Your 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:
- I start by brainstorming topics (generally on a text file which sits on my desktop)
- 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)
- I start by tweaking the topic into a post title (this sometimes change later as I actually write).
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Then I select another of the posts developed in step #1 and then go through steps #2 – 6 again with each one in turn.
- 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.