The blogging process is an individual thing. It depends heavily on your blog topic, frequency, audience and your work style. A blogging process saves you mental energy and time, but many people don’t have a set outline to follow.
This is an outline of the steps I use to think up, create, design and publish the blog posts for my business.
If you’re just getting started in developing your own blogging process, you can use this as a scaffolding on which you can add or remove your own steps and tasks.
My process starts long before I sit down at my computer to start typing. It steps through the preparation and research, writing, review and editing, image creation, publishing and promotion of each blog post.
The steps are as follows:
- Brainstorming / Collecting Topics
- Choosing the Topic
- Mind Mapping the Topic
- Drafting the Blog Post
- Reviewing / Editing
- Creating Images
- Uploading / Publishing
Your blogging strategy plays an important role in the development and crafting of each blog post, and as such is the first step in the process (though it doesn’t have to be done every time you blog). A clear blogging strategy makes it easier to complete each of the subsequent steps. It acts as the roadmap to every decision about your blog.
Your blog’s strategy should include:
- The primary purpose of your blog
- Is it to drive leads to your business? Build a community? Educate your clients? Attract an audience to your monetising strategy? Or any other primary purpose?
- Your target audience
- Who is your target audience?
- What do they like?
- What are their challenges and frustrations?
- What problem do you solve for them?
- The investment in your blog
- What time and resources can you invest?
- How often will you post?
- Who is responsible for writing the blog posts (if you’re in a team or business)?
- How you will measure if your blog is a success?
Once your blogging strategy is determined, you can run each blog post through the filter of your strategy to make sure you are on track and investing your resources in the appropriate way.
For each blog post, ask yourself:
- Does this blog post contribute to the primary purpose?
- Is the topic relevant to my target audience?
- Does it solve a problem or add value?
2. BRAINSTORMING / COLLECTING TOPICS
Brainstorming is also a “pre-step” to the process for each blog post, and is also an important step to help you avoid the curse of the blinking cursor when you sit down to write.
Every few months I set aside 10-20 minutes to brainstorm as many blog topics as possible. At the end of the brainstorming session I put each blog topic as a separate task in Asana (my time management / task management tool of choice). I consistently collect customer questions and other ideas, and by adding these to the blog post list in Asana I always have a list of potential topics that are relevant to my audience and to my blog’s goals.
For topics that are best published at a particular time (or a relevant to a specific season or date) I put a due date against the task in Asana so they’re not forgotten or lost within the list. By doing this I am creating an Editorial Calendar within Asana, but also capturing those topics that haven’t yet been scheduled.
3. CHOOSE YOUR TOPIC
When it comes time to choose a blog topic, I consult my Asana editorial calendar first to see if there is anything scheduled by date. If not I go to my list of potential blog topics to choose the subject of the post for that week.
4. MIND MAP THE TOPIC
This step is the most time-consuming of my blogging process. It lets me pull together my thoughts, notes and research about the topic to create the framework and structure for the blog post. I can organise the post by relevant sub-topics and determine its order and flow. Mind mapping also lets me identify any gaps in the information I have. It gives me the opportunity to research further before I get into the flow of writing the post.
While mind-mapping I also capture image ideas. I also use this step (before I start writing) to identify potential keywords for the blog post, especially as they relate to my wider blogging SEO goals.
I usually mind map on paper (using coloured pens to make it even easier to categorise and group my thoughts). If it’s for a bigger post or project that will be researched over a few weeks or months, I sometimes mind map using an online tool called MindMeister. By using an online tool I always have access to the mind map to add to it when I have a chance.
5. DRAFT THE BLOG POST
By the end of the mind-mapping step the heavy lifting has already been done. It’s then simply a matter of fleshing out the thoughts and topics in the blog post. At this step I spend time making sure the information is scannable using sub headings, bullet points and pull quotes. These help people to consume the content quickly. I also make sure that the writing is concise and easily understood, and that the various sub topics link together easily.
The use of these sub headings and bullet points is also important for SEO purposes, as search engines scan the organisation of your post to determine its relevance and quality.
I write the draft of my blog posts in TextEdit – the Mac’s basic word processing app. I prefer to have the draft saved off my blog, uploading it to WordPress later.
6. REVIEW / EDIT
While it’s not always possible, I like to leave a blog post to rest overnight. I return to it the next day with fresh eyes to review and edit the draft. I also recommend that you get another person to review the post if possible, to make sure it is readable and easy to understand.
I also use this step to prune the post, removing any unnecessary or flowery writing and making it as concise as possible.
7. CREATE IMAGES
Before I upload the post to WordPress, I create all of the images that will be used within the blog post and in social media promotion of the post.
The image creation usually involves:
- researching stock photos
- creating the images with overlaid text and my logo watermark
- creating at least one (but preferably a few) images for within the blog post
- creating a pull quote image that can be shared across social media
- resizing the image(s) for use across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and within my newsletter.
Most of the time I use Canva to create my images. Canva for Work has an incredible tool called the Magic Resize Button which automatically resizes the image for each of your selected social media platforms. With just a little tweaking, you can have images that are the right size and format for each platform.
8. UPLOAD TO WORDPRESS
Once the images are created, I upload the text and images to WordPress. I also add any internal links to other related blog posts and external links to relevant resources.
At the time of uploading I optimise the on-page SEO for the post (going back to the keywords I identified in the Mind Mapping stage). I use the plugin WordPress SEO by Yoast to guide this optimisation.
9. PUBLISH / SCHEDULE
Once the post is uploaded and optimised, I schedule it to go live. If I’m right on deadline I hit Publish. Once published I double-check that the formatting and presentation is correct.
10. SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION
After publication, I schedule the post to my various social media profiles. I schedule at different times throughout the week to avoid bombarding my target audience and to improve the longevity of the post.
First I develop the headlines / descriptions to use for each of the platforms, and then schedule them to:
- Facebook (within Facebook)
- LinkedIn (via Buffer)
- Pinterest (via Buffer)
- Instagram (via Hootsuite)
- Twitter (via Hootsuite).
If the blog post has mentioned a particular person or business I email them to alert them to the post. By reaching out to the people featured, you bring the post to their attention and they may share it with their own audience.
12. MONITORING / ENGAGEMENT
The final step is monitoring. I set aside time to reply to comments and questions. After 3-5 days I also monitor the performance of the post, checking social media insights and analytics to find data that can help me with my future blog posts.
So that’s the blogging process I’m currently following. I’d love to hear if you have extra steps or tasks you incorporate into your own process to keep yourself on track.
Action: Set up your own business blogging process and checklist to streamline your blogging efforts.