Hello friends! Today’s post is a little different – I am sharing with you how I create my blog posts from start to finish. I thought this would be super helpful for anyone who is thinking of starting to blog, or anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes stuff of blogging. This post is actually for a class project, so that is why this post is not going up on Friday! Also a little life update: my school exams are starting this week, so I might not be posting regularly the next couple weeks. I always update when I am posting on my Instagram (@xoxoxoleelee), so make sure you check it out to keep up to date! Anyways, here are the six steps I take to create a blog post.
I do a ton of research for this blog. I am constantly watching Youtube videos and scrolling through my Instagram feed looking for ideas. This includes looking for different products to try or different types of post to write. If you guys are interested, I could maybe write a post or just share on Instagram stories some of my favourite influencers.
Along with Youtube and Instagram, I also read other people’s blogs as well. I am actually planning to completely re-vamp my blog this summer, so I am constantly looking at other blogs for inspiration on what I would like to change/add to my blog.
On average, I probably spend an hour or two every single day watching/reading/scrolling through social media. Now to be fair, I do thoroughly enjoy beauty and makeup content, so a lot of this is for entertainment as well.
While I have a pretty good memory, I can’t remember all my ideas. So I create lists! I am an avid list maker, one of the many reasons why I enjoy having a bullet journal. I wrote a post last year about my bujo, but let me know if you want an updated post about this!
So I have two lists going on related to my blog. One is makeup/beauty products that I am interested in purchasing. Products generally make it onto this list after I have heard multiple good reviews about it OR it’s brand new and I am super intrigued. Whenever I go to purchase makeup, I always consult this list.
The second list is my blog idea list. Every month I will create a new list, moving any ideas from previous months that I have not written about yet. Whenever I get an idea, I add it to my list. Sometimes if I don’t have any ideas, I will sit down and look at my makeup collection to think of possible ideas. Another way I brainstorm is to look back at my past posts and see if there is anything I can update. For example, I try to do empties posts about once a season. So if it’s been a few months since I have done one, I will add it to my list.
Planning is a huge part of blogging. I don’t want to post two hauls in a row, that would be too repetitive. So I usually plan for a few weeks to a month ahead. My Boxycharm review always goes up on the last Friday of the month, which means that I have 3-4 other Fridays to plan beauty and makeup content for. Since I am still working my way up to posting twice a week, I only post on Tuesday sporadically or if I didn’t get the chance to post on Friday.
When planning I have to keep certain things in mind. First is what is going on in my personal life. For example, when I go away on vacation I try to have posts pre-written and scheduled. If I have exams I usually just take a break since I don’t have time to pre-write. I also like to look what time of the year it is. I like doing fun looks for different holidays, and I always do a Favourite Products of the Year post at the end of the year. I take all of these aspect into account when planning my content.
Finally, for each week I have a plan for my Instagram posts. I like to line up a post on Friday or Saturday to promote my post for that week. I will schedule the rest of my week around that post. For example, I don’t like to post two selfies in a row. So if I have two selfies that I want to post in a week, I create another post to put in between. Since I like to post between 2-4pm, I also have to keep in mind that some days I might not be able to post during that time. For example, on Tuesdays I have class till 4:30, so I don’t often have a chance to post that day.
Having a schedule/plan is helpful to make sure that I post consistently. I used to not plan and I would post all over the place. I would definitely recommend planning to anyone who wants to post more often.
4. Create Content
Now that I have an idea of what I want to post, I have to create the content for it. If I want to review products, I will make a conscious effort to try the products. If I am writing a first impressions post I will only take a day or two to test a product. If I am doing a full haul or review, I will give myself two weeks to try out products. If I don’t have to leave the house I don’t wear makeup, so it takes me a little longer sometimes to test products.
I often like to include a makeup look with my reviews, especially if I am testing out eye products. I don’t wear full glam every day, so I usually have to set aside an hour or two to do a look. I usually will do this in the evening, after I am finished doing homework for the night. I have my laptop with me and will watch either Youtube or Netflix as I do my makeup. After I am done I will take about a million photos haha. I personally feel like my photos can improve, but I will still share what I do for now. I turn the lights on my makeup mirror to act like a ring light. I generally take a combination of photos using both the front-facing and back-facing camera. The back-facing camera is definitely better quality, so I use that for close ups. I prefer using the front-facing camera for photos of my full face because I can more easily look at the camera, which I think makes the photos look more natural. The trick is to just take a bunch and then go through them at another time.
