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Do You Plan Your Blog Posts?

Time for a little reader discussion – this one inspired by a Tweet by @JessVanDen who asked:

“do you have a regular posting structure, or just post things as you think of them/find them. i.e. regular features or not?”

I’d like to widen the topic slightly and see if readers do any kind of planning of blog posts ahead of time – or whether they just blog as they sit down each day to blog?

My Answer – I try to do a bit of both each week – I look at the week ahead most Mondays and put together a bit of a plan of attack for the week – but I also tend to swap things around during the week as inspiration hits. Sometimes I’ll add extra posts into the schedule and on other occasions I might swap the plan around and post things in a different order.

What about you – do you plan your blog posts ahead of time?

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. Drezz says:

    Ever since I started planning my blog posts, it’s been a lot easier to produce content. My only problem is getting a buffer set up to have posts ready on the days I can’t contribute anything due to other obligations.

    I do have a planner that will give me topics and articles three times a week up to the middle of the summer. It takes a lot of pressure off, since you already have an idea established and you can hit the ground running.

  2. Georgia says:

    I plan some posts. I keep a notebook in my bag and work from a list of ideas. Some posts are spontaneous — based on what inspires me on a given day.

  3. T.Lee says:

    I have been trying to figure out the answer to this question since I began blogging three and a half months ago. I write blog fiction, and I generally have an idea of the major events coming up in the main character’s life, but I haven’t nailed down a decent posting schedule yet.

    Ideas strike me at the most inappropriate times, and I’m often scratching notes down on backs of flyers, used napkins, and gum wrappers. Then, I try to post two entries per week, using the scratched notes as inspiration.

  4. Shayna says:

    I tend to plan them out any where from a few moments to a couple days in advance – depending on how much research will be needed to do the topic justice/make it an interesting/useful post

  5. Cosmin says:

    I really believe that if you manage to make your visitors get used to a schedule, they will know when they should come to your blog and if you post on a daily basis they will surely come. Also scheduling is a great thing for organizing the blog so I do plan my blog posts.

  6. When I started blogging three years ago, I had no plan. I also had no blog and no readers. Now, I have a plan. I blog Monday though Friday with a specific theme for each day. Because I have a plan, I can even blog in advance for the week, especially if I know I am going to be extremely busy.

  7. Three engines drive my posting. First, what’s on the calendar? Since one focus of the post is to share my experiences in leadership, I plan my posts around the particular season of the Church Year as well as secular holidays. Second, major current events. Third, life issues that seem to cause me to pause and reflect. I sometimes work through things on the blog. On the down side, I am unable to post daily. However, I am working on a discipline of making Friday my workday. The bigger challenge is my photo illustrations. I try to plan my own or use those of persons I know with their permission. In planning posts, I also note what types of photos I would like to use. Thanks for the opportunity to share this.

  8. Brandy says:

    I used to plan blog posts but must admit I just go with the flow now! I like the idea of planning them as it seems to flow better through out the week.

  9. Kathy Condon says:

    Recently, I took a break from my blog and now have recommitted to publishing twice a week. After much thought–one is devoted to personal adventures, the other business tools on improving communication.

    http://www.kathycondons.blogspot.com

  10. Akila says:

    I plan my blog posts because I am usually behind on posting — that is, we are traveling and I am posting behind where we actually are. Normally, I am about 3-4 weeks behind. Planning posts also allows me to mix up various topics; because I am both a food and travel blogger, I try to do at least two food posts a month and the remainder travel or gear or miscellaneous posts. We are constantly traveling but we don’t always have access to a kitchen so I have to plan out my recipe posts beforehand and then space them through the month.

  11. Elle says:

    I try to plan and look at current trends. Although I’d like to be a bit more structured, I usually brainstorm different ideas for posts at the beginning of each week. Sometimes I think of something and rush to write it and surprisingly, I get more responses to those.

  12. I plan mine each morning. I almost never plan more than one day ahead. I do keep a notebook of things that I would like to write about some day in the future if it fits in with the themes of the week, but for the most part I plan out my blog posts each morning fresh, as part of my routine. I never blog on the weekends anymore.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  13. Because I write primarily about Farmers Markets & farmers, I plan ahead. It takes me usually two visits to have the info and photos I want for each post. I’m fairly new to blogging, and am hoping to work in an additional weekly post (so I would post 2 xs per week instead on only once) as a follow up to show what I cooked with what was at the market , including the recipes. It’s pretty time consuming but a lot of fun.

