This blog post is in response to Kevin Martineau’s post on Social Media Today titled “Bloggers: 7 Questions to Ask Before Hitting ‘Publish.’” As one would infer from this title, Martineau focuses this blog post on what a blogger should do before sending his or her post into the blogosphere (and to a certain extent what he or she should not do).
I know I am guilty of hitting “Publish” before a post is entirely ready and have regretted it afterword. The questions listed really are compelling, and I do believe all bloggers should ask themselves at least these prior to posting.
1. Have I read the post in its entirety after finishing it?
Believe it or not, I admit: I do not always read through my posts thoroughly prior to publishing. Skim? Yes, definitely. But really flesh out all of the mistakes (grammatical and AP Style) and be entirely positive I have made all of the points necessary for my reader to fully comprehend the post? Not always. That is why this question is so important: You have to be sure your post makes sense and that you are satisfied with it prior to publishing, so be sure to read through your post before launching it into the blogosphere.
2. Have I chosen my title carefully?
Titles are always the hardest for me. In Martineau’s post he suggests using numbers in titles, posing a question in a title or making the title incredibly compelling. But, what exactly is a compelling title? I feel like that is quite vague. It really takes a long time to figure out how to properly title a blog post – I still struggle with it every time I post. Recently, I was told by a PR professional that headline writing for journalists is becoming an art form that all must be able to do… I think it is safe to say that compelling blog titles are the equivalent to this art form for all in the blogosphere.
3. Have I proofread it?
I know even after I read through this post in its entirety, I will catch grammatical and AP Style errors. I consider editing one of my strongest skills and even I struggle to always be 100 percent grammatically correct. If you catch a small, grammatical mistake after hitting “Publish,” don’t stress – whether or not you have a “Code of Ethics,” bloggers are lenient when it comes to making small alterations like that, so do not be afraid to edit the post (but ONLY for small errors, not factual).
4. Have I linked to one or more older posts?
While I think this is a great way for lesser-read blog posts to gain some new readers, I think it is a bit trivial. I do not feel the need to toot my own horn every time I publish a new post by linking back to older posts. This may be applicable for some, but I personally do not ask myself this question prior to hitting the “Publish” button.
5. Have I made sure all of the links are working?
Simply copying-and-pasting the URL you are trying to link to is the easiest way to avoid broken links. All of the links in my posts are active because I use this technique – I suggest you do it as well.
6. Have I included a captivating image?
Images are incredibly important when wanting to catch a reader’s eye. While Martineau suggests performing a “Google Image” search, I disagree. You need to be using image you know is not copy-written; simply doing a “Google Image Search” will not ensure you are using a safe photograph. I suggest looking through Flickr for images that are not copy-written and are given “creative commons.” Another great way to find images is through stock image providers, such as Stock Exchange. On these sites, it is made very clear which images are usable and which are copy-written. While images are incredibly important, be sure you are using one that will not get you into trouble.
7. Have I included one of more ways to engage my readers?
I think this question is important to ask because through blog posts and social media in general you want to create a conversation. Without providing readers a way to engage, a conversation will never result from your blog. Ask your readers questions at the end; write on compelling topics that would elicit a response
What other questions do you ask yourself before you post? Did Martineau miss any major ones?
Thank you for reading!