When I started the blog over 4 and a half years ago it started as a hobby, a creative space to freely express anything my heart desires. Today, it has evolved to a the online platform for my business, building it into a full-time design studio. Starting out as a blog that only few read, I now have a part-time employee. While it allows the word “blogger” to be added to the resume, it hasn’t been arbitrary or an online journey. It has been fun a lot of hard work.
Today, we are pulling back the curtain and letting you in behind the scenes, answering the question, “How do we make blog posts?”
A month prior to every quarter we begin the brainstorming topics that we know are true to us and our readers love. The goal for each blog post is one of the following- to provide inspiration, information, or remain deeply personal for each of our readers. Each post remains written by me and current with what is going out in my personal wold. Our goal is appeal to our tribe and grow our reach as much as possible. With each blog post, there is loads of strategy on the back end of things, whether it brands we create content for or original content from our brand. There’s an overview. Now here’s the breakdown of how we makes posts from start to finish.
A month before each quarter, we throw out ideas. Involving a massive whiteboard and a beautiful space, we think of every option possible. Some ideas stick and others we toss. Keeping regular column categories in mind, we fill out post options, brands to collaborate with, and companies to pitch to for each and every quarter. As we brainstorm, we keep in mind long-term goals, and you, our readers. We know what posts have done well in the past, what readers love traffic-wise, and what keywords are ranking on the Interwebs. Keeping this in mind, we parse out what posts will go live and what ones we will table for others. I also firmly believe in a few core values that affect how we produce blogs posts. I believe life is to be experienced, not solely captured. How does this affect our process? There’s wisdom in not having every facet of life on the internet. Filled with critics and opinions, there’s a time for everything. Knowing how and when to communicate facets of my life is a big deal and something that I don’t tread lightly with. Whatever we post, we hope to show you our ability to curate phenomenal content, through images, word, and design, bringing strong messaging and beauty to the world.
Using Evernote and Google Calendar, we begin to create content calendars for the next three months. With two separate calendars in Google, we plan out shoots, writing content, and when posts go live. Beginning with when posts go live, we schedule each day and then move backwards to pre-production calendars. By gauging the work load, we schedule certain posts with more lead time and then balance it with posts that are less time-intensive to produce.
Using shot sheets and Pinterest as inspiration, we begin curating images for the post. Whether shooting a favorite recipe or a fashion look, we plan for a variety of long, medium, and detail shots, bringing a variety of crisp images for use across multiple social media platforms. We typically use a long shot with type as the feature image of a post and as the post progresses bring the viewer in closer. As we shoot we combine a variety of details in both horizontal and vertical orientation, allowing for a post template to occur. (This give the blog visual continuity from post to post.) For particular shoots, we might hire a photographer for various uses, but keep our shooting to as few people as possible.
Using Lightroom, we edit images with standard presets and go into WordPress to layout the post. Adding photos to Photobucket, it keeps our site speed fast and hosts our photos as a third-party. When editing I like to keep blacks black and whites white and images in focus and as clear as possible. With sync tools in Lightroom, it keeps our edits and colors consistent across the board, allowing for visual continuity throughout the post. Sometimes this looks like sketching images out, but for most posts, this means following a simple template.
I’m someone what can obsess over my writing. A perfectionist at heart, it’s something I’m still trying to curb. Nonetheless, I can let perfectionism cripple me from beginning posts, particularly those that emotionally are more challenging to write. By setting an hour alarm on my phone, I put limits on writing and try to complete the rough draft of each post within an hour. Sometimes boundaries, give creative freedom.
A second pair of eyes are invaluable when it comes to proofreading blog posts. We try to keep things colloquial and friendly, upbeat and positive. Knowing our style and voice, edits are mades, bringing the copy of each post to our editorial standard. Making sure each post has a strong takeaway and call to action, each post ends with a question or prompt for you, the reader to engage, share, and love it.
Once the post is scheduled, it’s time to get social. Using Hootsuite and Later, we let our audiences on social media know the post is live, by scheduling our rollouts for each post. This is optimized for when our users engage and the timezones they are in. We also use Bit.ly to manage our links and provide the analytics to best engage with our readers. Once posts are live, we engage with those who comment on either the blog or various social media platforms.
It’s a lot of work and steps to start a blog post from start to finish, but we hope this gives a small view into our daily lives. While I had a background in interactive media in schooling, MySpace had just been released, a far cry from what we now know as the blogging industry today. Most of this is done from our dining room table, surrounded by laptops. While the team behind this space and studio are small in number, I love the post and content that are rolling out and you can expect much, much more from us in 2017! Thank you to each and every one of you that have been with us along this journey. You are our priority. We love curating content for you and hope you love the content just as much!
Have any questions about blogging? Anything you want to see on the blog for 2020?