Whether you’re a new or experienced blogger (problogger!), you’ll find these five things to do before publishing a blog post helpful. These tips are from freelance writer and blogger Susan Johnston, of The Urban Muse — one of my most regular guest bloggers.
Before her tips, a quip:
“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” – Colette
This writing advice doesn’t just apply to works of fiction, short stories, or print articles for magazines, it applies to blogging, too! Cull your writing, fellow scribes…for that is what your editors and readers need. Click on The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging for more tips – it’s one of my favorite books on blogging – and read on for Johnston’s five things to do before publishing a blog post…
5 Things To Do Before Publishing a Blog Post
Some of my best blog posts and other ideas come to me late at night in a flurry of typing. Still, just because I have a brilliant idea for a post doesn’t mean I should publish it right away! When I let a blog post marinate overnight, I almost always think of more material I want to add, find errors I want to fix, or decide that it needs a little more development before the post is ready for prime time.
Here’s a checklist of five things to do before publishing that blog post. (Admittedly, I don’t always do all five all the time, but I know I should!)
1. Read your blog post out loud. Often my brain works faster than my fingers and I end up skipping a word or two. Reading things out loud helps me find missing words or smooth out any awkward sentence constructions. Try it.
2. Add categories. Categories help readers find related blog posts and tell search engines about what your post is about. If you’re trying to optimize your blog for certain keywords (search engine optimization), then you’ll also want to think about a strong title and introduction.
3. Go back to your blog post later. As mentioned above, one of the best ways to avoid errors and improve a post is to let it sit (or marinate) overnight. Most times you’ll go back to it with a fresh pair of eyes and a few more ideas, too.
4. When in doubt, leave it out. Blog readers appreciate short, punchy sentences arranged in short, scannable paragraphs. Sure, you want to work in some personality (your writer’s voice!), but if you find yourself rambling, it’s time to self-edit. Maybe you can break a longer post into two or save some of those extraneous gems for another blog post.
5. Include a call to action. In the professional writing certificate program I’m working my way through, the professor emphasizes the importance of writing a strong call to action or CTA. Even if you aren’t writing a banner ad or a brochure, CTAs are useful. For blog posts, that usually means asking readers to weigh in with their opinions and insights, as you’ll see below.
Fellow bloggers, what do you think? Do you follow these steps? And are other steps you would add?
And for more blogging tips, read The Huffington Post’s 8 Tips for Great Blogging.
Susan Johnston is a Boston-based freelance writer and blogger who has covered business and lifestyle topics for The Boston Globe, DailyCandy.Com, and many other publications. She also contributed a letter to the newly released anthology PS What I Didn’t Say.