Update: Next week, there’s a post on how to launch your blog.
If you want to write the best blog post ever and get maximum mileage, follow these steps.
- Do keyword research. What are the most commonly spoken keywords and phrases?
- Read & make notes. Using Evernote or SimpleNote for this is a good idea. Trello is quite useful too.
- Collect supporting material; Stories, case studies, examples and videos are ideal. Make sure you save the links so that you can come back to it later.
- Do a brain dump. Don’t worry about the quality – the idea is to get it all out in one place.
- Brainstorm – Answer Who? What? When? Where? Why? & How? These are good ways to add meat to your idea.
- Visualize & organize into a mindmap. I recommend using Xmind for this.
- Triage and segment the ideas. Figure out what is important and their relative sequence.
- Define a target audience: (Type of people) who (defining trait) e.g. Indian men who live in metros.
- Make reader personas – imaginary people who read your stuff.
- Collect a list of phrases, metaphors, similies, analogies, keywords & examples. You want to sound like them so that you have lesser psychological resistance.
- Decide the tone. This comes from within and the personality you want to establish.
- Create a one sentence summary of the post. If you struggle with this, you need to go back and whittle down your focus a bit more. Don’t cheat by using compound sentences.
- Create an outline: List out your main ideas for each paragraph and a single sentence summary of each idea.
- Apply the EPSILON Framework. In case you are wondering, yes, I built this framework.
- Establish empathy
- Problem statement
- Share examples
- Increase tension
- Lo & Behold: Reveal a solution
- Offer something that people want
- Next action
- Apply elements of story – emotion, evoke the senses. Don’t force it though.
- Design the highs and lows for maximum tension. You can add ‘masala’ to bits of the story to make it more titillating.
- Rework the story to make the audience the hero.
- Write the first draft. Write like you speak.
- Take a break. It will help you get a fresh perspective.
- Read it aloud. It helps you see where you slip and stumble.
- Write paragraph summaries. This helps you figure out where you can cut.
- Compare paragraph summaries against the outline. They should match. If not, rework accordingly.
- Write the final draft.
- Take a break, again.
- Read it aloud, again.
- Read it backwards. This helps catch repetitions by creating cognitive disfluence.
- Run through software grammar check – Grammarly & Hemingway Editor are good options.
- Check for scannablity. Add headings to help the readers scan through your content.
- Use psychology to craft a title. SmartBloggersOnly.com has a good free download that will help you create titles.
- Make the hook & excerpt- a three sentence summary of the post that you will use while distributing.
- Decide the hashtag. Ensure it’s a keyword and that you remain consistent across different networks.
- Craft 2 short updates & 2 long updates.
- Design the featured image. Canva is a good place to start. Unsplash.com and PickleJar.in are good sources for free photos.
- Design inline images. A good thumb rule is 1 image per 150 words.
- Publish the post.
- Social Networks:Use short and long updates & variants to post to Facebook profiles, Facebook pages, Facebook groups, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn Profile updates, LinkedIn groups and G+. Use resized featured image and hashtag as well.
- Presentations: Convert your outline into slides, support with public domain images or custom illustrations and post to Slideshare.
- Videos: Record a screencast of slides into a video, create a blackboarding video, create a talking head video or create a short video of the key points without voice, Publish to YouTube, Vimeo & Facebook via direct uploads.
- Images: Create an infographic, create a diagram, create a sketchnote or create a collage of images and post to Pinterest, Facebook & Instagram.
- Audio: Record a podcast and use the actual post as show notes. Publish to Soundcloud, iTunes, LibSyn and Stitcher.
- Bonus Material: Create content upgrade – images, ebooks, audio, inside scoop or whatever adds value to the post. As a last resort, you could use one of the different formats mentioned above as content upgrades. For delivery of this content upgrade, check out sumome.com.
- Email Marketing: Broadcast your content with a digest of links. Add them to your autoresponders and digests.
- Syndication: Use the hook & excerpt you built earlier to link back to content from Quora, LinkedIn blogs, Medium and other syndication sites. Ensure you add links back to your blog. Also post comments on other people’s posts, but make sure it’s relevant.