This week I had the pleasure of presenting a webinar hosted by SiteGround, “Content Hacking: How to Make Your Website Successful” (in Spanish). In it I explain what content hacking is and the different techniques we have used in our team to increase visits and sales on our blog.
The webinar was organized and moderated by José Ramón Padrón (also known as Moncho or Mon), Country Manager of Siteground Spain with whom we have a great friendship after having shared work (and parties) with him in previous years at WordCamps. Mon insisted that it was surprising how we had developed a “tailor-made” product to increase our productivity in the generation and promotion of our content, and he wanted us to share our journey and experience.
So following his advice, today I’m not going to explain a set of generic techniques on how to improve your productivity (you’ll easily find them on Google), nor all the features of our plugins. Today I’m going to explain the steps we take to generate content for our blog and social media.
Table of Contents
- Nelio's Blog
- Problems with Regular Blogging
- Generation and Promotion of Nelio's Blog Posts
- #0 Set the Publication Frequency
- #1 Generate Ideas to Write About
- #2 Schedule your Upcoming Posts
- #3 Writing Posts
- #4 Mark Relevant Phrases to Share
- #5 Manual Scheduling of Social Messages
- #6 Quality Control and Review
- #7 Post Review and Timeline Generation
- #8 Creating Translated Posts
- #9 Translation the Actual Content
- #10 Quality Control in English
- #11 Repeating the Above Steps
As you probably already know, at Nelio we are a very small team of three co-founding partners developing WordPress plugins that we offer for free and/or by subscription. In addition to developing, promoting, and selling our products, we also like to be part of and contribute to the WordPress community and contribute our bit about our WordPress expertise on our blog.
Every Thursday we share in our blog a post (we used to share two posts per week) in Spanish and English talking about our experience as WordPress users, as WordPress plugin developers, as working partners of a startup, and so on.
Our goal with the blog is, on the one hand, to share news about WordPress, our products, and our experience. And, on the other, we want to improve our SEO and get more readers and customers, and we know that one of the best strategies to follow is to regularly publish posts that provide value to our potential customers.
Problems with Regular Blogging
Writing a post (or two, or more) every week is not a small job at all. If writing is your passion and you have a lot of ideas to write about, surely writing a post is something that comes naturally to you and after a couple of hours you already have it… otherwise, you can get pretty stuck staring at a blank screen. What are the most frequent problems to be consistent when it comes to writing in a blog?
- You are running out of ideas: you’ve already talked about your products, your experience… and now, what else?
- You start writing and you don’t know how to be more productive and efficient writing,
- How can you establish and guarantee quality criteria?
- You waste a lot of time with social media promotion,
- You have more important and urgent work to do or your capacity for distraction and procrastination is infinite…
We have talked about these problems before in our blog: how the idea generation process works, how to find ideas and then manage them in your blog, strategies to be more productive writing or promoting in social networks, etc. But in practice, what do we do at Nelio to minimize the impact of all the above problems?
Generation and Promotion of Nelio’s Blog Posts
#0 Set the Publication Frequency
There is nothing as effective as a deadline to get the work done. Therefore, if you really want to maintain the regularity of posting on a blog, set a publication frequency and commit to it. In our case, we currently publish a post every Thursday.
#1 Generate Ideas to Write About
If you don’t know what to write about, you’re stuck. I can’t even imagine what a fiction writer does when he or she is left with a blank page, doesn’t know what to write about, and goes into panic mode… Luckily for us, a blog can be much simpler. Basically, you have at your disposal a whole battery of resources that serve as a source of inspiration to know what to write about. In our case, on the one hand we have a list of resources to turn to:
- News about our products: every time we launch a new product or new features, we try to write a post related to that news.
- Problems or doubts from our customers: these are not only a good source of inspiration to improve our products but also to create content that try to address and solve their questions.
- Our participation in events and/or collaboration in the WordPress community.
- News about our business, such as our recent alliance with WordPress VIP as WordPress technology partners.
- Difficulties, challenges, tricks, plugins, WordPress themes… that is, talk about our experience as WordPress users, but also
- Difficulties, challenges and tricks of WordPress from a plugin development perspective; David and Toni talk about this frequently.
- Interviews with WordPress professionals and customers of our products.
Despite the above list and oddly enough, there are also days when we run out of ideas… but that’s when we pull the rabbit out of the hat: Nelio Content Feeds!
The Nelio Content plugin allows you to view the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs directly in your WordPress so that you can share them on your social media, as well as generate new content from them.
From any of the displayed content, you can create a new draft post by adding the content as a suggested reference.
In this way, we end up having a whole set of ideas to write about in our editorial calendar, presented as drafts:
#2 Schedule your Upcoming Posts
The next step is immediate, once we have the list of ideas to write about, we assign them an author and schedule them in the calendar. This way, each one of us can know the exact deadlines in which they will have to write a post.
This assignment process with Nelio Content is extremely straightforward since it only consists of dragging those ideas that are unscheduled in the calendar and assigning them an author. You can do all this without leaving the Nelio Content editorial calendar.
