I'm trying something new today. After watching a presentation by Philip Morgan, he recommended that, to improve your writing, you need to reduce friction from your writing process. I agree.
First, a few important points.
Content marketing is one if not the most effective methods to market your services. It's good for SEO, for communicating your expertise, for creating a greater perception of authority, and for a vast number of other reasons.
You need to create content, true. But you also need an email list, too. I may have mentioned it a few times in the past.
I also recommend writing to your list every day (daily is preferable, but three times weekly is the minimum), and posting your emails to your blog — your emails become content you can use, reuse, edit, disseminate, and amplify.
Up until this post today, this was the process I went through:
- I write the email for my newsletter using Ulysses.
- I send it to you, dear subscribers, via MailChimp.
- My assistant Laura gets notified of the email.
- She copies and pastes the email into my blog.
- She adds the necessary featured images, tags, and formatting, which are slightly different than email, but keeps the email in draft mode.
- She then notifies me, then I go in, do final edits, and post.
To reduce friction, Philip recommends, is to write once and edit later. One way is to write a blog post first, and then have it automatically delivered to your list via an RSS-to-email service. Since I currently use MailChimp, they offer this service.
So I'm giving it a try.
Writing a blog post may seem a little more thoughtful and deliberate than writing an email to some degree. But you can still write like you do an email, and then go back and edit later.
The reason I'm saying this is because, with some people, the process of writing emails may sometimes wander a bit and feel a little less structured than a blog post. They're not disjointed streams of consciousness (although, for some people, they may very well be). But they are a little more free-flowing.
Writing a blog post like you do an email may at first feel like the same (less constrained and polished), which is perfectly fine. As long as you know you will have to do some cleanup down the road.
You can go back and edit the content later on, even after you emailed it to your list. You can edit it, strengthen it, polish it, add to it, etc. You can also hire someone to do this for you, too.
But there's a small caveat.
But just as you do when writing to an email list, you should take some things into account before writing your blog post:
- You want to write your content with your audience in mind. It's a given that, if you don't know who your market is, then you need to know this first.
- You want to create content your market is looking for (e.g., you should do some keyword research, if only to know what questions your market is asking that your content should answer, for example).
- You should have a goal (e.g., what is your content supposed to do, or what do you want your audience to get from your content?).
- You should not worry about SEO at first, but do focus on content that is relevant and meaningful to your audience.
You can edit it later or after a while, where you will be able to do an audit of your content and see where edits are needed. You can create content relationships, edit to improve SEO or comprehension, merge duplicate content (or amalgamating content into a larger, stronger post), and so on.
There are three great benefits of doing it this way:
- It allows you to feel less constricted by reducing those friction points mentioned earlier, which allows you to write more freely and frequently.
- It lets you use writing tools included within your blog (e.g., draft autosaves, post previews, keyword suggestions, SEO scores, internal link suggestions, featured images, keyword tags, etc).
- And it allows you to go back and tweak after you have gathered some feedback — both human feedback and search engine feedback.
The last point is important.
After publishing your blog-to-email content, you might get feedback from your subscribers, comments on your blog, social chatter about your post (by being notified through social listening), commentary from other bloggers, and perhaps ideas of what Google thinks of the content.
In short, you will have a good idea if the content is creating the traction it's supposed to create, and how to modify it accordingly.
I've seen certain professionals do exactly that. Whether they post first to their blogs or post their emails after they sent them to their lists, they would go back to their posts, clean them up, add more signals, refresh or polish the content, add relevant images and supporting graphics, insert links, and so on.
This process reminds me of the saying “shipping beats perfection.” Once you put it out there, then you can learn from it, tweak it, improve it, etc. I like what Kim Monney more aptly said, which is: “Shipping creates perfection.”
You write, publish, then fix accordingly. You perfect after you publish.
Try it. It works for me. As for posting to my blog first, I'm going to give it a try for now and see. I'll let you know how it goes.
And to all my Canadian subscribers, happy thanksgiving!