  14. URDUSMS says:

    hI,
    Nice Post….
    This is my problem I don’t plan…
    I think that’s why I am losing visiter’s day by day….

  15. I try to plan out topics that I think a lot of people would want to know. Popular things that will do well in Search as well. I find if it’s a tough subject, or a very detailed one, it will do better in the long run. The more info I can write about it, the better off I am.

  16. I’m similar to you. I use an Excel calendar and plan my daily posts, generally a week in advance. I stick to a two a day schedule, late morning and late afternoon. However, as I get inspiration on my daily travels I end up writing something that I just gotta publish there and then! And so I do, taking it up to three a day. If it can wait though, I will simply “draft” it, and add it to the next available spot in my schedule. But sometimes you just gotta roll with it and publish straight away before you miss the opportunity.

  17. Hi guys,

    I usually write about whatever inspires me for that day.

    Kind regards,

    Sam
    X

  18. Gabi Logan says:

    I was originally worried about a schedule being a sort of impediment to creativity because of the commitment and rigidity as Angie notes, and when I started scheduling out posts as I was walking through Darren’s 31 days to a better blog, I found it very limiting at first. There was one week when I didn’t post all week because I was having trouble working out exactly what I wanted to cover in the next scheduled post and was afraid to put something else in and mess up the nice order I had just put together!

    Like Kurt, I have a running list of things that I would like to write about at some point. Largely composed of recipes to write up, it also includes more general article ideas. This was really helpful when I was sketching out a series that I am working on now and a large guide on dinner party planning. From this list, I can fill in my calendar (which, for some bizarre reason, I keep in text edit, as I have become addicted to the simplicity of it for blog post writing). Like Glen, I have recently made a three month plan, although a recent cross country move and some computer trouble have made it difficult to stick to.

    Christianne writes:
    Posts I read here about Darren’s encouragement to have a posting schedule or editorial calendar helped me starting thinking in those terms about what I was doing.

    Darren’s posts about mind-mapping and making an editorial calendar in 31DBBB are really what got me going with a calendar, but I think that the mind mapping is perhaps the most integral part of making a calendar work. If one’s blogging is based on (and I am not saying this in a negative way), a haphazard or news-based, “what comes to me today/this week” approach, I don’t think that it lends itself well to planning out. But if you are writing about things that have already happened (for instance, I, like Ksenia, typically try out a recipe weeks before it ends up on the blog), that style lends itself much more to planning out.

    I find that planning out my posts allow me to have overarching themes for a week, whether it is a certain area I am covering in a series, or a type of cuisine that I am posting recipes and menus for. I am curious though – those of you who write about new/news-based topics, how do you establish a feeling of momentum, themes, or continuity?

    Vicki makes a good point about writing first and planning after. I tend to open a new text edit file whenever I am writing and a fresh idea pops into my head. That way I can write down what even title, rough notes, or lead in sentences come up when I first have the idea. I often end up writing out the sub headings and a bit under each. Then the idea goes on my running list and gets scheduled on the calendar when I review it. When I go back to write posts I have started in this way, it is so much easier than starting a post from scratch! Even if I spend the same amount of time writing and re-working it, it feels like much more weight off my shoulders some how.

    I have heard Darren talk before about write a number of posts for the week on Sundays, and as Kathy Nicholls says above, when I have done that it is great, but my significant other (who works late all week and wants to spend quality time on the weekend) is usually an impediment to that. Particularly because I know it is a really good time for me to focus and do work, but it is the only big block of time that I have with him during the week.

    How do others of you deal with this issue?

  19. Wow! a quick review of the comments shows about a 9-1 ratio of planned blogs versus spontaneous blogs…

    I plan to post at least every other day…that’s the plan overview…then I look for opportunities in the things I read, watch or learn, to give me inspiration to meet the overview objective…

    I feel really good when I have an idea for a multi-post post, as it does relieve some creative pressure…it’s easier for me to write once i have the idea…getting the initial idea can be the stumper…

    Planning a week out seems to be the consensus of the comments…I wonder though about all of these planned blogs…what happens when there is a major event or shift of thought in your niche?

    do your plans go out the door?

