Blogging Checklist: What Not to Forget Before You Hit “Publish”

Writing a blog post is like making a sandwich – anybody can throw together a simple one, but if you really want it to be memorable, you’ve gotta show a little initiative.

(The use of a panini press is only advisable for one of these situations, though. See if you can guess which!)

Because while all you really need for a blog post is a bunch of words, you might be leaving out the ingredients that give it flavor.

Adding a few quick steps before you hit that publish button can help your posts get more clicks, more shares, and more comments – and that makes actually writing them a whole heck of a lot more rewarding.

What are the must-haves that your blog posts might be missing? Here are a few things you definitely don’t want to leave out!

Eye-catching imagery

We’ll start with an easy one.

Images make a blog post pop – they break up the text, eliminating those massive walls of words that can discourage readers from diving in.

It doesn’t affect just readability, though – it can also influence how shareable your posts are!

This study from BuzzSumo, for example, found that blog posts with a certain ratio of images to text scored twice as many shares as posts that didn’t have as many visuals.

gaston-reading

Images in a blog post also give you a visual you can add to status updates promoting the link, which can do a lot to get you noticed on social media.

Tweets with images, for example, generate 3x as much engagement as those without – and tweets with gifs can generate 6x as much.

[Tweet “Adding a gif to your tweet can help it generate up to 6x more engagement than text alone.”]

(If you need a free solution for getting your gif on, we recommend Giphy Capture.)

Visuals in your blog posts don’t have to be limited to images you upload, either.

Embedding video (even live video!) or tweets is as easy as copying and pasting a few lines of code, and it adds a little interactivity to your posts.


See?

That’s the simple stuff, though – what are some of the easier-to-forget things you should add to your blog posts?

The headline factory

Don’t write a headline after you finish your next blog post – write a LOT of headlines.

That headline you see at the top of this blog post? It was just one of 15! (Number eight, to be more specific.)

We write at least 15 headlines for every single post we publish, and it isn’t just a creative exercise – it’s science.

(Which is also why we always wear a labcoat and goggles while blogging.)

high-five

If you want to write the types of headlines that will grab someone’s attention, read up on the type of formulas that work, and experiment as you go. Keep track of which of your posts are most popular (and least popular) over time – it most likely has as much to do with style as substance!

Create a headline factory for every post, and write at least a dozen variations before you choose a winner. You might be surprised by how many times it’s one of the last ones you write!

Speaking of headlines, though…

Meta previews and more

Now we’re getting into the fun, nitty-gritty stuff.

Look at the links you share on Facebook, for example. They generate link previews, like this:

edgar-fb-preview

If you’re not customizing the text for your own link previews, you’re missing an opportunity to make the stuff you share way more enticing!

Editing the headline and description that display in your link previews gives you extra space to convince someone to click (all the more reason to practice your headline-writing skills, too):

snippet-editor

If you’ve set up Twitter cards on your site, those previews will appear on Twitter, too – you can see one in that tweet we embedded earlier in this post!

Adding a ClickToTweet is another quick step that’s easy to skip, but makes your posts extra-shareable, as well:

click-to-tweet-example

Of course, these are all things you can do to a post itself – what about the stuff you do with the post?

Planning your promos and distribution

Before you publish your next post, you should have a promotion plan in place.

Sharing one or two status updates alone isn’t going to bring in the traffic you want.

(All that does is ensure that the post you worked so hard on is going to have a pretty short shelf life.)

Think both short-term and long-term by planning out a distribution strategy that includes:

1. Status updates you can use and reuse. If your blog post is evergreen – that is, it’ll still be relevant long in the future – you’re going to want to promote it again and again over time. Write evergreen updates you can reuse later on – once you’ve built up a big back catalogue of blog posts, you’ll be grateful you don’t have to keep writing new promos for each and every one of them!

2. Shoutouts for anyone you’ve mentioned. When you mention someone in a blog post, don’t forget to let them know on social media! It’s an easy way to make sure you’re seen by more people – plus, it’s just the nice thing to do, you know?

3. A post worth boosting. Want a shortcut to expanding your audience? Kicking even just a few bucks toward Facebook is money well-spent. Write an update you’re especially proud of, target an audience, and make some new fans for a teeny-tiny investment.

4. An email promotion. “Magnetic content” that magically attracts readers is a myth – and a newsletter can be the most valuable traffic-driver in your toolkit. Check out this post for a full walkthrough of creating your own.

With these plans in place, you’re ready not just to publish a post, but to make sure it’s seen by as big an audience as it deserves!

Have you been leaving anything out?

So – anything you’ve been missing in your blogging strategy?

Got any thoughts, feelings, or questions about starting a newsletter or whipping up gifs?

Let us know in the comments below – and start thinking about your next post!

  • Jamie Steele

    Great Post! I especially liked the tip about writing more than one headline. Definitely going to add this to my list of to-dos for posts.

  • Great little mini-checklist for the things that we should do before publishing blog posts. With number #2 as part of my writing process, I’ve basically done research upfront to identify the influencers that I want to mention in my post with a plan to shoutout to them – and email them directly too if necessary 🙂 With number #3 – it would be interested how FB knows who to boost the post too, when you’ve got a small list (note: I’ve never boosted a post before, but am keen to try soon).

    • Tom VanBuren

      One of the nice things about boosting a post is that you aren’t limited to the people already in your audience – and you get to choose which types of people you want to see it based on their demographics and interests!

  • TruePotentialMedia

    Thanks Team Edgar. I’ve been blogging and tweeting a long time and I picked up several great tips from this post.

    • Tom VanBuren

      Thanks a lot – glad to hear it!

  • Tremendous information here for bloggers and any online writer. One tip I would add is to make sure that your alt tags are filled out on those gorgeous images. Otherwise when you’re pinned, the default text is just a line from your post, not a great descriptor of the image.
    Oh, and make sure you have permission to post that great image on your site. Getty is getting cranky about copyrights

    • Tom VanBuren

      Those are both super important tips – thanks for mentioning them!