A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content per Week

image of architectural plan

Good morning, you epic article writer, you.

That’s right, I’m talking to you. You wield your WordPress editor as a valuable tool. You use it to attract new prospects, to build trust with them — word-by-word — so you can get down to business.

And you do it in your slippers. Because shoes are optional in our world, right?

Your shoes might be fuzzy, but your words need to be consistently remarkable.

Consistently good content creation is the backbone of online business.

But how can you make that happen? Well, one option is to drink lots of coffee and stay up late the night before you publish your post, stifling yawns and squinting to see your screen.

But the better option is to spread the writing and editing process over a few leisurely days, and write your post in stages without ever getting out of your slippers. Sound good?

Quality over quantity

If you believe Jon Morrow (and who doesn’t?), you know that writing one epic post per week is a better long-term strategy than writing mediocre content every day.

That’s what you’re aiming for in your start here: one weekly post that will attract attention, establish your authority, and encourage people to share your information.

And keep in mind, Brian Clark built Copyblogger.com by writing two posts per week in the beginning.

It all starts on morning one.

Morning 1: Start with a mind mapping tool

Slippers on? Favorite beverage at your side? It’s time to begin.

Start by thinking about your topic, and what angle you’ll approach it from. Fire up a mind mapping program — or a piece of paper and your favorite pen — and get ready to start writing.

Your headline is the most important group of words in your post, so spend plenty of time crafting one that will get your post the attention you’re looking for. Put that at the center of your mind map.

Your subheads can branch out from there. Subheads form the backbone of your content: get these right, and everything else will flow.

Your subheads should be informative enough that someone scanning your post will understand the gist of it.

They should be intriguing enough that your scanner is left wanting to dig deeper and learn more.

And that’s enough for day one.

The first step is the most difficult, and you’re off to a good start. Move on to the rest of your day, and prepare for tomorrow — it’s going to be a heavy one.

Morning 2: Time to fill in the details

You might need an extra helping of your favorite beverage for today’s task. You’re going to be fleshing out the details of the outline you created yesterday, and writing the rest of your post.

Still, keep those slippers on. You need to be comfortable so you can get the job done.

The first thing to tackle today is to look over the headline and subheads you wrote yesterday. Do they still make sense? Are they still intriguing? Are you looking forward to filling in what’s missing?

If not, take some time to tweak. Reinforce the basic structure of your post so you’ve got something to hang the rest of your words on.

Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to fill in the details. Ready? Set? Go!

I know what you’re saying right now. “It’s not a race.” Actually at this stage, it is.

The fastest way to get the rest of your post written is to write it as fast as you can. Write your first paragraph. Write the rest of your introduction. Fill in the details under your subheads. Wrap it up at the end, and include some kind of call to action.

As. Fast. As. You. Can.

Why so fast?

Because at this stage, you shouldn’t be sweating every word. You need to register your thoughts, not edit. Editing is for tomorrow.

Finally, before you wrap up working on your post for the day, look for an image. There are lots of resources for finding good images: spend some time finding one that will complement your words and draw attention to your concepts.

Then, walk away. Focus on something else, get a good night’s sleep, and plan to take a last look at your post with fresh eyes in the morning.

Morning 3: Edit, massage and tweak

On day three, you’ll wake up refreshed, slip on your slippers, and pour one more cup of that favorite beverage. Sidle up to your keyboard, and fire up that draft post one more time.

Do a read-through to see how it looks today. Better yet, read it out loud in a monotone voice to be sure it still makes sense and sounds good, even with no inflection.

Edit, re-write and move copy around as needed. Keep reading and tweaking until it’s just right.

Next, spend some time formatting your post for readability. Add bulleted lists where you can. Add excerpts using block quotes. Break up long paragraphs into smaller chunks to make them easier to read on screen.

Before you queue it up for publishing, go down this checklist and make sure you can answer “yes” to everything:

  • Does the headline stop them in their tracks?
  • Is the image intriguing on its own?
  • Do the subheads tell your story all by themselves?
  • Have you asked an engaging question at the end to encourage comments and conversation?
  • Did you add a call to action for a product, service, or your email list?

Morning 4: Publication and Promotion day

Back in your slippers on morning four, you can enjoy the fruits of your labors. But your work isn’t over, so don’t relax just yet.

Publication day is promotion day. This post you spent three days crafting deserves attention, and it’s your job to ensure it gets it. How can you do that? Try:

  • Making yourself available to respond to comments, answer questions and converse with your readers
  • Promoting your post across the social media channels you use
  • Sharing it on sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon

Did you write an especially epic post? If so, add this one task:

  • Email other blog owners and tell them about it. Ask them to share it with their followers.

