As a blogger, I think it’s safe to say that writing blog posts that people will read, resonate with and share isn’t an easy feat. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as knocking a post out in an hour, hitting publish and calling it a day (I truly wish it was!)
There’s quite a lot that goes into blogging where you’re forced to be everything and do everything all at once – content creator, editor, social media marketer, graphic designer, photographer – that it can be overwhelming to say the least.
But you are a hustler, my friend. I just know it. And, if you’re anything like me – which I’m guessing you are since you’re reading this post – then, you probably like being the do-it-all girl because you’re passionate about what you do. Amiright?
So, since you want to create awesome content that’s widely shared and loved, then this post is for you. I’m going to share every task you need to do before and after you publish your next post. And if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the steps, don’t worry, I got you! I made a handy little checklist at the end of this post that you can refer to the next time you write a blog post.
BEFORE YOU HIT PUBLISH
1. CREATE AN OUTLINE
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in the middle of writing something and completely lost track of where you were at?
Creating an outline streamlines the writing process so you don’t run out of points or forget what you’re talking about. Plus, it’s super simple to do and doesn’t take very long. I usually start off by creating a numbered list of the main points I want to cover.
Then, any subtopics are separated by bullet points and any supporting information (this makes up the body of the posts) I separate with dashes or roman numerals. I know this sounds complicated, but I promise it’s not as hard as it seems. This process works for anything from essays to articles, reports, blog posts and more.
2. WRITE A CATCHY HEADLINE
Your headline is at the heart of marketing your blog post. With all of the content that’s out there in the world, you want to capture your reader’s attention and stop them in their tracks. But if you have a weak title, despite having quality content, people are less likely to click through and actually read it.
So, what makes a show-stopping headline? It must have at least 3 things:
- It has keywords: The title of your post is very important for its SEO, which is why you want to include a keyword in your headline. For example, if your write a blog post about work from home job ideas, then your title would include the keyword “work from home jobs”.
- It’s specific: Readers want to know exactly what they can expect if they click on a headline. This is why some of the best headlines take a topic and break it down even further. For example, “15 cheap diy fall decor ideas” is much better than just “home decor ideas.”
- It offers value: Usually, people read your blog posts because they’re looking for answers to their problems or they want to learn something new. This is why your headline needs to reflect the idea that your blog post is going to be beneficial to them.
3. USE HEADINGS AND SUBHEADINGS
Headings and subheadings break up your post so it’s easier to read and not too cluttered with text. You want your post to be easy to follow, especially since a majority of people are likely reading from their phones.
A rule that I learned from being a journalist is to have no more than 3 sentences in a paragraph before adding a line break.
Most people read a couple of sentences before they decide if they want to finish reading the entire post. By using headings, you’re making it easier for people to know what your post is about and encouraging them to read until the end.
Interlinking is the practice of linking to past posts in your current post. So, anytime you create a new post that refers to a topic you’ve written about before, you can link back to that previous post.
This boosts your ranking on search engines, provides more helpful information for your readers and keeps people on your site longer – woo!
5. ADD VISUAL ELEMENTS
In this day and age, text alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. With the technology boom in recent years and rise of social media, the average attention span is getting shorter – 8 seconds to be exact – which makes it harder for content creators to hold people’s attention long enough to connect with them.
That’s where visuals come in.
Visual elements – videos, infographics, gifs, images – add an extra layer to your content. They enhance your blog posts by providing extra information to your readers and offering value to people who prefer visual content over text.
I use Canva for creating all of my graphics, and I use stock photos for my social media and blog images when I don’t have time to take my own.
6. ASK A QUESTION AT THE END OF A POST
Asking a question is an effective way to end a post for several reasons, but the main one is that it encourages people to participate in the discussion, making them feel like their opinions are heard and valued.
And when people feel like you truly care about what they have to say, they’ll keep coming back to your blog. Just make sure that the questions you ask are well thought out and that you’re doing it because you are genuinely interested in hearing other people’s perspectives.
7. OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES FOR SEO
It’s important for your images to be “on-brand,” meaning they reflect your blogs overall color scheme, fonts and overall design. I recommend creating a few templates for your blog graphics and pin images using a program like Canva. That way, they’ll be more consistent and faster to create ☺
Next, you’ll want to make sure they’re ready for SEO, which basically means that you’ve changed the image title to include keywords. So instead of “image-6439.jpg,” your title could be “Travel-advice.” You also want to add alt text to your images because it ensures that they’re accessible to people who use screen readers.
Here’s how to add alt text to your images on WordPress – easy-peasy!
The last thing you want to do to is add pin descriptions to your images. You can do this by using a plugin like Tasty Pins or manually by inserting the following line of code at the end of your image’s code (before the last />).
data-pin-description= “YOUR PIN DESCRIPTION GOES HERE”
Here’s the description I added manually to this blog post. You will see it pop up if you try to pin an image from this post.
“19 things you must do to every blog post before & after you hit publish | If you’re looking to grow your blog traffic by creating content that will be widely shared and loved, then this post is for you! It includes a free checklist to help you when you write your next post – woohoo! Click through to check out all of the tips.”
