I woke up this morning with a topic in mind for today's blog post. I turned on my computer and logged into WordPress…
That's when I remembered Ulysses, writing software for the Mac.
If you're going to be a blogger, you need to be using the best tools, right?
I found the program, launched it, and then realized it needed to be updated.
I then needed to connect Ulysses to my blog. I started the process and got an error… so I closed the software, clicked back over to WordPress, and started typing…
45 minutes later, I had a bunch of thoughts on the screen, 711 words…
I started thinking about how to organize it, but noticed the popup on my computer “Coaching Call in 10 minutes.”
So I saved the post as a draft.
50 minutes later…
- Coaching call, done.
- Video critique of three email messages for another client, done.
- Watch a webinar on marketing, done. Good stuff… inspired two tweets, added to Buffer App.
But still no blog post…
I think you get the picture.
The reason why I didn't blog today is the same reason I didn't blog on all the other days.
I didn't blog.
This is the reason why you didn't, and don't blog either.
Why didn't “we” blog?
We either didn't have a procedure for blogging, or we didn't follow it.
Let me explain.
The thing I remember most about my first flying lesson – other than the utter fear when the instructor handed me the controls – is the pre-flight checklist.
She made it crystal clear that having that checklist and following it could be the difference between life and death.
What I've noticed is that all the most effective people in every profession have a system, a procedure, a checklist for everything they want to accomplish. You don't always see the checklist in their hands, but it's there – guiding their focus and giving them an advantage over everyone else.
That's why I've decided to create a blog post checklist.
It's based on the core content creation methodology I've successfully used and taught for creating information products, courses, books, etc., now applied to blogging.
This blog checklist is for a written blog post. I'll share my checklist for video blogging in a future post.
Blog Checklist, Version 1.0
(1) Research and continually update a BIG LIST of micro-topics that matter to your ideal clients.
Use Google Docs or Evernote.
Include keywords and phrases, popular titles, and topics from other websites, blogs, and forums, questions people ask, etc.
Here are three places to research: (1) type your topic into Google, (2) Use UberSuggest to find popular keywords and content, and (c) search Answer The Public to see questions people are asking online.
Coaching Note: I use the word “micro-topics” to remind myself to break each topic down so I can focus on a specific idea or action in each post with 3 very specific points.
(2) Create a calendar with themes and types of content to share.
This helps focus. For example, Monday Motivation, Tuesday Tech, Wednesday Webinar, etc.
(3) Review your BIG LIST and pick a topic.
Coaching Note: I pick blog topics based on what my audience is asking about, what's hot, what I'm focused on, and what supports a product or service I want to offer. I also think about the topic as a promise I will fulfill in the post itself.
(4) Decide the goal of the post.
Ask Yourself: What do I want the reader to know and do after they read the post?
Coaching Note: The most effective call-to-action is the obvious next step versus a sales pitch for something. If you want to sell a product or service, focus on one problem in the post, explain the problem, and provide tips to solve it. Then point people to a solution, i.e. a recommended product or service. Give real value first.
(5) Mindmap the content.
Open a new MindMeister.com document.
TYPE the topic and/or working title into the center of the mindmap.
Imagine sitting down in front of ideal client… understanding where they are, what they are concerned about, and what they want to do… Add everything to the mindmap that comes to mind.
Now review it and ask, anything missing?
Mistake to avoid?
(6) Create an outline for the post.
Export the map from Mindmeister as a text file.
Again imagine sitting down in front of ideal client… understanding where they are, what they are concerned about, and what they want to do…
What do they need to understand, know, or do first, second, third…
Organize the content into an outline based on the following format:
- Compelling Title
- Connect – open with a story, situation or statistic that speaks to my ideal client
- Content – provide immediately useful tips or steps
- Closing – sum up key points
- Call-To-Action – point to a solution that helps solve the problem better, faster, etc.
(7) Write the post based on the outline.
Use a timer. Set it for 25 minutes and don't stop writing. Also, don't edit while writing. At the end of 25 minutes, get up from the computer, walk around, stretch, drink a glass of water. If more time is needed, set the timer for another 25 minutes and continue.
(8) Edit the post.
Read the post out loud. Correct spelling and other mistakes. Eliminate unnecessary words.
Also, copy and paste the post into Grammarly to check for things you might miss.
(9) Create an image and/or video for the post.
(10) Record your post as a podcast.
This is something new I'm experimenting with. Use Anchor to create a podcast. Then, use their mobile app to record your post. Speak to one person in an upbeat tone and feel free to ad-lib some extra content to add value to the podcast.
(11) Publish or Schedule the post.
(12) Share the post on social media using the social share buttons on the page.
Coaching Note: I use the WordPress plugin for social sharing. I place the buttons at the topic of the article, just under the title.
(13) Email the post to your mailing list.
There you have it, the first draft of my new blog checklist.
I've printed this out and have it next to my computer. I've also added an appointment with myself to complete the research, gather content ideas, and add them to my calendar. I suggest you do the same.
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