9 Steps I Follow To Write A Blog Post
For those of you who are new to blogging or are simply a fan of reading them, you may not realize just how much work actually goes into putting a piece together. Especially if you want to do it professionally. Once you sign up to host your own site, subscribe to WordPress, BlogLovin, or whatever your favorite platform is, you’re basically either signing up to give a good part of your free time to your side hustle/passion or you’re going to find out that the investment you just made might have been a mistake. Hopefully you’ll find out that it’s the former moreso than the latter. I’ve had a few Twitter followers message me with questions about my blog writing process. At this point, I feel like it might be a good time to uncover the basic formula I use in order to put one of these together.
1. Brainstorm An Idea
This might seem like a no brainer step to take, but it’s not something to take lightly. Coming up with an idea for a new post can be pretty easy sometimes, but we all hit the dreaded dry spell on occasion too. When my idea well runs dry I like to open up my notes app and just think about what is going on in my life at that moment. If you have more of narrowed down niche you might want to think about that topic in terms of how it applies to your day to day life. My blog tends to focus on several different topics so that tends to make the brainstorming process a little easier (although I’ll admit that it might be getting narrowed down a bit as I go). The idea of stopping everything and thinking your world over and how it applies to your niche is a great way to keep yourself relevant and keep the creative juices flowing. This method has kept me going pretty consistently over the past year. It even pulled me out of my current dry spell as this was an idea I came up with for a new piece!
2. Brainstorm Potential Props, Pictures, Art, etc.
Honestly, this step can come at any point in the process. I’ve written some pieces where I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like before I even started writing. There are other times when I didn’t know what that part of the piece would look like until I got to the end. Sometimes writing the blog can help you to see the visuals you want to use better than just simply organizing and preparing beforehand. I’ve also written some pieces about events I’ve attended. In those cases the writing ideas may have come to me as I lived the event or viewed some of the pictures. Simply taking pictures and posting them to your blog isn’t always an option. Especially if photography isn’t your thing. It may actually be a better idea to design your own graphics. In this case, Canva is one of the most popular options for doing this. I still consider myself a Canva novice, but I have become more confident with it as time has progressed. Using this site/app will also help you to align yourself with the Pinterest crowd as well. Many Pinterest users swear by Canva as it makes creating a good re-pinnable blog easy to do. Either way, this step can be second on my to do list, but it can also come later in the process too!
3. Actually Write The Blog
Typically, atleast for me, this step tends to be number two. Especially as I dig into topics that are unrelated to travel, diy, and some of the other more active pieces I’ve written. If you’re going to actually down activity of some sort, I would suggest doing this step third. That way you can actually talk about how the experience made you feel. You can also go back and relive it through the photos you took in order to gain another perspective on the piece. Believe it or not, regardless of when I write a piece, I don’t do a whole lot of editing or second guessing of the content. I don’t know if that method is the right one for everybody, but it tends to work out well for me. I like to approach my writing like it is a direct conversation with the reader. In that regard, I think this makes writing a piece flow out of my brain and onto the screen much easier.
4. Proofread For Spelling, Grammar, and “Voice”
Although I tend to let my writing flow out pretty naturally I do have to take some time to review the content and proofread. Even if you think you’re a great writer, you should always do this. Sometimes, especially if you’re writing a piece that has some emotion behind it, you may want to double check and make sure that you are speaking in a “voice” that you want to be heard in. Sites like WordPress can be a little tricky. Especially if you go from your computer to the app and vice versa. Sometimes older versions get stuck on the app if you update on your computer later. I made this mistake recently and wound up publishing something I wasn’t very happy with. Double checking your work beforehand makes a huge difference. Speaking of WordPress errors, make sure you rely on your own best judgement when it comes to spelling and grammar. I’ve come to learn that their internal spellcheck is actually wrong about what I am trying to say more than it’s right. We tend to have those issues with our phones these days and unfortunately it’s no different when publishing a blog. I don’t know how BlogLovin and other blogging applications handle these issues, but if you’re a WordPress user, it’s always best to use your own judgement and double check your work.
5. Edit Photos, Canva Art, Ads, etc.
When I first started blogging I felt that this step would be a fairly short one, but it actually isn’t as easy as you might think. Sometimes editing the photos to look just the way you want them to can be a tedious process. Personally, I prefer to use the “Featured Image” option when I post blog so it’s very important to make sure that your image fits the aspect ratio they give you (typically 16×9) and the content in your picture fits the parameters they give you. As for the rest of the blog, I like to add captions and clean up the image as much as I can. If necessary, I will log into Photoshop and Lightroom in order to spruce up my images. If paying $9.99 per month for these apps isn’t an option, then I highly recommend using an app like Snapseed in order to edit the image to your liking. There are tons of other free apps out there that can help you get the look and feel you want for your blog, but those are the tools I use. As for designing something from scratch, Canva has plenty of templates you can use in order to create the look and feel you want. It will require a different type of creativity on your part, but it’s very user friendly.
