There are a few things that can help you in preparing to write a post, I call it before post prep. This includes creating a list of ideas or post names through brainstorming and creating content upgrade ideas, which depending on how you share them can get people onto your email list. Here are a few ways to prep for a post.
In order to have anything to write, you need come up with some ideas. There are two types of brainstorming – a brainstorm dump and smart brainstorming. When doing a brainstorm dump, write down anything and everything that comes to your mind. Don’t edit yourself. Editing is for later. I like to sit down and set a timer for 15 minutes and brainstorm. Sometimes I feel like I can’t write anymore and there are 5 minutes left, but I just try to keep writing. During this process, it’s important to remember not to edit yourself. Some of the best ideas can come out of something crazy you write down. This is why it’s called a brainstorm dump because you’re just dumping out ideas and not thinking about it.
Smart Brainstorming is when you check your analytics and ask yourself a few questions: What are my top ten most visited posts? What are my top ten most downloaded items? What are my top ten most commented on posts? What are the top ten questions I get asked the most on social media or my blog? Once you have some answers to those questions, that’s when you can brainstorm some posts based on those answers. What can you go into more detail on in a particular post? How can I expand on that topic? Answering those questions is smart brainstorming. You need both types of brainstorming when coming up with what to post about.
I always keep a running list of ideas in a note in Evernote. Whenever an idea strikes I write it down on my phone using the Evernote app. You don’t have to use Evernote, but whatever app you like to use or if you keep a notebook. I like to call it The List because it’s just a running list of ideas. Once I put it into my editorial calendar or create a separate note for it in Evernote to flesh out the post more. I remove it from the list.
Having an idea for a content upgrade that is going to go along with the post you are about to write is always a good idea. If you don’t have any clue, checklists and templates are good places to start. Making content upgrades unique makes the material that is being posted always more interesting. Having a twist on it that isn’t the same as everyone else’s makes the material more appealing. Brainstorming content upgrades is always a good idea, then all you have to do is add the post or email to share them.
Be sure to ask the question
The most important question to ask before you start writing a post is – Is this going to be useful/helpful for my readers? If posts are useful, readers will share them, come back for more and comment on them. The first thing before you start writing is – Is this useful? If it isn’t useful, then you need to go back to the drawing board and think of how you can make it useful in your writing or nix it altogether.
Plug it into your editorial calendar.
Once you have your idea, be sure to put it into your editorial calendar. Sometimes, you can even make a series out of the different ideas you have brainstormed and checking what’s coming up on your editorial calendar or moving things around to fit your new ideas is always a good idea.
Before you start your post doing these tasks helps to keep content ready to write and your editorial calendar full of ideas. I suggest every two to three weeks doing a brainstorm dump and once a month doing a smart brainstorm, which is also a great time to write down your analytics for your blog.
So the next time you have some 15 minutes to spare get out a blank piece of paper and just start writing.