8. ADD A FEATURED IMAGE (WORDPRESS)
We live in a time where pictures hold a lot of weight in the online world – just look at Pinterest and Bloglovin’. That’s because images appeal to our senses and tell us a lot about a blog post before we’ve even read it. This is one of the reasons why using a featured image is so important.
If you went onto someone else’s blog, and all you see is a snippet of text with no featured image, would you be compelled to read their post? My guess is probably not. They make your blog look more polished and prompt people to actually read your post.
9. MAKE SURE YOUR POST IS SEO-READY
With the right SEO strategy, your blog traffic and income have the opportunity to grow tremendously because it’ll point search engines to your site.
If you’re a WordPress user, I recommend downloading the YOAST SEO plugin. It’ll teach you everything you need to know about SEO and it’ll tell you exactly what you can do to improve your own.
I know what you’re probably thinking – duh Haylie, I know I should proofread. But it’s so easy to miss the small things – like a comma, or a misspelled word. It may sound monotonous, but it’s important to look over your entire post several times before you hit publish.
If there are some small typos, it’s not the end of the world, but you want to avoid as many as you can. This can easily turn people off from reading your post (especially if they’re a grammar-nazi like me hehe).
AFTER YOU HIT PUBLISH
1. PIN TO YOUR ANCHOR BOARD
Since you’ve already added a pin description to your images, all you have to do now is pin them. Easy, right?
I recommend you create a Pinterest board specifically for your blog, known as your “anchor board.” Your anchor board hosts all pins from your blog. So, each time you create a new pin, you’ll want to add it to this board first.
2. PIN TO ALL OF YOUR RELEVANT PINTEREST BOARDS
After you pin to your anchor board, the next step is to pin onto other relevant boards with a mixture of pins from your blog and from other people. This will keep them circulating throughout your boards.
Similarly, if you’re a part of any group boards, you’ll want to share your pin there as well. You could either do this manually or via a Pinterest scheduling tool – my favorite is Tailwind!
Tailwnd has this really cool “smart loop” feature where you can schedule your pins to rotate through all of your boards over a set period of time (ex: 3 times a week for a period of 6 months), allowing you to constantly circulate your older content. This is how I keep them fresh and seen by new audiences.
3. POST UPDATES TO ALL OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
After promoting your post on Pinterest, the next best step is to post to all of your social media profiles!
Ideas of where to share your blog posts:
- Share on your Facebook page or Facebook group
- Share to other Facebook groups
- Create a Facebook story
- Create an Instagram post
- Post a tweet on Twitter
- Post to LinkedIn
A great way to take out a lot of the leg work and time that goes into promoting content is by using a social media scheduler. I like to use Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram, and Buffer for Facebook.
4. CREATE INSTAGRAM STORIES
Instagram stories are the future. They allow you to connect with your audience and with other bloggers in a unique way. You can ask your audience questions, give blog updates and show the behind-the-scenes of running a blog.
Also, it gives you a different platform to share your content for people who want more than just a blog post. Some people like content in written form, while others are fans of videos – and that’s okay. Everyone has different tastes, which makes Instagram stories a great way to reach a larger audience.
5. POST ONTO FACEBOOK GROUPS
If you want to expand you reach beyond just Pinterest, Facebook groups are a great way to go. There, you can promote your blog post and social media on their daily threads, ask for advice, collaborate with other bloggers, gain new clients and so much more!
But, keep in mind that to truly gain knowledge and readers, it’s much better be a part of a few select groups that are active and that you can really devote your time to then to join a ton and be inconsistent in most of them.
6. EMAIL YOUR AUDIENCE
This is totally optional, but once a week I’ll send my email list a roundup of my blog posts for the week along with blog updates, exclusive content, etc. This is the perfect frequency for my audience and engagement, but it may look differently for you, so feel free to tweak it to fit your situation.
Not everyone on your email list has seen every blog post you’ve published, which is why it’s so important to notify them when you publish a new post! Plus, it gives you a great opportunity to go more into detail on the subject you posted about and you can offer them freebies or other helpful material.
7. RESPOND TO COMMENTS
If people are taking time out of their day to comment on your posts, return the favor and respond to them, especially if they have questions. Responding to comments is a great way to build more engagement and connect with your audience, prompting them to come back because they feel valued.
8. CHECK YOUR GOOGLE ANALYTICS
At the beginning of each month, check your Google analytics for the previous month to see which posts received the most pageviews, comments and shares. These statistics will show you patterns like which content is most popular and what topics your audience likes or dislikes. Then, you can use this information as the basis for your next posts.
9. IN 2 MONTHS, UPDATE YOUR BLOG POST
Things change. People change. It’s a part of life. How you ran your blog a few months ago may be completely different from today, and that’s okay. But, it’s important to consistently update your blog to reflect these changes.
Once every 2 months or so, I go back through all of my posts to make sure that they are optimized for SEO, the content is up-to-date and that the images/graphics are current. This takes a lot of time and is tedious work, but it’s so worth it.
Want more insider tips on updating posts and repurposing old content? Check out my free e-course, the Blog to Biz Traffic Challenge.
Whew, that was a lot of information. Thanks for sticking it out with me!
This post was originally published on TheMorningBuzzBlog.