It’s not easy to write epic posts week after week, but dividing the work up over several days will make it manageable.

Building time into your schedule to get away from your post will make you a better editor.

And doing it all in your slippers will make you feel like the king of your world.

What’s your writing schedule?

This is one way to write epic posts, but there are many others.

Do you have a favorite technique?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About the author

Pamela Wilson


Pamela Wilson is Director of Special Projects at Copyblogger Media. Follow her on Twitter or Google+, and find more from her at BigBrandSystem.com.

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Comments

  1. Thanks Pamela.

    My technique for writing epic posts is based on these 3 ideas:

    1. People love stories.
    2. Awesomeness lies at the point where 2 ideas merge.
    3. Overwhelm people with your post. You have to go beyond satisfying them.

    Preparation: I’ve created a swipe file of good stories and anecdotes. Whenever I come across a good story or example, I save it. You can save content using Evernote. Or using plugins like Firefox Scrapbox. Having a swipe file changes you. Mentally it converts your mind into a story finding hound. And its also the best cure to never face writers block. Don’t have a clue on what to write about? Open your swipe file and write on the first post.

    Writing: But to create epic posts, you have to go beyond writing about just 1 story. What I tend to do is read quite a few of the stories I have saved. And then let my mind find a connection between 2 or more of them. Add 2-3 stories in one post – and it will delight and overwhelm your readers. And when you connect different ideas with unrelated stories in 1 post, it will wow them.

    • That’s a great way to come up with ideas. My swipe file lives in Evernote, too.
      And combining stories by looking for where they intersect is brilliant! It’s a good way to generate a unique idea.
      Thanks for sharing, Ankesh.

    • I follow a bit of the same strategy as Ankesh, I stockpile ideas as I run across them and develop a few simultaneously.

    • Hi Ankesh! I really liked all 3 of your ideas. I know that people enjoy reading posts that use stories to make a point, but I’m not a natural story teller type of person. If I create a swipe file of story fragments and stockpile them, story telling will become more like second nature to me. A good habit.

      Hi Pamela – thanks for the powerful article and also the links to related sites. You have articulated a trend that began in earnest after the Panda and Penguin updates – less spammy or spun content, less low quality backlinks, and more useful content that either educates, entertains, inspires, or all 3. I think people should really pay attention to this article!

      The other thing that’s brilliant about your article is that it flies in the face of the notion that you need to publish something every day or multiple times a day. It takes the pressure off of the writer to produce at an unsustainable rate – therefore, less spam, and more bloggers making a difference in people’s lives.

      You help people to understand that one epic or great article, has more potential for going viral, than the lots of “thin” content some bloggers may produce. Remember the slogan in the Paul Masson commercial, spoken by Orson Wells – “we’ll sell no wine until it’s time”. Timeless. A thousand thank-you’s Pam.

  2. Thank you Pamela! This schedule of yours is just what I need to break me out of the randomness of my posting schedule.

    • Glad it was helpful, Hashim.
      Slippers are optional, of course. It’s a little warm for them in our hemisphere at this time of year. Maybe flip flops instead? ;-)

  3. Excellent Post Pamela! :)

    I really have to work on being more organized with my posts. I always jot down my blog post ideas on paper and then put in the keywords relating to that post. I somehow mentally form the structure in my mind and when I finally set out to write, I am accompanied with my written notes and my mental picture of how the post is structured. I tend to write out the post when I’m in a good state of flow or a.k.a. inspired.

    Your last tip of emailing other bloggers and asking them to share your content is quite bold and interesting. I haven’t done it yet but I think I want to have a go at it :)

    • Ooh, I want to know how you can mentally form the structure in your mind before you write it. (How come my brain won’t do that?)

      Emailing other bloggers is a great technique to use when you’ve written something you’re especially proud of and you want to be sure it’s seen by as many people as possible. It’s important to do a little research and email people whose audiences would be interested in your topic. And having some kind of previous contact with the blogger definitely helps to get your email opened.

  4. My idea of writing good posts is like this:
    1. Keyword research + Trends, this is what people are interested in
    2. Is there anything new or spectacular about the topic? Research it.
    3. Write the post answering theses questions: Why TOPIC, What TOPIC, How TOPIC, What if TOPIC. Example: Why write good content, What is good content, How do you write good content, What if you wrote good content?
    4. Remove the questions and sprite it up with great headlines, some images and format the paragraphs to 2-3 lines.

    :)

    Great post BTW! :)

    • I can see you’re very strategic about picking your topics, Mats. Thanks for sharing this technique!

    • Pamela, thanks for this! I’m new to blogging. This is really going to help me pace myself. I’ve been overwhelmed comparing to others, thinking I have to have new posts everyday, or even more! This is a much more realistic approach for me! Thanks!

