Is Your Post Publish Ready? Give it a 24 Hour Test

You have just penned an amazing blog post and you can’t wait to hit publish.

I’ll suggest you hold on to your horses.

And follow the 24 hour rule.

And what is this 24 hour rule exactly, you might ask.

It is simple; you never hand in any finished piece of writing, or publish anything without leaving it alone for 24 hours first.

I don’t and it works handsomely for me.

The logic behind this self-imposed rule is that your mind is one cheeky monkey. It loves playing tricks on you.

Moreover, it convinces your eyes into joining this game. You are supposedly reading what you have written on paper (or typed into a word document), and yet you can’t pick any mistakes.

Your mind is filling in the gaps for you. It skips over misspelled words; it ignores words like meat when you perhaps meant meet and it just skips over other typos making you think that everything is perfect.

By giving yourself a time frame of 24 hours, you are allowing it to have a look at your writing with fresh eyes – literally.

Not only would you be catching typos and grammatical mistakes, you could also discover some flaws in the structure of the post – how it flows, your main body and your call to action.

Let’s have a deeper look:

#1 Look at your headline

Now that you took a break from your post, see if you still think your headline works a treat.

Has it got all the elements that will make it a great one? Does it make your audience curious enough to click to open, does it spell out a clear benefit and most importantly does it select the audience?

According to Bob Bly, the legendary copywriter, your headline must self select the audience. For instance, have a look at the following examples

  • How to prepare vegan meals in under 30 minutes (Moms who are in a hurry)
  • 9 ways to make sure you will dazzle your prospective employer, right out of school (Fresh graduates)
  • How to hire a virtual assistant when going away on a vacation (Business Owners)
    And
  • Do You Give Your Blog Posts a 24 Hour Test Before You Publish? (Bloggers) An alternative to this post.

Making sure you specify your audience will mean that not everybody will click on it. And that’s fine. You’d rather have people who are perfectly suited to the post opening it that most of the people ignoring it.

#2 How is your intro?

According to Derek Halphern of Social Triggers, if you can get people to read 3-4 lines of your post, they are much more likely tor read the entire article.

Really, if the first few lines of your post fail to capture your reader’s attention, you would have let all the hard work you did go to waste.

The few initial lines are critical in setting the mood and the tone of the piece. If you want it to be light-hearted, let it reflect that. If you are going to do an epic one, with lots of date and screen shots, try and clue in the reader early so they know what’s coming.

#3 Check your subheads

Make them benefit laden, make them interesting.

Usually, it is wise to write your headlines and make them as descriptive as you want. Meaning for whom your post is for, why should people read it and so on. For your subheadings though, you can let your creative side take over.

Clarity in the headline, creativity for subheads. < Tweet This

I love a post when the author has shown great clarity in the headline and made the sub-heads a piece of art.

#4 Double check you are striking the right chord

People are emotional beings. We tend to find those things most interesting that strike a particular emotional chord in us.

For instance, every writer or blogger I know, has this deep rooted fear of being caught in public with our client copy full of typos. We want our work to scream ‘professional’ and sadly leaving an it’s when you meant it is is not doing yourself any favours.

For this piece, I am relying on tapping into this emotion: fear of looking like a total idiot, especially in front of an important client. If this hits a nerve, you will read it. If you think, this is simply not an issue for you, or if you have a better system in place, you will simply skip over.

Aim to ignite one emotion. Make your post resonate with your audience.

#5 And how does it read on a screen?

When writing for the web, it is important to adhere to the format you have been given.

For a blog post, make it scannable, break up your text by using sub-heads, bullets, numbered lists or screenshots. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short.

#6 Don’t forget to proofread, of course

And lastly, don’t forget to keep an eye out for typos and grammatical mistakes. Spell check is a handy feature, but it is no substitute for a human eye. (That’s why jobs for proofreaders still exist)

The best tip I know to do this is to change the font for the final read and/or make it a different colour. Trust me, this will make a HUGE difference.

Not only you the advantage of 24 hour gap working for you, you now looking at the piece as if seeing it for the first time. Which you are.

Have you got any editing rules that you swear by?