#3 Writing Posts
Here, depending on the author and the type of post, each of us has a different style in how we organize ourselves and write a post. All three of us agree that we prefer to have the featured image of the post (most of the images we search for on Unsplash), define the tags, category, excerpt, and Yoast meta information before writing the post itself. In fact, the person in charge of generating ideas in the calendar has sometimes also done a massive search of all the featured images in one go and has already incorporated them into each post.
Obviously, you could do these preliminaries at the end and it would probably not make much difference. But this way, at least for me, it gives me the feeling that there is less work left and helps me to focus more on the content to be written.
And talking about writing posts, how you go around it depends on your own style and, probably, the type of post you’re crafting. For example, if I’m writing a tutorial post, I usually start by creating all the support materials I’ll include in it. That is, I create the example locally, take all the screenshots I’ll need, scale and compress them as needed, and upload them to the media library with all the meta information. Once this is done, I start with the tutorial itself. Other times, I simply start to write and generate the assets I need on the fly… like I did in this post!
About the ability not to get distracted while writing, it is probably related to each one’s willpower… you will find articles and books on this subject and techniques to get the job done, but personally, what motivates me the most when I write a post is knowing that I have to have it finished before the date scheduled for its publication.
#4 Mark Relevant Phrases to Share
Nelio Content allows you to promote the contents of your blog manually (you manually schedule the message you want to be published on social networks) or automatically. The Social Automations feature, which generates messages automatically, includes two algorithms for promoting your content: generating the social message timeline of a post and re-sharing old content.
The messages that are generated automatically are created from various sources of information:
- analyzing your post and looking for relevant phrases,
- selecting the phrases of the text that you have previously marked as relevant,
- using the social templates that Nelio includes by default, together with the templates that you have defined for it, and
- using custom phrases that you have explicitly specified for that post.
When you finish writing the post, the next step is to read it again and take the opportunity to mark those phrases that can be useful as a source of information to promote it.
#5 Manual Scheduling of Social Messages
We also take the opportunity to prepare the promotion of the post in those social networks where we want to share it through a fully customized message. With Nelio Content, at the end of the post, you have the Add social message button with which we create a message to share on on our LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest accounts for the Spanish version of the post and added Tumblr, Reddit and Instagram for the English version of the post.
#6 Quality Control and Review
Nelio Content provides us with a quality report (integrated with Yoast’s quality control) that allows us to check we didn’t forget anything essential for its SEO. This is very useful for us to approve the written post. Until all the indicators are green, you know something is missing:
Once everything is correct, one our colleagues will review the post before its publication. To do so, we simply add our fellow author as a post follower in Nelio Content. This way, they’ll be automatically notified whenever there are relevant changes in the post like. Then, as soon as we change the post status from “draft” to “pending review,” they’ll know they have some work to do.
#7 Post Review and Timeline Generation
Now the person who has received the post review email only has to do a reading and correct or change whatever they think is convenient. Once the post is approved, they will click on the “Customize Timeline” button so that, in addition to the previously created manual messages, all those messages that will promote the post at the time of its publication and at later dates are generated.
After this task, all that remains is to change the status of the post from “Pending review” to “Scheduled” so that it’s published on the indicated date and all its promotion will be done automatically.
#8 Creating Translated Posts
Once the status of the post has been changed by the reviewer, the author of the post will automatically receive an email to let them know that their post is now “Scheduled.” In our case, this means it’s time to create the English translation of the post. To do this, we use the MultilingualPress plugin.
As you can see in the image above, in the box of this plugin you not only define the relationship between the two versions, but also define the excerpt, taxonomies, and Yoast SEO information. When you’ve done it all, you’ll have a copy of your post with all the required images, tags, categories, and meta information of the original version.
#9 Translation the Actual Content
The next step is to translate the copied post into your target language(s). In our case, this means we have to translate the previous post into English. To do this, we automatically translate our posts from Spanish to English using the Nelio Translate plugin and we proofread the translation.
By default, Nelio Translate translates each paragraph individually and maintains the original version above the translated counterpart. This way, you can easily compare the two and, once you’re happy with the translation, remove the original paragraph.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this: generating the translation with Nelio Translate and then proofreading (and tweaking/fixing) the result in the block editor is much easier and more convenient than using any external tool or doing it manually, don’t you think? And even better: remember those “highlights” we added in Spanish to share the content? They’re also included in the translation!
#10 Quality Control in English
Finally, to make sure that when doing the translation you haven’t forgotten to delete any paragraph in Spanish, we added a custom quality check in Nelio Content that detects paragraphs in Spanish:
#11 Repeating the Above Steps
We only have to prepare some manual messages, assign another author to review the English version, take care of preparing the automatic promotion of the English version of the post… And that’s it! We now have a new post in both Spanish and English ready for publication and promotion on social media.
Publishing and promoting posts regularly and constantly on a blog with more than one language, while guaranteeing a certain quality, is a job that requires time and effort. If your time and resources are scarce, systematize the whole process as much as possible to ensure that you don’t forget anything and are as efficient as possible throughout the creation and promotion process.
Throughout this process of creation and content of our blog, Nelio Content is a plugin that helps us a lot. In fact, as you may have already guessed, the initial idea of developing Nelio Content was precisely because we detected that we had a set of needs in the creation of the content of our blog. We are big fans of this plugin because of the great service it provides us! 😍
And to finish this post… do you already know what will be my next step in the process of writing and publishing this post?