Heads up: This post is a bit longer than usual because I’m giving you a step by step guide for creating online content for blog posts. And if you missed Part 1, you can find it here.
I’m not a professional writer nor am I a prolific one. Additionally, my family and my business take up a bunch of my time. The result? I was not consistently blogging (which is key to driving traffic) last year. I needed a new strategy that didn’t involve me sitting down every day to write. I came to the conclusion that I should build up a cache of online content that I could schedule in advance.
Before you read much further, you should know I’m a bit of an extremist with two speeds: On and Off. So I decided to write 30 blog posts in 5 weeks. I ended up writing 35 blog posts in 2.5 weeks. You don’t have to do it that way. You can decide to write 10. Or space this process out if that is what works best for you.
Why I like This Method
When you write one post at a time, there are many (7) little steps you need to take to make it good and searchable. You switch from writing mode to finding picture mode to keyword mode. However, when you do each step for several blog posts at once, it keeps you in an uninterrupted flow which helps you get it done faster. (When you’re writing, you don’t have to stop writing to go find pictures.) Also, with this method, I found I was making significant progress and that helped me stay excited about doing more.
Ready? Here are the steps:
1. Brainstorm Topics
Brainstorming is spontaneously coming up with numerous ideas. The key to brainstorming is to write down a bunch of ideas without censoring yourself. (You can come back and filter them later.)
If you are a linear thinker, writing them in a list works well. If you are a non-linear, creative type, mind-mapping may be the best way to capture your ideas.
2. Write the First 3 Lines of the Post
Go back to your list. For each of your blog ideas, answer this question: What is the key message of this post?
Congratulations! You just created introductory paragraphs for all your posts.
The first two steps took me two days and then I took a day off.
3. Start Writing the Content
Go back over your list, choose a topic and start writing. Don’t worry about making it perfect. Just write.
If you don’t know what to write, write.
If you don’t feel inspired to write, write.
Write, write, write.
You will be *amazed* at what you start creating. My first two posts in this project were challenging because I wasn’t in the mood. But something in my brain kicked into gear on the third post and the content poured out of me.
Again, don’t worry about making the content perfect. These are rough drafts.
This step was the lengthiest for me. Some days were appointment-free so I could concentrate exclusively on writing. Other days I wrote in between appointments and after my family was asleep. It was a grind, but I was determined to get it done.
Go back to your post and see where you need to insert links. Do you need to reference a source article? Do you need to give someone an attribution?
Now it’s time to insert your pictures. What is the benefit of finding pictures for all of your posts at one time? You’ll get it done faster because you’ll be in the groove.
Finding the right picture isn’t easy. I use two free sites to help me find what I need.
- The first, believe it or not, is Microsoft Clip Art. I rarely use clip art images, but they do have high res photos you can search. The images are free and you don’t need to attribute the pictures to anyone.
- The second is Flickr Creative Commons. You can use the images as long as you give proper credit and link back to the original.
At this point in the process, you have a rough draft with pictures and links for all your posts! How does it feel?
5. Keywords/ Title/Tags/Description
This step can be a bit tedious. That’s why I like to do it for all my posts at one time and get it overwith.
I am not an SEO expert. However, what I do know is if you want your posts get visibility in online searches, you want to use the right keywords, title, tags and description.
To find the best keywords, I use the Google AdWords tool. It’s a free resource that helps you determine what keywords are likely to generate the most traffic to your posts. When you find words that are searched a lot and have a low to medium competition rating, you’re good to go.
Include those keywords in your title, tags and description. For example, Google AdWords told me that “online content” is a good search term for this blog post. Therefore I included it in my tags, I included it in my description and in my header. I also included it throughout the content.
6. Finalize Content
You’re almost done! Now is the time to edit your posts.
First, look for more than just grammatical errors. Make sure you are conveying your message in the simplest way possible.
Second, you want to eliminate unnecessary details. This will keep your posts shorter (and increase the time your readers stay on your site.)
7. Schedule & Publish
The last step is the easiest of all and will give you a rush of accomplishment. Schedule the date and times you want your online content to appear on your blog. What is the best day and time? This post from ProBlogger tells you.
If you missed Part1 of this series, you can find it here.
Do you have any blogging tips? Feel free to leave them in the comments section.
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