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Mitch Joel asked me yesterday to take a few moments and add to his “how do you blog” meme, so I thought I’d share what I do. Blogging for me occurs as part of a larger content creation and curation process. Here’s the rough outline.

Idea Collection

I use Evernote nearly religiously for collecting bits and pieces of ideas. When I’m driving, when I’m at my desk, whenever, I jot things down, little fragments of ideas, words, phrases, etc. These can stay in Evernote for days or weeks until they start to coalesce and form more than just hooks. On any given day, one or more of these will leap out at me, asking to be written about. Today, for example, this post was top of mind, but there was another post on platforms and a martial arts kata that are going to see the light of day relatively soon.


Once I’ve decided on what that idea is going to be for the day – an analytics post, a concept, a cooking recipe, whatever – I head over to MarsEdit for the Mac, which is my favorite blog editor. Why? It’s dirt simple, the interface is spartan and stays out of my way, and it posts quickly and efficiently.

As I blog, I start thinking about ideas and themes. I typically try to match up the theme with some kind of imagery, either from my own photo catalog or from Flickr. Because I do make money off of this blog, I restrict myself to Creative Commons By Attribution photos that permit commercial use. While I’m not selling other people’s content, I am indirectly using it to earn revenue, so I use the strictest interpretation of that license.

Once the post is done – after many rewrites – I’ll publish it. But that’s not the end of the blogging process for me.


Next, I head over into my feed reader and pull out the remaining articles that will fill out #the5. I assemble this in Evernote as well, creating the list, writing the introductions, writing the article summaries, and formatting for the different social network platforms.

These get shared out in different formats to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. After distribution is done, I respond to comments as I can and move onto the fourth and final stage of blogging.


Much of the material I share during the week is valuable enough to make it into my weekly newsletter. The pieces that were shared get sliced up, categorized, and archived for publication each day after the distribution is done.

So there it is, the relatively short process of blogging for me.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


5 responses to “How I blog”

  1. Awesome! Thanks for playing along!

  2. I love what Mitch has asked of all of you, and I too find it fascinating how people blog, especially because there are so many different ways and what works for one person may not work at all for another. There’s also so many tools that can be useful not only for writing but for curating ideas. I have yet to embrace Evernote, but I should start trying, because one problem I tend to have is that I never have a useful tool to curate ideas in all aspects of life, not just blog post ideas. When I remember that I have to pay that bill, it will usually just float in and out of my head. But I digress.

    What I especially like to learn, and I’m not sure every blogger that respond’s to Mitch’s request will do this, but to specifically point out when they blog. Early morning before the day starts? Late at night when most others are asleep? Smack dab middle of the day? I’ve never found the sweet spot (I have written a few hundred posts, but I am by no means a pro blogger) and each time slot comes with pros and cons. Chris – when do you blog? 

    1. I’m very much an early morning blogger in terms of when I do the majority of the writing. Ideas are any time of day, but burn time is early morning before the rest of the world wakes up.

  3. abelniak Avatar

    I like this series that Mitch started here. I wonder if you’d be willing to create a similar oat, but instead of blogging, you could cover podcasting. I’m really interested in starting one of my own, and would like to get a ‘behind the curtain’ view of what you and John do.

  4. MarsEdit sounds to be a nice software. Because I’m on Windows machine, I use Windows Live Writer. Working with WLL is fine until I need to insert some features provided by plugins and has to land on dashboard. How is MarsEdit, don’t you need to log in to dashboard and can complete the publish process solely from the app?

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