Writing is supposed to be this flowy, creative thing that comes from the heart—when it’s ready.
Yeah, I don’t really get that either. For me, systemizing my writing process helps me to publish more content—for both myself and my clients. A clear process, complete with a to-do list on my Asana board, helps me stay on track. And that helps me make sure that any time I’m compelled to write, I have everything I need to get started. Because even with a clear system, I usually do still need to be inspired!
Develop your expert status list
I tend to do this once or twice a year, for the big topic brainstorm lists, and once a quarter to refresh and revisit that list for upcoming launches. Using an Excel spreadsheet, I list all the main topics I want to cover in my blog. What are the things I offer in my business? What do I have enough knowledge about that I can truly cover well?
These are high-level topics. Topics that are the categories in my blog. I’ve included topics like:
Content Strategy | Blogging | Email Marketing | Writing Strategy | General Business | Writing Tips
Under these headings, I include everything I could possibly think of that my audience needs to know about for that category.
For example, this blog topic was written under “Content Strategy.”
Here’s what some of my other categories look like this year:
Add it to your calendar
Using your launch schedule as your guide, start plugging in topics to your calendar. If you have a course or program you’re launching, your blog (and other content) should tease that information for about six weeks prior to the launch.
I’ve used several systems to schedule out my content—from an Excel spreadsheet to an Asana board to hand-writing the topics in a printed calendar. There’s no one right or wrong way to do this, and often the best system for you will change over time.
If you’ve done your homework, you know exactly what to write about. But rather than just writing from beginning to end, spend some time thinking about what you want your readers to take away from your blog. My writing template is a great way to think about what you’re writing—before you really dig in. You can download the template below.
I start each blog on its own, clean file. I add a working title to the top, then outline the key points I want to cover. From there, I’m much more focused and ready to write.
Craft your title
While I always start with a working title for my blogs, I usually need to do some research to find the best title for each post. The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer is perfect for this. Simply plug in your headline and CoSchedule will analyze it for structure, grammar and readability. It identifies the emotion in the headline as well as how many uncommon and “power” words you’ve included. It will even tell you what kind of sentiment your title has.
Determine content upgrades
Content upgrades include embedded videos, downloadable worksheets and other bonuses that you add to your blog posts to make them more user-friendly. It’s probably not possible to upgrade every blog, but give it a try a few times a month.
A content upgrade is a great opportunity to reach a wider audience (some people prefer video over reading a blog post) and to grow your email list (by requiring an email address in exchange for additional content).
Whether you create your own graphics in Canva and PhotoShop or you send them to a designer to create for you, I recommend waiting until you’re just about to post your blog to create the graphics. If you’re like me, you’ll change your mind about the title or the focus during the writing process (which is why I use a working title to start). Once you’re set on a title (and you’ve checked it with the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer, get your graphics going.
As you create your graphics, make sure that they’re branded. That doesn’t mean that you have to have professionally designed graphics for every blog post (though it helps). At the very least, all blog posts should have a similar aesthetic and be the same size on the blog post. Don’t clutter up the page with additional photos, just for the sake of including more graphics.
Write social posts
There no sense in writing a blog post if you’re not going to share it. Get ready to share your blog on all your social channels! Of course, every social platform has its own purpose, and it’s important to write for each specific platform. Facebook posts can be fairly straightforward, but your Instagram followers want a story. Twitter needs to be 140 characters or less (including those hashtags) while Pinterest posts need to include keywords so they’re easily searchable.
I use a standard template for every blog post, allowing me to include them right in the Word document for my VA when she goes to schedule them. (Yes, I have a virtual assistant schedule all my blog posts after I’ve written them—but I did this completely on my own for years first!)
My blog template is pretty simple. It only includes space for the social content that needs to be cut and pasted into CoSchedule. You can see below that I write three separate Twitter posts so I can share the content there more than once.
Everything is ready. You’ve written your blog (and hopefully done a proofread on it too), created your graphics and written all your social content. Now that everything is ready—and hopefully stored on your computer in a centralized location—it’s time to log into your website so you can get your post scheduled.
If you’ve done the up-front work, getting your blog and its corresponding social posts ready to go shouldn’t take much time at all. We’re talking 10 minutes, tops, to load and format everything. Seriously! Because you’ve already done the hard part!
Decide where else you need content
Of course, your content doesn’t end with your blog—even if you’ve sprayed it all over your social accounts. Think about where else you can use your content. Maybe a Facebook Live on your business page or an InstaStory about the topic you blogged on? Or repurposed content in your next newsletter? Your business doesn’t live and die by your blog, so be sure to use that content again for anyone who follows you somewhere you haven’t it yet.
Are you trying to gear up your content and get your blog back on track? If you know what you want to write about but are having trouble getting it down on paper, grab my writing template below for help.
The most important thing to remember, though, is that you need to find a system that works for you. I use my system to crank out multiple blog posts in a week. But that might not work for you. Tweak it and adjust it until you’ve found a system that can help you get your own content written and out to your audience.
Need help coming up with your own system? Let me know! Let’s have a quick chat, or book a Map It Out session with me. We’ll get you on the right track!