Close
Close

Blogging’s Most Underused Feature: Future Posts

This post was written by Glen Stansberry of LifeDev (feed). Check out LifeDev for more tips on using tools to make your life more productive.

Creating posts for the future is an extremely valuable and overlooked feature in most blogging platforms. Interestingly, the majority of people don’t even know that this feature exists in most blogging tools. Yet I’d argue that it’s one of the most important features, at least in terms of being productive.

Basic productivity is aided by dividing up your tasks by the tools that are used to complete them. For example, if you’re going to be on the phone, make all of your calls in one sitting. By grouping together your tasks by tools, you can complete the tasks quicker. If you’ve heard anything about GTD (Getting Things Done), this will sound familiar to you.

For our purposes, the tasks are blog posts and the tool is your blogging platform (IE WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, etc.). So if you want to be uber-productive, this means writing multiple posts in one sitting. In fact, you could even crank out some/most of your posts for the week in one sitting, depending on the type of blog you have. (This method doesn’t work well for news breaking blogs.) Just write them up, and set your post to publish in the future. Easy peasy.

Try it out and see how much time you’ll save with blogging in the future. And for that matter, if you’re interested in learning more about GTD, check out my GTD Cheatsheet Series for a head start.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. thibault says:

    I love the ‘future post’ feature. I’ve even added a ‘coundown to the next post’ into my blog. I think this is increasing suspense, and encourageing readers to come back.

  2. Nocturnal says:

    I myself just learned about this feature not too long ago. I’ve used it once since but since my blog pertains to future events, it’s kind of hard to predict what type of issue I’m going to be writing about lol.

  3. I’m about 2 months ahead on posts, but I’m planning to work up to 6 months. I am going to have a (second) baby in the fall and I want to be able to do nothing but moderate and write impromptu posts.

  4. I definitely agree!

    I suppose the key is to balance those “canned” future posts with the immediately relevant “fresh” posts.

    -Jason

  5. Koby says:

    I was doing this for 6 months and got out of the habit about 2 months back. It is a great way to fill your blog with content without very much effort.

    My problem was I ran out of “series” ideas so that kind of put brakes on my weekend writing 1-2 weeks in advance.

    However, I agree that this is something that can greatly help bloggers get more posts and I am going to attempt to get back into the habit after reading this post.

    Good work!

  6. Steve Madsen says:

    I do most of my writing on the weekends and then set each article to post on a different day. During the week I tweak posts that have not left the building yet and whip out quick posts about issues I have seen in the press or elsewhere in the blogosphere.

    Without the future post feature, my blog would be a feast or famine affair.

  7. Terry says:

    I would love to start doing this. However, I use the Blogger platform and I can’t find a way for posts to be automatically published on a certain date. I can forward-date them, but they publish instantly… with the future date. Any ideas?

    Right now, I’ll just “save as draft” with the future date… or even type them out in OpenOffice and use the Email-toBlog feature. It would be nice if all that could be automated.

  8. I’ve been quite disciplined about this and I’ve been writing my ‘blog posts over the weekends for a while, now.

    It’s great for several reasons, not lest that I can create interconnected articles, which flow rather than juddering, as they might do if you’re just linking from one to t’other.

    I also like to throw in some weekend personal posts, to thank people .. you know? The usual social chores…

  9. Al says:

    I absolutely agree. Between a day job, commuting, children, homeownership, and trying to find time to spend with my wife, I really need to maximize my blogging during the time I have to do it. Fortunately, my topic lends itself to creating content in advance. If there is a breaking news item I want to cover I’ll move one of my future posts.

  10. Harry L says:

    Another advantage to writing your posts in advance is that it gives you a chance to sharpen up posts if you think of another idea before they are published. I find the posts i write ahead of time usually end up being better than ones done with little or no lead time.

  11. Luis says:

    I started using future posts as soon as I discovered how to schedule posts. I don’t usually schedule more than a week in advance, but I’m in the middle of writing a series that I think will spread out over several months.

    This is definitely one of the most useful features I’ve learned about.

  12. This is a great feature and I often use it, especially when I know I’m going to be busy for a few days. Just write a post for a future date, publish, then you can sit back and count on having new posts published. Thanks for the reminder for everyone else, though!

  13. Brad says:

    I try to use this feature when I can, but the problem is that a lot of my posts regard current events in my field.

    For more general posts though, I try to write them beforehand (usually on the weekends) so I have a nice bank of posts throughout the week when I’m busy with other stuff.

    Great post though! Thanks!

  14. Roberta says:

    I agree with Glen on this…great post. I like to sit down sometimes and crank out some of my best posts in one day. If I put them all out in one day, I look lazy until I get the notion to do it again.

  15. Nathania Johnson says:

    I think this is a great idea. I tried it last week for the first time, and I really liked it.

    Also, I was doing keyword research for the first time for one of my new-ish blogs and the long tail phrases gave me so many ideas for blog posts – based on what people are actually searching for.

    I copied and pasted the keyword suggestions into a Word doc and grouped them by category.

