Ede asked me to write a post about my blogging process. I was more than happy to take this guest post challenge. One of the biggest helps I have had was to bring prior experience into my blogging process. I was editor in chief of my college newspaper for a year. One of the biggest mistakes I made was not using what I learned during that time in my blogging. I recently wrote a post on better blogging, it too might be of help here.
I have set up for myself an editorial process that I try to hold to as much as is reasonably possible. (As a part time blogger sometimes schedules slip, but I do what I can.) I actually found an article not too long ago that lays this process out fairly well.
Inception: Brainstorming, Start a draft, Related articles.
Sometimes it works to find a post, throw up a quick blurb, and hit post. That will get you some content, however to make your site worth coming back to, quality will mean more than quantity. The first part is coming up with an article idea. I prefer a couple of methods. First, I use Google Reader and Friendfeed to mark articles I find interesting or that are on a topic I feel I can contribute to. Second, I am a bit old fashion in this, but I use a whiteboard as a scratch pad. I lay out the article to give it some form and scratch out additional notes. In WordPress, I also start a draft right away. Even if I never write the article, I have something started that I can work on later. I have gotten many more posts doing this.
Research: Blogging History, Other Bloggers, Links to Supporting Evidence
Research and supporting evidence help give both additional emphasis and credibility to posts. Also, if you have written on the topic before, link to your older posts. Not only does it give your audience a chance to be interested in your site past one article, it builds age and therefore credibility. Also, link to other bloggers who have written on the topic. (Especially if you got the idea for the post from them.) Not only is it just plain nice to do, but it builds potential for other bloggers to link to you. That gives you more visibility and traffic.
Posting: Stumble, Twitter, Trackbacks, Ad Placement
Once you finish, review, and post your article, there is plenty more you can do. StumbleUpon is a great tool to help people discover your posts and then site. After every post, I Stumble it as well. I then also Twitter my posts, in case followers there would also like to view my posts. A lot of links will automatically trackback to the original post, which gives a link back to your site. The last part of this is – ad placement. Don’t be afraid to place an ad in an article, especially if it ads to it. An example would be a book review, add in an image of the book linking to amazon using an affiliate link. Gives the person a look at the book artwork, and may make you a commission. (Doesn’t happen often, but it is possible.)
The beauty in blogging is that it is extremely flexible. Perhaps a free form process works best for you. I find a little more structure and pre-planning go a long way in my own blogging. Try different methods and see what works best for you.