The creative geek has never had it so good.
They have the web tools, apps and the social networks that keep poking them with global gems of content inspiration and ideas. It is a revealed universe of possibilities.
What we are seeing in this century is the synergy between the art of creation and science of technology.
Gutenberg would be turning in his grave if he saw what is happening in the new world of publishing.
So we now have the online tools to publish your inspirations. Google has freed us from the tyranny of remembering and finding facts. This is leading to an explosion of prolific and innovative ideas and expression. It could be music created with an app, a photo that is captured on a smart phone and filtered or it could be creating an article for a blog.
It is the synthesis of art and science.
Creating a successful blog post is creativity enabled by technology both in production, delivery and marketing.
This starts with an idea for your article. It might appear while driving, talking with a friend or during a wakeful moment at 2am (that is when this idea turned up). It may be inspired by a book, a passing tweet or a brainstorming session at a workshop.
Whenever the idea strikes, grab a pen, your phone or that napkin at the coffee shop. Writing in blood is always an option…because failing to capture an idea due to forgetfulness can sometimes feel like losing one of your children.
The writing for me can start three ways.
- The headline idea (maybe optimal)
- Creating the introduction (that’s how this one started)
- Mapping out the structure and framework for the post (that often happens)
Neither is right or wrong but the creation has to start. Sitting down at the computer laden desk with my two screens, keyboard and my mouse and starting the mundane action is next.
As the words arrive the next phase is the wrangling and wrestling with the text, phrases and even the sub-titles. Many a blog post has an ugly face but as you massage it and apply the makeup it can turn into a thing of beauty.
That is certainly the intent.
Next is the internal discussion with myself as to whether I need to illustrate and elaborate my ideas with a screen shot, an image, add a video or even plonk in a Slideshare presentation.
Sometimes it goes beyond the words.
WordPress is the technology and foundation tool of choice for this blog.
The science support crew includes the following:
This is the screen capture tool I use for screen shots, inserting call out text boxes and arrows and even shadow and torn edge effects. I couldn’t do without it.
2. WordPress Plugins
You cannot do without these to enhance your productivity and marketing effectiveness.
- SEO Plugins (such as WordPress SEO or Yoast)
- Akismet (this software stops the spammers)
- BackWPup (this backs up my blog),
- Facebook like box (you can like my Facebook page without leaving my blog)
- GetSocial (my floating social media sharing buttons)
This is not an exhaustive list but all of these I couldn’t do without.
3. Google Analytics
This allows me to monitor my blog traffic, check to see if my organic search traffic is rising or falling and seeing which countires are enjoying reading the article in real time (that is a very cool feature of this tool).
4. Marketing tools and networks
Some of these include the following to ensure that the content starts to flow across the web.
a. Social media networks
After publishing the post it then needs some help to attain some online attention and sharing.
- Tweeted with hashtags and the link to the post
- Shared on LinkedIn
- Manually published to Facebook with a large image (not a thumbnail) with hashtags
- Images or infographics contained within the post are pinned to the appropriate board on my Pinterest account
- Manually posted to Google+ with the shortened link, a large high definition image with a bolded headline (this done by using this symbol * at the beginning and end of the headline) and yes also include the now ubiquitous hashtags
The software I use is Aweber which is used by many top bloggers but is being challenged by some emerging and disruptive email platforms such as MailChimp that have made the process of email marketing simple.
c. Other tools
I use some other software to assist me in keeping the content flowing.
One of those is SocialOomph which allows me to send recurring tweets on a regular basis. I can load it up and the blog post can be sent out again and again. As this blog has over 800 articles which are mostly evergreen in nature it means that you can keep tweeting your best content on auto-pilot.
So we have moved from inspiration to creation with all its nuance and editing. We have optimised the blog for search engines until we feel comfortable enough to hit the “Publish” button. Then it’s the process of marketing the blog with your 1,000 best friends on Facebook.
If you get it right then the crowd turns up and cheers and claps. That is called retweets, comments and shares in this virtual world.
What about you?
Is blogging an art and a science for you? What is your creative process and what science helps you to be more effective?
Look forward to hearing your stories and insights in the comments below.
Image by Shutterstock