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Finding Your Posting Rhythm [Part 2]

Yesterday I suggested 4 tips for helping bloggers to find their posting rhythm:

  1. There is no Right Posting Level
  2. Start out Slow and Work Your Way Up
  3. Monitor Your Readerships Response to Your Posting Levels
  4. Consistency is Important

Today I want to share 4 more tips on posting workflows.

5. Work on Your Posting Workflow – Identify the Blockage Points

One piece of advice that I give new bloggers struggling with this area is to think about their posting workflow.

  • Look at the way that you post – from the idea generation stage through to publishing?
  • Where do the blockages come?
  • How can you put processes in place at those ‘blockage’ points to help free up the flow of posts?

For example I talked with one of our bloggers at b5media recently who was struggling to get posts out. When I asked her to analyze her workflow she identified her main ‘blockage point’ at the idea generation stage. Once she had an idea she could get the post out quite quickly – but was spending a lot of time each day coming up with topics to write on.

Knowing this we were able to develop a simple plan for post idea generation that included getting a notebook for capturing of ideas, setting aside time at the start of each week to brainstorm ideas (rather than doing it just before deadlines), setting out an editorial calendar for the week (so topics were outlined ahead of time) and finding a blog buddy to brainstorm with (two bloggers coming up with ideas for each other).

Another example that comes to mind was a blogger who identified his ‘blockage point’ as what I’d call ‘polishing’ his posts. He loves the writing process but struggled to make his posts look good (finding pictures, coming up with sub headings and the title for his post, spell checking etc). He just found all of this very ‘chore like’. I discovered in talking to him that he had over 50 posts half written in a folder on his desktop!

Once we identified this blockage point the blogger decided that he needed to do two things. Firstly he enrolled himself in a class at an adult education centre – the class was on copy editing. Secondly he gave his wife permission to get on his back about ‘finishing’ posts.

Where are the blockage points in your posting workflow?

Further Reading on blogging workflow:

6. Don’t Post Just for the Sake of Posting

Sometimes as a blogger you face the choice of posting something that is second rate or not posting at all. The temptation is to put a post out there simply to meet a deadline or because you fear your readers reaction if you don’t post something.

The reality is that you can do more harm than good by posting something of lower quality than not posting anything.

Before posting each post ask yourself whether the post will actually enhance your readers lives in some way? Will it help them, entertain them, inform them, educate them, inspire them etc? If the answer is no – strongly consider not hitting publish.

Further Reading on this topicDoes Your Next Post Matter?

7. Batch Writing

One strategy that I find helps me when I need to produce 14 posts a week here at ProBlogger is to set aside time each week to write multiple posts at once. Monday mornings are a a time where I generally camp out in a cafe with my laptop and aim to get 4-5 posts written in one sitting. I also try to do this for a morning later in the week and between the two sessions can usually get one solid post written for each day of the week.

I’ve written more about batch processing previously – it can be applied to many areas of your blogging.

8. You Will Become More Efficient Over Time

Let me finish by giving you a word of encouragement to end on – it gets better! Hang in there.

As I look back on my journey of blogging to when I first started (almost six years ago now) I notice a definite change in my ability to produce content. While it can still be difficult to maintain the posting level that I set myself it has certainly become easier.

One reason for this is that with practice you tend to become a better and more efficient writer. The more you write the better you get at it – particularly if you’re learning from your mistakes and looking to improve.

I suspect also that over time you simply become more proficient with your topic and as you do this are able to draw upon your growing levels of knowledge on the topic.

The other thing that I think I’ve become better at in that time is coming up with topics to write about. I do remember in the early days sitting down at the keyboard and just having a mental blank. However over time you get more used to coming up with ideas – or at least your mind becomes more attuned to capturing the ideas that you get through the day. These days ideas for posts come to me in the most bizarre places (I even recently had an idea while dreaming).

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.

