How we decide when a blog post is “done”
A guest contribution byOpen Strategy Partners
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of Open Strategy Partners GmbH and was originally published on 18th January 2022 on openstrategypartners.com.
There is no ‘perfect’ draft – so how do you know when you’re done …enough? At Open Strategy Partners, we use a checklist to answer that question and help us click ‘publish.’
You’ve gone back and forth with your editor, made the necessary corrections, and closed out all the comments on the Google Doc. You feel like your post is done, but you might be wondering: “Is it ready? Really? Couldn’t it still be improved?” Of course it could, but that doesn’t mean you should invest more time and see diminishing returns. Having a process can help. Here are the final steps Open Strategy Partners team members go through before we finally hit ‘publish.’
Need help polishing your drafts? We can show you how.
Read the whole piece through
Read your piece and resist the urge to tweak things. Stay away from your keyboard for now—printing a copy can help. Read the entire article to get a sense of how the piece flows. Make certain you’ve covered the main points outlined in the briefing stage of the document. Make sure your thesis is easy to reference—write it down on a sticky note. Check that your subheadings appropriately capture and present their subject matter. By the end of your read-through, you should have noticed the following points covered:Target audience
- Target audience
- Audience pain points
- Thesis statement
- SEO keywords (as needed)
Phone a friend
There are only so many editing rounds a writer and editor can go through before losing sight of the bigger picture. Ask a colleague who hasn’t been closely involved in the process—and perhaps resembles your target audience—to read it for a gut check. They’re not there to make line edits but to give you a simple “Yes. This looks good to go.” or “Make one last change (and here’s why).”
Preview a live version
One benefit of writing online and publishing within a CMS is previewing your posts online before you publish. Your page design and visual layout can sometimes help you see opportunities to tweak things or add images to break up the text. Don’t forget to check for readability and presentation on mobile device screens, too.
Perform a final check
Sometimes when you go back and forth with your editor and make changes, you introduce new, unintentional errors. Before you publish, perform one last copy edit; make sure everything’s in place. It’s also an excellent time to:
- Make sure your images are accessible by adding captions or alt text.
- Add and test links to relevant resources.
- Optimize your SEO terms and metadata where possible.
- Add clear calls to action.
‘Done’ isn’t ‘perfect’
Publishing your work gets easier once you establish a process and practice knowing when you are ‘done enough.’ Your method might not look exactly like ours, but if it makes you more confident and productive, congratulations, your approach is successful! And remember: when you’re publishing with a CMS, you can always go back and make changes or edits.
This post first appeared on openstrategypartners.com.