Every blogger has her way of placing thoughts onto the screen, ready for people to read. Mine has evolved over the five years I’ve been at this blogging thing. What’s my strategy? Where do I get ideas? And what’s the process from idea to hitting ‘publish’?
After four years, I shared why I blog. Now, after five, I share how:
If you look at my blogging calendar, you’d see ideas filled in all through May. Finding ideas isn’t exactly a problem for me, and these are the places I draw inspiration from:
- Mom boards and forums. Long before I blogged, I had been reading and commenting on mom boards and forums. I still do, and I’ll reply to questions that I later realize would make a great post for the blog.
- Books I’m reading. From how kids learn to issues facing working moms to feeling overwhelmed with motherhood, many of the books I read inspire me to discuss it in a post. See the books I’ve ever mentioned on this blog.
- Other bloggers. I read a lot of blogs too, and I’ll respond with my own take on a topic someone else wrote. For instance, Steph wrote a post about things she doesn’t do, which inspired me to write a version of my own.
- Search terms. When you look at my blog’s behind-the-scenes dashboard, you’ll find the search terms people entered in Google that led them here, from “how to sleep train twins” to “help my kid recognize letters and numbers.” However, sometimes I’ll see search terms for a topic I haven’t written yet, so I’ll write a post answering that question.
- Reader questions. This is by far my favorite. Whether through email, comments or on Facebook, a reader’s question prompts me to write a response that I’ll later turn into a post. For instance, check out these posts about extracurricular activities and what to do when your kid says ‘no’ to everything.
- My own life. And of course, this blog is still in many ways what it had always been: a personal blog. This is, after all, a blog recording everything I’m learning about being a mom. Most of my posts revolve around my own parenting journey.
The writing process
I’d be a mess if I didn’t have a process to keep all this in order. I use Google Calendar to easily and quickly schedule posts long into the future. I then use an Excel sheet to list the 10 upcoming posts to make sure they’re polished. From start to finish, this is what my writing process looks like:
- Write a draft. I use good old paper and pen to write my first draft. I also use highly-searched keywords to help people find my post better and create a headline that’s effective and emotional enough for someone to click on it.
- Type a draft. Using the notes, I type a first draft on my computer, carefree of editing and more focused on getting the words down.
- Proofread. This step takes the most time. I proofread the typed draft and edit like crazy. I check for how well it reads (both inside my head and read aloud) and delete annoying cliches and redundant words. I note the tone of voice and correct any errors.
- Prepare the post. Once the post is polished, I add links to older posts or relevant sources and schedule it on the calendar.
After a post is published
Blogging doesn’t stop once I hit ‘publish’—I need to promote the heck out of it. I tweet, pin, post and promote through social media. I also keep in touch with fellow bloggers and read and comment on their blogs.
I’ll also link the post to any old ones so readers can click on related topics when they browse my site.
Besides the blog
In addition to posts, I also maintain an email newsletter where, once a week, I’ll compile recent posts and exclusive content (stuff I don’t publish on the blog) and send those to my subscribers.
I also contact other bloggers to see if they would be interested in writing a post for me, and submit my posts to other sites. This helps keeps content on my blog fresh, especially if I don’t have experience with what they’re writing about. And writing for other sites helps me reach new audiences.
A lot of work, but worth it
Thanks so much for reading with me all these years. I had no idea that what started out as a post about wanting to record my baby’s milestones would eventually become a blog that has helped others, encouraged conversation and inspired me to be a better parent.
Your turn: What topics do you most enjoy reading here? Bloggers, what’s your blogging process like? Let me know in the comments!
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