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How I write a blog post

I’ve been writing on this blog since 2008. I wasn’t always clear what I was writing about or why, but I’ve been writing for 12 years. My process has changed and adapted over time, sometimes because my style evolved and sometimes to try and satisfy the algorithm.

Today, I want to share with you what my current process looks like. I’m going to give you the meta-process and the step-by-step of how I write and publish my posts. I don’t expect you to copy this, but my hope is that it helps.

Let’s get Meta

The first thing to cover is the parts of writing a blog that happen before you write the actual post.

  1. For instance, start here: what topics do I write about?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What do I know about?
  • What do people want to read?

Using myself as an example: I write about ethical business, brand, leadership, culture, marketing, sales, entrepreneurship, and self-improvement.

  1. Once you’ve figured that out, what are some of the keywords you want to use?

Using myself as an example: ethical business, brand, branding, leadership, ethical leadership, culture, company culture, marketing, social media, social media marketing, social business, digital marketing, integrated marketing, online marketing, sales, social sales, social selling, entrepreneurship, small business, freelance, self-improvement, learning, thinking, communicating, communication, productivity, realization.

  1. Next, what are some of the unique perspectives you bring to the table.
  • What change do I want to see in the world?
  • What are my values?
  • What does better look like?

Using myself as an example: Busineses that only think about profit are missing a huge opportunity. The world is a better place when everyone is involved in improving it, including businesses. You can be a great leader by treating people with kindness and respect. Etc.

  1. Think about what you want out of writing
  • Build awareness
  • Express yourself
  • Generate leads
  • Build authority

Using myself as an example: a little bit of everything but mostly, I just like writing.

  1. Think through Logistics:
  • How often will you post?
  • How long will each post be?
  • Where will you promote it?

Using myself as an example: Post twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays, at 11:00am EST) between 500-3000 per post, promote it on all of my social media channels and cross post on Medium.

Ideation and Capture

You will have ideas all of the time once you begin writing regularly.

  • How do you plan to capture those ideas?
  • Can you capture anywhere? Mobile, Desktop, with or without wifi?
  • How do you plan to work on those ideas once you’ve captured them?

This step is important because there is nothing worse than sitting down at your computer and staring at a blank page and blinking cursor. I routinely have 25-100 ideas for posts in my content calendar at any given time ranging from fully thought out manifestos to rough ideas with little more than a headline and a sentence description.

You’ll want a single place to quickly and easily capture those ideas. This can be a note taking app like Evernote or Notion, a task management app like Todoist or Asana, or a notebook that you carry with you.

The key is you need to be prepared to capture ideas anywhere they come to you, and then have a system for storing and processing those ideas.

How I do it (using myself as an example): I capture all ideas in Drafts or Notion. When I’m out, I will dictate ideas into Drafts and then transfer the idea into my content calendar in Notion. When I’m home in front of my computer, I add the idea right into my content calendar in Notion. If I’m on a run without my phone, I have Drafts and Just Press Record on my Apple Watch.

Outline, Write, Schedule

I have the following prompts in every blog post draft:

I always start with the following questions:

  • So what?
  • Who cares?

That doesn’t always stop me from writing something self-indulgent, but it at least gets me to stop and think. Once I’ve gone through and identified the big ideas, I move on to the outline.

To outline a post the easy way, simply use a mindmap or bullets and go two levels deep.

Or in bullet form:

Big Idea

  • Section #1 / Supporting Idea #1
    • Sub-Section #1 / Sub-Supporting Idea #1
    • Sub-Section #2 / Sub-Supporting Idea #2
    • Sub-Section #3 / Sub-Supporting Idea #3
  • Section #2 / Supporting Idea #2
    • Sub-Section #1 / Sub-Supporting Idea #1
    • Sub-Section #2 / Sub-Supporting Idea #2
    • Sub-Section #3 / Sub-Supporting Idea #3
  • Section #3 / Supporting Idea #3
    • Sub-Section #1 / Sub-Supporting Idea #1
    • Sub-Section #2 / Sub-Supporting Idea #2
    • Sub-Section #3 / Sub-Supporting Idea #3

So, as an example, here’s how I laid out this post:

After you’ve got an outline, lay that out where you write and begin writing.

It’s much easier to write a section once you know what it’s about and how it fits in the context of the entire post.

As you’re writing, think about your formatting and how it will read. Use headings, bold, italics, bullets, and paragraph breaks. Add pictures, videos, or animated gifs to break things up.

After you’ve written the entire post, make sure to go through it and read it through at least twice. Clean it up, look for grammatical oddities and typos. Read it like your reader and see if the point you were trying to make comes through clearly.

Look at your headline. Is it what you want? Are you trying to rank for a keyword? Are you trying to create curiosity? Should it be straightforward or metaphorical? A good exercise to get into is writing 5 headlines for each post, until you get really comfortable with you style.

Publish & Promote

Assuming you get through all of that, it’s time to schedule it for publication.

For me, that’s Mondays and Thursdays at 11:00. I always try to be ahead by a few posts but sometimes I fall behind and am scheduling for the day of or a few days out to the next one. The publishing schedule I’ve chosen gives me at least 2 days to write a post and still hit my schedule. When you have a number of partially written posts in your content calendar, you should be good to go.

Finally, once the post is published, you’ll want to promote it. This is something that people don’t pay nearly enough attention to and something I’m going to actually devote an entire post to. So, I’ll just leave this section at: make sure to post it on your social channels and maybe think about promoting it more than once.

Don’t Over-complicate It

Look, I could get into all sorts of ways that I could conduct research (topical, social, keyword, competitive, etc) or how it looks when I write by showing you the gritty process of writing, deleting, moving and revising ideas…but the point isn’t to make blogging more out of reach, it’s to put it more within reach.

The most fun I have writing is when I stop thinking about it so much. It’s like swinging a golf club. Sure, there are like 57 distinct movements you could focus on, but focusing on all of these at once leads to a swing like Charles Barkley.

Instead, focus on a few things, then grip it and rip it. You’ll get better and can incorporate those other 50-something attributes later.

For now, just let go and enjoy yourself. That’s what I’m doing.

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