Master blog post planning and scheduling10:16 AM
Gone are the days you could just sit down and write whenever your inspiration stroke. This might have worked when blogs were just personal diaries you shared with the world (welcome the 00's).
Blogging in the 10's means you got to keep a very consistent pace in your post publishing if you want people to keep reading you. Otherwise, they'll soon get bored of the erratic and rare blog post and move to greener pastures.
Greener pastures, aka blog that keeps coming with fresh content regularly.
This is usually where it gets though.
You see, we all have to juggle offline lives along with our online presence. There are meals to cook, homes to clean, social events to attend, kids to take care of and a whole lot of unpredictability to take into account
This all requires planning, a lot of planning.
Blog posts don't just happen out of thin air. Nowadays it requires often hours of your time to just get one post out (a thing I remind all those who keep stealing my pictures).
This blog would not be what it is now if it weren't for two things : 1) Blog Post Planning and 2) Blog Post Scheduling.
Blog post planning is that phase where you have your ideas, and need to decide how to use them and when. I myself keep a notebook with lists upon lists of possible blog posts topic. Whenever an idea strikes, it goes into the book, whether I am ready to use it or not.
The lists have grown so much over the years that I now keep topic specific lists. There are recipe lists, craft projects lists, and even season specific lists I use constantly.
Some of these post ideas have been left untouched for years now, simply because I am not in that place just yet (inspiration wise). Some make it to the list only to be used within a day or two.
Every week I make a little time to go through my lists and pick up topics I feel I can write about in the next 1-2 weeks and work on a draft (or two or three...creativity is a process). Whenever I write a draft, I also add a few lines about pictures to use at the end of it.
Whenever I have time to take said pictures, I'll go work on it.
At this point, my blog post is ready for the next step :
Blog post scheduling. For me, it takes two distinctive forms. There are the blog posts that I suddenly have time to write weeks in advance and schedule in "Blogger" and there are the posts I will write either the day before or on the day it is meant to go live.
Usually, by the time I have a good draft and a set of picture ready, I go ahead and write it in Blogger. Even if the post is so seasonal it cannot be published right away. This is often the case with my Christmas and season specific posts. Sometimes they are planned and written a year before they are due to go live.
For example I could have a great salad recipe that would be best suited for a hot Summer day, but have all the essential means to publish right away (except the right season and mood), if that happens, I will simply set the publishing date in the future. In Blogger, you can do that simply by clicking the "Schedule" option on your right hand menu and select the date and time you want it to go live.
When I do that kind of scheduling, I also write down about it in my day planner so that I remember something is going to go live on that day. I do so for two reasons, the first one being that I will want to give that post some "Promoting Love" when it goes live. The second reason being that I do not want to just publish two posts on that day.
Because you see, I also do short term scheduling. Every Saturdays, I sit down with my blog lists, my drafts, and my day planner, deciding what can be reasonably published in the week ahead. I check if my schedule allows me to work on pictures I might not have, or drafts that need to be perfected.
By schedule, I of course mean anything else that isn't blog related. If my week is jammed packed with other events and obligations, I will keep the blog post schedule much lighter for that week.
Regardless, I aim at a minimum of one post a week.
My ideal pace being 3-4 blog posts published a week. This is a pace I can keep because I made my blog my day job, and I have a daughter going to school full time. But even when she wasn't I would plan ahead so that this minimum of one post a week would go live on the blog. I'm not going to lie, it was at times easier when blog posts weren't expected to come with pictures, but those days are gone, especially for personal and lifestyle blogs.
My best advice to anybody going into blogging is to keep writing, often, if not daily. What you write may not be publishing worthy at this point, but at least you have a draft to work with. And whenever something is ready to be published, go ahead and schedule it. Schedule it in such a way that you general publishing pace is maintained. So that if your personal goal is to have two blog posts a week, but have 6 posts ready you can span them over the next few weeks.
How do you approach blog post writing? What is your process? Do you plan ahead and schedule? How do you do it? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.