Have you taken my 3-minute Client Attraction Quiz? Check it out now, it’s awesome! :)

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27 Responses to Is Your Post Publish Ready? Give it a 24 Hour Test
  1. Ali

    I usually do a more than 24-hr test… I’d write it in my text editor, revise it after 24+ hrs and then ‘schedule’ instead of ‘publishing’… I usually end up editing it a lot in the wordpress editor… I do this since I found a lot of typos and other slip-ups in my older posts. I really feel better now and some big-guns don’t mind reading my posts :)
    Ali recently posted..Finally, Master The Art Of Writing Killer Headlines In 25 Minutes

    • marya

      Hi Ali. Good to know you are so diligent about the whole process. However I meant that for the final, final proofread. It you still edit, you need to wait another day until you read it and no more is required. And I caught your post on Liz Struass Blog – great job! :)

      Marya

  2. Amy

    I always read whatever I write out loud, be it a blog post, an email or a handwritten note before I send it. Something about saying it out loud versus reading it will show how the reader will see it and my mind won’t “fix” things.

    Great points today.

    • marya

      That’s a great tip Amy. You definitely catch any awkward phrasing or anything that your tongue trips over. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Ever since I started blogging a year ago, I have followed the 24 hour rule. You are so right: Minds are sneaky devils that trick you into thinking things are perfect and hide obvious errors. Only time away allows you to have a better perspective.

    I like Amy’s suggestion of reading it out loud. I will definitely be using that in the future.
    Tammy L. recently posted..Blank Page

    • marya

      Hi Tammy. Thanks for adding to the comments. Good to hear from people follow this rule. :) Cheers, Marya

  4. Mayra, great post. It is not just a bloggers mantra but an author’s to leave your writing alone to simmer. I write many reviews and I leave them for a few days if I can. Sometimes, I go back to them and think who the heck wrote this stuff, it needs so much work?
    When it comes to fiction writing we leave it even longer. I leave a short story several weeks and a book for a few months.
    You are always spot on and I wish every blogger would read your blog then we would have professional bloggers everywhere. Will tweet this one for you. :)

    • And for some reason the above comment has my old blog address. So here is the new one in my tag.
      Susan May recently posted..Throwing Imagination Out With The Bath Water

      • marya

        Took a peek, looks great Susan. Let me know if you need help with anything at all …

    • marya

      Hey Susan, long time no see, how is it going? Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. I agree, must take forever to do the final edit on a fictional piece. I don’t envy you. :)

      And thanks so much for your kind words. Cheers.

      • Marya, thanks for popping over to my blog. I’ve got 3 of them, so they keep me busy. However, its great fun & now thanks to them, publishers send me the latest books, I go to every film released, and all for Free. In fact, one film publicist invited me to the opening of a summer event this year when journalist & media were not invited. When I asked her why, she told me that they were specifically looking for bloggers and social media people. So just shows you the power that bloggers can have. And to think you were the first person I met in the blog world only 9 short months ago.
        So if you are a newbie blogger and reading this, work at it, read Marya’s fabulous posts nd persist. The sky is he limit.
        Susan May recently posted..Throwing Imagination Out With The Bath Water

        • marya

          That’s fantastic Susan. I am soo jealous! ;) And thanks for the last bit. It’s testimonial material – seriously. All the best …

  5. Ali

    Thanks for the compliment, Marya…. I can see you’re rather on a guest posting-spree these days – how on earth do you manage your time? After writing for clients, I hardly manage to save some for posting something on my own blog :(
    Ali recently posted..At Last: Google Answers ‘Are My Pages Indexed In Google?’

    • marya

      Well, most of it has been part of work that I do for a client, and a few for me. It takes a HUGE amount of discipline, I won’t lie. It’s a great battle to find work-life balance. Hope it is going well for you …

  6. Hey Marya,

    this is great advice. I have to admit I’m a JIT kind of person, so I do like to hit ‘Publish’ right away when I think I’m ready.

    The thing is, you can always go back and correct mistakes after you’ve published in any case, right?

    I often do this to get posts out in time for a weekly update email (so they’re in the RSS feed) but then may go back for final final changes even after that.

