I used to spend more time brainstorming blog post ideas than actually writing them. I used to come up with tones of articles but was useless when it came to putting pen to paper. I didn't have a process in place and I didn't plan them out very well. #NewbieBloggerProbz
Now, I've settled into a blogging process that works for me and I thought it would be nice to take you behind the scenes and show you what goes into each blog post I create! Let's do this! 🙌🏼 🎉
The hub of my blog post planning
To keep track of everything, I have a Google Doc that is basically my blogging bible. From article ideas to published posts, from tracking my social media stats to tracking my emails to you - this has EVERYTHING I need!
Here's a sneak peek of my blog post planner tab:
My category column makes it easy for me to see if I have been writing a lot about a specific topic. Recently, I've been writing a lot about social media (specifically Instagram) because I was launching a free Instagram email course. But now that's all launched, I know I need to write more about blogging content and design!
I also have columns to make sure I have a Pinterest-friendly graphic, click to Pin button and newsletter sign-up forms for each blog post. You might be able to tell, I haven't yet gone through and added these for ALL of my blog posts - but I'm working on it!
I also use this tab to write a bunch of blog post ideas if they come to mind. There are a few on here that I've half-written or just started and forgotten about. I'm not the type of person to force myself to write - I'll just write when it feels right!
You can download your own copy of my blog post planner by clicking the image below!
When it comes to writing posts, Google Docs is my friend
I switch between my iMac to my MacBook Pro quite a lot (and yes, I'm as much as an Apple nerd as I sound here). Sometimes I like to be at my desk, sometimes I like to sit in the garden or lounge on the sofa - and transferring files back and forth is so much effort. I know I can write blog posts on Squarespace but I genuinely prefer writing in a separate doc and transferring it all over before formatting it. Call me crazy, but I love it.
So, I use Google Docs to write up my blog posts in advance. It's such a clean environment to type in and I love clacking away at my keyboard and feeling super productive. I don't know - I just really enjoy writing in Google Docs.
Yep - there's a blog post where I've written one sentence and left it. Good one, Zoe.
Keywords, keywords, keywords
I use Google's Keyword planner and Pinterest search to identify the key words and phrases for my blog post topic. I need to make sure these are added throughout the post before I publish. We're talking the title, blog post content, images and even image filenames. The name of your images can really boost the SEO of your post if you include keywords!
This is where the content upgrade comes in
If I think there's a great opportunity to add a valuable freebie along with the blog post I'm writing, I'll create it now! So far, all my freebies have been created in Google Docs (surprise surprise 😏 ) or Adobe InDesign. These usually take me between one to two hours to create but I love adding to my blog post and giving my readers a little bit extra!
If you're not creating content upgrades for your blog posts, you're seriously missing out. It's super important for me to be resourceful for my readers and these freebies are one of the best ways to add extra value for them. If you're struggling to think of content upgrade ideas, hit reply and we can talk about some ideas for you!
Time to create a blog post graphic
This is one of my favourite parts. I have a template set up in Adobe Illustrator that I use to create my blog post graphics. It has my layout, fonts, backgrounds and colours saved so I can whip up a new blog graphic in no time!
If you're lucky enough to have Illustrator, USE IT! I honestly only started using it a couple of months ago when I relaunched my blog but it's so so so worth it. Everything is crisper and clearer on my site - it basically looks much more professional. Like I said before, when I save the finished graphics, I name them after my blog post to help rank higher in SEO!
Apologies in advance if you have a Squarespace site because ima bout to do some serious raving...
Did you know I LOVE Squarespace? When it's time to format and edit my blog post, I honestly have a frickin' blast. I love using this platform to host my blog - it's so user friendly and makes my content look awesome. Plain ol' Google Doc to snazzy Squarespace blog? I ain't complaining.
Here's what a blog post looks like in my editing stage:
Obvs, this post has already been published but you get the jist. This is the time to make sure I have the right categories and tags attached to the post as well as editing the URL (another important Search Engine Optimisation step for blogger) and attaching a social sharing/thumbnail image.
A few more bits and pieces...
Encourage shares on Pinterest
Pinterest has been a game changer for me recently! With the help of 'Pinfinite Growth', my blog traffic has increased and my Pinterest following is growing exponentially. Something that has helped me encourage readers to share my blog posts on Pinterest is a 'Pin It For Later' button.
You might have seen these in some of my other posts! I hope they encouraged you to pin, pin, pin! 📌
Add sign-up form for my newsletter
This is pretty self-explanatory but I make sure every post has a newsletter sign-up form before it's published. Gotta get those emails, don't I?
I go through my checklist
I have a checklist of 5 things to do BEFORE I publish a blog post. This is where it comes in. I double check I've done everything I'm meant to do before hitting that button!
And then I'm done. Time to hit 'publish'!