10 Questions To Ask Before Hitting the Publish Button
We all want to just hit that button and be done with it.
The first draft is for the enjoyment of the writer. Every future draft is for the enjoyment of your audience. — Unknown
Every time I’m editing an article, I want to scream “I just want to get it out there.” I feel like I’m holding my breath and the article needs to be published. There is something so relieving about publishing your article and just being done with it.
But for the sake of every reader that gets the chance to read your article, take the time to go over this checklist. I promise it will improve your article and give you peace of mind.
Question 1: Do you have to publish this right now?
What’s the rush? Will the world end if you wait a day? Did you just finish writing and editing?
Give your article a day to relax in your mind. Sleep on it and let it sit. When you go back to it the next day, you will see it with renewed eyes and be able to catch mistakes.
Question 2: Have you read it out loud?
This is the most simple editing advice out there. It’s so simple that you’ve already done it.
Do it again.
Just one more time. Stand up from your desk and read it out loud. Make sure you emphasize each word so you aren’t adding ones you think should be there.
Question 3: Have you shared this with one person?
Get someone to read it over at least once. Fresh eyes can find a shocking amount of errors that you never realized. They can also give you ideas for things may want to add.
It would be especially helpful if you send it to someone who is part of the audience for your article. Find out what people think of it. Ask them if they found it helpful. Do your best to find someone you trust and is willing to be honest with you.
Question 4: Would you click on this article if you saw just the headline?
Headlines are everything when it comes to Medium. You are trying to stand out in a sea of articles so you need to give yourself every possible advantage.
There are thousands of articles on Medium about crafting the perfect headline. My favorite is this one:
Question 5: Would this work in a publication?
Publications are huge on Medium. They can help you expand your audience without the need to have thousands of followers. It can also give your article a lasting if it doesn’t get curated.
Find the right publication that fits both your writing style and topic.
Question 6: Does this follow all the guidelines for curation?
Love it or hate it, curation is the key to success on Medium. I receive ten times the amount of traffic and reading time when my articles get curated. Why do they get curated? I‘m still trying to figure it out. However, to at least have a chance, you need to make sure your article is within the curation guidelines.
Question 7: Did you cite your sources? This one sucks
While this falls under the curation guidelines, it is still an important point to review. You don’t want to get caught plagiarizing or stealing.
Question 8: Where am I going to share this once it’s published?
Send it with your newsletter? Tweet it out? Post on Facebook?
After publishing your article, buzz in the first few hours is important to its success. It can be the difference between life or death for your article.
Question 9: Are these the best tags for this article?
Great tagging is important to the visibility of your article on Medium. Make sure they are relevant to your topic as well as your audience.
Here’s a good article with various tags for specific categories:
Quick note: You can also be made a top writer for consistent curation on articles with specific tags. I was made a top writer for movies after having 3 articles curated in film.
Question 10: If this article does go viral, would you be proud of it?
This is the final question you should be asking yourself. This question is crucial because the article you are about to publish could be posted everywhere.
You are putting your name on this article. Make sure you are okay with that. Is the quality at the level you are willing to put your name on forever?