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. I do this all the time! My draft bar piles up with stuff to write about.

    Hell, I pre-publish my stuff so it goes up while I’m at the gym or in the sauna ;).

  2. Dan Cole says:

    I have a similar way, but I don’t think it’s that in depth. Mine developed because I thought up so many good ideas in a few minutes, so I just kept doing it because it was easier. Derren, you should have had some friends with an extra computer. I have a friend who has about 20 computers… although so of them have Windows 95 or earlier installed.

  3. Laura says:

    I think this is a good idea and can be liberating in terms of freeing one from the constant pressure of having to produce content. One drawback that I’ve found is that relying solely on preplanned posts negatively impacts my ability to quickly respond and react to other posts.

  4. Melissa F. says:

    Wow. Really cool ideas. Thanks Darren and thanks for the job board! I recently got an additional job thanks to you. :-)

  5. MDB says:

    Ah…. its nice to see into the mind of a pro. That idea of the “impulsive blogger” fits me perfectly. I’ll give it a go for next week… my week starts on a Sunday! But I think it will give my mind a rest knowing what is planned for the week. Great stuff!

  6. Koen says:

    I’m a very impulsive blogger too, and that costs much time, I guess now. I will start being less impulsive and more planning!

    Thanks for today’s task/tip!

  7. Darren — Amazing Post.. I find if I don’t write things down in a to-do format, I find myself checking gmail 50 times a day.

  8. Thanks Darren. I tend to be more haphazard in how I post. I have a list of potential topics and I generally have an idea how my posting week will begin, but I’ve felt for awhile I could be more efficient in my blogging process.

    I like this approach and think I’ll give it a try starting today.

  9. Crazykinux says:

    This is the only way for me to post everyday! In the end my drafts may get shuffled, but it still allows me to stick to my blogging schedule!

  10. Josh says:

    Definately agree. I keep a txt file with my topic ideas and pull from there to write sporadically. I am trying to lean towards a more organized approach.

  11. Glen Allsopp says:

    Im quite proud of myself that as soon as i started my new blog i was doing this before i ever read about doing it

    Nice post

  12. Melissa says:

    This is a great idea, with a one year old and a newborn I often have a hard time finding time to blog.These tips could help me use my time more effectively!

  13. Jul says:

    That was a great exercise. Just by sitting down and getting in the planning mindset led to several new post ideas. I think I’ll try to work out my own weekly process for this. Thanks, Darren!

  14. Rhys says:

    I’ve already got posts upto next wednesday on two blogs set up. Can I skip this week’s homework? :)

  15. Vincent Liu says:

    I’m still undecided what I should be focused in and I tend to write about things all over the shop without a specific direction in mind. It’s probably a good reminder to just plan to write to keep myself in focus. Great tip.

  16. James Joyner says:

    This strategy is most effective for an essay or How To blog. I’m not sure how this could be applied to a current events-oriented blog, whether on politics, sports, or pop culture. Those are mostly reactive in their nature, methinks.

  17. Deborah says:

    WOW I just read about this concept over at one-penny-project on blogspot a few days ago. I really need to start following this idea.

  18. Mike Goad says:

    OK, the next week’s planned. Hope it works!

    Attempts to be more organized has always been my downfall. I used to constantly try to be more organized – only to slide back to my old habits. Even though I’m retired, it’s still sometimes an issue, especially when we’re traveling. In fact, I’ve been trying to figure out how to make sure that I blog regularly and consistently on our next trip.

    One thing I’ve been doing is carrying around a little notebook to jot down ideas for a blog post. I’m constantly thinking about writing and even laying out in my mind how I’m going to say something in a blog. However, when I try to recall it later, I often draw a blank. The notebook helps.

  19. Mike Panic says:

    For me, planning that far ahead usually doesn’t work since my blog more often than not features current events. I do fully take advantage of the post timestamp option in WP though and for those articles which don’t need to go live right away get pushed back a day or two to auto-post.

    I won’t bother spamming, but there was an article posted on my blog this past weekend with the youtube footage from Jake Brown’s insane fall at the X-Games. Because I posted it so shortly after it happened, I got listed on the first page of Google right away. By the next day I was the second link in the search query.

    For others who create content, like this site and your DPS site, planning ahead makes sense. Often though, I’m giving a rebutal to something that has happened elsewhere in the blogsphere and time is of the essence.

  20. Webomatica says:

    These are great tips. Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention – regarding your imposed limit of only a few hours a day at the computer.

  21. RobMalon says:

    I do something simular with the desktop/notepad thing. I get ideas everyday and I write a short sloppy paragraph that will jog my memory the next time I look at it. For some of the blogging tips I’m submitting as part of this 31 days thing, all I’m having to do is find the ideas that relate to blogging and develop them more. Sometimes it just needs a spell check in some cases! …I can get carried away when I write down my ideas ;)

  22. Adnan says:

    I wish I did plan my posts. Whenever I have tried to in the past, I’ve never been able to stick to my plan and end up randomly surfing the net – which is quite annoying. I’ll try again though for my other blogs and see how things go. Great story as well, makes you wonder what you would do if you couldn’t use the net!

  23. Jeremy says:

    This is something that I seriously need to revise in how I approach blogging. Too much time spent thinking, not enough spent blogging – and that is a result of not putting in enough time and effort to plan well.

    It’s not so easy at times, though.

  24. I have a huge list of topics to write about in advance, and I use it as my back-up, if I can’t figure out what to write for any given day. This strategy works well, but generally, I always have something to write about.

  25. Sue says:

    Like a few others, my blog is based on news, so planning ahead isn’t an option. I have used the post timestamp, though, as I’d rather not post more than once per day, unless it’s something important. And the only thing that has been “important” in the world of lighthouse news lately has been PETA’s attempts to qualify for an excessed lighthouse. :D
    In fact, that story actually led me to do an opinon piece, which is something I don’t normally do. And also to contact the two groups “vying” for the haunted lighthouse to get their takes on the issues. But if my blogs were based on how-tos, or product reviews, then organization of some sort is definitely the way to go.

  26. Bachelorium says:

    I’ve always written down blogging ideas, they usually come at the most awkward of moments… on a date while at dinner!

  27. Jim Moon says:

    Great concept ! Using your advice I am currently planning my upcoming weeks posts. This will definitley help aleviate the “Scatter Brained” postings, which is my current style.

    Thanks !

  28. Emma says:

    The more experience I get with blogging. The more I notice how right on your advice is. This is a great assignment. I’ve actually been toying with this recently anyway. Content creation is a lot of work. Who Knew?

  29. Eileen says:

    For one blog, I have a long list of topics I’m ready to write on, just in case. But usually something comes up that seems more urgent to blog on. I am an expert in my field and have plenty to blog on here.

    For my other blog, you’ll be happy to know I followed your suggestions in a previous post about being sure to choose a topic you’ll still have something to say on in a year or more, and also that if you want to learn about an area starting a blog on it is a great way. But what I’m finding is that I need to do a LOT more research of some of the topics I want to write about before I can have anything worthwhile to say. So as a fall-back, I go to others’ websites with my tag surfers to see what they are discussing. I might write an opinion on their website on mine, and give a link to that person’s blog for people who want to investigate more.

    I so much appreciate your blog since I found it a few weeks ago, and I have it on my RSS feed (just learned how to do that a week ago).

  30. Mike says:

    This is a very well-timed post. At 4 months in, I’m kind of suffering from the disorganization syndrome. I’ve been working on impulse and just like you said, some days it’s there, some days it’s not.

    I’m not a professional blogger, but I find that I get stressed out when the ideas aren’t flowing because I still want to build and maintain a strong readership.

    I’ve set aside Monday as an “off” day, but I think I’ll start to use that as a planning day instead.

  31. Excellent Post! I really needed this because lately my posting schedule has been very haphazard and will be more when the baby arrives! :D You are truly an inspiration. Cheers

  32. Brad V. says:

    Wow, Great Post! Nothing like a broken computer to get your bum into gear, huh? :-)

    I’m definitely still an “impulsive” blogger, but I’m slowly moving toward the “planning” end of the spectrum. Since much of my blog depends on news in the world of literature, it’s hard to plan for interesting stories that might arise throughout the week.

    But I am starting to think ahead. I’ve been planning more general posts, writing them and saving them in Word. Then, on slow news days, I use those posts. More and more of my posting is done this way.

    For the most part, my blog is still “all over the place” in the world of literature. It’s a very broad topic and I love it all. So I’m thinking about making certain days of the week “Writing Tips” days, and others “Literary News” days, etc. That way a reader knows what to expect and isn’t guessing what I’ll write about on any given day.

    Certainly this post shows that for a serious blogger, there is much more to blogging than just sitting down at a computer and pounding out a few sentences. If one wants to be successful in this business, they must treat it like a business – with all the planning and attention to detail that’s involved. I’m just starting to learn that.

    But again, great post!!! This site is an invaluable asset to my own blogging education! Thanks!! Keep up the good work!

  33. John Cow says:

    So, what ever happened to the poor iBook?

  34. Thanks for the idea, I need to carry a notebook around with me, I always think of great topics and even most of the post then forget them before i get to my computer.

  35. I preplan my posts most of the time, unless something comes to me suddenly and I’m able to post right then, I’m usually a pre-planning blogger. My drafts cloud the top of my wordpress…

    As my traffic has picked up slightly, I find myself feeling guilty and pressured if I don’t have three posts at least ready by Sunday night, call it my work ethic or whatever…but I just don’t want to bore people, lol.

    Your post over the weekend about reworking the About Page, really worked out for me, shortly after I reworked mine, some of my older posts started seeing renewed hits. Thanks – a gem of an idea!

    I see why you are the Problogger! :)

  36. Dadviser says:

    Ha ha, yeah if you still had that iBook, I bet it would fetch a pretty penny on ebay with many of your minions dying to get hold of a blogging artifact.

    Yet another way for Darren to monetize his site…mention his old crap and watch us snipe each other on bids to the death.

  37. Chris says:

    I think it’s important to note that not only does it make blogging easier, planning posts ahead of time also creates a consistent flow of content that attracts readers and keeps them reading.

  38. Ryan says:

    I never post on a schedule and pretty much talk crap almost every time I write.

    Hardly anyone ever comes to my blog anyway so it doesn’t really matter whether I talk crap or talk sense.

  39. Benoit says:

    Excellent article, in particular for the description of your workflow. I am really new to blogging (http://myfrencheasel.blogspot.com/) and I agree it is easy to disperse your efforts and have erratic posting, in particular when you want to build-up the content. 3 things I use to work on my posts:
    - my Molesquine notebook to write down any ideas for articles, titles, etc.
    - Drawing mindmaps to develop a chosen topic and find new angles,
    - An incubator file: this is a plastic folder with tabs where I put the initial draft and research I am doing for the diiferent entries I am working on. This way, I can keep an eye on articles which are not yet ready for publication but can be worked over time.

  40. PhoneBoy says:

    The reason I started doing this is because I get paid to blog on a couple of blogs (http://www.voip-weblog.com and http://www.gadgets-weblog.com). Part of my pay is based on meeting a certain posting commitment per week. And the posts should be relatively spaced out.

    I started on these blogs right around the time I was physically moving. I had no idea when I was going to have time or an Internet connection to do the research, let alone do all the posting. So I began to queue up a series of posts. And I even started doing it for my own tech blog (http://www.phoneboy.com).

    The nice thing is that even if there’s something I want to post today, I can simply move the queue around–though going in and editing posting dates is somewhat irritating to do. If I post an extra post in a day, it’s not a huge deal.

    Now every day (weekdays only on VoIP Weblog), there’s a post ready that comes out around the same time each day. I also have the flexibility to be spontaneous as well. It’s a wonderful system.

  41. I do this too. I find that it’s a great way to increase productivity. The quicker I can get my post out of the way, the more time it leaves for other important tasks like promotion, submitting articles, etc.

    Another great tip is to scan other blogs for topics that might interest you. I find this is a great source for picking up material. Just scanning topics at another blog gives me a great resource for things I haven’t written about in mine yet. I don’t copy their material, but I will (on occasion) re-use their topic.

    Save all of this in a notepad and it makes an excellent source of “rainy day” articles.

  42. Lucia says:

    I do both planned and impulsive blogging. In fact, if I didn’t do impulsive blogging, I wouldn’t be able to respond to other blogs and have blog conversations. Still, if I want to post 5 days a week, I need to pre-plan 2 or 3 posts.

  43. Matt Jones says:

    I had a plan for this week and part of next week before you posted this so I’ll just outline my plan:

    1. Write 5 part series of tips to improve PageRank. Submit each one to the Problogger 31 day project.
    2. Write an extra post every day to use next week when out partying at the Edinburgh festival. (5 posts needed to cover the 5 days)

    You can see that from my blog that at the moment I’ve written, published and submitted the first 1 PageRank tips. I’ve also drafted out 3 extra posts for when I’m away and have ideas for the other 2 posts that are needed. It’s all going forward very nicely.

  44. Michael says:

    I have always been an impulse blogger. It seems to work best but often I can think of a few subjects one day t write about then absolutely nothing others.

  45. Similar to Michael, I’ve kind of “gone with the flow” much of the time, keeping abreast of the latest leadership, management, and workplace news of the day (my niche).

    After a number of months, articles, and wonderful commenters, it became apparent that I needed to begin delivering my own thoughts on topics of interest to the community.

    Now it’s a matter of figuring out a week’s worth of topics, whether a series is desirable, and laying things out accordingly. I still get caught up at the last minute checking to see if something new has emerged relating to the article. To stave off a full re-write, I usually give the news a mention and a link at the end, with appropriate context.

    If you’re going to post every day or 5 days/week, my vote is for some kind of project calendar that works for you. Anything will do, as long as it saves time and increases quality.

  46. BeachBum says:

    I just did a post on this the other day. I use a theme for each day of the week and plan 2-3 weeks worth of posts at a time.

    BeachBum

  47. Katelyn says:

    This post comes at the perfect time for me – I have Lyme disease and slacked off during the summer while I was feeling crummy. Now, I’m due back to work in a few weeks and the only way I’ll be able to keep my blogs updated is with some pre-planning. I’m trying it this week and will see how it goes.

  48. Mike Dammann says:

    Honestly, I agree that planning is great, but I cannot plan for cool things to happen to give me a good reason to blog about something. :)

  49. Scott says:

    If i know i am busy the next day, away on business i will pre-blog and timestamp.

    But if i then find time i will add to this. I can usually write aout subject etc but when news comes in i like to get it published there and then rather than later when my readers will already have read it somewhere else!

    Scott
    UKpreneur.co.uk
    Entrepreneurs Best Friend

    http://www.ukpreneur.co.uk/

  50. That is really a Great Idea of Scheduling ahead for the week. It really takes the stress out of you if you are Working and at the same time Blogging.