Am I the only one who gets the best blog post ideas when I’m not sitting in front of my computer, staring at a blank editing window? If you’re at all like me, they come to you over your morning coffee, while waiting for an appointment or when a great article online sparks an idea of your own.
At times like these it’s impractical or impossible to rush to a computer and bang out a blog post. But if the point of having a blog is to share my best thoughts with you guys in a way that somehow benefits you or changes things for you (and I think it is), I need to save those thoughts until I can write.
You do, too. I know you do.
Because otherwise we wind up staring at a blank screen two months after our last blog post, thinking less about having something worth saying than we are “Ohmygawd I’ve got to write something – ANYthing.”
In this post, I’ll share what works for me to a) capture post ideas b) organize those ideas and c) set myself up to write a quality post.
Tools! Get yer tools!
For this site as well as your self-hosted WordPress blog, these free tools help capture and organize our best thoughts:
- WordPress mobile app for whatever device(s) you use regularly
- Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress by Colin Vernon, et al
Don’t get bummed if your site is on WordPress.com and you can’t use the Editorial Calendar. My Wandering Porcupine blog is at WordPress.com, so I feel ya, but the app alone helps a lot.
I made you a blog post cheat sheet. I mean, framework
Having a framework to hang my thoughts on helps me more effectively convey my ideas. When I start a blog post without it, I ramble more, focus less and sometimes don’t provide the value I intend. Here’s a format I like:
- Working Title
- Reader’s Takeaway/Benefit
- 3-5 Main Points
- Call to Action
Now that I’ve published ^this^ to the internet we can all bookmark it for future reference/copying/pasting 😀
So, when you have a post idea, you’ll start with the Working Title and work your way down, only as long as the ideas are flowing.
Open the WordPress app and either type or use voice to text to enter your thoughts under each point – whichever method works best for you.
We’re talking quick and dirty here. Don’t worry about writing the post; you’re only outlining it and setting yourself up to write later.
Save the post in draft mode. Lather, rinse, repeat – every time you have an idea.
Get a little more info on using the framework in the video.
App bonus: Sharing
When you find an inspiring or insightful post or article on the internet, you can share it to the WordPress app and save it as a draft so you can blog about the topic later. You can also share photos from your device to your blog’s WordPress Media Library, where they’ll be available to use in your blog posts.
A word of caution, though – it’s too easy to make mistakes when using a small touchscreen to blog. So for best results, don’t publish posts from a smartphone. Save them as drafts and come back to them later to flesh them out, proofread and edit – when you’re on a larger device with a proper keyboard.
I don’t want to scare you off the app; it really is a helpful tool. Whether sharing to it or using it to outline a post, it’s like making deposits in a personal idea bank.
Putting banked ideas to work
Here’s where the editorial calendar plugin helps: Install it and you’ll get all your scheduled posts in calendar view. Click the “Unscheduled Drafts” button and you’ll see all the drafts you started using the app on your phone. The calendar makes it easier to be consistent and intentional about posting to your blog.
See how the Editorial Calendar works in the video below.
Blog more, stress less
If I had to guess I’d say that most of the time it’s not that we’re short on ideas as much as that they’re fleeting and we kid ourselves about remembering them.
Some of us also have the problem of fancying ourselves to be prolific, masterful writers, never lacking in words or time…until we’re staring at a blank editing window.
Whether you tend to kid yourself about your memory or your writing prowess (I’m guilty of both), you can enjoy blogging more, and give your readers more posts to enjoy. To recap:
- Bank ideas when they come to you using the WordPress app.
- Use a framework to guide your thoughts and set yourself up to easily produce quality blog posts.
- Organize and flesh out banked ideas with the help of the Editorial Calendar plugin.
Have a question or comment about this post? Or a suggestion to add? Let me know in the comments below.