      Mats, I’m usually all over the place with topics. I have the passion & So much to share, but have such a hard time organizing it and making my message clear and readable! The steps you shared are brilliance. Thank you!

      If you’re wondering how scattered my posts are, go check out my page! It’s a mess. And any harsh, brutal, or simply honest constructive criticism is Welcome! I really want to connect with my readers. Help! (Thanks)

      • Thanks for that!
        Its an art to find your true message and writing it so people get it and want more :)
        Connect with me on skype invert87 :)

    • Mats: Your #3 tip is really transformative! Why, what, how, what if – it makes so much sense for those with journalism training (such as myself) to write in that style on a blog. I can see myself using this storytelling framework for months to come. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Pamela do you write content on newsworthy stories as well ?

    • Hi Fred,

      I occasionally write about newsworthy topics, but my blog focuses more on evergreen themes that have to do with marketing and design (and the intersection of the two). I prefer to write posts that are still useful years from now and aren’t tied to a moment in time, but that’s just a personal preference.

  6. I think it’s really about getting into a rhythm, especially when you’re starting your content marketing. You have to make the time to get it done and stick to your schedule.

  7. I would still suggest leaving time for drafting and test-writing other articles as well. Concentrating on one idea and developing it in a quality article leaves u vulnerable to “hit-and-miss” situations where you just lost a week cycle doing a material that gets ignored.

  8. Hey Pamela,

    Good tips here, especially with pumping out the bulk of the content in a rough way before editing.

    For me, I almost always write a post in one sitting, though–or so it seems. Usually it’s been gestating in my brain for awhile (weeks, even), and then suddenly it wants to be “born” and out it comes. Sometimes that process might include main points or subheadings jotted down on notepaper (or a napkin!) while I’m doing chores around the house or something. Sometimes, though, 2+2 goes click in my brain, often from a conversation (even a discussion on Facebook) and suddenly I have the angle I need and it all comes pouring out.

    That only works with something I know really well, though. If it requires research, that’s a different story and more like the process you describe.

    I like your list in “Morning 3.” I’ve had a bad habit of tacking on headlines or searching for a photo at the last minute, and usually by that time I’m so tired I don’t care anymore. It’s hard for me to stop and start with a project when I have so many other things going on (other work, for ex.), but I’m heading into a different subject area, and I think following a system more like yours is a good idea–even if I do it in one sitting (plus editing/proofing later).
    And I definitely agree about quality over quantity! Oh, and the slippers too (or flip-flops right now :)

    • Those one-sitting posts are awesome, aren’t they? Those happen to me sometimes, too, and it feels a little like I’m channeling some mysterious power.

      But they’re not a weekly occurrence, unfortunately. That’s why spreading it out helps, especially leaving the editing for a different day than the writing. That makes it easier to see the mistakes because you’re viewing your words with fresh eyes.

      Thanks for the comment, Leah. And happy flip flop season!

  9. Hello Pamela and “commenters”,
    Thanks so much for all the info. As a newbie in the blogging world, it is helpful and overwhelming. I have so many article ideas that I hardly know where to begin. Your comments ease the way. Merci beaucoup!

  10. Pamela,
    A well thought out plan for creating great content with low stress level. Though I am comfortable in writing, your post really of some value to me. And, interestingly, I could derive plan for perceiving, composing and for producing my music in this line. :)

    • That’s a great observation, Gokul. This process works well for all creative work.

      When I do design work I follow a similar plan:

      Day 1: Sketch out concepts
      Day 2: Fully develop the best ideas
      Day 3: Revisit, tweak and perfect

      It works like a charm, and allows you to edit and tweak very effectively.

  11. Thanks for these powerful, yet simple tips that can make a world of difference for your blog traffic.

    My technique has evolved throughout the years. I no longer focus on writing daily blog posts as was suggested to me when I first started to blog in 2008. I’ll post twice per week on my one blog and once or twice a month (still testing it) on my other blog. I revamped my approach to guest blogging (taking Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging course) and study a blog first before pitching ideas. I also created swipe files for headlines, opening paragraphs, endings, power words, ideas, links, etc.

    I subscribe to Google Alerts and pay attention to trends that pop up in the alerts. I read blog posts and comments. I ask questions on Twitter. I want to know what people need, what they want, and what problems they have. Research is my friend. :)

    Finally

    I’m glad you mentioned, “Making yourself available to respond to comments, answer questions and converse with your readers.” I’ve noticed that some blog posters don’t do this. I understand that you can’t respond to everyone, but even an automated “Thanks for reading my blog” is better than nothing. Just my two cents.

    • It sounds like you’ve learned a lot since 2008, Amandah!

