Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Blogging: Where to write that first draft … and then what to do with it

Disclaimers: The information provided is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Links in articles maybe affiliate or sponsored links.

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The programs where we could write our first draft of that new blog post are endless – from the programs on your Windows or Mac or the various options available for mobile devices and tablets.

It’s easy to write it off as a force of habit to write in whatever program we have used for years. Once it’s done, it’s easy enough to copy and paste it into your WordPress site. But we would suggest that the first draft should be written in WordPress. As long as you are connected to the Internet this works just fine.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for this suggestion.

Version control

The more saved versions there are of a post, the easier it is to pick the wrong and outdated version when pasting it into WordPress or sending it to a proofreader. Writing inside WordPress will save the different versions but you will automatically be served the current version when you access it. Older versions are easy to get to if the need arises.

We would always recommend that you ask somebody else to proofread your post before publishing it. This is also easier when the post is kept in WordPress – especially when asking multiple people to read it. In comparison, when writing in Word, you’d have to email one document to one person at a time, wait for their feedback or send off two emails with their own documents and get two different edited versions back. Whew, that sounds like extra work!

In WordPress, you have at least three options to let others read your drafts:

  • Publish the draft as a page. Password protect the page and send the link and page to your proofreader/editor. (They can’t edit this though and would have to send you an email with changes.)
  • Download the Public Post Preview plugin. You can now save your post as a draft, check the ALLOW PUBLIC PREVIEW box and send the link listed to the person. Usually people have to be logged in to read unpublished posts. This plugin allows you to share the unpublished post with somebody without an account to the site.
  • The disadvantage to the first two points is that the proofreaders can’t edit the post. They’ll have to email you and tell you about any potential typos or other suggested changes. If you trust your proofreaders, you can also give them an EDITOR-level account to your site. (In the left toolbar: USERS >>> ADD NEW >>> Give editor access.) That way they can edit your post directly in the WordPress editor. To see what they changed, you can compare REVISIONS by clicking on REVISIONS near the PUBLISH button. We would only suggest this for people that you trust.

Formatting issues

WordPress has improved over the years. It used to be that in 2010 or so, that when you pasted directly into the Visual editor from Word, for example, that the extra coding that was coming from the other program could crash some sites. We’ve been there. It can take forever to figure out why a site crashed. Some of that has been improved, but the key-takeaway still is that copying and pasting from other programs can bring unwanted formatting issues along. Sometimes that’s as simple as going into the TEXT editor and deleting some extra HTML. Either way, it can create extra work.

You can also use the paste from Word/paste as Text functions in the Visual editor. While this works, it’s also not perfect.

Search engine optimization

Relevant, authentic and meaningful content will go a long way in ranking high in search engine results when relevant. The WordPress Yoast plugin helps with search engine optimization in an authentic way.

Here’s how we usually use it.

We come up with the topic for the post, write a working headline, start a basic outline and then start writing. Usually, we come up with the main keyword phrase that summarizes the post well after a few paragraphs. Scrolling down to the SEO plugin you set the term or phrase as the target keyword.

Setting a keyword in the WordPress Yoast plugin

After saving the draft, Yoast gives you an overview of the post from a SEO perspective.

Yoast SEO plugin reviews posts

We found it easy to use this as a guide and to help us keep in mind the main topic of a post (the keyword should represent this). After doing this a few times, we often end up with a post that is good to go from an SEO perspective as well as from a human reader perspective.

Readable and SEO friendly - It's possible

Editorial calendar

Editorial Calendar WordPress pluginWe love the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin to keep track of upcoming blog posts.

Before we used this we would just save DRAFT POSTS in the POSTS area of WordPress. That wasn’t the most efficient way of keeping track of ideas. Sometimes we’d circle back to the idea and many times we didn’t. Now when we have a good idea for a post, we add it to the Editorial Calendar (it has weekly post ideas for about five months usually) and write the post when it gets closer to the publication date. It really makes planning easier.

Links

Writing in WordPress allows you to easily use the INSERT LINK function to add a hyperlink to your copy and add appropriate ALT TAGS, that describe where the link is going.

Writing somewhere …

Writing somewhere is better than writing nowhere. Sometimes you might have to write offline when there’s no Internet access. In general, though, we believe it’s easier to write directly into WordPress. This post attempted to outline the reasons for considering doing this.


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Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph ctrappe@christophtrappe.com 319-389-9853

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