of all, let me say how much I appreciate you. I am very blessed that I’ve gotten so many comments, and learned so much from all of you, out there reading these words. Because I’d heard all kinds of horror stories about people blogging for YEARS and never getting one. Single. Comment. I’ve been lucky enough to have extremely engaged readers and comments on nearly every post.

Now that I’ve written 100 posts, here’s some stuff I’ve learned. By the way, thanks for the inspiration to Randy Clark and his What We’ve Learned From 300 Posts.

Use Beautiful Images

Images are one of the most important aspects of a blog. Some people, I’m convinced, don’t read at all, but skim the headings and look at the pretty pictures. So I make an effort to use Flickr’s Creative Commons or my own photos whenever possible. Maybe in the future, blogs won’t even have words, just images. When I began, I stuck to the formula of two photos per post, but now sometimes use more.

Mistakes Were Made

I once made the mistake of using someone’s photo and got a “takedown notice.” Since then, I make sure to check in Creative Commons by using the Advanced Search and only using those available for commercial use so that doesn’t happen again! Wow. That was embarrassing.

Secret Killer Aliens from Outer Space!

Headlines matter. A lot. And stacking the important (read: SEO-centric) words towards the beginning of the headline is important. For instance, rather than saying “Most Important Hashtags on Twitter,” say “Twitter: Important Hashtags.” And shorter is better on headlines, too, for ranking. Not that every headline has to follow a formula, but it’s something I’m more aware of now. I learned about the SEO-centric headlines from friend Pam Aungst Marketing.

WordCamp!

Going to WordCamp provides inspiration and inspiration is the juice that keeps your blogging engine fueled. So I highly recommend finding a WordCamp and attending. I’ve gone to both WordCamp Orange County and WordCamp San Francisco (the mother ship!). And each time have made numerous new friends, as well as meeting online friends like Peter Woolvett and Ruby Rusine!

My Secret Weapon

My Secret Friend

My Secret Friend

Yes, I have an editor friend. See? There she is behind that tree. She promised me I could take her picture–and she didn’t really lie. She is a real person, and she has helped me when I’ve painted myself into a grammatical corner many times. She doesn’t help me with every single post, but you can definitely tell when she does help. Because those posts make a whole lot more sense (and also contain more references to clowns)! Also: subject-verb agreement For The Win!

Syndication

My blog is syndicated on Business to Community, sometimes appears in Yahoo Small Business! and Women of Technology. That has helped with traffic and probably brought me more followers and fans.

Don’t Worry That You Won’t Have Topics

I’m convinced that writing has helped me with my listening skills. Now I’m always listening for the question that someone might have. Many posts are inspired by my followers or fans. And I’ve been surprised at how many friends I’ve made among other bloggers, too. It’s a little community.

Unexpected Results

Blogging has helped me to go to cool places in my own imagination. I very often start writing and don’t know where a post is going. Some of my favorite posts have come out of times when I really didn’t feel like writing, but forced myself. What do you get out of blogging? Do you have a secret friend who encourages you to write about clowns?

 

 

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