      And I agree about making yourself available to respond to comments (obviously!). The conversations in the comment section are often every bit as interesting as the post. As a blogger you can gain some incredible insights into the challenges your readers are dealing with by engaging with them in the comment section.

      • You’re absolutely right, Pamela, that “conversations in the comment section are often every bit as interesting as the post” and this list of comments is proof. There is a goldmine of tips here, adding to the value of your original post.

    • I agree with research being a great friend! When you write about the topics only you like, you’ll get a slow trickle of traffic. If you write about the subjects your audience likes, you’ll get a much bigger gush of visitors.

  12. Hi Pamela and all,
    For the past year and a half, I have posted a minimum of once a week without fail. I have a pretty niche blog, but attract followers with a wide range of interest because everyone has a family — and I write about my century-spanning treasure trove of family letters and diaries, putting the contents into a context everyone can identify with: falling in love, following one’s dream, accessing the immigrant experience, coping with grief. Sometimes I’ve planned posts 8 weeks in advance–which is a really nice comfort zone. Othertimes I’m at the deadline (don’t like that). I think about my theme and gather the photos or scans I’ll need and store in a folder on my desktop. I’ll rough out the content. When it’s time to put it all together, I don’t have to search I i-photo or the internet for the appropriate photo–it’s ready to go in the folder, and I can put in several at once. After I’ve written the post, I come up with a title I think will attract readers–often a tease; something that inspires curiosity. The day it posts, I create at least three twitter feeds on Hootsuite, scheduled throughout the day and link to Facebook and LinkedIn. My biggest weakness — I keep revising and tweaking when it’s time to just let it go.

    • I love the “8 weeks in advance comfort zone” idea.

      That’s something I aspire to, but haven’t been able to achieve yet. Maybe if I think about it like I’m building a comfort zone that will help. Thanks for sharing your process!

  13. I had to get done post that I started on the same day. I don’t really know why. Weird.
    This approach gives me a better, more productive and effective perspective.
    Thank you, Pamela!

    • I sometimes struggle with this too – the idea that I have to get it out – immediately! Glad to know I’m not alone in this, but also happy to read that there are other ways of doing things.

  14. Suggest adding a Day Five: Categorize Responses into Complaints, Opportunities, Testimonials, and New Ideas to Write About. One can keep these in Evernote or one of those little notebooks you can carry around in your pocket or pocketbook. Great for figuring out what to use in brainstorming ideas for writing on Day Six and Day Seven (during your rest time, of course).

    Thank you for your post.

  15. Excellent post Pamela. I’m about to start a business blog/site and this will help immensely. When writing for my regular (personal) blog, it seems I can write the draft in no time, but end up spending days editing it to death. I’m concerned I will end up doing the same thing for my business blog/site. How do you know when “enough is enough” in the editing process?

    • I always know enough is enough when it’s Tuesday night (I publish on Wednesdays ;-) ).

      • Good point! Having a deadline to publish makes cutting off the editing process easier. Will keep that in mind.

        • Thanks ladies. The idea of setting deadlines seems like a no-brainer (I worked at a newspaper for goodness sake) but somehow I never considered it in the blogging world.

          This could help significantly in getting those “drafts” into the “published” category.

  16. Pamela,

    Thanks for the great ideas about a writing plan, especially “write content over several leisurely days”. I use most of these, and they do work. But I have to admit – I usually write it in one sitting, then go back the next day for final tweak.

    One of the hardest parts for me (not any more) was to decide on the topic and how to approach the headline.
    To help me come up with topics and headlines, I use The Content Catalyst, by Roger C. Parker. This is a fantastic resource that goes hand-in-hand with all your valuable advice here.

    Keep up the great tips!

  17. @ Pamela … It’s been one heck of a learning curve! As a writer, I appreciate comments because they’re a valuable resource for non-fiction and “fiction” story ideas, character names, moods, etc. They’re multi-purpose.

  18. Pamela, thanks for sharing this awesome article.

    What has worked for me:
    1. Observe: This can be as simple as taking notes, clicking a picture etc. I collect a LOT of things and not everything becomes a blog post.
    2. Scan: Take a look at the notes and pictures and highlight those that I DO want to make blog posts
    3. Process: What lessons can we glean out of this that are not “timed” – meaning is there something that I can bring out that will be relevant even after a few years?
    4. Craft: This is the core writing part that happens over the next few days. Since I am working on a number of articles all at the same time, I don’t mind stretching this over a few days.
    5. Package: This is the mechanics part. Finding the right images (if I haven’t already found one) – sub titles, links etc.
    6. Promote: Sharing it on social networks, newsletter etc.

    Have a great week ahead.

    Best,
    Rajesh

    • That looks like a very productive system, Rajesh. Thanks for sharing it.

