In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to create a blog writing checklist that you can follow every time you write a blog post. Basically, I’m going to walk you through the checklist that my team and I use every time I create a blog post.
But keep in mind that you don’t have to do it exactly like I do it! Simply use this as an example or inspiration, and then build your own checklist or system that will help you create blog posts faster and more easily!
Step #1: Identify the Overarching Theme or Goal
Before I even choose the topic or start my blog writing, I always want to start more broad and figure out what type of blog post I’m going to do. Very rarely do I just write posts “on a whim.” The process is a lot more strategic than that. The blog post needs to fall into place within the overall marketing strategy that’s happening at the moment.
So, for example, I recently wrote a post on How to Create an Awesome + Super Easy Content Marketing Plan. But I didn’t just choose that topic idea out of nowhere. Each month, I have a guest expert come in and do a training in my free Facebook group. Whatever their topic is, I make that the month’s “theme” and share several pieces of content with my audience on that theme.
The topic during the month I wrote the content marketing blog post was all about how to write copy, so it fit in perfectly!
Almost always, the decision of what I’m going to write about has to do with something else. It’s not always because of a guest expert — it may be because I’m launching something or doing some other type of marketing campaign. But whatever it is, the blog post is always strategic so that it fits in with everything else that I’m doing and ultimately works to achieve some kind of goal.
Step #2: Choose the Topic
Once I know the goal or theme, next I come up with a more specific topic idea. For this, I sometimes brainstorm a topic that I think would fit in well with the theme. But usually I reference my running list of content ideas.
I actually talk about this a lot in my blog post on How to Come Up With Amazing Ideas For Your Content Marketing Strategy — this is where all of those ideas come from. I store them in my content marketing ideas spreadsheet, and then whenever I need to choose a topic for a piece of content, I go through the spreadsheet and pick one that sparks interest in me.
Step #3: Choose the SEO Keyword Phrase
I have a super in-depth tutorial on exactly how to do this in my Systematic Marketing School if you’re curious! But SEO keyword research is kind of hard to explain in just a few sentences. So, unfortunately, I can’t give you too many details here.
Basically, I use the tool KW Finder to do my keyword research and pick a keyword that I think would be a good fit with my topic idea.
Step #4: Write the Title
Once I know what the keyword phrase is going to be, I use the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer tool to come up with the title.
Pinterest and SEO are my main sources of traffic. So it’s really important to me that each blog post title be “clickable”. It needs to attract the interest of whoever comes across my post on those platforms.
I always aim to get a 70 or higher when I use this tool.
Step #5: Create the Outline
Sometimes I’ve already created this. When I put my ideas in my content marketing ideas spreadsheet, I sometimes get a burst of inspiration. So I’ll go ahead and write a short outline right then about what I want to include in the post.
But if the outline isn’t already created, I take the time to jot down an overview of what the structure of the post is going to look like and the key talking points.
Depending on who is going to be doing the blog writing (myself or a copywriter on my team), sometimes I do a more “heavy” fleshed-out outline, while other times I just jot a few quick notes down.
Step #6: Blog Writing
Next, it’s time to do the actual blog writing. Sometimes I write the entire blog post myself. I like to do it this way if it’s more technical or I get a burst of inspiration. Or sometimes I’ll send the heavy outline over to my copywriter. She’ll take my notes and flesh them out into a more “official” blog post.
I especially like to use my copywriters for the introductions and conclusions of blog posts because I’m notoriously bad at writing those 😳 Guilty!
Another way I do it is I’ll record a voice memo walking through the major points of the post. This is perfect if I have to drive somewhere! I’ll just turn on the Voice Memo app on my iPhone and talk through the content. Then my copywriter will finalize it after the voice memo gets transcribed. Or sometimes I will go Live on Facebook first. Then, that gets transcribed and turned into a post that way.
Step #7: Review, Edit + Finalize the Post
This is when we go through and take one more glance at it before we publish it.
We read it through multiple times, make final edits, put it through Grammarly. And we also do a check to make sure we’ve done a good job with SEO. This is also when we write the meta description for the post. Basically, we want to make sure it’s completely ready to be transferred over to WordPress.
Step #8: Create the Social Media Graphics
This happens while my copywriters and I are working on the actual blog writing (step #6 and Step #7). Once I know what the title is going to be, I send that information over to the graphic designer. Then while it’s being written, she creates the graphics for the post.
For each post, I do two different Pinterest graphics, a horizontal graphic, and a square graphic. If it’s a blog post that’s going along with a podcast episode and/or a YouTube video, there’s additional graphics that need to be created for those channels as well.
Step #9: Add to WordPress as a Draft and Finalize SEO
During this step, one of my team members transfers the blog post over to WordPress from Google Docs and creates a draft post. She adds in all the copy, inserts the images in the correct places, selects the category, adjusts the slug, and finalizes the SEO using the Yoast plugin.
Step #10: Add the CTA
An important part of my blog writing checklist is making sure that all blog posts we publish include some sort of call to action (CTA).
Typically, we use an “opt-in graphic,” which is a graphic that’s been designed to promote a specific lead magnet. When clicked, it either opens up a pop-up opt-in form or takes you to a landing page.
Here’s an example:
Step #11: Schedule the Post
I find that, especially with evergreen content, what time you publish your post doesn’t really matter. We randomly decided to do 6am ET on Mondays, so that is when my posts typically go live.
But as long as your post isn’t dependent on something else where it needs to be scheduled at a certain time, what day or time you press “publish” doesn’t really matter!
Step #12: Share the Post on Social Media
Once the post is scheduled, it gets sent over to my social media manager. She creates a bunch of social media posts to promote the new blog post. Then she schedules them to go out on the same day that the post is going live.
Step #13: Content Repurposing
I talk a LOT about this in my post How to Create an Awesome + Super Easy Content Marketing Plan, which is all about the process that I use to repurpose all of my content a million different ways.
For each blog post, we create repurposed content for social media, newsletters, and other stuff.