This is the process I use for pretty much all blog posts now, whether here, at Berkana or at Jessie Renée. The only real difference being whether I batch the process or do it all straight through for one post at a time. This depends on either how organised I am, or if the post is pre-planned or spontaneously inspired and I want to get it out now.
(Batching means doing more of some steps at the same - e.g. writing several drafts at a time, finding and resizing feature images, creating a batch of Pinterest graphics at once etc.)
Generally, I recommend batching as a great way to streamline and time-save overall for your blog, especially if you post frequently. But having a clear workflow, whether you batch or not, is also one of the best ways to keep you on track and not get lost in the process.
(Having a clear workflow also makes it easier to hand some or most of these steps over to an assistant, if/when you get one of those!!)
If you do batch your blog posts, and so may be at different stages with different posts, I recommend creating or using a workflow tracker so you can tick things off for each post, and see what still needs to be done. I have an editable wall-sized one here if you're looking for something ready to go, or there's a free A4 printable one at the end of this post.
(Links to Tailwind & Thrive Architect are affiliate links - I use and love both of these. The other links are mostly to free resources that I also use and recommend.)
THe Blog Post Workflow
This is my workflow, to give you an idea. I use WordPress, and Thrive Architect. But overall, it is much the same whatever your platform.
It's not exhaustively comprehensive or indicative of how you must do it, but it should give you an idea if currently your own workflow is unclear or missing steps.
19 Steps might seem like a lot, but a lot of them are small, and once you get in the routine of this, it is pretty straightforward and time saving!
- Write draft in Evernote.
This syncs between computer, phone etc seamlessly, so I can jot down drafts and notes wherever I am, and keep organised with Notebooks and Tags.
- Create a New Post
- Give it a Title
- Assign Category
- Add Tags
- Choose feature image.
Landscape orientation. If not using one of my own images, I mostly use Unsplash for finding quality free images. Look for something relevant and inspiring, but a little bit different so it's hopefully not an image that 1000 other blogs are using that week.
- Resize/optimise the feature image.
Whether from your phone/camera or from somewhere like Unsplash, it's likely the dimensions of the image will be way more than you need, and the file size way too big for web.
So I open and resize in Preview on Mac for the simplest process. You want it under 500kb at least, and as small as possible really for the file size. But I keep to at least 1000-1200 pixels wide, so it’s full width and the top of my blog post. This will depend on your theme.
In Google chrome, when I download from Unsplash, it goes to the download bar at the bottom of my browser window. I click to open from there, it opens in preview and I “Adjust Size”. Then close.
Then I add feature image in WordPress - when the Media box open, I can just drag and drop from the downloads bar at the bottom.
If it’s not small enough (file size), I run it through TinyPNG first which compresses it.
You can also install a plugin like Smush, that will optimise the image for you after you've uploaded it to WordPress - but it has file size limits.
Both can be used for free.
- Add in Title, Alt Text & Description for uploaded image. All important for SEO. Alt Text is usually what displays if the image is shared to Pinterest, so make it a good description and include keywords related to your blog post in all these fields.
- Add that image as the featured image
- Save draft of the post.
I use Yoast SEO, and if you want to specify certain things like the meta description that will show up in searches, the image that will appear on Facebook etc. then you can do that with the plugin right on the edit post page. It will also give you tips on how to improve the SEO of the post - you may want to revisit that once you've actually got content in for it to analyse. But apart from keeping keywords in mind, you don't actually need to obsess over this too much, or spend much time on it.
- Add in content.
I use Thrive Architect (a visual page/post creator that is essentially drag and drop, and I highly recommend it) to layout my post. So after saving the draft, I click 'Edit with Thrive Architect & do the rest through that.
Use this, or a different visual composer if your theme comes with it, or just the standard WordPress editor. I find some sort of visual composer vastly superior to the normal WordPress editor for having proper control over the way your blog post is formatted and laid out. Unless you learn some HTML coding, using the the WordPress editor is notoriously frustrating.
- Paste in draft from Evernote
- Edit & format the post - creating sub-headings, emphasis etc. Adding or checking any links included in the post. (e.g. Internal links to related blog posts, affiliate links, links to other resources.)
- Create Pinterest and Instagram graphics - I usually use Canva. I have saved templates in there to make it quick and easy. If you're batching, you may have done this step ahead of time.
- Insert Pinterest Graphic/s with some hidden.
You probably don't want more than one pinnable image displaying in the post itself. Since it's best to make Pinterest graphics vertical, and reasonably long, they take up a lot of space.
But it is also recommended to have a few different pinnable images for each post - either to test out varying titles/wording/images or just for diversifying. So a way to do this is to hide the extra images in your post.
In Thrive Architect, I've created a content template, so I just click on that and replace the image code with the URL of the relevant uploaded Pin image.
But however you are creating your post, you just need to add some simple html - not as scary as it sounds. Either go to the text editor view, or whatever version of an insert HTML content block your editor has and put in:
<div style="display:none;"><img src="INSERT IMAGE URL HERE" alt="INSERT ALT TEXT HERE"></div>
Where it says INSERT IMAGE URL HERE, replace that with the URL of your image between the quote marks. You can find this in the Media section of your WordPress site - click on the image you are wanting to insert, and copy the URL. (I'll do an instruction post just for this soon, but that's basically it.) And Alt Text - the caption that displays on Pinterest - between the quote marks where it says INSERT ALT TEXT HERE.
I'll do more detailed instructions on this soon.
- Save & Then schedule or publish THE post.
- If published then, Pin to Pinterest. Or schedule the multiple pins using a scheduler.
Using Tailwind, you can schedule the pin now even from an unpublished post, ready to only go out after the scheduled post time. Just make sure the post permalink is how you want it, and don't change it once you've done this, or it will be a broken link.
You can now schedule your Instagram posts to auto post through Tailwind also, if you share your blogs there.
- Write social media share captions - share if published, schedule if not.
(For Facebook I use their native scheduling options within Facebook as it's said FB favours this for visibility. For Pinterest and Instagram I use Tailwind.)
I often use the Pinterest image for Instagram stories too, as it's usually the right size. And either a dedicated graphic or the featured image for the Instagram feed.
Great! Here you go
Click The IMage to Download
So there we go. That's the outline of my blog post workflow. Any questions?
Do you have a workflow? Is it similar to this, or is there anything you do differently? Would love to hear!