12 Most Vital Steps in the Writing Process
A long time ago, I came across a post by Mark Schaefer titled “An inside view of the blogging process.” It stands out to me because every writing process is different. One blogger takes 10 minutes to write a post and another will take 3 hours or more. Yet, we all go through similar steps.
I thought it would be useful for other bloggers to discuss my own writing process and present it as a checklist. I think the 12 steps below are what really gives any piece its impact.
1. Find a keyword
The important thing is not just to find a good key phrase, but one that matches your intent. Run it through multiple search engines for context. Nothing will anger a searcher more than being taken to content that isn’t relevant.
2. Get creative
This is the fun part! Personally, I do this second because it makes it easier to focus my attention. With a keyword in mind, I can think about my personal take on the subject.
3. Write a draft
You have to get over your fears and write the dang thing. There is a lot of great information about how to overcome writers block. Here are my tips.
4. Refine and edit
I call this step unthink editing. This is when I look for keyword stuffing and other digital writing faux pas. They say it is best to keep your writing to the eighth grade level.
5. Grab a picture
Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all use rich media in their postings. You should have at least one featured in any piece. Applying the rule of thirds will ensure that you have picked a stunning image.
6. Add other media
Not every article will have video, audio, or other media. I tend to do all my embedding near the end. This is because it involves code, which can screw up the formatting of your post. Doing it last will help you sort out the cause if something goes wrong.
7. Add external and internal links
I save this for the end of the writing process since I find during rewrites that things will change. Reduce the workload by doing this last. Measure twice, cut once.
8. Check for attribution
Before you publish a post, double-check that you have proper attribution. Make sure every external link is properly referenced to give due credit. Let people know that you are building upon other works.
It is very worthwhile to take a gander at your finished work as it will appear to your audience. Read it aloud — this will help you catch grammatical errors you may have missed. If things look good then you can move on to the next step.
10. Publish or schedule
I schedule my posts to go live at 3 am so that it arrives in RSS readers early in the morning. That is 6am EST. This is about the time when people are going through their morning routine before work.
Publish to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and appropriate networks. Think of this step as content discovery not an alert. Your loyal readers are already subscribed — these updates benefit you by reaching new eyes. I maximize these status updates by using BufferApp, only sending them out when I have the greatest potential reach.
12. Follow up
Following up is crucial because this is what people will remember. Respond to comments and any shares you find. Sometimes when I talk about a person or product I will notify them via email. I consider this a courtesy — we don’t always know who is talking about us online. Make it easy for your subjects to find you, but don’t expect a reply.
When you begin to examine your writing process you will see just how much work it is! We do not always give ourselves credit because so much is invisible to readers. Be proud of what you do and honor that hard work.
Tell me in the comments about your process, how does it differ?
Featured image courtesy of andrea joseph’s illustrations licensed via Creative Commons.