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Cover image for Supercharge your blogging efforts with a solid system ⚑

Supercharge your blogging efforts with a solid system ⚑

technoglot profile image Amelia Vieira Rosado ・Updated on ・7 min read

Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

Howdy fellow devs! πŸ‘‹πŸ» Warm greetings from Curacao! 😁

New here? Bon bini! (That's welcome in Papiamentu, the language spoken here on the island πŸ˜‰) Else, welcome back. 😎

Disclaimer: Who is this post for? Anyone! But especially for anyone looking to:

  • get better at blogging consistently,
  • get started with blogging on the right foot,
  • read a fun, light-hearted yet informative post

Well, if any of that checks out, you have come to the right place!

Brief intro ✍🏻

Last week I followed one of the sessions of the Hashnode Bootcamp III. The goal of said "bootcamp" is to help developers build a strong online presence and personal brand. Cool stuff, really!

The first session facilitated by Sam Julien, DevRel Manager at Auth0 (pronounced Auth zero), really spoke to me. It was titled: "The Counterintuitive Secret to Shipping Better Articles Faster". If you'd like to check out the slides for this talk, you can find them below πŸ‘‡πŸ»:





In this post, I'll share with you what I have learned form his talk, as well as some blogging tips I've picked up along the way.

So, without further ado, let's get to it! πŸš€

A system for blogging?! πŸ€”

Yep. You read that right. But why a system? Many of us may not be huge fans of systems, but let's not deny their benefits. One major benefit of having a system for blogging in place (as described by Sam) is that you stop relying on motivation to get things done. Truth is, motivation is something you are bound to run out of at some point in time. And blogging (or creating any kind of content) only when you feel inspired and motivated, probably means not doing anything at all. Ever.

Additionally, by having a system for blogging (or for creating content in general), you streamline and speed up the content creation process significantly. How? By always following a set of steps, you are able to produce content (blogs, videos or otherwise) in the same fashion, always maintaining the same quality. Once you have a system, you no longer need to put effort in thinking how and where to start, and that ultimately saves you time.

Cool, what does that system look like? πŸ”

Well, the truth is, it can look different for everyone. There is no one-size-fits-all, sorry. However, here's what Sam proposes: a content creation system with five steps. See the steps below. πŸ‘‡πŸ»

Step 1️⃣: Draft πŸ“

In essence, this is the inception of any content you want to create. You typically start off by putting a structure on paper. You come up with an outline for your next article, you do some research and the like. The same principle applies to other forms of content too.

Step 2️⃣: Create πŸ’»

In step 2 of the system, you take your draft and start expanding on it. You add images and GIFs, you create diagrams, you write code snippets and so on, until your post is where you want it to be. Ah, and don't forget the grammar and spell check! Might as well get a friend or colleague to proofread your article too, if possible.

Step 3️⃣: Publish πŸ”Ό

This one speaks for itself. This is the step where you finally release your post into the wild. It can be on your personal website, here on DEV.to or wherever else that you are blogging. Cross-posting is highly encouraged, but don't forget your canonical URL! πŸ˜‰

Step 4️⃣: Promote πŸ“£

Perhaps the part that some of us dread the most. Depending on how serious a blogger/content creator you are, you may promote your posts more aggressively across various channels. If you are a casual blogger or content creator, you probably spend zero time in this phase and that is fine too! Stick to whatever you are comfortable with! 😊

Step 5️⃣: Garden πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŒΎπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸŒΎ

In this step you basically groom your content over time so that it ages gracefully. You maintain your posts by revisiting them, updating them wherever necessary and by fixing broken links and the like. Gardening your posts can entail various tasks and can be arduous work, so make sure to go in with a plan.

Find a visual depiction of the whole system here πŸ‘‡πŸ»:
blogging-system

Note that this five step system can be split in two (2) phases, namely:

  • the Creation Phase, which entails activities such as drafting and creating, and
  • the Post-Publication Phase, which encompasses the remaining three steps; Publish, Promote and Garden.

