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I don’t know about you, but I’m always seeking to find or create systems. Systems help take the guesswork out of what I should or should not be doing.  I’ve created a blog writing process that has transformed how I produce and promote content. In this post, I want to lay out this system for you! Are you ready to dig in?

Blog Writing Process

MONDAY: Outlining and Drafting Content

This is perhaps the most “meaty” day of the week for me, but that seems to work for my mental rhythm. I don’t know about you, but I start my Monday like the Energizer Bunny. However, by the end of the week, I’m in full-blown sloth-mode. To monopolize on the Motivated Monday version of myself and combat the Fatigued Friday version of myself, I get the bulk of my work done when I have the most energy. You might want to rearrange this system around your high energy days, it helps tremendously!

On Monday, I like to do the following tasks:

  • Decide on a Rough Topic: I don’t nail down a killer headline just yet, I find that quite often the topic transforms as I write anyway. But having some sense of a topic helps get me started.
  • Determine How it Addresses a Reader’s Need: As bloggers, we can get so caught up in the “me, me, me,” but what can make us most successful is to think of what our readers actually need, not just what we like to talk about. I think about my niche, listen to what my followers are saying, and make sure my posts address that issue.
  • Choose a Call to Action: What’s my end-game here? What do I want to direct my readers to do? Download a free printable? Join my mailing list? Enroll in a course? Engage on my FB page? I decide on a next step for my reader.
  • Take Some Notes: This is a chance to write down any big points I want to make sure I make, sources to use, things I should research first, etc
  • Create an Outline: I usually just record this in the same place I write my post in WordPress. This allows me to lay out my main points first. I love creating list articles (for example, 5-steps to help you to….), so I first arrange my list and make sure each point could flow well into the next.
  • Write: To be honest, the points above take about 5-10 minutes, but this last step, the writing, is where I spend the bulk of my time. At this stage, I write without judgement. I don’t stop to fix grammatical errors or dumb thoughts. I.just.keep.writing. The outline keeps me somewhat organized, but I’m not overthinking what I’m writing during this phase.

Blog Post Writing Process

TUESDAY: Polish Up Draft

On this day, I go back through the draft with a closer eye. Here are the things I do:

    • Give it One Read: I take a second to read the piece through and correct any points that just seem off. Maybe some points were confusing, or maybe I find some points that could use further elaboration.
      • Check the Organization Structure: How is the organization looking for the piece? Do the sections flow together well? Do I have headings and sub-headings set up well? This is a chance to edit all of those components.
      • Insert Hyperlinks: Next it’s time to make sure I am linking to any inbound and outbound links.
        • Outbound Links: Outbound links are links to any sites outside of your website.
        • Inbound Links: These are links to pages and posts within my site. Do I reference topics from any other posts? Then I link them! This is a great opportunity to encourage my reader to find more articles on my site that they love. Perhaps it’s appropriate to direct them to my Services page at one point, or to encourage them to check out a page solely focused on one Category topic from my website.
      • Read Out Loud: This is a trick I learned from teaching college writing for over 10 years—people catch so much when they read something out loud. I like to read my blog post out loud, which allows me to (1) identify confusing sentences and (2) make sure my piece sounds like I’m actually writing to someone. I want my blog posts to be somewhat conversational, otherwise they’d be booooooooring!

Blog Post Writing Process

WEDNESDAY: Headline, Call to Action & Images

Polish Up the Headline

A good-quality headline can make a huge difference in the number of people looking at a blog post. I personally like to use the Coschedule Headline Analyzer. It allows me to enter in my headline, and then gives me an analysis of it:

First it gives me a score on how the headline did:

If the number is in green, then I’m good to go. As you can see from the photo above, I have work to do!!! But what I love is it links to several different articles to help me tweak things. For example, my word balance is off, so I might read one of the suggested articles to better understand how to add in some of those other word types:

It doesn’t just analyze word balance, it analyzes a whole host of other things:

I can also type in a different variation of the headline and see how it compares with my previous versions:   

Once I have a headline that’s got a green score, I’ve found a good one (honestly, sometimes I get a little competitive and try to see how high I can get the number).

Embed Call to Action

Remember that on Monday I had already decided on my Call to Action, so now it’s time to put that in. For me, I embed my ConvertKit sign up form. For example, I’m going to encourage you right now to download the Blog Process Worksheet that’s gives you a printable to help you track this blog process. It even includes a weekly to do list for you and sample blog post outline. Fill in your info here if you want the Free Download:

Blog Post Planning Guide

See how I did that? Ha ha! But seriously though, get that download!