  16. Definitely a great feature – don’t know where we’d be without it. It really clicked for me how useful this feature was last year when I had 6 blogs on the go at the one time.

    If you can get the right balance going it can actually help you to .. ahem, get things done and be more productive in other areas.

  17. Wallet Rehab says:

    I wrote about this feature a couple weeks ago. I realize now that I have changed my entire blog management strategy to using featured posts. My writing ebbs and flows. There are days that I am super-productive, and can crank out a bunch of posts. And then there are days where I just sit there and insult myself for ever thinking I could do this. Future scheduling allows me to make full use of those good days.

    http://www.walletrehab.com/my-biggest-blogging-mistake/

  18. I’m like some of the other bloggers – when I’m productive I can sit there for 12 hours and write 10,000 words easy. On days I’m not productive I can STILL write 800 words for a post but it’s kind of a chore to drag them outta my lazy brain. Neurons are either firing or they’re not. I’m not all that happy about writing when they’re not firing. I appreciate the post to the future feature in Blogger and I use it a few times a week on days when I’m cranking.

  19. Vyoma says:

    Same here. I use future posts at Splat and KalaaLog as the majority of above commenters.

    But the only thing that I do not like much about it is that the pingbacks and trackbacks sent to other blogs are quite sporadic. Some times they go way before the date, and sometimes they do not go at all.

  20. Mike says:

    Wow! 6 months in advanced! I’m just trying to keep up with a post a day. But I must say this has really motivated me to start writing for the future instead of trying to play catch up. Thanks!

  21. Shaun Carter says:

    I learned about this feature a couple weeks ago and it has made a tremendous difference in the way I write. Now when I am on a roll I can write one article after another and just space them out in the future so when I’m having writer’s block I don’t have to worry about my blog falling silent.

  22. Jake says:

    i already do this, my posts are planned around 3 days ahead. that way ill never run out of content.

    p.s if anyone wants a link from my site all you have to do is comment on my site 10 times and i will link to your site. read the rules at http://www.undergroundrevolt.org/comment-for-a-link-back/

  23. Rick says:

    I’ve used this feature in the past as well. However, I’d hate to over rely on them, just because what you have to say won’t come out as fresh and relevant as if you just wrote it. Kind of like leaving a can of tuna open on the counter and coming back to it later. Yeah.

  24. Shaine Mata says:

    I have started building up future posts. What I have done is post the title of a post when I get an idea. Later, when there is time, I will write a bit more. Sometimes I develop several posts, one after the other, that have been set up for the future. My aim is to develop more complex posts over time; I also crank out some posts in one sitting. I figure that I can just pull one of the pre-made ideas on days that I’m not particularly inspired to write.

  25. I’m using the “draft” feature of blogger to draft future posts. Writing multiple posts in on sitting does not work with me, so I write drafts whenever I have a new idea for a blog post.

  26. Lindsey says:

    I’m new to blogging, and this site, as well as this post, is extremely helpful. My goal is to have two to three posts a day, which is proving to be very time consuming. But perhaps with the info in this article I’ll be able to more efficiently manage the blog. Feel free to check it out at http://www.cutepetopia.com

  27. Does anybody know how to troubleshoot the “Scheduled” setting in MoveableType? I can see the “Unpublished, Published, and Scheduled” options but the “scheduled” option does not publish at the appointed time.

    Thanks!

  28. hanneng says:

    I often used future post or scheduled post, especially tutorial, or series. This save my time as I write as many posts at one sitting.

  29. Matt Jones says:

    Thats an interesting idea but its pretty difficult to implement. I don’t usually have that much to write about in one sitting! The routine is to read the small bunch of blogs I read each day, check all my stats/earnings. I normaly find some new blogs during this process as well.

    All that reading stimulates me to write something. To use your idea I would have to be reading all week, and REMEMBER everything I had read. This would never happen!

    Matt

  30. shangning says:

    I have writted a plugin for wordpress to do this function, I named it “article forecast”, you can download the plugin from: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/article-forecast/

    this plugin is simple now, and i will improving it some days later, and please visiting my blog read more about it: http://shangning.net

  31. I’ve been trying to figure out if I could do this on the Blogger platform and came across the right button last night. I started writing the post a couple of days ago. On Blogger you can “publish” or “save as draft”.

    When you save a draft though, it keeps the date you wrote the post as the posting date, not the day you actually posted it if you wait a day or longer. You have to use the “Post Options” button at the bottom of the editing screen to change the date and time to match your actuall posting details. I’ll be using it more because it’s a helpful feature to have when a writing brainstorm kicks in.

    Thanks for the tip Glen. Like you say, planning is everything and it does make life easier.

  32. jen says:

    I totally use the future post thing. It’s definitely a great feature.

  33. Viriatha says:

    Terapad has this. When you publish the post, it pings the aggregators for you, too. I think mine pings 13 of them right now. It certainly makes my day alot easier given previous advice here to watch when people read. I can’t write while making dinner easily, but I can just pop over and click a button :P

  34. Rob O. says:

    I’m with Wayne & Martin – Blogger doesn’t really support this. And I dislike the way the “Save as draft” feature datestamps my posts and also the order in which they appear in the RSS feed. So I just craft future posts offline in a text editor and store them in a “Future Posts” folder. Certainly not as nice as being able to ‘future post,’ but a workable option just the same.

