Why I share my drafts, and you should too

I know lots of bloggers like to keep their post top secret until the very moment they hit publish, I guess they’re worried that if they say too much somebody else might write something similar, or they like to be enigmatic and their subjects secret. Or maybe they just don’t care what anybody else thinks? That’s cool, and in some ways I’m the same. The difference however is that I almost always share my drafts with a number of SEO’s day’s before hitting publish (except this one, oh the irony).

I never really intended this to specifically be a tactic for my posts, it just sort of happened a few times and I was getting some real benefits for both myself and my blog. The reason it came about in the first instance was essentially because this blog is still pretty new (started in Jan 2012) and I wanted to get a bit of guidance from the bloggers I looked up to, hoping they would throw a bit of their magic my way.

I think it’s a well established that the SEO/Internet marketing community is pretty awesome and on the whole extremely helpful and that’s certainly what I’ve found, generally speaking people are happy to help out and these are some of the big advantages I’ve found:

Typos

Sounds like a slightly silly one but in actual fact, once you’ve written and read your latest post over and over I find that you actually become a bit blind to the words, you’re not really reading it any more and can easily miss the most obvious mistake.

Share and share alike

Rand made a big deal of this one in an excellent white board Friday (4:50) earlier in the year and he’s absolutely spot on. Getting somebodies buy in before you actually push the publish button in my experience significantly increases the likelihood that they will share your piece. If you incorporate some of their suggestions of mention their feedback, well, now you’re talkin’!

Generate discussion

If it’s conversation rather than (or as well as) shares you are interesting in then this works in exactly the same way. If you are approaching the right people with the right content then engaging somebody earlier in the process gives them more time to formulate an interesting comment. This has proven itself time and again for me, the guys I consult with before publishing are often those dropping the first comments and getting the discussion going.

Get ideas/feedback

If the other reasons to share haven’t sold you yet this one definitely should. Want to be a better blogger? Want to improve your articles? This is it! Seriously the best reason to share your drafts is to get ideas on where you can improve from others. I have to admit this one took a little getting used to for me at least.

After you’ve spent hours on your latest ass kicking post the prospect of somebody making a suggestion which could mean another 3 hours work (or longer) isn’t always welcomed! Worse than that, feedback that you should remove 400 words from your latest masterpiece can be heartbreaking. However, if you truly do want to improve, take a deep breath and embrace the thoughts of your peers. Very often they’re smarter than you.

[tweet https://twitter.com/content_muse/status/250653312360280064]

Build relationships

Of course what you’re actually doing whilst soliciting the opinion of your peers, listening to their feedback and ultimately acting on it is building relationships within your online community. There’s a well know saying in marketing “Make news, or make friends” and the process of sharing your drafts will certainly aid the latter.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thanks to everybody who has given up their valuable time to read through my posts (some of them are really, really bad)! I won’t name you to save embarrassment but know this, I love you guys.

Post by Gaz Copeland

Comments

  1. You raise excellent points. As I mentioned to you on Twitter, I do have someone read over any post that I submit to a site that I don’t own, and I’ve gotten some fantastic feedback from editors. I read the guest posts for our site and have given some (hopefully decent) advice myself. I have no idea why I don’t ask someone to read over what I write on the company blog or the SEO Chicks site. Sadly, I think that I take both of those sites a bit less seriously than I do the other ones so I’m not as worried about what I say. You’d be a good therapist.

  2. Nice one Gaz, if you are using Self Hosted WordPress you can use this awesome plugin http://wpmu.org/wordpress-share-draft/ spotted by @michaeljdsmith

    • Looks like a great plugin, thanks for the recommendation. This is a wordpress.com blog and they actually come with a draft sharing feature as standard which is pretty cool.

  3. Anthony Pensabene says:

    Thanks for the inclusion, Gaz. It’s appreciated. You raise good points. And, sharing before publish is definitely a community-centric exercise.

    I must say that I have not always shared drafts or pre-post ideas. Lately, I’ve been doing it more; it’s making me a better thinker and writer. Actually, just yesterday I went out and bought ‘The Elements of Style.’

    http://books.google.com/books/about/Elements_of_Style.html?id=IAy6NCD0Iq0C

    I have come upon the book in the past; but, have parted ways with my former copy. A peer I highly respect offered to send me a copy; he thought it would improve my writing. It will; I bought it again last night.

    I also mentioned to Nick Eubanks last night that Gplus is a good platform or jumpoff point for some ideas that could be later made into posts, research ideas for peers, or someone else’s post. I recently observed Mackenzie Fogelson writing longer prose on some of her Gplus posts. It’s a good way to communicate ideas and get some more minds in the mix.

    Cheers, Gaz.

    • Thanks for the comment Anthony, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Really, this isn’t about getting more shares or more comments (although those things are nice) it’s about becoming a better writer.

  4. Thanks for the inclusion, Gaz. It’s appreciated. You raise good points. And, sharing before publish is definitely a community-centric exercise.

    I must say that I have not always shared drafts or pre-post ideas. Lately, I’ve been doing it more; it’s making me a better thinker and writer. Actually, just yesterday I went out and bought ‘The Elements of Style.’

    http://books.google.com/books/about/Elements_of_Style.html?id=IAy6NCD0Iq0C

    I have come upon the book in the past; but, have parted ways with my former copy. A peer I highly respect offered to send me a copy; he thought it would improve my writing. It will; I bought it again last night.

    I also mentioned to Nick Eubanks last night that Gplus is a good platform or jumpoff point for some ideas that could be later made into posts, research ideas for peers, or someone else’s post. I recently observed Mackenzie Fogelson writing longer prose on some of her Gplus posts. It’s a good way to communicate ideas and get some more minds in the mix.

    Cheers, Gaz.

  5. Again Gaz, you hit the nail on the head. You are getting so good at this now, I think you’ll be working for MOZ soon. The idea of peer review is not new but a good one to remember. We can get caught up in our own ego and paranoia sometimes. “When I publish this, the world will gasp in awe, and my knighthood will be in the post”. or….. ” I cannot show you until my masterpiece is unveiled…my precious”. Often times we worry that people will steal our thunder. So what, most of what we write has already been said in some form or another anyway. Thanks for grounding me Pappa Smurf!

    • Haha, thanks for the comment Phil! I am under no illusions that my posts can always be better, massively so in most cases and learning from my peers is one way to improve.

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  1. [...] Why I share my drafts, and you should too « Stoked SEO & Int 1 Upvotes Discuss Flag Submitted 1 min ago Anthony Pensabene Community stokedseo.co.uk Comments [...]

  2. [...] It may take a few reviews to catch yourself.  Admittedly, I’ve struggled in my younger years with the passive voice, and still observe myself regressing at times.  It’s why self and peer review is important. [...]