I get asked from time to time what process I go through when writing blog posts. I wouldn’t say I have a specific process, but I do have some insights that might help people new to blogging.
First off, I’m always thinking of new posts. Once you start blogging and you get into a routine, you start seeing things differently. When I am reading news, in a meeting, struggling with a decision, etc., it’s always top of mind for me whether or not there’s a blog post in there somewhere. Since I want to share my experiences through this blog, I’m very aware of the experiences I go through and whether they’ll be good fodder. And I’ll often rip off an article or blog title and write a post as if I came up with the title to see where I’d land (like this recent post on the #1 quality of successful leaders). This is a great way to push yourself to think and I find it a fun challenge. Note: I always give the original author credit. So far no one has complained ;)
As things occur to me for new post ideas, I want to get the idea down quickly. Most often I email myself a note from my phone, which I admit is very basic and I’ve tried using other tools (quickly adding an Evernote note, using the reminder app on my phone, or even opening up the WordPress app and creating the post title), but its super easy to email myself so I don’t lose the thought.
I write posts all over the place. Sometimes I write it in Word or Pages and then copy/paste it into WordPress. Sometimes I write most if it in the email I send to myself, depending on the time I have (like if I’m sitting at the doctors office as I was the other day, with a ton of time on my hands and only my iPhone with me, I’ll just write it in an email as the WordPress app for the iPhone is still is very bad). Sometimes I use the Blogsy app on the iPad. But most often I pull up my blog admin through a browser and just write it there. I know many bloggers that use a tool or app to write most of their posts, but for some reason I prefer just writing directly in the admin of my blog. Not sure why.
I’ve also heard many bloggers talk about needing absolutely quiet around them when they write and they need to write the entire post in one sitting. I don’t need either of those things. Many of my posts are written with kids running around in the background, or in a coffee shop (I want to do more “coffee shop writing” in 2012…not sure why exactly though ;). And I’m very comfortable writing 75% of a post in one sitting and over the next week tweaking and adding to it in order to get it to a place that feels good. I do the same thing with presentations and speaking gigs.
I think a lot about the title of the post as I continue to learn the importance of it. And I try to include at least some imagery as I personally like a post that has a photo or video. Just kinda breaks up the text. Like this:
I try to write at least once a day. It’s important to me not because I’m trying to get more views/clicks, but because that discipline helps push me to “think”. I find that when I write, I have to sit and reflect and have an opinion. Sometimes during the week its the only time that I really reflect on decisions I’ve made or areas I’m interested in. Also in a job position at Engauge where there isn’t a ton of consistency – as president I often don’t know what each day will entail until I get into it – having something like a daily blog post allows me to have some aspect of regularity around my day. Not to say I’m not comfortable in a non-structured environment, I actually think I thrive in it, but its great to have something I can always know is there (other than knocking out email – maybe we should abolish it :).
I also read a lot of other blogs and I pay specific attention to the ones I like the most. What is it about them that I like? What topics resonate the most with me? What about their style is compelling? I’ve long stopped writing posts that I think people want to hear and instead write about things I want to write about. And reading other posts helps me do that.
So that’s my blogging process, as it were. If you’re thinking about blogging in 2012, I highly recommend it. And if you’re on the fence, check the comments from this post for some reasons why you should be blogging.