16 Things To Do Before And After You Hit Publish
For those of you who have a blog, you will know that crafting a post is no joke. It involves a lot of time, thought and effort. Sometimes all this effort can feel like it’s going to waste because the post doesn’t get as much engagement as you were hoping for, or you completely forget to tell anyone that you wrote it! So here are 16 things to do before and after every blog post.
BEFORE YOU HIT PUBLISH….
USE A CATCHY HEADLINE
Your post title should include two characteristics:
- Keywords or phrases
- Be persuasive or encourage someone to click-through
Your post title is arguably the most important part of marketing your blog post. If your title is weak – even if you’ve written the most amazing content – then people are unlikely to click-though. By creating a persuasive and enticing title, you’ll get more people click-through and read that content you worked so hard on. Here’s a guide to creating catchy headlines for your blog posts.
By adding keywords, you’re also optimising your post for search engines. The title of your post is incredibly important for it’s SEO, so you want to make sure you’re including a keyword or phrase in your headline that you think potential readers will search for.
- Here’s an example of a basic post title: “Things I’ve Learned About Wedding Photography”.
- Here’s a better version: “Advice For New Wedding Photographers Who Want to Grow Their Business”.
The second example is better because:
- It targets a specific group of people (new wedding photographers)
- It includes keywords (“advice for new wedding photographers” and “grow (my) business”) which are things that someone might search for in Google to find your post.
DIVIDE YOUR TEXT INTO SMALLER SECTIONS WITH SUB-HEADINGS
When I see a post with enormous blocks of text – even if it’s something I’m interested in – I usually click away and find something that looks more reader-friendly. Many people will scan a post, to see if it sounds useful to them, before deciding to read the whole thing. My advice would be to include no more than 5-6 lines of text in your paragraphs and divide up big chunks of text into smaller sections with sub-headings.
DEEP LINK TO PAST POSTS
For those who don’t know, deep linking is basically the practice of linking to past posts in a new post. So each time you write a post which mentions a topic you’ve written about before, you can link back to that previous post. This is great for your readers as they receive more information about a topic which is helpful, but also keeps people on your site longer which is wonderful for you.
ADD A QUESTION AT THE END TO ENCOURAGE DISCUSSION
By asking a question at the end of a post, you are encouraging people to comment. In the online world, people often need little nudges or “calls to action” to actually do something.
ADD SEO-READY IMAGES
Making your images SEO-ready just means changing the name of the image to something that includes a keyword. For example, instead of “IMG_1234.jpg” to “Sarah-and-Jim-wedding.jpg”.
ADD “ALT-TEXT” TO YOUR IMAGES
What is “alt-text”? In general, the alt-text is what will automatically be added to be the “description” when someone pins an image from your site. Descriptions are powerful on Pinterest, especially when you add keywords, persuasive text and a call to action.
ADD A FEATURED IMAGE
Featured images are important for a number of reasons. Firstly, a featured image is automatically displayed when you paste a post link into social media, if you use a “recent posts” plugin or a “related posts” plugin. If you use Pinterest a lot for business then be aware that vertical images create more interest than horizontal images.
GET SEO READY
Search engine optimisation (also known as SEO) is an absolute must and should never be ignored. With the right SEO your blog and income has the opportunity to grow tremendously, because not only will it drive new readers to your posts but new customers to your website. If you use WordPress then I recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin.
This is going to sound obvious, however I highly recommend you proofreading your posts several times before hitting publish. This may sound boring but it’s not bad if you divide up your editing time. For example, I will often write about half of a post, save it as a draft and read though it. This gives me the chance to correct any obvious errors and make sure that my writing flows. I then read through it again at various stages of writing as well as a couple of times before hitting publish.
AFTER YOUR HIT PUBLISH…
PIN YOUR POST IMAGE ONTO PINTEREST
If you use Pinterest then I would recommend you creating a Pinterest board specifically for your work and posts. When you’ve published a post, pin to that board first and then over the next couple of days pin it on to other relevant boards. This will keep your pin in rotation and distribute it to different audiences.
PIN TO PINTEREST GROUP BOARDS
Some of you may be a member of group Pinterest boards and will most likely want to share your pin on these boards as well. You can either do this manually or use a scheduling programme to schedule your pin for the coming days.
SHARE YOUR POST ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
Obviously once again you could do this manually or using a scheduling programme such as CoSchedue or Hootsuite. I would recommend you attach a relevant image to your Facebook and Twitter posts as they are generally viewed and clicked on more than posts without an image.
SCHEDULE YOUR POST FOR TWITTER SEVERAL MORE TIMES
As you probably know, the Twitter feed moves so quickly that it can be easy to miss a specific tweet. For that reason, try to share your blog post on Twitter several times over the next few days. Social media scheduling programmes such as those mentioned above are great for doing this. You can also use scheduling programmes to circulate your older content in 3 to 6 months time.
RESPOND TO COMMENTS
If your post receives comments then make an effort to respond to them, especially if people have questions or are extra thoughtful. Responding to comments is also a great way to build a stronger relationship with your readers, more engagement and friendships with people who will come back because they feel valued.
Obviously if your blog post features someone else e.g. a couple’s wedding or family portrait session then be sure to drop them an email to let them know it is up on the blog.
CHECK YOUR ANALYTICS
I would recommend checking your Google analytics regularly (at least at the beginning and end of the month) so you can see any changes. These statistics can be very telling, as it shows how much engagement your posts received. You may begin to find patterns in your analytics e.g. a particular topic is really popular, as well as any topics that aren’t so popular.
RE-PIN YOUR CONTENT
This is called “looping”. Basically, it’s the practice of repinning your old pins a couple of months after the original pin. Why bother doing this? Once an image has been pinned, your followers no longer see it unless someone else pins it. Looping means that your keeping your older content in constant rotation and consistently in front of your followers.
Phew! I know this was a long post but it will definitely improve your blog post consistently and engagement. As a parting gift I have put all these points into a checklist which you can print out and refer to whenever you need. Download it here!