[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series. Check out the other posts!]
One of the best ways to increase your productivity and keep the quality of your blog posts as high as possible is to create a templating system that works for you.
Sure, I’m totally about the shoot-from-the-hip, off-the-cuff, and emotionally-charged blog post now and again but what I’ve realized is most successful bloggers have a “system” (or two) that they use to help keep them as productive and effective as possible. I know I do!
But the benefit is not just for the writer – the reader and the community can benefit as well! With a consistent post structure your readers will become familiar with your style of publishing and the way in which they consume it. A template helps create that consistency which can really benefit your readers and enhance your blog’s brand of excellence.
Oh, wait – you’re not familiar with this concept? Sorry! It’s quite simple actually: Essentially it’s a framework or outline of the types of content that you usually publish so that you can minimize wasted time and friction between you and hitting that ‘Publish’ button.
Got it? Good.
Creating a few of these can easily increase not only your productivity but be a mechanism for quality assurance; in other words, it can be a rubric to keep your blog posts to the level of awesomeness that you want to strive for in every post.
Decide On Your Post Content Types:
To start creating your blog post templates you first need to decide on the blog post content types that you’ll create templates for. This could be as easy as simply looking at your categories and creating templates for each category.
Of course, this is made even easier if you’ve narrowed the amount of categories so you already have targeted and focused content!
For example, if you’ve got a category called “Baseball” then you might create a blog post content template that outlines how you typically write a blog post that would sit in that category!
Another way to decide on your blog post templates is to specify the many different types of posts that you may have, within and without your categories. For example, you might have a template for the following:
- Time sensitive posts
- Short and to the point posts
- Long form posts with over X amount of words
- Series articles and posts
- Media-heavy posts
- Posts based on writing difficulty
- Posts based on “viral” potential, high traffic potential
- Emotion-filled posts
- Stories or narrative
And more! The sky is the limit here and only you know how to best define what these types of posts might be. The point is to be as specific as you possibly can so that when you do create the templates that the content fits right in and you’ll be able to create and publish with speed and quality!
Example Rubric and Template:
Here are some example templates that I’ve used in the past that help me stay on my A-game and give me the ability to write vast amounts of content with little “thought” as to the actual structure. In fact, this is the only way that I’ve been able to write 3,248 blog posts in one year!
Here’s one such example of a rubric I created and then a resulting template. The rubric helps me figure out which content type I’m going to be using and then the template itself is what I execute against.
Think of it like a cookie cutter mold for your blog posts – you’ve decided that you’re going to make green sugar cookies and the moment you decide on green sugar cookies you have all the ingredients ready for you already!
I suppose it’s like a recipe of sorts.
- Title: 70 Characters or Less
- Keywords: 5-8
- Traffic Potential: Low, Medium, High
- Timing: Now, Short, Long
- Comments: Low, Medium, High
- Length: 100-300, 300-1000, 1000+
If the Traffic Potential was High with a Timing of Now and the Length being 100-300 words then this is the template I’d use.
- Short and to the point, capture attention. Now! Time is of the essence!
- Share felt need and/or question. Drive it home. What happened?
- Image of news item, person
- Create tension.
- Answer tension
- Bullet points to add supporting content
- Call(s) to action
- What now?
And that’s it! You might be reminded of your elementary school english classes where they taught you to create outlines for your papers, right? Yup. It’s just like that. Who knew that school would be so profitable to your blogging?
I’d use this help get me used to the pattern and rhythm of this particular piece of content and over time I’d internalize it so that I didn’t have to refer back to the template so often.