      I’m always glad to hear that someone is creating their own images, too. There are many opportunities to create images by ourselves, and most of us are walking around with cameras on our phones plus all the apps we need to edit them. Why not use them to create something that’s 100% original?

  19. What a perfect plan! I truly appreciate this guide, I need a plan more than anything currently – and I can train myself to do this as a habit!

    I usually take Day 2 and call it good: get the fast stream of writing, and then put it up there, promote a couple times on Twitter, and then no wonder I have no engagement. It’s the downfall of those of us who thought creative writing was sacred and pure. I love the idea of breaking it down into 3-4 days of careful, methodical production. Just because the entire act of creation isn’t spontaneous, doesn’t dilute the post – in fact, any less does it a disservice.

    Thank you!

    • Honestly if you can make the production process kind of a no-brainer by having a system you follow, it frees up a lot of brain space you can devote to the writing itself.

  20. I’m still working on a schedule and technique that works best for me. It seems sometimes that I allow other things to interfere with my writing. So what I’m in the process of doing is learning how to stay focused. I’ve learned that without focus a schedule and technique is useless. Because it will be followed for only short while.

    I will try your schedule it seems like it will help me to stay focused longer and write more. Breaking the task up into days seems like a almost perfect solution.

  21. Great approach to writing an article. Breaking down writing an article into a 4 day process is the perfect answer for busy people who don’t have a large chunk of time to write. I think I have to add an extra day to my articles as they are mostly tutorials and include many screenshots.

  22. I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one that reads their posts aloud to themselves. I’ve found that to be, by far, my most powerful editing tool. I’ll write a post, let it sit for a day (if I can’t let it sit for a full day, at least for several hours), and come back to it and start reading it aloud. Reading it aloud forces me to slow down my reading and really hear what I wrote.

    • That works amazingly well, doesn’t it? Especially if you read it in a monotone voice sans inflection. It’s really a worst-case-scenario reading when you do that, and all sorts of flaws magically reveal themselves. ;-)

    • Reading upside down works well too. Makes you think about each word.

      • Ha ha…but if you’re an old-time hand typesetter like me that doesn’t work, because we had to read everything upside down as if we were reading it as a printed page.

        Besides, it didn’t make me think about each word; all I thought about was the deadline.

        Ah, the days of setting an entire galley of 8-point type then spilling it onto the floor as you trip over the cat.

    • My favorite method is to print out the article and then edit it then — it’s like you’re reading someone else’s work because it’s in a different medium.

      Rock on!

  23. My writing schedule usually involves getting up early, writing and then editing the next day. But you’ve really got me thinking about focusing on one amazing post per week. I love the idea of starting with the headline/ subheads and then leaving them until the next day. Thanks!

  24. Great list of steps for folks who do not find writing to be an easy process. :)

  25. Fantastic article Pamela. I definitely think you raise some valid points. Quality should be first and foremost especially in this world where people churn out blog posts left, right and centre and rarely take the opportunity to write them thoroughly. Thanks again for the great article!

  26. Pamela, you practice what you preach. You’re a superb writer. And great advice-giver. I will put your strategy to work (I mean play, since I’m in my sandals) in my blog writing, since I try to create in-depth articles about graphic design that focus on one point, but really make that point as sharp as possible with graphics and details.

    Being a visual person, it’s easy and fun for me to begin with the graphics. I’ll either create several designs with a lesson in mind, or sometimes I’ll use a real project to demonstrate, let’s say for example, the evolution of a logo. I simply take screenshots as I go, crop them down, file them, then when I’m ready to create the blog post I place all the graphics in the blog first (leaving a line space between each one since it’s difficult to get the cursor between images in a solid stack). Then walk away. Next day I add the text between the images, which of course is guided by the images. I might go back to the original graphics files and turn on or off some layers to create one or more screenshots as enhanced explanations or close-ups.
    For posts that are not graphics-driven I am anxious to try your strategy. Thank you, Pamela!

  27. This is a brilliant article Pamela, many thanks! I am with you on quality vs quantity and love the idea of breaking the post into days and revisiting. I try to do that with the planing stage of recipes, taking the photos, gathering the ideas and taking notes etc, but you have a good masterplan. Will work on that, many thanks!
    Ozlem

  28. Pamela,

    My preference is to write in three waves like this, but generally I let it flow out in its own way. I appreciate the structure that you offer here. I think this will help fine tune my flow and my posts. Thanks!

  29. Linda Parriott :

    Thanks for breaking down the writing proces into this progression of steps. I’m still honing my own best practices and your post contains several ideas I’ll be adding to my arsenal. Having a system helps in the battle against Resistance. Morning 2 in your system is the most excruciating step for me, which is why mind mapping my posts is second only to Evernote as a must-have writing tool.