Images

Now that I have my headline, I can create images! I first start off with my Pinterest-Worthy image. I have a template saved in Canva, so I can just plug in the headline of this article, edit any images or photos in there, and upload:

Blog Writing Process

I also like to create and set my feature image:

Blog Writing Process

While drafting the post in WordPress, I scroll down to the part that says Featured Image and select Set Featured Image and select my featured image (can I say Featured Image one more time? Yep, sure can!):

How to set the featured image

But by having my Pinterest Post template and my Featured Post template saved in Canva, it really saves me so much time in creating my graphics.

I then click Preview Post and look at the post to see where more images could be inserted to break up the text. Remember: readers are very visual. We are a society of skimmers! The mere fact that you might be reading this sentence right here makes you a rarity in the population! Welcome to the club of close readers!!!! But even expert eyes like us need a break, so add in an image to break things up!

Blog Post Writing Process

THURSDAY: Grammar/SEO/Schedule

Grammar Check

At this point, I read through my draft and fix any mistakes (if you aren’t a grammar nerd like I am, you can always hire outside help, beg a friend, or use a reliable grammar software).

SEO

My favorite tool for checking the SEO is the Yoast Plugin. It’s absolutely amazing.  I just use the free version (although they do ask for a donation). Below each post that I write in WordPress, there’s a Yoast section that reviews my post material. Yoast will look at two components: Keyword and Readability.

For both of these it will tell me where I’m lacking and I can click on the little eyeball and it will take me to right in the text where I need to fix the issue. Green dots mean I’m good to go, yellow or red means I need to fix. You’ll see here that my overall assessment is a green dot for both Readability and Keyword, so I’m good to go. If I have some time, I could (and probably should) edit the keyword density.

But I love the areas needing improvement that Yoast picks up. For example, if I start the sentence with the same word 3 times in a row, it will call me out (I know I’m going to totally get busted for saying Featured Image” a hundred times earlier in this post!)

Grammar Check….Again

I probably edited quite a bit more after doing Yoast, so what’s one more grammar check going to hurt!? I read it one more time before I hit the big Publish button!

Schedule

Next up, I mark the relevant categories and I schedule that post for the following Monday. Yay!

Blog Post Writing Process

FRIDAY: Draft Mailing List Email

Next is a quick draft of the mailing list email. I try to give my readers just a little more than what’s in the post, but also direct them to my most recent blog post for more information. My goal is to give them something of value right in their inbox, but also give them the ability to look more into it if they are interested. I only whip up a quick draft of this email for now, but will polish up the content later.

Want to see this in action? Sign up for my Mailing List here:

Blog Post Writing Process

FOLLOWING WEEK

The Monday of the following week, I do a few quick things:

      • Confirm that the post went live and all looks ok
      • Promote on Social Media
      • Review my draft email to my mailing list, insert the link to the published article, and read it through to check for grammar issues or anything weird. Then click Send.

Blog Post Writing Process

EVERY 6 MONTHS

I then mark a date in the calendar 6 or so months down the road to re-visit this post. Here’s what I look for:

      • Are there any new posts that I have written that I could link to?
      • Are my outbound links still working ok?
      • Is there anything I could add to this?
      • Are the images still reflective of my current brand?
      • Could I add some kind of infographic?

Updating a post regularly shows that the post is more recent and not some outdated material. Every time you update the post, it edits the timestamp. Think about it, when you are searching on google, are you more prone to open the article from 2007 or 2017?

I recommend checking into a post every 6 months to update. I haven’t done this in the past, but it’s something I’m working on doing now and has paid off tremendously.

The System

There you have it! That’s my simple system!  Let’s quickly review:

      • Monday: Outlining and Drafting Content
      • Tuesday: Polish Up Draft
      • Wednesday: Headline, Call to Action & Images
      • Thursday: Grammar/SEO/Schedule
      • Friday: Draft Mailing List Email
      • Following Week: Check to make sure post published ok, promote on social media, send message to mailing list
      • 6 Months Later: Update post

I have task templates in my editorial calendar that automatically track when these tasks are due. This helps keep me from having to keep track of everything.

Want some printables to help you with this system? Download the Blog Post Planning Guide! Just fill in your info below and I’ll send you the free download:

Blog Post Planning Guide

Do you have a system that you use? I would LOVE to hear it!!!!! Or maybe there’s a little piece in this process that you think I should add. I’m all ears!

Comment below with some of your big tips: