Close
Close

Plan Your Next Week’s Posting Schedule

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Your task today in the 31 Day Project is to plan out a posting schedule for the next week of your blog.

Are You a Planner or an Impulsive Blogger?

When I first started blogging my posting style was incredibly impulsive. I would sit down at my computer with no idea what I was about to blog about on any given day and would just start writing.

While this style of blogging was fun and worked well in the early days – I found that it had some ‘costs’ associated with it:

  • Sporadic Posting Frequency - some days when I sat down to write – nothing came. On these days I would quite often not post anything.
  • Post Quality Varied – on days when I was on fire I could pump out a great quality post – while on other days when I was struggling I would often feel the pressure to post something – so would end up posting rubbishy posts.
  • Productivity Decreased - posting this way meant that I was spending more time blogging for less results. It took me away from other activities that I wanted to spend time on.
  • Lack of Momentum – from day to day posts were not really relating to each other. I found readers complaining that I was all over the place.

After blogging in this impulsive style for quite some time I realized that I needed to make a number of changes. One of these changes was to spend more time planning the coming week of blogging.

It actually happened quite by accident and through frustrating circumstances. Let me tell you a quick story:


How I became a Blogger that Planned

It all happened one morning when i sat down at my trusty ibook laptop (this is a few years back now) ready to blog. I opened the computer expecting to see the screen light up only to find myself with a flickering screen. I’d never seen anything like this before. The flickering continued for a few seconds and then made a little ‘pop’ sound before going black.

Hmmmm – not good.

The long and short of it was that my computer had died and when I took it in for repairs I was told that it would take 2 weeks to get the part needed to repair it and that they had no loan machines to keep me going in the mean time.

So what’s a blogger (who had recently gone full time) to do when he didn’t have a computer?

We were newly married and our credit cards were overloaded after our honeymoon so hiring a computer was out of the question – so I did the next best option – used my local libraries free net connections. I say libraries and not library because there was a limit of 45 minutes per day at my local library and so I spent 45 minutes in three different libraries each day during those two weeks.

My blogging time went from 8-10 hours a day to 2 hours and 15 minutes per day (less on the days that one of the libraries was closed).

On the first day that I did this I was so stressed. How could I possibly fit so much work into such a short period of time? I went home that night telling my wife that it just wasn’t possible and that my fledgling little business was over (I’m a bit of a drama queen). Here response was:

‘You need to blog smarter’.

I realized at that point that my blogging style was not smart or efficient and that I needed to develop a new system.

By the end of those two weeks I was pumping out more posts per week than I previously had – I was spending less time in front of the computer but increased output. The main reason that this happened was that I learned the power of planning my posts.

Each day before hitting the library circuit I sat down and mapped out what I would post that day. I’d brainstorm topics, titles and main points and then list them in order of priority for each blog. Then when I sat down at the computer to blog I was ready to go. The posts were half written because I had a topic, title and outline – blogging was almost like joining the dots.

My Current PrePosting WorkFlow

Since this time I’ve taken planning to a new level. I don’t sit down each day to do it – but generally do it on a weekly basis on Monday mornings (while most of the rest of the world are still having a weekend – one of the advantages of being in Australia). Here’s my process:

  1. I start by brainstorming topics (generally on a text file which sits on my desktop)
  2. With a list of topics I’ll then pick one to develop a little further (I open up a new text document for each post and save them to a ‘posts in progress’ folder on my desktop)
  3. I start by tweaking the topic into a post title (this sometimes change later as I actually write).
  4. Next I jot down a sentence that describes the post that I want to write – so that later when I come to write it I know what I meant by the title. This sentence often gets used as the first sentence of the actual post.
  5. I then will quickly brainstorm a few of the main points that I want to make in the post. I don’t take a lot of time on this as I find that most of the main points will come during the writing process – however if I have a few obvious points already in mind I capture them now
  6. I then quickly think back to previous posts that I might have written on similar topics. This is useful because it helps to develop your post but also is useful for interlinking posts
  7. Then I select another of the posts developed in step #1 and then go through steps #2 – 6 again with each one in turn.
  8. Once I’ve got enough post ideas developed for the week ahead I’ll then think about what order I want to post them in and map out a posting schedule for the week ahead.

I generally do this process on a blog by blog basis – so I’ll start with ProBlogger and try to come up with at least 7 posts for the week and then move onto Digital Photography School and then come up with 5 posts for the week (I only really post there on weekdays).

Of course my weekly blogging doesn’t always stick to what i plan on a Monday. I add to planned posts with news related posts and link posts that are inspired by what others are writing – but having the schedule is a great basis and takes a lot of the stress out of my week.

Since moving to this type of process I’ve found post frequency and quality is more consistent, productivity is up and I’m able to build more momentum on my blogs.

Your Homework Today is to Plan Your Next Week’s Blogging

So that’s my process – you don’t have to follow it exactly, feel free to adapt it to your own style and workflow but take it and spend a little time today mapping out the posts that you’ll write in the coming week on your blog.

Once you’ve done it – tell us in comments below how you found the process, how you adapted it and what other ideas you might have on being a productive blogger.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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. Kelvin says:

    I was more of an impulsive blogger when I just have my personal blog. Now I have a puppetry blog with weekly podcasts and due to the intense video editing I tend to do, I had to plan ahead. That’s when I got into a habit of planning ahead. I do not want to run out of materials suddenly, and I always have a few things queued up just suddenly in case I hit a podcaster’s block. Also, I like to film several episodes at once and then release them every week. (I do editing throughout the week.) So yeah, I turned into a planner out of necessity.

  2. ApOgEE says:

    I’m new in blogging. I learn a lot from this great blog. I can consider myself as impulsive and very slow blogger. I hope with this technique, I can improve my blogs and be more productive on blogging. Thanks Darren!

  3. Darren

    Even with a bad cold you deliver good thinking

    Feel better

    Serge
    ‘The French Guy from New Jersey’

  4. Shine says:

    Thanks Darren! I should be doing this… All the scenarios you depicted can be found in my blog – and undoubtedly it affects the consistency and quality of the posts.

  5. David Mackey says:

    I’m working towards this with my blog. I’d like to actually plan out around two weeks at a time.

  6. I feel the same way most of the people commenting seem to feel. I am glad i read this now. I have a couple of days off work this week and I plan on haulin’ tail to create some blog padding. I started doing some pre-planning today for the rest of the week. I have most of the articles ready to be written.

    This is perfect timing for me because I am a college student (Greenville.edu) and school is about to start up again. I need to have some sort of plan in place to keep putting content up once I go back to school. It seems to be working…I just need to continue.

  7. Junping says:

    As a beginner, I have yet experience a sick day in my blogging days. However, with your post, I’ve learnt how to cope with it. Thanks for the fantastic tips and guidance! Certainly helps beginners like me! Keep posting for us to learn!

  8. Darren, I just wanted to drop a comment to say I’m enjoying this better blog series immensely. Just when I thought you’d run out of things to say on the topic of blogging, you come out with possibly one of the most practically useful series of posts this year!

    I’m particularly loving the coaching style that comes with having homework assignments. I haven’t acted on all of them, but this planning post is something that I’ve been working on independently and I’m especially keen to progress. If you’re someone who works on multiple blogs, pre-planning is the smartest way to work.

  9. Eureka. Planning is what I needed. For years now I’ve been blogging only what would strike me as interesting enough to blog, personal life, news, whatever, no real focus. The past 2 or 3 weeks though things have started working better, after reading this I realize that it’s because I have started to plan without planning to. I have just been more diligent about keeping a written list of topics and already started blog posts.

    I like this idea of planning out a week in advance. Some people have a clear list of topics and every Monday will cover one topic, then Tuesday another, what do you think about that? Some of those sites I like, but I feel that they pin themselves down too much.

  10. Genesis says:

    This is the best post yet in this series!

    I try to plan ahead, but I´m not terribly consistent. Since my toddler hates me being on the computer, I have taken to writing out my blog post ideas in a notebook while he is playing outside. I have a notebook where the whole first half is specifically for ideas, separated by blog. Then the back half is again separated by blog and that is where I further develop the idea, writing out possible titles, points, etc.

    I certainly need to make this more of a constant thing. It´s hard getting everything organized, but well worth the effort! Maybe we should all lose our computers (just kidding, that would be a disaster!)

  11. Ryan Paul says:

    I’d much rather read a spontaneous blog based upon emotion and feeling than something that felt automated and robotic.

  12. Linda says:

    Great ideas! Planning is essential if you want to make a good living as a blogger I think. I really need to improve that! Thanks!

  13. alex miller says:

    Well, I have moved from an impulsive blogger to an impulsive planner! BUT, it sounds like this is the solution to ALL my problems! My life must not be that bad then huh?

    Thanks Darren.

  14. What a great post! I came in the middle of this series so I’m catching up.
    I have a list on my Palm Treo when an idea strikes me. However, I’m wanting a more scheduled approach – maybe writing them on a couple different days, and post dating them. Thanks for the inspiration and great info!

  15. dcrmom says:

    I do a little of both, because I tend to blog about what’s going on in my life at the moment. But I definitely write whatever is going on in my head and save them up in my draft folder, and I do a lot of “pre-publishing”. This is a great series! I’m just starting to read through them all.

  16. GP says:

    I tend to do both… get inspiration/idea and then come up with… a plan

    gp in montana

  17. Wow Darren, I read your post and took one of my blogging ideas and turned it into three post ideas in five minutes. I’m usually pretty impulsive, but your story really hit home. I manage my blogging time by working in 48 minute focused sessions, but your little tweak may help me take it to the next level..

    Thanks,

    John Richardson

  18. Ben Licher says:

    I use Google notebook and Google docs to plan my articles, collect ideas, using the same labels that I use on my blogs. I write down ideas in my scheduler when I’m not behind my laptop and put them in Google docs as soon as I can. Only when an article is ready to publish I put it in my WordPress blog, check it again and publish or timestamp it.

    It really works for me.

    I start writing series in one document. This gives me a better overview of what I’ve been writing and still have to write. When a part is published I mark it with a different color letter. I can refer to an article easier.

  19. Josh says:

    These are really great ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

  20. One problem I’ve found now that I preplan my week is that I’m constantly having fresh, new ideas. I know, it doesn’t sound like a problem does it? But it is, because I’ve already got a months worth of topics to write about and either need to slip this in somewhere or keep a note card going for all these ideas that just won’t fit into the current post schedule. My note card keeps growing!

    Another advantage of the preplanned schedule is when I’m browsing and find a website, article, or blog entry elsewhere that relates to an upcoming topic I can add the URL to my notes and link to it in the entry.

    It’s also fantastic for planning post series! Of course, post series just aggravate my first problem of too many ideas because it’s like having multiple entries on one expanded topic.

  21. Busy Mom says:

    I am the definition of “impulsive” blogger. Yeah, I know I hide it well, huh?

    You have inspired me to try to gain a little method to my madness.

  22. brown says:

    Quite good article, I’ll try to implement these ideas of planning. Thanks Darren!

  23. Freeware says:

    This is a really helpful post, I’m going to give this a try. Anything to help improve time management is a good thing!

  24. Great post. I followed the instructions for this week and next week’s posts. I’ve already got the next two weeks planned out, half of the posts are completed, and they are of higher quality than my regular posts. And it took less time!

  25. loue says:

    Great topic, I started blogging for fun and with my cousin’s inspiring sum that goes to her account. Now I’m seriously thinking of blogging as a way to earn extra bucks, but I always have the tendency to just start typing whtever i feel like writing, with your tips of planning what to blog. I think this is the best way to start best. thanks!