Never Hit Publish Until You Answer These Two Key Questions

Chalk drawing of speech bubble with question mark Whether you’re blogging daily (as in the Ultimate Blog Challenge), weekly, or even monthly, never hit publish on any post until you stop to answer these two key questions:

1.  What’s the value in this post for my readers?

2.  What’s the value in this post for me?

Respect Your Readers

Your audience is exchanging valuable time they can’t get back when they stop to read your post.  Is it worth it?

Ask these questions to help you focus on the value for your reader:

  • What action can my reader take after they read this post?
  • Does this solve a problem or provide helpful information?
  • Have I gotten straight to the point and cut out unnecessary fluff?
  • Am I using stories and visuals to illustrate the point?
  • Will this make my reader’s life better in some way?
  • Is there a “next step” action I’ve suggested to encourage them to apply this?

Remember that value is defined in many different ways.  Value might be a step by step video or guide.  It might be the smile you bring to someone’s day with your wit and humor.  It could be the insight you offer into a problem and the perspective shift you guide your reader through.

Respect Yourself

Creating blog content is an investment of YOUR valuable time and it should be worth it.

So ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I writing this post?
  • How does this build my business and/or my community (does it lead to opt-ins, offers to work with you, generate engagement)?
  • Does this content do a good job of positioning me the way I want (are you shooting for authority, expert, trusted adviser, regular guy or gal, someone you’d want to have coffee with)?

Your Thoughts?

Do you ask yourself these questions?  As a reader, do you ever feel a blogger kind of forgot about you when they wrote a post?  How can we make sure we never make our readers feel that way?

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30 Comments

  1. I hate to admit this, but I haven’t been giving those questions much thought. I am going to have to do so more in the future.
    Cindy recently posted… Guilty Pleasure: Sonic CokeMy Profile

  2. wow thank you for this information. It really is great and helpful. I will make sure I follow these tips before I post my future blog posts. Thank you and keep that great info coming.

  3. A great reminder for us all!

  4. LOL. And please DON’T forget to add a title and then later CHANGE the title so that none of your email subscribers can open the link! That is really bad. :) Thanks for the tips, Michelle!

    1. Oh… I’ve done that, too. *blush*

  5. Helpful advice. I admit that I have never really thought about these before. Thanks!
    Penny recently posted… Me and My BlogMy Profile

  6. Totally useful information. While I do use the two points most of the times, now and then I just post without giving it a second though. My main blog is about reviewing books that I love, so that’s what most of my posts are about. I’m just really hoping that my reviews (which are true reviews, not fake ones like you find all over the web) helps people find something new fun to read in their spare time.
    Marika recently posted… City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #3)My Profile

  7. I am participating in the UBC, too. This is great advice! It makes me want to plan out my posts in advance.
    Stephanie Pawley recently posted… Windows 8, How Do I Loathe Thee? Let me count the ways.My Profile

  8. Excellent post.. Powerful questions, sometimes answering them is tough.. Simply because many times there is no universal definition of VALUE – It tends to be personal, subjective and contextual..
    Nischala recently posted… A 3 year old & Gandhiji’s 3 MONKEYS! [UBC Post 2]My Profile

  9. I do think about these two questions. Generally I write to inform. Though I do need to learn to cut it short or break it a part. I am doing much better.
    thanks for your help.
    Malika Bourne recently posted… Celebrate National Pizza Month: Nanna’s History of PizzaMy Profile

  10. This is exactly why I prepare my blog posts at least a week in advance. That affords me the opportunity to walk away and then come back the morning of- read it critically, edit it to perfection- or remove it from my queue.
    RAAckerman PhD EA recently posted… A little perspective?My Profile

  11. I think generally keep these in mind. Especially since I retired after I got out of my businesses and real estate, I really only want to do something that definitely has a purpose for people and me.

    But it is also good to see them written out like this as reminders.

