How’s your blogging week been?
A little bit chaotic if you’re doing the school holiday juggle like me?
It’s times like during holidays that I really do rely on the organised part of my brain to get me through to the other side … while still attempting to publish good, consistent content on my blog.
I want to do stuff with my kids so I work around them, often jumping on the computer at night after spending the day with them at the beach.
So, if you email me at the moment this is what you’ll receive back from me:
Hi, part of the reason I went into business for myself was to be more flexible and more available for my kids … so over the next couple of weeks if I don’t respond to your email so quickly, it’s just that I’m off doing important and fun stuff with them. If the matter is urgent please text me. Thanks for understanding. Nikki
It’s not unusual for me to receive on average 300 emails a day so this auto-reply is essential for my business, my sanity and a bit of balance.
Many bloggers take breaks. That’s fine. You should feel that you can.
Many bloggers write and schedule ahead. This is fine too.
Since this blog became my full-time job, I aim to publish every day. I’m not saying you should do that. Not at all.
Blogging is about finding what works for you, your life and your time.
I’ve been asked a lot about how I schedule and plan my posts so today I thought I’d share that with you.
But before I do that, I’d like to let you in on a little secret.
Want to know why?
I come from a media background where I could write something up to two weeks before it was published and read by my readers. It was a bit frustrating.
Now, the excitement of knowing that I could – if I wanted to – get on my blog and publish something in five minutes is always in the back of my mind.
That immediacy in publishing is a super power we have in the media landscape.
So, in my mind, we should use it.
I believe it’s essential that my blog post writing remains relevant to what else is going on in and around the world, my neighbourhood and in my home.
The journo in me thinks it’s “old news” to write a post about what’s going on in my world today, only to schedule it and publish it in two weeks time.
Mostly I’ll write a post the day or night before it’s published. I schedule my posts to publish at the same time every morning. We are all creatures of habits and this consistency has worked in building my readership.
However. Within that consistency of publishing, I want to have enough breathing space in my schedule to react to something that’s happening around me and write about that instead.
1. Planning a blog posting schedule is good for maintaining diverse content on your blog. I blog mainly about fashion and beauty but throw in a weekly blogging post and a bit of lifestyle as well. I need to make sure I’m keeping a good balance of my main topics because that’s what my readers come to Styling You for.
2. If you have a monthly, weekly or daily plan, you have a framework within which you can work. It means you don’t have to sit staring at blank screen waiting for inspiration to strike. I have draft post ideas earmarked for dates up to a month ahead. Every Friday I’ll look at the posts for the following week and see how I feel about what I’ve put down to write. If I’m not “feeling” a certain post or I’ve come up with an idea that excites me more, I’ll switch it around. I apply this same test each day when reviewing what I’ve drafted for the next day. If it’s not exciting me, there’s a fair chance it’s not going to be exciting for you to read!
3. Creating a posting schedule is a great way to keep your post ideas in the one place. I use the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin (see below).
4. If you’re working with a loose post scheduling structure, you can better test which posts get the better responses. If I re-jig the diversity of my content and move around the days on which I post on my different topics, I can check whether that is a good or a bad move. If it turns out a bad move we can just forget it ever happened.
5. A schedule helps me to ensure that my sponsored content is not publishing too close together. This is for both keeping a good balance of advertising and editorial on my blog but also to ensure that those brands partnering with me get the best possible exposure too.
1. A good email folder filing system. I need to manage my email inbox well for my sanity and for keeping possible post ideas (press releases) in places that are logical for me to find. Happiness for me is a cleared inbox. Even if there are hundreds of “flagged” emails just dragged out of the inbox and into folders. Someone looking at my email filing system may not see the same logic.
2. WordPress editorial calendar plugin. I’ve been using this for a couple of years now and could not imagine blogging without it. It’s installed in my dashboard and looks like the boxes you’d find on a regular wall calendar. I can look at a month at a time, scroll back and forward and start draft posts attached to certain dates. The big, big win for me is that, as I’ve said above, I like to change my mind and go off schedule. With this plugin, it’s an easy drag and drop to a new date. Or a delete if I’ve really gone off the idea. If you’re on WordPress, you’re mad if you don’t use this.
3. Evernote. I don’t use Evernote so much for my blog post drafting but I know a lot of bloggers do. How I use Evernote for blog posting ideas or linking and sharing is that I “clip” blog posts from my FeeddlerPro RSS Google Reader app straight to Evernote. This files them ready for me to look at and possibly use at a later date.
4. An old-school notebook. Now, some may say I still use a notebook just because it gives me the tax-deductible licence to buy pretty stationery on a regular basis. They may be right. I do love my notebook for creating a daily to-do list. Something I can keep on my desk and look to see how much I haven’t got finished in a day.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way when it comes to scheduling or not scheduling and planning your blog posts. It’s a matter of coming up with a system or routine that works for you.
Do you plan your blog content in advance? Do you write in advance? Do you write in a block and schedule? Tell me how you do it?
Thanks so much to everyone who plays along with my Saturday blogging linky. Sharing your blogging knowledge with other bloggers and potential bloggers really is how this blogging world best goes round. It’s a bit like having a mini online conference here every week.
Remember if you want to join in, just add your link below. The link needs to be to a post ABOUT BLOGGING (all others will be deleted). Please fill in the box where it says “name” like this: BLOG NAME: Blog post title. That way your blog gets a plug and if you include the title of your post, you’ll attract readers interested in the topic.