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Pre-Written and Scheduled Posts vs Timely Posts

“How do you balance having pre-written posts with timely content – what’s a good balance to strike?” question submitted to me using #pbquestions by @crystalsquest

Using pre-written and scheduled posts is a strategy that many bloggers use to help them keep fresh content appearing on their blogs while maintaining a life that is not dominated 24/7 by their blogs.

Here’s how I do it:

Monday mornings are traditionally my ‘writing mornings’. I set aside 4-5 hours and give myself the goal of writing at least 5 (sometimes as many as 6-7) posts for my blogs. The goal is to have 5 fairly meaty posts (original, helpful and of a reasonable length) by the end of the morning that I can use on my blog over the coming week.

Over the coming week I use these 5 posts – one per day. I usually schedule them using WordPress’s time stamp feature so that they go off just after midnight my time here in Australia (around the time most people are getting to work in the US).

I find that using this strategy means that I can get in a writing groove Monday mornings – this generally leads to a higher quality post as I’m offline, not distracted by email, Twitter and instant messaging. It also means that for the rest of the week I’m freed up to concentrate on other blogging related tasks.

Other Types of Posts

Of course I post more content on my blogs than just the pre-written and pre-scheduled posts. These are supplemented with posts during the week including:

  • breaking news
  • answering reader questions
  • linking to what others are writing
  • polls/reader discussion starters

In most cases these other posts are more time relevant posts and not the kind that you can write in advance or pre-schedule.

What is the Best Mix of Pre-Written and Timely Content?

My take on this is that it really depends upon the type of blog you’re trying to develop.

Some blogs have much more time sensitive content than others.

Examples:

Here at ProBlogger I focus mainly upon ‘how to’ content – most of which is relevant whether it is posted today, tomorrow or in a month’s time. Quite often posts will sit in my draft folder for weeks before I schedule it.

On my photography blog while the main focus of the site is ‘tips’ and ‘how to’ related content there are times of the year (when big photography shows are on and manufacturers are announcing new cameras) where we switch more into ‘news’ mode and are posting on a more timely basis.

Over at b5media many of our entertainment blogs are a lot more time sensitive. Many times our bloggers on these blogs are live blogging while TV shows are on and reporting news relevant to TV shows and the actors in them as the news is breaking.

In the end there’s no rule that fits all blogs. It will largely depend upon what you’re trying to do on your blog. If you’re breaking news, you’ll probably major on posts that are more spontaneous. If you’re producing a tutorial blog or writing opinion pieces the timing of your posts might not be quite as relevant and you’ll be more able to pre-write and schedule posts.

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. fas says:

    Sometimes you can’t embank on timestamp. Case in point is a special offer or sale, you can’t wait to put that on.

  2. Since I’m a blogger without it being my profession, I write and set my blogs for distribution the Saturday evening before the week occurs.

    I’ll typically write my 6 posts starting at 6:00 pm and watch cable for entertainment, moving later to the computer to set everything in place.

    If a breaking news story occurs during the week, it’s easy for me to write the post and set a pre-scheduled post, written on Saturday, to publish on another day.

    The bottom line is for me to write my information on Saturday evening so that my daily schedule is filled with productive projects that make money.

  3. MJ Doyle says:

    I love the idea of using a Monday morning to do all my “timed-post writing.” Good writing definitely entails a groove of some sort. Using WordPress’ timed posts sounds great because then, like you said, you can time them for when people first get to work and are likely to check their email and feeders.

  4. False Dmitry says:

    That’s a very good advice concerning preparing the posts in advance at a more relaxed time, which can be posted later. I find it hard to write quality posts under pressure.

  5. Darren, I really enjoyed this article because of the tips you gave here.

    The main problem for many bloggers is providing content for their blogs. What they really struggle for is not specially the content itself, they don’t have a specific plan for posting and publishing content.

    What you revealed here could help us make a better plan in this case. It’s so important that when we get involved and want to write, we do it with passion. We know that our mode is not the same every single day.

    Sometimes we are lazy and don’t want to do anything, sometimes we are super active. That’s why a regular plan could direct our blogging efforts and make it more effective.

    I agree that it also depends on the topic of your blog. However, you need a plan in that case, too. We should divide the content into some segments: short posts, articles, reviews, news, interviews, answers and so on. Again ,it depends on your blog theme.

    Thanks Darren for such an informative article.

    Cheers! :)

    Hooshmand

  6. chinmoy says:

    One problem with that is SEO. If not done on time it may ruin things.

  7. Terry Segal says:

    I think it’s driven by the blog concept. For example, timely posts add more impact to political or technology based blogs. Blogs dealing with subjects such as pets, cooking, etc. are better suited to pre-written material.

    Any blog benefits from including both kinds. You develop a reputation for keeping on top of developments with timely posts. You build credibility and depth of knowledge with pre-written posts that stand the test of time.

  8. Andy says:

    I am glad I didn’t miss this post. My blog http://andreweze.com is a timeless one and I been having hot time updating it since I have other Blogs I run. Thanks for the information.

  9. Very helpful insight about your blogging habits Darren. Thanks for that timely post as I am trying to plan my weekly blogging schedule. Again thanks for the tip.

  10. teratips says:

    my main concern is justifying between the two kinds of post. I like the way problogger go about have the two post.
    http://www.teratips.com

  11. Hey Darren, the idea of setting aside a particular morning to write all the posts for the day sounds interesting. I’ll try it out myself (though not only 1 morning for the day; it’s too little for me since each of my posts take a good 4-5 hours to finish). Since I’m running a more content-based blog rather than news-driven, the pre-written and scheduled posts work more for me. This way I have timeless content in my archives which readers can read anytime rather than been thirsty for new updates (which still happens, but not to such a great extent as for news sites)

  12. Wow excellent advice. I’m a new blogger and I usually let my ideas for posts come to me right before I write them. But setting aside a few hours a week to pre-write is definitely a good idea. This will drastically improve the quality of my content thanks.