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Building a blog post

by Jim Raffel on January 9, 2012

Building a blog post is a process – just like any writing project – with the possible exception of keeping a journal. If you only write one or two blog posts a month, it’s probably not as critical to have a content creation strategy in place. On the other hand, if your goal is to produce fresh and useful content daily, then a process is essential.

Build a blog post – Phase 1

What follows is the process I follow to produce a blog post. Sometimes the steps move around a bit; but each of the steps is completed for each blog post.

  1. I start with the editorial calendar which provides me with the topic for the post.
  2. Then, I play with the topic idea and turn it into a working title, which frequently changes by the time the post is published.
  3. Next, I create a series of bullet points and short sentences that contain the meat of the topic as it exists in my head.
  4. At this point, I go back and begin writing the introductory paragraph so that the post begins to have some focus. This paragraph introduces the topic and hints how I’ll be addressing it.
  5. Then, I begin to turn the bullet points and short sentences into paragraphs. Some of the bullet points get moved around, some are deleted and often times a few new ones get added as the post develops.
  6. When I feel it’s all wrapped up, I work on a closing sentence or paragraph. Sometimes I’ll just leave the post hanging with an open-ended question on which I’d like you, the reader, to comment.
  7. I let the content sit for an hour or so and then work my way back through for a first edit. It’s generally during this first edit that I decide on a better title for the post.

Build a blog post – Phase 2

This bit is often times the most difficult for me: Let the content sit for 24 hours and then come back for another read and second edit. This is called the Rule of 24 and, when I follow the rule, the posts are better and viewed by more people.

As interesting as Phase 1 might be, the best piece of writing advice I can leave you with is the Rule of 24 regardless of the methodology you utilize to build your blog posts.

Build a blog post – Phase 3

Hire an editor. There are two reasons for this. First, most of us tend to fall in love with our own words. This makes it difficult to strip out entire sentences and paragraphs that just don’t add to the finished product. Second, having someone else play devil’s advocate to your ideas will always result in a tighter piece of writing. An editor’s role is to make sure you aren’t phoning posts in. Should you end up phoning in a post, then it’s the editors job to call you out on that so you do it less and less in the future. Aside from the Rule of 24, hiring an editor is the second best piece of writing advice I can give you.

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