    Not sure if that’s good in terms of SEO, best practice or anything, it;s just what I do…
    Alan | Life’s Too Good recently posted..Your Handy Everyday Stretch Routine (and Why You Need It…)

    • marya

      Hi Alan, why don’t you try it sometime? You will notice the difference – it’s unbelievable. Every time I do this, I end up making a few changes and polishing the post. Never hurts … :) Thanks for your comment! Marya

  7. Is there anything ‘wrong’ with going back and editing after publishing?

    as I said, I like your post, but then I don’t really see why this is so much better than just going back and making changes/polishing the post after you’ve published? Which you could still do 24 hours later if you wanted to…

    what do you think?
    Alan | Life’s Too Good recently posted..Your Handy Everyday Stretch Routine (and Why You Need It…)

    • marya

      You are assuming that the post you are writing is for your own blog. What about when it is a guest post written for somebody else? What about if it’s a paid post for a client? Even when you write for you own, wouldn’t you want to put out the best stuff? People won’t go back and reread after you have tweaked it. You can still do it – I just think it’s best to publish when it’s the best it can be. Hope that makes sense. Cheers.

      • You’re right – I wouldn’t do that for guest posts. In fact, when it comes to guest posts, I would (and have) do something similar to your suggestion many times over – i.e. review, re-review etc. because as you say, once you submit this, you lose control of it completely.

        So I agree 100% for any posts that aren’t your own.

        My point on my own posts (and I know this sounds a little arrogant) is that I care about what I write and rarely make mistakes anyway, at least not any big ones, so for the sake of getting something out there which is natural and spontaneous (like a conversation would be) I’m happy to publish.

        I always re-read very soon after I’ve hit publish anyway, and actually the fact that it’s now LIVE does make me notice things more if there are any mistakes.

        i.e. I completely take your point that we become a little blind if we’ve been writing and writing, but then once something is in the public eye, I think a little focus is regained (at least for me it is).

        I do like your concept though, it’s great advice, I can’t argue with it, I just have a slightly different approach normally and was interested (mainly because I found your site and your post very interesting) to hear your views on it,

        take care & very best wishes,
        Alan
        (Now you’ll have to pop over to my site and point out all of the glaring errors ;-))
        Alan | Life’s Too Good recently posted..10 Ways to Enjoy Life More for Less (That You Can Start Right Now)

  8. lol

    do something similar = ‘done something similar’

    ;-)
    Alan | Life’s Too Good recently posted..10 Ways to Enjoy Life More for Less (That You Can Start Right Now)

  9. Great post. I must confess to premature posting. I think it’s for two reasons: 1. As a writer with a day job, I seem to be always in a hurry, and often able to write only in short, defined spaces of time and 2. I’m a naturally impatient person. So your post is an excellent reminder for someone like me. Thanks, too, for the tips on how to structure and title a great post. I’m sure I’m like many other blogger-writers, in that I’ve kind of muddled through and learned more by example than by actual instruction. Thank you.

    • marya

      From one impatient person to another, I know where you are coming from. I learnt this lesson the hard way so now I enforce it at all times. Also thanks for your kind words. Glad to be of help Aine.

      Marya

  10. Thanks. I am a bit of an impatient person and as soon as I finished a post for my blog I used to hit ‘publish’ often left in a hurry to correct spelling and grammar errors. Now I let my wife read my posts first (she is American and I am Dutch) and that works for me. Great advice, Marya!
    JanBierens recently posted..Google Rules – Do they really?

    • marya

      HI Jan. I know how you must feel after finishing the post, you can’t wait to put it out there. I struggle myself, believe me. :)

      And what could be better than having a personal proofreader at home, eh? Cheers, Marya

  11. remigreal

    Thanks for adding to the comments. Good to hear from people follow this rule. Cheers,
    ——————
    Handwriting

  12. [...] content sucks. At the end of the day, people subscribe to read your content. If you are giving them generic content devoid of any human voice or perspective, they are [...]

  13. I usually wait 24 hours, then read the post to my husband when he’s distracted. If he doesn’t stop what he’s doing after the first sentence or 2, that means I need to work on a better grab! I also reread and edit old posts regularly.