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Comments

  1. Roy Scribner says:

    In transitioning from my previous 1-post-per-week blog to my current daily-post blog, I’ve realized in the first few weeks that an editorial calendar is essential (for me, at least). Without some structure and direction, I tend to wander off track and get unfocused.

    Now, generating an editorial calendar; that’s a topic worthy of it’s own series, too!

  2. Sjay says:

    I think these two post answered most of my questions about blogging. I just start a blog and I was not sure how offten I should post.

    Every other articles I read is not realistic. They are talking about quick methods to make money and good page ranks in one day. But this one is more realistic and something I know it is gonna work.

    Thank you very much for this.

    Regards
    Sjay

  3. Ulla says:

    Darren,
    I have a notepad for writing down ideas – which photos would I like to publish and what could I say about them or in their context?
    And then having written down the idea, I draw a mindmap with all the things I could say in no particular order. Then, in a 3rd step, I try to find out which content I would like to concentrate upon and which structure the post should have. I work with bubbl.us, a free mindmapping online tool. Then I go to wordpress and actually begin to write.

  4. The most important thing to remember is to not post just for the sake of posting. That attitude just makes your blog another me-too blog. I only post when I truly find something helpful for my readers. I don’t post the latest fad just because everyone is posting about it…

  5. Mark Frost says:

    I can truly connect with the last two. Getting multiple posts written and saved for future publishing is something that saves you later from laziness and writer’s block. Also, without practice you’ll never master anything, giving up early on blogging won’t make you better. Results come with time! Great post, Darren, looking forward to part three (if there is one ^_^).

  6. Dev says:

    great post..your tips will help to write better posts in my blog.

  7. I write about personal finance and investment planning.

    My posts are mostly “how-to” type, or explain a certain investment avenue or taxation aspect. So, they are not time sensitive.

    Therefore, I write the articles whenever I get time, and create an inventory that I can dip into when I have to publish articles.

    I publish an article every third day – it suits me, as I manage the site with my full time day job. And since the srticles are quite in-depth, even the readers seem to be comfortable with this pace.

    Idea generation is never a problem – the user queries, either through comments or through emails – give me more then enough ideas to write about!

    My blockage point is finding timeto write – and I think batch writing would be ideal for me if I could pull that off on weekends!

  8. Sarah H. says:

    Another great set of tips. Again, I appreciate this advice as I’m still trying to find my rhythm. Thanks especially for the reminder in tip #6! Batch writing is also something I want to try now to get practice for times I am on holiday, really busy, or sick.

  9. Tressa says:

    Hi
    Thanks for these tips! I find blogging ideas by reading other blogger posts and getting ideas from that. Usually by researching on the internet, ideas start to flow.

    Wow, six years! Congrats that is quite an accomplishment! I hope to be around in six years and to be as successful as you!

    Keep up the great posts!

    Also batch writing is an interesting concept, will have to think about that and apply it to my postings.

  10. Mac Got Me says:

    Great Tips!

    I love your 2 and 3 part series posts, I love how it breaks a large post into smaller chunks… I’m sure it’s also a great way to get you more traffic to your site!

    Keep up the good work!

  11. Pat with SPI says:

    Darren, these are great tips. I think Rhythm is very important. I also think attitude is important too. If you go into a piece thinking that it’s not going to turn out well, it won’t.

    Regarding Item #5, I actually just wrote an article on my blog that I’m rather proud of about “Blockage Points.” I call it the “5 Reasons Your Next Big Idea Might Fail.”

    While writing it, I kind of incorporated item #7, and batch wrote the chunks of that post because I was having trouble finding my rhythm.

  12. My posts require a lot of research, and that’s my point of blockage — I do too much! By the time I am satisfied that I have enough research, the volume is very difficult to distill, even into 2 or 3 posts! I need to learn to be more efficient about researching and using the materials.

    Thank you, Darren, for a great 2-part series. Lots of food for thought here!

  13. Dan Heil says:

    Thanks for the good advice. I am new to blogging and just started a blog over the weekend. I have been reading many of the posts on your blog and look forward to hearing more in the future.

