Introduction: Creating the post on CDN

In this post, I have described how I created the 3,500 4,400 word post about Content Delivery Networks. The tools, process I used, and the learnings from the experience are mentioned in this post. Specifically, using Otter.ai for speech to text, Ink App for copywriting, and using CDNs themselves for the post.

Creating the Epic Post

First and foremost, I used a paper and pen, and jotted down some of the basic points for this post. Namely, the CDNs or SAAS subscriptions I had used so far, which resources and tools to add to the post, where to do some research, and so on. Next, I used Otter.ai to actually record the basic text. And this happened when I was walking my dog yesterday. Once this was done, I exported the text, and did some cleaning up because there were a lot of errors. Moreover, it was unstructured and I realized I had to put some thought around making it more readable.

The raw text was mostly edited, which I put that into Ink App for helping with the copy or the copywriting as it is called. That is where the sentence length, also the grammatical errors, typos, and the sentence structures were all updated. Next, adding meta data or meta tags happened. It was slow, tiring, iterative and frustrating, but it gave me suggestions on making the article more reader friendly. Those iterations took the longest.

I already had a rough draft up, which actually I had published as a live version up on my blog post a day prior. It also had a few images embedded from different CDNs. And I went ahead and edited the raw HTML from the post.

Specific steps followed were as follows

a. Exported the output from Ink App to a markdown file. I used the Macdown Editor this time around, though typically I use iAWriter.

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b. Next, I did some basic formatting over there, and exported from markdown to HTML.

screenshot of Macdown Markdown editor with draft of a blog post by Amar Vyas

Using macdown editor

c. Finally, I updated the HTML on the website itself.

d. Once the website was up, I discovered that a theme I had used on the Content Management System (CMS) – Bludit, did not support responsive images and some tables were appearing funny. Therefore, I ended up changing the theme as well.

Using Ink App for copywriting

The Next Steps

In spite of multiple sanity checks and edits, there are  some typo’s broken links, and content wise, some additional things to do. The steps that are remaining are:

a. Make an audio narration of the text itself (which I will embed and time permitting)

b. Maybe do a slide show or a screenshot tour. That would be sort of a video version of this particular post.

Time Taken and Lessons Learnt

The total time taken for this post was about seven hours. That is, 7 hours for a 3,500 word blog post. It was for the first time that I wrote an epic post, so the time was not really a priority. Considering that it was a deep dive post, that too on a topic I had little information about as little as 6 months ago, I decided to give it all. It involved quite a bit of research, structuring and re-structuring the post, adding multiple formats of content.

But if I have to write similar posts on a periodic basis, let us say once every fortnight, then seven hours of time requirement is definitely not doable. In order to make the writing more sustainable, I need to find out a better process of that. The key is to do the recording in such a way that the errors in speech to text transcription are minimal. That is step number one. Step number two for me would be for me to first write down the key points, not just the bullet points. Getting the clarity up front will reduce the number of iterations from the copywriting app.

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image of Ink App showing keyword analysis for blog post

image logo of Otter.ai speech to text program

Image editing, creation and formatting took a lot of time. We used Stencil for this purpose, and maybe we will try Promo Republic next. Finally, I think instead of doing everything live on a server makes a lot of sense to put everything first in our markdown editor.

I might also compose the post in a markdown editor in offline mode going forward, and then past the HTML on the server. it might also cut down the waiting time form my side. The time spent in logging in, updating the content, waiting for the page to load for preview, etc. can be cut down this way. Most importantly in case internet is down, I can get 80% of the work still done. Last but not the least, the bottom 40% of the the CDN post does not have any images. This makes the text very text heavy. I do have a table and an image at the very end, but a visual break may be helpful from readability point of view.

You can listen to the audio version of my notes for this post by clicking below

Note that I had recorded this post literally while doing dishes, you may hear background noise. And the recording was in low quality mp3 which I have tried to clean up a bit to make it more listenable.

Narration-Post-on-CDN-AmarVyas-Apr2020

Note: all images for this post, except for the title/ feature image, are hosted on Publist / Rethink. I was finally able to get access to my account, thanks for help from their customer service team. Image form otter.ai obtained from the otter.ai website- Media Kit page.