In a world filled with advice on how to write a blog post, I’ve found no short cuts to creating content. In fact, writing a blog post is the easiest part. Getting the ideas for relevant posts that truly capture interest, is the greater challenge. However, when writing I follow a few basic principles as well as simple, practical steps that keep me organised.
My posts on social media and blogs are complimentary, each serving a specific purpose.
Following, are some basic tips I find most useful. My journey and pace in learning is uniquely mine, as will be yours.
A. Know your audience
Who are you aiming to reach? My web site is based around writing and being an author. To that end I am mindful of Branding, Promoting, and Inspiring.
As a writer, branding is about who I am, which provides great latitude in sharing about my hobbies, interests, and so on. However, I draw a line at personal ‘stuff’. No one really wants to hear about my health, my family, or my dog or cat in a blog post. Those things are for my personal Facebook page, for long-suffering family and friends. Bar the health. Some things are out of bounds for me. You need to find your boundary in what you are comfortable sharing and stick to it. One or two forays, ie posts, into areas I prefer left out of the public eye, taught me quickly where my comfort zone began and ended.
Promoting products I’ve written and are for sale, is something I am still learning. I am about to revamp my site to accommodate a recently published anthology, as well as past publications. It has taken me a while to accept being called an ‘author’ and now is the time. I will check out other writers’ and authors’ websites, and will adapt mine according to my needs and style.
Inspiring others to achieve their goals. This means posts about my field of interest that may help others. These may be shared from other sites, with full acknowledgement, or are self-generated. I write inspirational posts for Instagram, using my own words, or an acknowledged quote. Often I’ll use a photograph of my own. This turns my inspirational post into a measure of branding as well. I sometimes use these in my blog posts and I cross post between Instagram and selected Facebook pages.
All of the above are aspects of marketing, as I see it, just different faces. As an author/writer, I am my brand. My name is my brand. I promote my products – my books, and other works; and I aim to inspire others to achieve their goals through various approaches.
B. My social media preferences
In choosing my social media platforms, I differentiate the sort of content I post for each.
a. Facebook – Personal page – for family pictures, events, my hobbies and content from others that I think worth sharing. This is, therefore, an eclectic page that has frequent posts.
b. Facebook Business Page – ES Dunn-Writer page – is about my writing; my processes; my writing related interests and posts which aim to inspire others and which I share from Instagram. It is where I appreciate others’ writing and share posts of interest that are supportive of fellow artists, though not to dominate my feed.
d. I link my Instagram page to my ES Dunn-writer page, as the posts are usually inspirational thoughts. Occasionally I’ll cross post to either my photography or sewing page, depending on the focus. It is easy to turn off the auto sharing and to copy and paste content.
e. I use Linked In for a wider audience for my blog posts and it’s great for networks.
C. Blog posts
For my web page, I write posts about almost anything. It is my opportunity to share points of view; helpful ideas to do with writing; the background to my stories; trips down memory lane; travel and other interests. It becomes an opportunity for a combination of branding, promotional and inspirational posts, as I write about topics of interest.
I use categories to lump my posts together. It gives the reader a chance to explore similar posts. Initially, I write a draft in Word and copy and paste it into WordPress Draft which I find easier to work from. Sometimes, I choose Classic mode, other times I use the latest formatting options. After I’m satisfied with the initial written draft, I add photos.
As I write, I consider photos I wish to add. Conversely, sometimes, a series of photos will prompt a post. Either way, I pull all the photos into a folder on my Desktop, then edit and resize for the blog post. The number of photos is a personal choice. I’m visual, so I add a few, at relevant places to the text, throughout the post.
After I’ve completed the draft, I check the SEO hints and tips and make adjustments. This is a whole field in itself with an abundance of how to’s on the web. I use Yoast, a free plug in.
(iv) Links and Publishing
I check my links to social media are working before publishing.
I schedule for my preferred day – usually, though not always, early Monday morning, as it seems to capture the most readers.
(v) Keeping track
I back up with a copy which I paste into my Word document, just in case my site crashes, I have the original post, with photos. I create a folder
eg. BP_ My Approach to Social Media and Blog Posts _ (Date) in which I keep the Word document and my folder of resized photos I actually used. I store it under a main folder named Blog Posts.
A physical calendar is a handy record. A $2 cheapie from Kmart or one from the local chemist is perfect. Titles of posts are a useful visual record of when and what and of the number of hits, showing which posts work the best.
I enjoy the process. It has taken a number of posts in social media and in blogging to get into a pattern of how and what for each and for my website. I attended a social media masterclass with Amanda Kendle, for two years and refined my approach. I still have a lot to learn and am continually seeking to improve.
What’s your secret?
How do you organise your blog posts and social media posts? Are there any magic tricks to cutting down on the time involved in creating one?
When I knuckle down and write a post, I find immense pleasure in putting words to good use, hopefully helping others, in some way.