We’ve talked about creating an editorial calendar, but what about the entire editorial process?
I can’t speak for everyone out there, but I can share with you what works for me. So, here are the 11 steps I typically take to bring a blog post all the way from concept to publication
1. Keyword Research – If you want to be ahead of the game, it’s best to do you keyword research first in order to figure out what information people in your niche want to know. This way, when it comes time to write, you already have an SEO strategy in place and can write around specific keywords for each blog post.
2. Compile a Topic List – Once you’ve finished the keyword research it’s time to compile a topics list. Block out an hour or so of time and just write down as many blog topic ideas that you can think of. It may seem a little crazy, but it’s so much better than the alternative – waiting until the day your blog post is due to publish to start thinking about topic ideas. If you’ve already got a great list to work off of (all based around potential keywords) the writing process becomes so much smoother.
3. Assign Topics to Days in the Editorial Calendar – Once you have the topic list, don’t stop there. I like to go through and actually assign a topic to each blog post day. For example, if I want to post a blog every Thursday, I’m going to pick a topic for each Thursday going out for the next several months. Of course, if something big comes up or I really feel inspired to write about a certain topic, I’ll switch things up a bit, but for the most part, I try to stick to the schedule – it helps to keep me accountable.
4. Set Due Dates – Sometimes assigning a weekly topic isn’t enough. You actually have to go in and set a specific due date (for example – Thursday, January 21 at 12:00 p.m. CST) for your weekly blog post. I’ll admit it – I do this. I need to have a firm deadline otherwise, I’ll just keep on procrastinating. If you don’t need this sort of discipline feel free to skip, but if you’re anything like me, setting a deadline can be very beneficial!
5. Research – Once you have your topic for the week, set about researching. I’d recommend doing this before the night before a blog post is due (looking at myself, here) but whatever works for your schedule. Try and find 3-5 good sources, along with some relevant stats that you can mention (and link to) in your post. Be as thorough as you can be – the research really determines the full value of your post.
6. Outline – During your research, you’ll probably start to notice some trends and interesting things you might want to talk about. Using these points of interest, craft a brief outline of what you want your blog to look like. It doesn’t have to be anything special or particularly detailed (unless you really want it to be). Just try and lay out everything and make sure it all flows. At this point, you can also look for gaps in the research to determine if you need to go back and fact-check anything.
7. First Draft – Now that you have all of that stuff out of the way, it’s time for the first draft! Take time to write this well, but remember that you can always go back and edit things. Here are some of the main points I try to hit in the first draft:
- Headline – Make it attention grabbing. Only 20% of people read past the headline, so you need to spark their interest and make them curious right from the get-go.
- Catchy Intro – Did you find an interesting story or stat in your research? This would be a great place to include that. Again, think about grabbing your reader’s attention in a way that compels them to read the rest of the blog.
- Body – Split up the body of your blog post into sections using headings to break up the page. This helps to guide your reader’s eye down the page and also makes the content easier to absorb on first glance.
- Conclusion – End with a conclusion that ties it all back together. Summarize your main points for the readers who skipped ahead to the end (yes, we all skim J) – this will really help your readers remember the point of the blog.
- CTA – Don’t forget to include a solid call to action (CTA). Be direct here and give your readers an actionable step to take next, whether that be to purchase something, contact you or just comment on your blog. Give them something to do after they finish reading.
8. Edit – Once the first draft is written, put away your laptop for a little while and do something else. Let the draft rest for a bit. Then, after a day or so (if you have enough time in your production schedule, otherwise do it sooner) open up your draft and make your edits. Looking at your draft with fresh eyes allows you to catch things that you might have missed otherwise – always a good thing!
9. Format in WordPress – After all the writing is finished, it’s time to format the blog for WordPress. This is pretty simple and just involves making sure the headings are the right size, bullet point lists are clearly defined and all of your images are in place. Make sure you double check your links to be sure that they are pointing the correct pages.
10. Publish – This one is pretty self-explanatory J Once everything is good to go and you’ve tested it all out, it’s time to hit the publish button!
11. Promote – Your work doesn’t stop with the publish button, though. If you don’t promote your blog post, no one is going to have the chance to read it! I always go through and promote my posts via all my social media platforms, and then add it to an email to send out to my email list. This just helps to get the content in front of as many eyes as possible.
Anyways, so that’s what goes into every blog post I write on this site. Some take longer while others are much quicker – a lot of it really depends on the amount of research required.
Do you do any of the steps on the list when publishing a blog post? What additional steps do you include in your list?