You need a toolbox 🧰

You've now got a system, or are in the process of crafting one for yourself, but in addition to it, you need a toolbox. To help you in the Creation Phase of your system, Sam suggests you put the following in your toolbox:

  • a scratchpad πŸ“’
  • a task manager πŸ“ and
  • a knowledge system (aka a second brain) 🧠

Examples of scratchpad tools are Notepad++, Sublime Text, Google Docs, Drafts, or whatever you like to use for quick note taking. When choosing a scratchpad tool, make sure it is fast, easy to use, and supports various export formats.

Some task manager tools you can use are OmniFocus, Things, Google Keep or, of course, the tool you prefer most. When looking for a task manager (in case you haven't got one), choose for something that works well with your brain. If Trello boards and list formats work wonders for ya, then go for it! You may also want to settle for a tool that allows you to add extra context and tags.

Lastly, a knowledge system. I'm sure you have heard of Notion at some point. That's nowadays the go-to second brain option for many, many people. But, there's more tools out there, such as Evernote, Roam, OneNote, Obsidian and more... (Yes, the list goes on and on. Welcome to tool hell! 😈) Struggling to choose a tool? No worries, here's what to look for in a second brain kind of tool: various organization formats (collections and the like) and the possibility to add multimedia and other rich content to your notes.

BONUS tips πŸ’‘

Before you go, let me give you a few blogging tips as a parting gift. 🎁 I hope you find them helpful!

Start with what you have.

Technical blogs are awesome, but take more time to craft to "perfection". To avoid the early disillusionment, start by sharing some learnings and/or personal experiences that you think may benefit others in the community. Writing from your heart and personal experiences is 10x quicker than writing more complex and technical content (this is by no means discouraged, but do start small and build up from there).

Write TIL (acronym for Today I Learned) blogs.

These are typically small blogs where you share something new that you learned today. These are easier to craft and also serve as a fun way to keep track of what you have learned over time. Here's a TIL format that Sam shared with the audience:

  • 1) Write a short intro (2 to 3 sentences) describing the problem you encountered.
  • 2) Write a paragraph or two describing the solution.
  • 3) Share the code or resources that helped you.
  • 4) Quick 2-sentence recap of the problem and solution. Finally, add some social links where people can connect with you. (Of course you can use your own TIL format, but if you are stuck and don't know where to start, the steps above may be of help.)

Be consistent, yet realistic.

You know your schedule better than anyone else. Working fulltime and blogging/creating content every day, may not be the way to go for most. Whatever you choose to do, be realistic and consistent about it.

For example, I like to post two blogs every week. Doesn't matter when exactly (I prefer weekdays over weekends), as long as I post two blogs. For me this is doable, so find what works for you and give it your best shot.

Keep a list of ideas.

Pretty obvious one, but really, keep a list. Your brain can't possibly archive all your ideas. Get 'em out of there ASAP! 🧠

Don't worry about the numbers

By this I mean, do not measure your success only with number of likes or number of followers. Yes, these can be good metrics to assess what topics your (target) audience likes the best and such, but it says little about your success in general.

Don't get demotivated if your post doesn't do as well as you hoped it would do. That's totally normal. If I can give you any advice at all (take it or leave it): do it for yourself. The rest will follow. (It is totally acceptable to be ambitious and to want to have a large followers base and the like, but don't lose your sleep over it. Just saying πŸ˜‰)

That's all folks! 🐷

That's it for today's post! If you liked it, let me know in the comments below. πŸ‘‡πŸ» What system do you have in place for blogging or creating content consistently? I'd love to hear from you!

Remember: stay safe and code on! πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’»πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’» See you soon!

Sources

Scratchpad tools:

Task Manager tools:

2nd Brain 🧠 tools:




Still here? Catch me on Twitter or find me elsewhere! If you like my blogs and are feeling generous, kindly consider to πŸ‘‡πŸ»




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Discussion (25)

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matthewrungwe profile image
Matthew Rungwe • Edited

Thank you for the amazing post πŸ‘Œ.

