I have been wanting to write an "anatomy of a blog post" post for awhile. Partly because stuff like this helps me think through and improve my own processes and partly because I get questions about running a blog all the time via email. When I sat down to finally write it though, it got away from me and 2260 words later I realized I needed to break it up into two posts.
So welcome to part one: the sort of posts I write and why I write them.
First, let's review:
Becoming a blogger is easy. Step 1 : Get an account on a platform. Step 2 : Start writing.
Being a blogger is hard. Step 1 : Keep writing. Steps 2 - 10,000 : Keep writing.
The good news is, like anything else, blogging gets easier with practice. You learn your strengths and weaknesses. You develop your interests and instincts. You find your niche. You become more efficient.
I write this blog because I have a lot to say about a lot of random things. As mentioned on Monday, I use this space as a tool to promote my business. This blog keeps me trying new things and pushes me creatively, professionally and personally. I also LOVE THIS SPACE. Love it. I am proud of what I write and what I have built here.
I thought back over my recent/consistant blog posts and charted them on two measurements : EASE and TIME. Below is a matrix that shows where most of my posts fall.
As you can see, personal posts like "around here" and "currently" are the easiest. Those are pretty much just a brain and photo dump. There's no social media value in posts like those - no one is going to "share" them and they are not the sort of post that will get "re-discovered" in my archives years later. But I love those posts. The fact that they are easy is a huge plus but more than that these are often the ones that help me connect most with readers and keep this blog what it started as, a journal for my thoughts. The "Dear Ellerie letters" really fall into this category too - those just rolled off my fingers, especially right after she was born. So do any of the family posts that I write.
Photo heavy tutorials are the most time intensive and somewhat difficult to write. I have to dream up, buy supplies for and complete a project. And obviously I have to take and edit photos, work through the best way to communicate the steps and write it all out. There are usually a lot of links and product sources to share which takes up a lot of time, but some of these posts can bring in thousands of new visitors (which means new eyeballs on the products that I see) and some can make me hundreds of dollars in affiliate income.
Posts like this, business and blogging posts, are "hard" because I have to gear up to write something this involved. I also really work to include concrete information (there is nothing worse than a post that really just says "be yourself!" ten different ways). They usually take at least two MAJOR writing passes - the first to just dump all the information and the second to clarify. Then I go over them again and again for edits. I keep the time spent (somewhat) down on these by including old photos or using a standard graphic. These posts are "worth it" because they get shared often, usually cover material that I get asked a lot via email and I really LOVE (like LOVE) to chat business. Part of why I am having so much fun with the podcast is that I get to talk through a lot of my business thoughts without worrying quite so much about the phrasing or word count. I have A LOT to say and talking through it is easier (and WAY quicker) than writing it.
Show and tell posts, (like the bachelorette invites or a succulent update) where I share something that I recently made/tried without a big tutorial are fairly simple and don't take long at all. I usually crank out a bunch of these all in the same day - I'll photo everything at once, edit everything at once and then write and upload photos to each post quickly. Other than our pizza dough recipe and Chemex post (both which took a long time to photograph but I am proud of), food and drink posts generally fall into this category. These posts are solid but not complicated content for me.
Product round-up posts (like I LOVE _____, this one on maxi skirts or this one where I shared baby necessities) are super time intensive but not "hard." The graphic takes me much longer than it should and all that linking is tedious. I continue to do these posts because the affiliate commission is a nice bump on occasion and I really to enjoy sharing my favorite things.
I want to note that I write about stuff that I actually make, eat, drink and do. I don't make stuff just so I have blog content. Believe me, I have tried because that seems like a hell of a lot easier, but my heart is not in it and it totally shows in the posts. You'll notice more recipes and cocktail posts in the summer, not because we are eating better or celebrating happy hour more, but because I make this stuff for our actual dinners, so I have to photograph it between 6-7pm and need sunlight to do that.
So that's the type of posts and why I continue to write them. You can learn more about how I schedule them here. Very soon I'll share what goes in to actually writing them. (Spoiler alert: a lot of strong coffee and spellcheck.)