  14. Raseel says:

    Very practical examples. Batch Writing hasn’t worked for me before. But after reading this post, I’m willing to give it another try.
    Apart from the reasons mentioned, in this two-part series, might I also suggest , from personal experience, “unintended duplication” : What I have found, that many times the ideas I have in my head are already been blogged about and that discourages me to write the post even if I have a point more to add to the already existing blogs on the subject.

  15. Sonny Gill says:

    Great advice Darren.

    The blockage point is one that ultimately effects me and is the same problem that your b5media colleague had.

    My difficulty/problem is that I don’t immediately write ideas down when I get them and end up forgetting them later. I will be sure to try the method that you mentioned and stick to it.

  16. Monchster says:

    Darren, this post has been very insightful. I have found myself to be quite the procrastinator once I had the ideas. sometimes I would write them down and then forget where I wrote them. so, lack of organization seemed to be my blockage. I have found very helpful to schedule my blogging time, and research time on different days. rather than go searching for pics and cites and then write a post, I separate into 2 different days.

  17. B. Durant says:

    I tend to get lost in two areas.

    1) The idea generation process

    2) The retouch/finish process.

    I’ve learned to jot down my ideas as they come and then flesh them out later, but that isn’t always helpful. Another thing I do is go back several months and look at old posts and see if there’s not another article hiding in there somewhere. I can generally find something that way.

    My main sticking point in the retouch process has been finding suitable pictures I am allowed to use. So I beat that problem by using very few pictures in my posts. And you know my bounce rate has gone from 95% to 75% since I started taking pictures out of my posts. Coincidence?

  18. David says:

    Some excellent advice here, keeping up a constant flow of postings is definitely something us novice bloggers have to deal with.

  19. Chris says:

    Batch writing has been the single best thing I’ve done to improve my blogging.

    Great series!

  20. Shae says:

    An editorial calendar is essential. I also carry around a digital video recorder, especially to places I know I’ll be most inspired.

  21. Jonathan says:

    Thanks for these great tips!

    My “blocker” is getting the ideas. But once I get the ideas, then I sometimes have a hard time crafting the posts.

    Question: how does a person blog meaningfuly in a quite limited timeframe?

  22. tacogirl says:

    Great post – very good topic for me to read right now.

    I keep a notebook and an idea file on my pc. I have also noticed I go between posting very early in the morning or later in the evenings and it switches back and forth.

  23. Saurabh says:

    Great post. I completely agree with the last point. It really takes time to develop one’s writing

  24. Bill says:

    for me just write freely and let other people judge it. Content related to people taste so it can`t be debate. http://aksarabicara.blogspot.com

  25. Amit Verma says:

    Some times I struggle with the idea generation but even when I have ideas I find problems to give it a start and the post structure.

    Thanks for sharing these points. These are pretty valid points and I believe it will help.

  26. Ernie says:

    Another excellent post. I just started blogging and haven’t been getting much traffic. Consistency is definitely a key to success and I hope I can do that. One word of advice that I get from everyone is patience, so even if someone feels like they’ve lost their “rhythm” and getting less traffic, one should never give up! :)

  27. zool says:

    I agree with last one..
    Practise make perfect..
    Critized will help me to improve my blog..

  28. Surender says:

    Hi Dareen,
    thanks for valuable advice.This is great way to Publish posts on My Blog.
    Thanks again.

  29. I smiled when you gave everyone a chin up! Just last night I was going through all my post and notice how the sparse my initial blogs were in content, interest and length! I have a long way to go, but I’ve come a long way, too! Thanks!
    Jen
    Eco-Office Gals

  30. Bcarter says:

    I have a difficult time with idea generation on my main blog, which is part of the reason I haven’t posted in a while. I think I may need to rethink the direction my blog has turned in and possibly redirect it. Also, I have had to concentrate on other items that are going to bring cash in right now instead of a year or two down the road. My time is limited, so I have had to trade one thing for another.