This is great content for bloggers. I learnt something new from you, gardening.

This is amazing.

Tip to you:
You could also try tying your links as <a href="#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"></a> so your links can open on a different tab and readers can stay on your page.

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matthewrungwe profile image
Matthew Rungwe • Edited

You're welcome hey.

About the links, I just meant that it would be safe if external links open in their own tab so the user does not need to user the browser back button to navigate back to your blog.

Example
Link loading on same tab

<a href="https://notion.so">Notion</a>

Link loading on different tab

<a href="https://notion.so" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Notion</a>

Please, don't worry about this, just realised all the links on DevTo do that. Apologies.

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author • Edited

Oh, I get it now!

Please, don't worry about this, just realised all the links on DevTo do that.

Yes, generally.

I personally prefer to avoid "target=_blank". There's security issues tied to it, from what I have heard (more info here) The DEV team seems to have taken this into account too (hence why this behavior is justified).

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matthewrungwe profile image
Matthew Rungwe

I personally prefer to avoid "target=_blank". There's security issues tied to it,...

Makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing that. I like your Style.

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Thank you for the amazing post πŸ‘Œ. This is great content for bloggers. I learnt something new from you, gardening.

Glad you liked it! Gardening was also a new concept to me, but it makes sense once you get it 😁

Tip to you: You could also try tying your links to a so your links can open on a different tab and readers can stay on your page.

How do you mean? πŸ€” In what context?

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juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

You're on a roll with these great posts! It seems you got a lot out of Sam's talk. I couldn't make it due to the hour but anyway.

What system do you have in place for blogging or creating content consistently?

I actually don't lol. Most of my posts have been done manually and now I see that I'm only doing steps 1 to 3 while ignoring the other 2.

I never thought about using a task manager tbh. My "scratchpad" is basically Vim lol and for the "2nd brain" one, I've heard a lot of those tools but I personally use Foam.... that and VSCode πŸ˜…

Thanks for this post. Looks like I've got a lot more work to do he he.

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Hey @juanfrank77 , thanks for dropping by again, hehe! 😊

My "scratchpad" is basically Vim lol and for the "2nd brain" one, I've heard a lot of those tools but I personally use Foam.... that and VSCode πŸ˜…

Hahahaha, nothing wrong with these tools! As long as they work for you, it's all good. I must confess that I draft my posts in VSCode πŸ™Š and then I version control 'em (because I can 🀣). Why VSCode? Because I write my posts in Markdown and because I got a nice Markdown extension to help me with that. But seriously, there's no right or wrong when it comes to tools. Just use what's most intuitive and stick with it.

Thanks for this post.

You're most welcome! 😁

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juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

Yeah, version controlling the articles ftw! I'm glad to see that I'm not alone writing posts with Markdown and using the extension to see how they would look formatted.
I think those are the tools I used to get started and haven't thought about improving my workflow.
Thanks to these I now have some ideas to try around πŸ‘

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Yeah, version controlling the articles ftw!

Oh yeah! 😎

Thanks to these I now have some ideas to try around πŸ‘

Go for it, I'm rooting for you! 😁

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danielkrupnyy profile image
Daniel Krupnyy

Oh, these are the tips for me! Thank you, teacher Amelia! πŸ˜€

About Notion. This is the best note keeping app I've ever seen! I threw out all my notebooks when I tried this app. But I confess, I did not always use it honestly πŸ™

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Glad you liked it @danielkrupnyy 😁

About Notion. This is the best note keeping app I've ever seen! I threw out all my notebooks when I tried this app. But I confess, I did not always use it honestly πŸ™

What I like about Notion is that it gives you room to decide what to put on the page. You have that freedom. But just like you, I don't always use it. Sometimes the simplest thing, like pen and paper, work the best for me. πŸ˜…

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vinayhegde1990 profile image
Vinay Hegde • Edited

Excellent post Amelia!! Really liked the way how you emphasized on listing ideas & consistency, the 2 things that go a long way in giving results.