    • Linda, I agree that having a system helps us win the battle against Resistance. You can sort of talk yourself into it, like “Hey, I’m just writing a mind map … no big deal!”

      Resistance doesn’t seem to put up as much of a fuss when you’re just tackling a small piece of the process. ;-)

  30. I might try this one. I’m juggling kids who like to wake around 5:45 and a day job and a couple other commitments. I’m trying to make sure I put one post out a week, and I love this breakdown–takes the pressure off trying to knock off too much in one sitting.

    I tend to start a draft as soon as a topic hits me and when I find a little time, I’ll review drafts and develop as far as I can. So.. not a great plan. :-)

    • That’s a lot to juggle, Brett (and boy, do I remember the days of the pre-6 am wake ups: yikes!).

      I’m glad you found this helpful. It sounds like you’re already doing elements of it so you’re on the right track. Good luck. :-)

  31. HI, thx so much for this. I have built a major online business with the one post per week strategy. I plan it carefully and I devote lots of time to it. And it has built my list and my business. Dave Navarro taught me this strategy. I love it because it’s so very do-able!
    I’ve drawn a line in the sand that it will go out every Friday am whether I’m alive or in deadsville. I really appreciate your point of view!

    • Gail, it’s great to hear a success story that uses this strategy! (And you’ve got to tell me when you figure out how to publish from Deadsville. ;-))

  32. AWESOME post! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just moved from 5 days a week to 2 starting yesterday for just the reasons you explain in the beginning of your article and I’ve been really struggling with it! This came at just the right time! :)

  33. I agree, I try to create quality posts over quantity. People get two obessed about creating low quality 400 word articles just for the sole purpose of SEO.

    James Scholes

  34. Writing is the first activity I do.

    But I don’t lead with the headline. I know, I know, it’s important. But I don’t start with writing the headline first. I start with writing down the problem I’m trying to solve.

    But here’s what I am doing right now:

    – I write the ‘problem’ I am trying to solve with the article/post. For example, if I am writing about how one can start a business without any money, so that’s the problem. So I write that down. Explain it a bit in a para or two.

    – Then I present the solution. This is the message of the article, the meat. Interestingly, this takes the least amount of time, because I KNOW what I am writing about.

    – Then I go to the INTRO paragraph, where I try to build up the problem – what we’d call a hook – and make it emotional somehow. A small story, a few lines, to let the reader ‘relate to the problem’.

    – Then I work on the OUTRO :) … the ending. Here I try to give a personal example, quote science, famous people, to show the solution being implemented in the real world. I may ask the reader to leave a comment as a natural way of asking them about how they’d implement the solution.

    – Only then I try to go back and review and write the headline.

    I have used the above ‘formula’ for the previous 5 to 6 posts on my blog I think. One post, titled “One Tip that Saves me Thousands” got some good milage, again possibly because of the headline (got RT’ed by Steve Pavlina too! :) ) – but the ‘meat’ was also worthy. Very actionable. I did not follow the above formula strictly for that post. And also, I got this formula from a post by Danny Iny, right here on CB.

    So I am experimenting, trying to find what works. Bottom line is to keep writing. That’s the secret of course. :)

  35. I was just teaching a blogging class this last weekend and I mentioned the same thing, it’s much better to write one EPIC post per week that will get shared like crazy than to write a mediocre article every day of the week.

    I also spend quite a bit of time on the headline. It’s the ad for the article and if you can’t write a compelling headline to get people to click, you’ll never get them to your article. I often use the list of the “100 Greatest Headlines” for inspiration.

    Great post Pamela.

  36. Thanks, David.

    I agree 100% on the importance of your headline. It’s the ad for the article on your blog, but also in social media. Get it right and it gets more shares and is seen by more people.

  37. Nice strategic planning for content writing for long term benefits. Yes sub heading tells what you are trying to convey in the full article with first look itself..

  38. This is a really helpful post. Thank you. My strategy – like other Copyblogger devotees – is to release regular content in the form of focussed posts. I’ve been using VAs for this and have often found myself describing a very similar process to each to ensure consistency of approach between us all. Now I can forward the link to your post. Coupled with other aspects like writing compelling headlines etc. I think it will save me a lot of time.

    Thanks again,

    Steve

  39. That was a fantastic post; thanks! I thought I was a pretty decent writer already, and can now see how to make some more improvements to my process.

  40. I this is very similar to how I write. But I do it all in one day. Last minute. That doesn’t always make for epic Sh*t.

    I like this approach. Spreading it out over a few days is probably a better option. guna put this into action.