The other type of photos I use are product flat lays. A flat lay is when a product is shot from directly above. This is the way I prefer to do product posts or swatches. I do all my flat lays on a bristol board that I covered with marble contact paper. I like the look of marble and it matches my blog banner. This past summer I used the marble table at my parents place, so to keep my feed looking clean and cohesive I made the backdrop.
For all my product shots I always shoot in natural day light. I haven’t figured out how to use fancy lighting, so this is just easier. Because my room doesn’t ever get direct sunlight, I can shoot at any time of the day really. I just make sure it’s not too overcast otherwise the photos look very cool toned.
I honestly don’t have a system for arranging my flat lays. I will generally stagger my products instead of having them perfectly straight, but that’s just personal preference. Sometimes it can be hard to shoot rounded items on a flat surface, so a little tip for you: I put a little bit of tissue down to help the products not move around! Then I take a bunch of photos, moving my camera around slightly or the products slight. Also to note: I shoot all my content on my iPhone 7. I don’t own a fancy camera, but I find that the back facing camera does a pretty good job!
Finally, before I post any photos or add them to my blog I edit them. For my selfies I do use Facetune, but not that much. I find that my selfies always turn out pretty yellow/warm toned, so I will go in and whiten my photos. If I have a really bad pimple or texture I will smooth it out, but that’s it for face editing. Then I go into Instagram and will edit the photos manually. Now it depends on the photo, but I generally increase brightness, turn down warmth, increase saturation, and change the highlights and shadows. Some people like to always use the same filter, but I find that editing my photos manually has the same effect.
Now that I have all my photos and ideas, it is time to write!
Depending on the subject of the blog, I may or may not write a plan beforehand. Generally any of my blog posts that have numbered items, like this one, I will write a plan for. For my Boxycharm posts or any other product reviews I generally just follow from the photo I am attaching with the post.
My writing style has somewhat involved over the years, but I generally pretend that I am speaking to a friend as I write. This helps keep my tone conversational, since I am used to writing academically. A little funny story – so when write for school, I generally have to get rid of all contractions (like it’s and don’t) to sound more formal. I have gotten into the habit of not writing contractions when typing on my laptop, so whenever I write blog posts I often don’t use contractions. But since I want to sound conversational, I will literally go back and add conjunctions into my blog post hahaha!
Pretending that I’m speaking to a friend also helps me know what level of jargon to use. The beauty community, like any other community, has a ton of jargon that can be quite confusing. I try to stick to using basic jargon, and explaining/breaking down anything more complicated. I have actual thought of maybe doing a post breaking down a bunch of makeup/beauty community jargon – let me know if this is something you guys would be interested in!
I generally like to write posts quickly in one sitting, since I mainly use this blog as a way to practice my writing for future jobs. But I always make sure to edit my posts after. While I do like to use a conversational tone, I want my posts to make sense. It helps that I have a few friends who read my blog, so if a mistake does slip past me they usually let me know.
6. Post and Promote
After I have editing my post and adding my photos, it is time to schedule my posts. As you guys know, the majority of my posts go up on Friday at 3pm. Since I don’t have class on Fridays, I generally will write my posts in the morning and then schedule them for the afternoon. If I do have something going on that day, I will try and write the post the night before.
I also make sure to put tags on all my posts. Something I definitely want to add to my blog update is a way for people to search my posts using these tags. But for now, these tags help my content be searchable through search engines.
After my post goes live, I generally head over to Instagram and promote it there. I will do this by posting a photo on my feed and posting a story.
Finally, over the weekend I check back to reply to any comments. I will also look at the stats of my post to help me figure out if you guys liked the post or not. Stats helped me figure out Fridays were a good time to post! It is important to check these stats just in case things change.
And that is how I create a blog post from start to finish! I find it funny that I struggle to write 2000 words for a school essay but writing a 2000 word blog post was so easy haha! Thank you if you read through the whole post. I know this is a little different compared to my regular content, but let me know if you guys want to read about more behind-the-scenes stuff!