Blogging would be a lot easier if things were as simple as sitting down, writing a post and hitting publish. Unfortunately, there's a lot that goes into a blog post. You need to come up with an idea, research the topic, create a first draft, edit and optimize that first draft, publish the post, and promote it. This is why you need to create and optimize a workflow for your blog.
We're going to explore what exactly a blogging workflow is and how you can optimize it to improve your productivity and success. We'll also break down the different aspects that go into the creative process of publishing blog posts. Let's get into it.
- What is a blogging workflow?
- Optimizing the way you approach your editorial schedule
- Improving and optimizing the creative process
- Optimizing the finishing touches & promotion stages
What is a blogging workflow?
A blogging workflow is essentially the process you use to create new blog posts. This process, as mentioned before, typically includes coming up with ideas, researching topics, creating outlines, writing posts, editing posts, promoting posts and more. Most projects use a basic workflow:
Idea → Planning Stage → Creation Stage → Launch
A blogging workflow takes that simple process and turns it into this:
Idea → Research Stage → Outline Stage → Draft Stage → Edit Stage → Finishing Touches → Publication → Promotion Stage
This is the process you need to optimize and turn into your own blogging workflow. If you reverse engineer the way you publish blog posts and optimize each and every step of the process, you can boost your productivity and get more done. Let's start with the idea stage.
Optimizing the way you approach your editorial schedule
It may seem like a simple concept, but having a plan can mean everything. This can mean the difference between working your butt off only to create posts that don't pan out and having an editorial calendar filled with posts that will bring your blog success. It can even take the guesswork out of deciding which topics your blog should tackle and what you need to get done.
That's where you need to start when it comes to optimizing your blogging workflow. Creating an editorial calendar may seem intimidating, but it's a lot less scary when you break things down. Furthermore, it can even seem like a breeze when you consider all of the amazing tools you can use.
The idea stage
The first thing you need to do is come up with a list of topic ideas you can reference when you block out times to write new blog posts. There are a number of different methods you can use to come up with new ideas. Here are a few:
- Your Own Brain – Brainstorm topic ideas based on the topics you feel your blog needs to cover. Keep tools like Trello or Google Keep handy to jot down an idea as soon as it pops into your head. Make sure to write topics down as soon as you come up with new ideas.
- Your Audience – Your readers are the ones who consume your posts, and they're also the ones who generate revenue for your business. You'd be nowhere without them. This is why you need to take their feedback into consideration and come up with ideas based on the private messages and emails they send you, comments they leave on your posts, and even confessions they make in one-on-one interactions.
- The Community – Don't keep things limited to familiar territory. Break away from your comfort zone, and visit places like Facebook groups, Quora message boards and forums to chat with other members of your niche. Find out what problems they're having and what they're most interested in. Make sure you jot down post ideas along the way.
Building an editorial calendar
Once you have a list of ideas to pick from, it's time to start building your editorial calendar. There's a lot to consider here, including:
- How often you want to publish blog posts.
- How far in advance you want to plan.
- Which tool(s) you use.
Every professional blog should publish one post per week at the very least. It's difficult to gain traction with anything less, unless you have a large budget for advertising or connections with influential people who can promote your content. Only publish more frequently if you have the time to create quality posts on a consistent basis or have access to a writing team.
How far in advance you plan is entirely subjective. An annual plan takes the guesswork out of what topics you should cover for an entire year, but it can also be time consuming. Therefore, start off with planning for the entire quarter, and go from there.
There are a number of different tools you can use to manage your editorial calendar and blogging workflow. You can use the lists and cards available in tools like Trello and Asana to manage every step of your editorial calendar. For example, you can create a board for your blog in Trello, and create the following lists to keep track of your blogging workflow:
- Approved Topics
- Ready for Upload
- Finishing Touches
- Needs Featured Image
- Ready to Be Published
Trello and Asana come with built-in editorial calendars, but you can also use dedicated tools for this function. Here are the top three options available for WordPress:
Improving and optimizing the creative process
Alright, so you have a list of ideas organized into an editorial calendar. Now, it's time to get to work. This is where things become a little difficult to navigate. How you create blog posts and approach this section of your blogging workflow depends on what works best for you, so you're going to have to perform a few experiments. Research your post as usual, but change things up once blogging time comes around. Experiment with the writing process in two ways:
- Outline – Outlining an entire post can streamline the process it takes to write a post.
- Just Write – This is an alternative to outlining. Some find outlining to be a hindrance to their productivity. If outlining is too annoying or limiting for you, try sitting down and just writing. Don't worry about how it sounds, and don't worry about editing as you go. Just write, and don't stop working until you get your first draft on the screen.
You can also try using the distraction-free UI inside of helpful tools like the Write! App writing application to improve productivity. You can even try breaking down larger projects into small, easy-to-tackle chunks. Lastly, use the scheduling tool inside of blogging platforms like WordPress to ensure your posts get published no matter where you are.
Optimizing the finishing touches & promotion stages
If you're not a graphic designer and have a tough time creating your own images, use a tool like Canva. You should also consider adding a social media tool to the promotion stage of your blogging workflow. Curating and sharing content is part of any successful content marketing strategy.
Ok, you've started your blog and have published your first pieces of content by following best practices. However, optimizing your blogging workflow doesn't stop here. You also need to find and solve obstacles and distractions that have negative impacts on your productivity as you go.
There will be times when you're dealing with writer's block or things may not immediately work out as planned. If that happens, don't give up, keep improving your blogging workflow and take your blog to the next level. Do you have any other tips or suggestions that can help to run a successful blog? Please share your feedback and ideas in the comments below.