    Thanks :)

    • I’m glad this helped, Micah. The weird thing about spreading it out over a few days is it helps you to see it with “fresh” eyes every time to revisit it. The flaws stand out, but you also think of new (and better) ways to say things.

  41. I like this process for writing blog posts. I am in favor of anything that allows me to work in my PJs and my slippers.

    Often I try to do all of these steps on the same day and find myself experiencing ‘writer’s block’. I will put your ideas into actions and start writing my own epic posts!

    • I’m with you, Clara: I’ve tried to do all the steps in one day, and occasionally I have to, but I much prefer this “three days in your slippers” approach, and I’m convinced the posts I write with this technique turn out stronger. Good luck!

  42. Great post! I’ve been learning to blog according to the method outlined in your post. For me, quality over quantity is most effective. I’ve been gradually developing a practice similar to your 4 day process and it’s the most effective way I’ve found yet…I’ve just never had someone present the process in such a clear way. Thanks so much.

    • Thanks, Tom.

      It’s interesting you’ve developed a similar process. I wanted to share this process because this is how most of my content gets written. I’m a one-person outfit when it comes to content creation, and it could easily become overwhelming. Breaking it down like this makes it manageable!

  43. Hey Pamela,

    Great post And I definitely agree with you and Jon that publishing good content once per week is better than mediocre.

    I’d be interested in your (and Jon’s) view on really short posts though. If you have an idea that will only take, say < 200 words to get across, is it a good idea to share this in a kind of 'snippet' post mid-week along with your once-per-week longer article/video/audio/whatever it is?

    That's what I've been doing – one post per week which is my main post for the week and tips/snippets/hacks during the week if from time to time.

    Do you think this kind of approach works or would you just stick to the single post per week?

    thanks for sharing a great post,
    Alan

    • I’m not an SEO expert, but I’ve always had the impression shorter posts don’t rank as well. I’ll be curious to see if others can shed some light on this.

      That being said, SEO shouldn’t be your only goal. If your shorter mid-week posts serve your readers well, I say go for it! Just don’t stop writing those well-crafted “main” posts. :-)

  44. @ Alan… Thanks for asking the question about shorter posts. I was asked to contribute to a blog; the maximum word count is 300 words. I’m used to writing longer posts, but I know I can write a 300 word post without any problem. When I started blogging in 2008, I was told to keep blog posts between 300-700 words, preferably 500 words. It’s interesting how blogging has evolved and how the different approaches bloggers use. Some use video blogs and receive high traffic. Whatever works. :)

  45. Hi Amanda,

    Great post. Easy to follow and will definitely help with my blah blah blah (oh my word did I just push publish?). I’m definitely going to try your method and see what my very critical group think. It can only improve my posts.
    Thanks a mill,
    Leigh

  46. Thanks for the structure. It really helps to have a plan to follow and to know its OK to take a week to write and publish a post.

  47. Nice post. I am finally getting an idea about becoming a professional writer. Thank you!

  48. Hey Pamela..These are some good insights. I know first hand that when I rush myself into publishing content it usually ends up poor quality. I try to start with an editorial calendar and plan my month (especially for blog posts) by outlining the keywords, controversial topics and popular topics… By structuring and creating the framework for the majority of my posts, I can give myself a few hours to fill in the blanks on the idea. I’m just wondering how much research do you conduct regarding your specific topic and viewers of the particular post? I find spending some quality time here can pay dividends in the long run.

  49. Pamela, thanks for this excellent writing foundation and the permission to not have to be epic all the time (but at least once a week!).

    I’m on day 2 of your strategy. Without realizing it, I started your guidelines yesterday before reading your post today. But I’m running out of days because tomorrow is my promised publish date, so I’m turning those days into “times of the day” just this once. Thanks again!

  50. Seemingly trivial thoughts eventually lead to something more meaningful over a few days time. Taking time to mull during the creative process eventually generates content that’s fun, challenging, and rewarding. One thing that helps me throughout the creative process is taking lots of pictures. The visual cues in pictures tend to generate ideas – sometimes over a few days time. The subconscious (visual) mind can translate what it is that you want to say better than the intellectual mind. Thanks for a great article, Pamela.

  51. Hi Pamela,
    Just wanted to say thanks for a great post. I guess it dose make more sense to spread you writing out, as I’ve often written a piece one day only to find myself editing it the next. Will take you tips on board. Thanks

  52. An easy to follow yet challenging method of making one of your killer articles. Putting emphasis on reviews before publishing your content is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned on this article. No matter how good you are as a writer, reviewing your work will always make your authority higher compared to other writer.

  53. Great to see you write about mind mapping as a tool to use for your writing.

    I would suggest you also create mind map templates. This is what I did. I have 8 proven article templates that are in mind map format. After creating the headline, I simply sit down and use one of my templates to write the article. This way I can’t forget anything. My article always has a good flow. Plus, I write much faster.