  35. Jay Wilson says:

    Between writing professionally, keeping my work out regimen, and socializing with friends, crafting future posts keeps me ahead of the game. I usually devote lazy Sundays to writing a bunch of posts, which I complement with other posts throughout the week. I honestly couldn’t imagine churning out “live” posts each day with no backup!

  36. AmerM says:

    The idea is really interesting (virtually) since I really tried that but what happened is saving a lot of drafts, because there was no time to finish more than one post at a time, saving drafts for future is excellent when you got time and you don’t know what to write about, this is really interesting blog, amazing articles and tips.

  37. Stephanie says:

    I’ve been using this for a while, although I don’t always set the post date. Often I’ll just save as draft anything that doesn’t matter as to when I publish it, so that I mix up impromptu posts with prewritten ones.

    The one trouble, if I understand things right, is whether or not WordPress will ping at the right time.

  38. jorge says:

    I wrote a comment recently. I knew you will not publish it. I was in the truth. Desbelieve from people telling you they will help you to ear money for free. You are not an exception. Good luck.

  39. PAULA MOONEY says:

    Yes, it will be a wonderful day in heaven when I can write up five Diggable, spankin’ good posts, auto-schedule them on Blogger and have them each publish and auto-ping and auto-submit to Search Engines whilst I suck down a chocolate Martini in Figi…

    Are you listening, Blogger techies?

    Their developers are pretty good!

  40. Darren Rowse says:

    jorge – not sure what the comment was – I can’t see one. I publish everyone’s comments unless I consider them to be spammy, defamatory or hateful.

    Some comments do get caught up in the spam filter mistakenly – apologies if this is what happened.

  41. Gdog says:

    If Blogger could implement a future post feature, that would be icing on the cake.

  42. Jonathan-C. says:

    Great post Glen, i used the timestamp feature in wordpress all the time, i could use it more, like writing a weeks’ worth of posts in one day and then focus on other stuff, but still gotta find topics and things to talk about, which is hard to do in one day.

  43. Michelle says:

    Yup, use this all the time. I only write when I’m feeling productive (though sometimes it takes some prodding) and then I write like crazy and always have a week’s worth of posts ready to go. Kind of like emergency food stores or something.

  44. starleads says:

    I guess blogger does nt have this feature. It is helpful no doubt.

  45. rjlight says:

    yeah, I have done that a few times when I know I will be gone –only one time I set the wrong time…and it was a time-sensitive post – oh well.

  46. Peter Chen says:

    Been reading about the problems of future posting feature being not available for Blogger. Don’t know how many Blogger users read this blog, but if you happened to be one, and you want to be able to prepare a post to be published in the future automatically (not by saving as draft), there is a work around. Read this post:

    How to prepare a post to be published in the future with Blogger

    Peter

  47. Peter Chen says:

    Ha. Didn’t know HTML not allowed here. The URL of that post is
    http://blogger-tricks.blogspot.com/2006/08/how-to-prepare-post-to-be-published-in.html

  48. raj says:

    This is very good advice. I future-date as much as possible on WordPress. I actually dislike Typepad and Movable Type) for this very reason. Both let you future-date but it does not function correctly unless you are the primary author. So when I guest on blogs with these platforms, it messes up my scheduling.

  49. Travis says:

    Thanks for reminding me about this feature of wordpress! Pure gold! Tried it out yesterday and it worked like a charm. I have been percolating on an idea for a series post and this is the perfect way to get rolling on it.

    Thanks a ton!

  50. JoLynn says:

    I use wordpress and I would have been lost without the ability to future date my posts. I had a trip planned for 4-04 through 4-11, so I did an intense blogging marathon 3 days before leaving and set up my posts. They all went off like clock work and I just checked in each day to verify there weren’t any problems and to reply to comments.

    I don’t see myself needing to use this again for a long time, however I love this feature of wordpress.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 14th, 2007 · No Comments As a fellow blogger, and GTD afficionado, I use the post to the future feature a lot. I live inthe UK, but write for a US blog network. In wordpress, all you do is click on edit time stamp, then change the date and time to when you want to post, the publish. You can still see the post from the Manage posts menu on the Dashboard.read more | digg story No TagsTags Blog Writing [...]

  2. [...] In a recent post by Glen Stansberry at ProBlogger, Glen talks about blogging’s most underused feature, setting up future posts. [...]

  3. [...] a blog series is to write it all before you hit publish. Just by writing them all up, and use the advanced posting feature to automate the process over a few days (or however long your blog series is), you can kick back [...]

  4. [...] future posts, so I wont elaborate on it (if you wish you can check out article on this topic at ProBlogger). Instead I am going to present a little known plugin that should help bloggers using Future Posts [...]

  5. 00 | Splat says:

    [...] all the aspiring pro-bloggers out there, you must have already read Darren’s post on future publishing.  But many times, the post is in a state when it cannot be published and needs a bit more input [...]