    Thanks,

    Kathy
    Kathy Hadley recently posted… State of Joy The Greatest Achievement of SuccessMy Profile

  12. Generally speaking I “think” of these things. This post has helped me define and refine these “thoughts”.
    To write with a purpose and intent is very important.
    Thank you!
    Elise Boysaw recently posted… Five things I learned from my first painting challengeMy Profile

  13. Perfect guidelines for us beginning bloggers. Thank you. I won’t write a post without keeping those posts in mind.

  14. Good common sense tips. And you always have the most attention-grabbing headlines! #Inspiring
    Suz recently posted… What if the US government shut down? Nah, that would never happen!My Profile

  15. Thanks for the reminder to think about these 2 questions – have added them to my check list for creating a blog post. Remembering to answer them makes getting focused to write a blog post so much easier! Thank you.
    Moira Wight recently posted… Make Money With Affiliate Marketing – Profit From Other People’s ProductsMy Profile

  16. Great post – to me the full circle is that how often do we really think about who we really are and how we express ourselves – even before we open our mounth, long before even writing – it’s a journey every day to dare to step one step further in being that authentic voice…

  17. When I am writing, I am thinking about what the benefits to the readers will be- either tangible or intangible.

    I am starting to take the risk of sharing some personal stories that bring up strong emotions to illustrate my points, rather than just writing how-to type articles.

    This has come about as I’ve of learned to find and trust my own voice in my writing and develop the inner strength to hit the publish button, and not agonize too much about what the reactions will be.
    Nancy Kay recently posted… Should I Divorce or Not?My Profile

  18. Great reminders! I try to do this, but just adding these questions to my final review checklist will help me assure I have done so prior to publishing an article.
    Carolyn Martin recently posted… My Favorite Cat FigurinesMy Profile

  19. These are great questions to ask Michelle, thank you for the tips. I have to admit, I only sometimes ask myself these questions. I do strive to be informative, but I can see that I need to look at blogging on a deeper level and add more layers to the planning.
    Julia Neiman recently posted… The First Mistake Business Owners Make That Block SuccessMy Profile

  20. very good questions, Michelle. I know I always myself the first question, but sometimes I think I forgot the second one ;-) will pay more attention next time.
    Sarah recently posted… Interview with Sandra Martini about ‘Extreme Client Care’My Profile

  21. Concise points to refer to before each post. Thanks, Michelle! This blog challenge is an adrenaline pumper! I’m already writing my posts in less time, with less struggle, and it’s only day 3. Next up: to map out my posts~
    Gail recently posted… 7 Recommendations to Streamline Leisure ReadingMy Profile

  22. Thanks Michelle. Always a great reminder. When I write posts for my health coaching site I try to create content that will lead to a healthier life. Whether it’s fun or serious, I try to add value.
    Where I fall short is making sure I gain value. Need to work on on that.
    Valerie recently posted… Having Trouble Exercising in the Summer Heat?My Profile

  23. These are absolutely the questions I ask myself every time I write. I do not just write for myself, but also on how my post could probably touch other people’s lives in one way or another.
    Connor Harley recently posted… Help with Setting up a BusinessMy Profile

  24. Michelle,

    For me the key is imparting some nugget of information that will lead to an “aha” moment of some sort for my readers. I like to encourage introspection and thought because I feel my client doesn’t devote enough time to their ideal business vision.

    Thanks for the valuable reminder, Suzanne
    Suzanne recently posted… 9 Ways to Be a Better Financial Planning LeaderMy Profile

  25. I kinda think about these but probably not deeply enough. I tend to reflect a lot about what’s in it for my readers before I decide what to write, but not so much what’s in it for me. Hmm… definitely great reminder to think more about #2 in the future!
    Thanks, Michelle!
    Delia recently posted… How to add [Tweet this!] links to your blogMy Profile

  26. A great checklist, Michelle. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Neil Butterfield recently posted… Zinc: Naturally ease ADHD & Depression SymptomsMy Profile

  27. Great questions Michelle, these or a version of these questions are in the backdrop of my mind when I write a post,or send an email.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Adalia John recently posted… What Is Your Story? Share It and Inspire OthersMy Profile

  28. Following these guidelines will help in writing better blog posts. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Hi Michelle,

    I strongly agree with both points you’ve made. The first thing I always try to do is provide as much value to the reader as possible.

    I just hate reading a blog post, newspaper, article or whatever and once you’re at the end you realize it’s dribble. I totally feel like my times been robbed!

    The second point you made about making it a post valuable for me is something I will start to practice.

    Naomi
    Naomi recently posted… 4 Simple Ways to Avoid Business Start Up FailureMy Profile

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