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Make a perfect blog post more perfect

October 9, 2012


I want all my blog posts to be perfect. It’s a strength and a sickness.

Perfection is a killer, though. Wasting time making everything perfect means never hitting the Publish button.

But in 7 years of blogging — not to mention decades of writing, editing, publishing and coaching — I do know how to make posts as close to perfect as possible. And it costs but a minute or two extra.

Taking a little more time means getting closer to perfection. The audience will remember those posts for a long time and share them with so many others.

1. Have a relevant, eye-catching visual. It took me less than a minute to find the Creative Commons licensed image above, suitable for commercial work.

I’m a little disappointed when I find a blog post without a photo, an illustration or a graphic. I love words as only a writer can, but I crave imagery to help things stick in my brain.

I made it easy to blog 30 days straight in September because I had a simple repeating visual to use in my new personal site, Project Bulk: topless photos of me.

2. Embed a video, a document, a photo, even a tweet. One of WordPress’ greatest shortcuts, and one that not everyone knows about.

Paste a URL into the blog post: a YouTube video, a document from Scribd, a favorite tweet. Instant embedding, instant multimedia.

This Flickr photo URL …

… turns into this photo of me by Judi Knight.

Wade Kwon At Work WCATL

This Scribd URL …

… shows a schedule with my presentation on it.

This Twitter URL …

.. shows one of my popular tweets from the past week.

It took less than a minute to find each of these examples. WordPress offers 16 official types of embeds, and that list is growing.

Even without the shortcut, any digital item with its own embed code can almost always be embedded within a blog post. For example, I put sample ballots in my Election Day 2012 preview which can be magnified, downloaded, printed, even embedded elsewhere. And I included a video of a TV news report on an upcoming bond referendum.

Tip: I didn’t create all this rich content, but I reap the benefits from embedding it. It’s like having millions of creative, smart, energetic people on my blogging team.

3. Add tags. Tags describe a post’s keywords to readers and to search engines.

I wrote 16 tags for this post in about 30 seconds.

Tip: I use tags to help me in final editing. As I write the tags after the post is finished, I often discover that I forgot to include something important. It’s a reminder of any loose ends or even big points that warrant additional writing.

4. Edit the work. Take a breath. Read over the post. Use the built-in spellcheck. Read it aloud. Email it to a friend.

I’ve had mistakes published in print on the simplest of jobs, such as a poster with 20 words, because no one edited it.

This editing process includes the headline. This includes the photo captions. This includes the tags. Careful editing shows care for the readers’ time and enjoyment.

It takes an extra 2 to 15 minutes, depending on the length and complexity of the post. I often spend far more time editing than writing.

I’ll say it again: It takes years to build a reputation and only seconds to destroy it. Edit as though your reputation hangs on every single word.

5. Update the post as needed. If I discover new information, and it merits attention, I will add it to the post. If a reader leaves a comment that answers an important question, I will also add it to the post.

I do so transparently, meaning that the new information is clearly delineated from the original text in the post. For example, I wrote an essay last week about the historic changes at the Birmingham News and After learning about four new related items, I added them to the end.

It took about 5 minutes total for the updates. And each update gave me something new to promote, which leads to …

6. Promote like crazy. My damn-near-perfect posts will not lie dormant online. I will plug them through my email newsletter, my social media channels, my sites, my media releases, my media appearances, my business cards, my emails and myself. I work hard to make sure the posts deserve readers’ time and attention, so it’s up to me to make them highly visible. I will wring as much juice as I can from them.

I linked to four of them above. I tweeted out a link to a post from 7 years ago on Saturday.

I will share today’s post for days and weeks and months and years to come. Count on it. Promotion is built into my daily routine, so the time is already allotted.

I may not ever achieve perfection in a blog post, but that will never stop me from trying.

Photo: Andy (CC)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2016 2:13 am

    Thank you, I’ve just been searching for information approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the best I have found out till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you positive about the supply?


  1. The 2012 index to posts « Birmingham Blogging Academy

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