In this article the editor-in-chief of the blog www.IDstewardship.com breaks down how to build a blog post.
Authored By: Timothy P. Gauthier, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCIDP
Article Posted 23 March 2020
Years ago I created the website www.IDstewardship.com with the idea of having my own platform to share ideas, develop resources, and post blog articles. The site has had millions of visitors from across the world and many of these visitors come to read blog articles about topics tied to clinical pharmacy, infectious diseases, antimicrobial stewardship, and/or medical education.
In building blog posts and collaborating with amazingly talented contributors (who I am super grateful to work with!), I have developed a basic blog post building method that seems to be fairly efficient. Since people are curious about blogging and ask how it is done, I thought it might be a worthwhile task to discuss how to build a blog post here!
There is of course no “right” way to do this, but these are the steps that I follow and it tends to make the process go fairly smoothly while producing a product I can be proud of.
Here are my steps on how to build a blog post…
STEP 1: Think of the topic(s) you want to talk about
Try to pick topics that you are generally interested in and are knowledgeable enough about that writing it will not take a large amount of time in doing research/ gathering information. In general, the more genuine interest and passion the writer has for the topic, the better the article.
STEP 2: Think of a working title
If you want someone to find your article using a search engine like Google, then you need to have a few key terms in your title that identify the topic at hand. It’s best if those words are in the order and with the spelling that someone is likely to use in their search.
With the key words identified, a witty or catching title can be considered. This sometimes is good to try to think about early-on, but is also okay to leave until the article is more developed so you can ensure the title matches the content.
STEP 3: Make a skeleton of what you want to write about
My typical blog post has an introduction, five points in bold (each followed by some dialogue), closing comments, and resources/readings.
Start by jotting down content that would fit well into the introduction to frame the topic in an ordered (e.g., broad to narrow, chronologic) fashion. Doing this in Notes or Microsoft Word makes it easy to reorganize and combine thoughts. This step also helps identify what should go into the body versus what should be in the introduction.
Next think of five points that relate to your topic. Readers are not looking for obvious things, they want insightful commentary or stories that help get a point across (hence picking a topic you are familiar with is important once you get here). This process should take some time and as these are added to the skeleton, add sub-bullets on what you are thinking to cover in each. This does not have to be very wordy. Really let the brain juices flow here. Expect as you build your skeleton you may decide to combine points or move parts from one section to another. Through this process always keep in mind what the reader will experience in how the post is laid out. It is essential that the article makes logical sense to the reader and enough foundation is laid early on that later parts can be understood.
With most of your skeleton done and fresh thoughts flowing through your brain, jot down a few comments that may be good to close the post with. Many stories that are written come full circle, so tying it back to the introduction can be a nice way to package it all. Closing with a quote can be good as well. In general try to close out on a positive note, so hopefully the reader moves on thinking about your article in a positive way.
If you know some of the resources or references you plan to use, just grab the link and add it to your skeleton. All the detailing can be done later. The skeleton process is just about letting your ideas flow and arranging it logically.
STEP 4: Take a step back and consider getting creative
By this time you know what the topic and content will be, but how can the reader experience be enhanced? Is there something that can be done to tie it all together in a smart way? Can visual aids (e.g., stock photos, memes) be placed within the article to further illustrate points? Is there some type of pop culture element that can be wrapped in?
This is the last chance to make any big edits, so give it some good thought.
STEP 5: Fill in your skeleton and write the article
Start from the introduction and make your way down building your article. This is the most labor-intensive part, but with the roadmap you have created, it should be a fairly seamless process.
As you are writing try not to repeat the same adjectives too many times, avoid run-on sentences, and use the word “I” as infrequently as possible.
Once the writing is done, revisit your creativity considerations. This may be a good time to tweak or add things.
STEP 6: Post it to your blog and proof read it on mobile
Blogs are easiest to compose on a computer, but a large percentage of visitors will read it via mobile. Reviewing the user experience on this platform during the proof-reading process serves to kill two birds with one stone.
When proofing an article, I create screenshots of errors as a part of my process. Place the error at the top of the screenshot photo so it is easy to find later. Once edits are identified, go to photos and work through all the edits while swiping through the screenshot photos. This is more efficient than making small edits one by one as they are identified.
There may be other small steps involved such as developing a graphic for the article (I use www.Canva.com for this), but this is pretty much it!
Blogging is a fun way to share your passion, practice writing, and grow a skillset. Building a good blog post will take at least several hours, but can be done more easily by taking a structured approach.
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