    I hope the people reading this start using this method to improve their writing experience.

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

  54. Great article! I write my posts usually on weekends and try to wrap it up within one sitting. That is the ideal since my post day is Sunday. Unfortunately, this has evolved because writing has become difficult when you do this week after week. And so somehow, I have developed some stages as well but in a disorganized way. Good to see this article- makes me udnerstand that, after all, i should not feel bad if my post is painstakingly done in more than a day. I will try this.

    My next question is- does anyone write in a certain structured way- like for example, write in this outline- 1. intro, 2. facts and research, 3 examples? I find that sometimes I feel something is missing in my article and could not move on or sometimes, I have published it but it does notlook quite like it!

  55. I like to use Auto-suggestion to do brainstorming quite effective to use your subconscious mind abilities. the structure also should be well designed information should flow freely into the reader’s mind

  56. Hi Pamela,
    thanks for sharing this process. I’ve been trying for so long to do it all in one go. it’s been partly successful but always feels rushed.
    I’ve been wanting to figure out how to get a better process/pipeline in place and yours looks like a winner; especially the slippers. definitely going to give it a go. especially the title and headline aspect.
    thanks,
    Matt

  57. This is fantastic. You given a great blueprint here, and a very practical tool. I’ve always taken a “fly by the seat of my pants” approach to writing blog posts. But waiting for inspiration or for the muse to finally appear isn’t always the best time management tool.

    I have a new blog, and will use this approach to write my very first post. I suspect I’ll be using it from now on.

    Thanks!

  58. I really like it whenever people come together and share thoughts.

    Great blog, keep it up!

  59. Totally loved your post Pamela.

    Thanks for your insight, it’s really extremely awesomely useful for me. Really. That’s actually what i’ve been thinking in the past few days. I’ve always been writing articles each day because i thought Google loved blogs/websites that are updated each day. But i’m starting to think that it is ridiculous. I think readers are on top priority that we really need to please, not just Google.

    Also thanks for your tip to write as fast as you can without editing. Editing is for tomorrow. I never thought of that.

  60. I really enjoyed this. I write three posts a week. One recipe, one wine/winery review and one story. The first two are easier. The story post is the one that takes the longest and the one I enjoy writing the most. Because I do all my own illustrations, it adds to the complexity and the time it takes to do a quality job of it. The other factor that posses a challenge is I am dyslectic, so it taking a good amount of time to edit is critical. Dispite of all that, I still manage to publish a post regularly. That all said, your thoughts about scheduling time in sections to write a quality post is not lost on me. :)))

  61. Excellent Post Pamela! Thank you.Having a deadline to publish makes cutting off the editing process easier. Will keep that in mind…

  62. Hi Pamela,
    Brilliant plan. I’ll apply this one for my next post and see the results.
    I’ve a question : I write research-based articles, so do you have any suggestion on how to include that and which day, first or second or zero-day?

    Avadhut

    • Hi Avadhut,

      I think “zero day” is the way to go. You’d need to have the research in place before you can write a general outline for your piece. I find doing research separately gives my mind a chance to absorb it and make connections, too. An extra day would give you that.

  63. “Sharing it on sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon.”

    I’ve never tried that, thanks. :) :o

  64. Excellent information. I’m still fumbling with how many articles I should write a week. I like one a week but I’m not sure that would be enough content for my readers. I’m adding this article to my google plus one follows. It’s a good.resource.

  65. Great piece of information via the above post. By finding how to write a best blog post title, I came to here. A best Headline is really one of the most important factor for a blog post. The all point you have covered via the above post is really helpful.
    Thanks,

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  67. SO it is the post structure that matters a lot at the end of the day. If blogger does not follow that, then it is sure no one is going to recognize him at the end of the day. Thanks for this wonderful article on content writing idea.

  68. Very useful post, great tips and I can see myself using this writing format. It takes away the overwhelm and I love that. On the funny side, hope everyone sticks with coffee and tea as their favorite beverage! ;-)
    Thank you for sharing your blog writing tips!

  69. I appreciate that what you say about successful writing fits perfectly with what I promote for all other types of relationships. I am exited to take my audience on a journey into magical ideas. My blog, highwaynotmyway.com, promotes solutions, not just a bullet point approach.

    My writing schedule consist of inspiration to create epic ideas. My writing is highly influenced by my therapy work. We already have the solutions in our inspiration within ourselves and in our lives. I read on a blog post that having a writer’s bucket list can help us become conscious of unconscious illustrations of ideas. Now it is time to get exited, inspired, and share our epic ideas.

    Elisa Leeder, MS