  31. revenue says:

    i agree with this , posting at our blogs not just to fill our blogs we have know that there are people that going to read it , and if they found our post not give them some valuable information they will leave and not coming back. I usually subscribe to a blogs or website that really give me something new and valuable info , and i use it as idea to make a post at my blogs :)

  32. Paul Anthony says:

    Hi Darren,

    Sometimes I find the work that I’m not happpy with is the sort of thing that is actually popular with my visitors, and posting something that isn’t what *I* personally consider great, may infact contain a snippet that my visitors do get benefit from.

    The other way of thinking is that the more content you have on your site the better, after all it is going to get chewed over by the search engines and potentially bring new visitors.

    Sometimes its very difficult to make that call, especially if you are a newbie blogger – I think that shoud ring true for more established sites that have a reputation to maintain rather than one that potentially needs as much fresh content as possible.

  33. Great series of tips – thanks. I think the batch idea is great and if you use a scheduled posting feature in your blog software you can batch write the posts, set them to publish over a series of different dates in the future and move on to the next project.

  34. re – Don’t Post Just for the Sake of Posting

    This is so true! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten half way through a post just to say to myself, “why am I writing this?” Usually, the answer is because I feel like I’m supposed to. Needless to say, I also have quite a few half written posts. Grrr.

  35. Angel Cuala says:

    Oh! Batch writing is something I have not tried yet, but I wish I could. I feel this is like preparing a lot draft posts, making research and thinking of ways on how readers will follow it.

    Another thing that I love to do is make a series posts such a Part One, Part Two, and so on.

    I wish one time, you could share your views on how to do it properly.

    But of course, making posts for the sake of posting a capital sin for me.

    Thanks.

  36. Kok Choon says:

    Batch posting is really a productivity booster, I can free up more time to do other things!

  37. Joel Drapper says:

    I still struggle with brainstorming ideas. Really could use some tips on that.

  38. John Lessnau says:

    “Monday mornings are a a time where I generally camp out in a cafe with my laptop and aim to get 4-5 posts written in one sitting”

    Cranking out this many quality posts would take most people a week or more, not a coffee shop visit. Great advice but unrealistic for all but the most inspired prolific writers. Wired has an interesting article how it is next to impossible for the standalone blogger to be heard among all the established blogs with teams of writers churning out up to 30 posts today. http://tinyurl.com/5f59ns

    Wired Mag suggests twitter, facebook, and other new media where new writers have a chance at being heard because the playing field is a bit more level.

    Blogging is not as easy as it used to be.

  39. JB says:

    I feel that most of your subscribers can see through empty posting (posting for the sake of posting) and a lot of them will most certainly call you out on it. It is a good tip, and a valuable lesson to learn, where as a blogger you should only make posts that are relevant and important to your readers. No matter the case.

  40. Lara Kulpa says:

    @ John Lessnau

    “Cranking out this many quality posts would take most people a week or more, not a coffee shop visit. Great advice but unrealistic for all but the most inspired prolific writers.”

    I wholeheartedly disagree. It’s unrealistic for people who focus TOO much on the polish, instead of using their time effectively to just sit and write.

    It’s a matter of just doing it. Write, write, and write more. Sure, after you’ve done your brainstorming and thought about your topics, scanned your RSS feeds, and so on, but when it comes time to just crank out 4-5 posts, it really IS as easy as a few cups of coffee and a few hours. Believing otherwise is an excuse and nothing more.

    We have bloggers with b5media who are mothers with ill or otherwise out of work husbands, home schooled kids, major house renovations, and whose only income is that of their blogging (with b5 and elsewhere), who are cranking out 20-30 QUALITY posts a month PER blog, for 5-6 blogs each and every month, on TOP of their other writing and freelance work, and with everything else going on in their lives.

    I’m sorry, but if they can do it, you can. At least, you can come up with 4-5 posts in a few hours’ time. No excuses, period.

