When to Publish a Blog Post
When do you hit publish? This is important. What I started doing, 'cause the answer is nobody knows. Nobody knows when it's time to publish something and it's like when you feel right, when the deadline comes, it's kind of this subjective experience. Nobody exactly knows. And, so, what I've devised is basically a scorecard that helps you figure out when it's time to publish something. First of all, we have to publish weekly, because there is a deadline component. But I don't want you to publish crap, I want you to publish things that you're proud of. And so, there are four questions that I ask myself every time I write a piece. I spend most of the week crafting a blog post, but sometimes you know, I cram it into a Friday afternoon or something. Every blog post, no matter what, walks through the same process. I ask these same questions, it's taken through this process. So, question one is this: how do I know it's time to hit publish on my blog post? First of all, does it make a promise?
Implicit or explicit, am I promising something to the reader? You're gonna find this typically in your headline, right? What we can learn about slowing down from the Jakarta highways. What we can learn from fingerprints about world peace. Or, ya know, what I learned from some funny exchange with a coworker, whatever. Does it make some promise that the reader can get something out of it? Entertainment, inspiration, something. Then, this is after I finish it, right. Does it deliver on the promise? Did I actually do what I said I was going to do? Or did I set out to write a why article and then I wrote a how or vice versa. Does it deliver on the promise? Third, does it wow the reader with value? Is this something that is so helpful, is so good, is so entertaining, that people would actually be willing to pay money for it. Do I believe in it that much? I talked to an author who's a fiction writer and every week he publishes a short story and the only way to get it is by signing up for his email list. And every week he gets 100 new readers to sign up for it 'cause he promotes it on social media and asks his readers to promote it. And it's something that he could literally go publish. And he writes a new one every week so its not like, Nobel Prize winning literature but it's good and there's value to it. And we understand that like people buy short stories, and so he posts a new one every week. He gets a hundred new readers and it's going pretty well for him. So does it wow the reader with value? Is it a throw away post or is it something I really believe in? I made a decision when I started my current blog, I had had seven or eight previous blogs, all failed. And I always like kinda did B plus content. I mean, I wasn't like trying to be a B plus student, but I just kinda mailed it in. And one day I just said, you know, what if I just wrote the best thing I possibly could write every single day as if this were the last day on earth. And, you know, a little morbid but it forced me to do my absolute best work. And I think a lot of writers are lazy about this. They kinda just write something to write it and then they're surprised, ya know, when there's a lackluster response. Like what if everyday, and you don't have to do this everyday, you can do this once a week. What if once a week you said, I'm gonna write the most important thing to me right now that people need to hear. And so many people kind of like wait for their turn. Like they wait to say the thing that they really wanna say because like people aren't ready for this yet. I love the Annie Dillard quote, it's a long quote, but she basically says spend it all. Anything that you hold onto, that you put in a safe for later turns to ash. So don't save your best words, your best message, that magic inside of you, don't save it for later. Share it now, spend it all. And so lastly, you wanna ask yourself the question: is this the best that I can do? Ask yourself these four questions and do this week after week after week and you will get better and better and better. Someone once said that quantity leads to quality. So how do you become a better writer, a better blogger? How do you build an audience? First of all, you practice in public by sharing your work every week on this blog of yours. And you do it over and over and over again. And this idea that, uh, I'm focusing on quality over quantity, it doesn't work that way. The more work you do, the better you get. That's step four, write a blog post every week.