A nifty method I use for drafting is to save it on Dev.to itself (as my blog is here itself but most other forums have similar provisions too). Syncs across desktop/mobile to resume from where I left πŸ˜„

Curious to know how do you add new ideas for blogs (I prefer my experiences but find more often than not there's already a post on it) - if you could please share

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author • Edited

Excellent post Amelia!! Really liked the way how you emphasized on listing ideas & consistency, the 2 things that go a long way in giving results.

Thank you @vinayhegde1990 ! Glad you enjoyed it and found it valuable! 😊

A nifty method I use for drafting is to save it on Dev.to itself (as my blog is here itsef but most of the other forums have similar provisions too). Syncs across desktop/mobile to resume from where I left :

Oh, that surely helps too! I like to have my drafts ready before the day I want to post. Makes for easy publishing in the morning! (Wish we could schedule posts though 😀)

Curious to know how do you add new ideas for blogs

Hmm, let's see. For now, I think I get most of my ideas from past experiences but I also get inspired by content I find here. Sometimes someone's comment lights something in my head and I take it from there. I also find it helpful to think in terms of topics. For instance productivity. What do I know about productivity that I can share with others? And like that I tend to come up with more ideas based on a given topic. 😁 (I must admit that I think A LOT, so coming up with blog ideas is piece of cake for me, hehe). Hope that helps somehow!πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

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vinayhegde1990 profile image
Vinay Hegde

Thank you, these suggestions will definitely help me in creating more content.

I agree there should be a way to schedule posts but unfortunately it appears as if a previous issue didn't find enough traction to be developed as a feature.

Make possible to schedule articles to a later date #6894

Is your feature request related to a problem? Please describe.

It's not really related to a problem but to a pain I have. Most of the times I plan my month of articles and I have to start writing them in other apps before and leave them saved so I can post on the date, but the problem is that I sometimes am not at my computer or I have a trip scheduled and cannot publish the article.

Describe the solution you'd like

It'd be awesome if we could write articles on dev.to and then schedule them to be published on a later date.

Describe alternatives you've considered

I've considered creating some sort of app to post it to me but I haven't found any integration APIs.

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

I agree there should be a way to schedule posts but unfortunately it appears as if a previous issue didn't find enough traction to be developed as a feature.

That's a bummer!! -cries in markdown- 😒

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thuhtetdev profile image
Thu Htet Tun

Love this awesome article Amelia.
Very useful post for bloggers.

And also I saw nice tools you've mentioned.
I would like also like to share one of my fav note app in this comment.
I currently use tick tick note-taking app.
Can check it from here:

ticktick.com/

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Awesome @thuhtetdev ! Thanks so much for sharing! Glad you enjoyed this post 😁

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timocmd2 profile image
Timo Sarkar

Awesome love it!

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Glad you enjoyed it! 😁

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daniel1404 profile image
Daniel Diaz

Really good post! Keep it up

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Thank you @daniel1404 ! Just passing on some good info! 😊

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_bigblind profile image
Frederik πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»βž‘οΈπŸŒ Creemers

This looks like an awesome post, but I'm not sure the "discuss" tag applies. From the guidelines for this tag:

If it is more of a blog post, than a question it should not have this tag.

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

The reason I used discuss tag is because I hoped that others would share blogging tips in the comments. See below:

What system do you have in place for blogging or creating content consistently?

If this is not the intention of the discuss tag, I'll happily remove/replace it from this post.

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k_manorma profile image
Manorma Kumari

Hey Amelia,
Your blog really inspired me and I am going to start blogging which I have pushed in my to-do list too far too many times.

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado Author

Hey @k_manorma πŸ‘‹πŸ» I'm so happy to hear that! I too postponed blogging for too long, but here I am 😊 Best of luck with your blogging journey! Can't wait to see what you share with us!

P.S.: Feel free to reach out any time; I'll help wherever I can 😁