  41. Posting frequency has been an ongoing issue for me, because I run a celebrity blog. While I would love to do the batch posting thing, and I tend to do it on days when I have more time, there is more pressure and urgency for me to post, because if I do not cover a celebrity event in a timely manner, it 1) affects me competitively – other celebrity blogs will cover the event already. 2) Affects my traffic – I will not be able to post links to my blog post to generate traffic to the blog if someone else already covered it.

    There are so many celebrity events to cover that I had to come up with a system to decide which events to cover and which not to, and be very picky about it. On a good day when I have more time to post, I can squeeze out 6-8 posts. On a busy day when I worked my day job and come home exhausted, like yesterday, and after spending time with family, etc., I fell asleep and didn’t post at all, much to my chagrin.

    The biggest block to me posting more efficiently is browsing all the pictures and deciding which events to cover. Unfortunately, my photo supplier does not organize their photos in a way that makes it easy to find them. I have suggested that they organize their photos in groups, by date, to make it easier to search (like Getty Images or Wireimage), but right now they do it in a continuous stream instead. It can take me at least an hour or two to browse through all of the photos of the day, time I could have spent posting instead.

    Besides hiring staff, the other thing that has helped me post more quickly is technology. Thanks to Firefox, I am able to use tools and add-ons like ScribeFire and CoLT. CoLT has been a lifesaver for enabling me to instantly post links with two clicks.

  42. Posting frequency has been an ongoing issue for me, because I run a celebrity blog. While I would love to do the batch posting thing, and I tend to do it on days when I have more time, there is more pressure and urgency for me to post, because if I do not cover a celebrity event in a timely manner, it 1) affects me competitively – other celebrity blogs will cover the event already. 2) Affects my traffic – I will not be able to post links to my blog post to generate traffic to the blog if someone else already covered it.

    There are so many celebrity events to cover that I had to come up with a system to decide which events to cover and which not to, and be very picky about it. On a good day when I have more time to post, I can squeeze out 6-8 posts. On a busy day when I worked my day job and come home exhausted, like yesterday, and after spending time with family, etc., I fell asleep and didn’t post at all, much to my chagrin.

    The biggest block to me posting more efficiently is browsing all the pictures and deciding which events to cover. Unfortunately, my photo supplier does not organize their photos in a way that makes it easy to find them. I have suggested that they organize their photos in groups, by date, to make it easier to search (like Getty Images or Wireimage), but right now they do it in a continuous stream instead. It can take me at least an hour or two to browse through all of the photos of the day, time I could have spent posting instead.

    Besides hiring staff (which I am not able to do right now), the other thing that has helped me post more quickly is technology. Thanks to Firefox, I am able to use tools and add-ons like ScribeFire and CoLT. CoLT has been a lifesaver for enabling me to instantly post links with two clicks.

  43. Find a Job! says:

    My biggest problem is finding out what time is the best for me to post. i usually post in the afternoon, but I am thinking the best time for me is at night when I am winding down. this is important to know so that you will have more motivation to post regularly.

  44. Jamie says:

    I get stuck in two places. First I get stuck in creating printables. Since my blog is about printables I like to offer new ones occasionally. I usually won’t post a post until the corresponding printable is finished and there is usually some lag time between the two.

    My second issue is that I review other sites. This in itself is enjoyable, but always seems to lead to me “surfing the net” for prolonged periods of time… sometimes resulting in me ending up on Problogger instead of looking for printables. :)

    Batch writing/image creating might help this to some degree. But, unless you’ve got a magic “don’t get distracted by the internet” wand I’m screwed. :)

  45. Jason says:

    I post articles 5 times a week and I usually post at night MST so the articles are fresh by morning EST.

    http://professionalwatches.com

    -JP

  46. uwak says:

    yes….quality posting, frequency and good time management…..are great combination ways,thanks

  47. Yes, the posing will get better sa you get more practise in writing and become more confident in what you are doing. Hard work will pay off sooner or later.