When it comes to Ads, I am to a point where I try not to focus on them too much. I’m sure they’re amazing if you are savvy and know how to monetize your blog, but it’s not everything. Especially when you’re just starting out and learning. I highly recommend signing up for ShareASale, Amazon Affiliates, or one of the other affiliate marketing companies out there just to get familiar with the process. That in itself is a good learning experience even if you don’t make a dime off of it. Chances are you will get approved for these sites so that is very helpful as far as “learning on the job”. Just be mindful of the fact that a company like Amazon may suspend your account after a few months if you don’t make any money. Unfortunately, this has happened to me. Maybe I will be able to redeem myself someday!
6. Publishing Your Blog
After you’ve gone through all of the fun work, handwork, and tedious steps in the process, you can now publish your blog for the world to see. Even before you hit the publish button, you need to make sure that your content says exactly what you want it to say about you and your piece. Check all of the little things like Tags, format, etc. If you have your site designed with category dropdowns make sure your blog goes to the right place. I’ve spent many days previewing my piece under desktop and mobile modes just to make sure everything looks the way I want to regardless of what platform somebody uses. It’s very important to check these things for consistency. It may seem like a small step, but messing one of these up could result in you needing to edit your piece after it’s been published!
7. Promoting On Social Media
This probably goes without saying, but promoting your blog on social media is crucial. If you’re a new blogger, it’s not wise to rely on SEO alone to get your blog out there to your audience. You have to put in the work in order to build up your audience. Personally, I try to cover all of the major social media bases. Although I am still learning myself, I’ve had decent success using Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter (especially Twitter!). Without going into an enormous amount of detail, you should try to learn all of the ins and outs of each social media platform. They all have their own rules and quirks that make up a formula for success. This might be another blog for another time as it would take way too much time to talk about it. The main idea is that while your content is important, the networking you do is equally as important. Some might even argue that networking on social media might be more important. Personally, I haven’t had a ton of time to publish blogs lately, but I have continued to grow my following on social media. This has taught me a lot of lessons in itself.
8. Emphasize Quality Over Quantity
I feel like some bloggers get mixed up in the misconception that they need to churn out new blogs like they are a factory. From my perspective, this is completely untrue. People are more likely to remember the 3 or 4 quality pieces you put together over one or two months over the 10-15 you wrote over the same time period. Don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. If you have the time to do and feel inspired, then go forth publish as many as you can. Otherwise, I think it’s best to just relax and do the best you can do. I am a good example of how the lack of quantity doesn’t mean everything. I haven’t been able to publish near as many pieces lately as I did earlier in the year, but I have done a lot of work to keep my name out there via social media and networking. Nobody is judging me because I’m not putting new blogs out there. I didn’t lose followers due to this. If I did, that loss was so minimal that I never noticed. Stay true to yourself and do the best work you can do. That’s the key!
9. Posting Your Piece In An Online Portfolio
Once you get a few pieces written I would suggest thinking about posting an online portfolio. As of today, I use two different sites for this. My go to is Muck Rack, but Contently is also pretty good. Linking your portfolio to Muck Rack is great because they will give you the opportunity to become a verified journalist under their system. This way, if you’re serious about becoming a journalist, especially a freelancer, this can give you some resources to use in order to promote yourself and find folks who might be interested in your services. In general, I think it’s a great place to “house” your blog posts online. I have gotten some views through my portfolio so you never know.
Personally, I think we all find our own way when it comes to starting our blog. It’s a window into every unique personality that decides to put themselves out there. There really is no right or wrong way to do this. However, I do know that the way I do this is a pretty decent system. I wrote the material for this blog in one sitting. Most of my others have also been written this way. That leads me to believe that there is something to the formula I have adopted for my blog. At the very least, I’d be thrilled if somebody told me they used this as a model, but found their own way of doing it too. I just know that there are a lot of new bloggers out there who are eager to learn how to put it all together and see some type of success with it. I was there not too long ago. I still feel like I have a long way to go before I get where I want to go with my blogging career. However, at this point I can take a look at it all and say that I got somewhere. I have a good social media following and my blog itself sounds good and is growing. By taking an organized approach and establishing your own voice and method of working you too can get into a good rhythm and start seeing some success within the blogging community.