    I also try to have at least one fully completed post ready to go just in case the muse decides not to pay me a visit on any particular day..

    Write On!

  20. Marti DenUyl says:

    I’m still new to blogging but right now as ideas come to me I write them down so I don’t forget about them, then, when time allows, I review the topics and the ones I typically choose first are those that I can write a mini-series on. I also have client that email or call me with QuickBooks questions and I take the answer I give them and write a blog article minus their business details.

  21. I do some of both as well. I find its nice to have things pre-written and scheduled to go out but life doesn’t always work like that. Things come up and you just have to write about them then. But its good to have your content planned even if you don’t use it.

  22. Whenever I find interesting quotes or stories, or when an idea for a post strikes me, I use my WordPress app to save a draft of a post idea to refer back to later. Later, I’ll go back and review the ideas and see if a few fit together or cane stand on their own for a post. I like the combo of spontaneous material and items that I’ve stored away.

  23. Sean Smith says:

    I prefer a little structure mixed in with some spontaneous inspiration.

    I usually write tomorrows post today and try to stay ahead of tomorrow ;-) However, when I have some inspiration such as a question from a consulting client or and personal experience I’ve had by just living my life, I will create a blog post and share it with the world. But for the most part, I try to post M – F.

  24. Sometimes I do an editorial calendar as Darren suggested when he had his 31 day course. My blog is an educational one, which has interviews and book reviews among other things. The plan is to have an interview and a book review each week. The interview is quite extensive so it’s posted over two days, so three days are covered.

    I am always conducting interviews so I have to schedule them which forces me to transcribe them. I am far more efficient and effective when I have a structure to work within. I would like to develop the habit of using an editorial calendar because it improves my productivity and I am not scrambling trying to figure out what to write about.

    Avil Beckford

  25. Brian Nash says:

    My approach is to try to post a blog at least once a day. Since my ‘ordinary business day’ does not permit me to personally do this, I have engaged the other members of my firm in the project. I let them know that on a given day I will not be able to post a blog and ask them to fill-in the gap. If the blog is going to be a recap of a niche topic (medicine and the law), this is easier to do. When it requires more creativity, scheduling the time to accomplish writing such a piece has proven to be a necessity.

  26. Nacho Jordi says:

    I used to have a schedule for a month ahead or so, but I’ve found that it stiffens things a bit for me: maybe I am not in the mood to write about what was scheduled (my blog is about psychology and productivity, so I am not urged by breaking news and the like).
    Currently, I write my posts during the weekend so I can devote the rest of the week to other tasks. But there are always those moments when you feel that “the oven is hot” and you have to write that post right away…

  27. I generally just brainstorm with my dad in the morning to come up with a topic and then, as soon as I get started, I don’t stop writing until I am finished. I have been starting an “idea board” for when I have writer’s block though. So, I guess you could say I am mainly just winging it whenever I post. I just go wherever I feel inspiration is leading me.

    Thanks for the great topic!

  28. I am a big supporter! Thanks for writing this

  29. I don’t plan my posts, but I do plan my topics. I write about a number of different aspects of marketing communications, and I want to make sure I don’t neglect a subject area. So, for example, I will make sure there’s something on tradeshows or social media or branding at least once every three weeks (I post 3 times a week). I also try to vary the type of post: a “how to” based on personal experience, a tutorial, or info I’m passing along from another source.

  30. Mark Regan says:

    Since I’m in the early stages of blogging, I don’t have dedicated time to schedule my creative moments. I keep a list of post ideas. I then have a task within Outlook that recurs once every 3 days after it’s been completed called “create a blog post”. That way I have a post on my blog no more than 3 days old.

    I want to and can write posts more often, but from reading blogs like this I’ve started out slowly at every 3 days so I can have consistent flow until I can pick up the pace.

  31. Gulya says:

    From now on I will plan my posts. I had it in mind but didn’t think this way.
    Thank you.

  32. Susie Kline says:

    I usually wing it each day. Unless I am so overrun with ideas that I write them all at once and then post each day after. I’ve never thought about having a theme week or anything. I like that idea!

  33. Howard says:

    When I write my blog posts I never actually plan in advance. I think of a topic and just write from the top of my head. I find it works better that way lol

  34. IamANT says:

    While I don’t “plan out” my blog postings in traditional sense, I don’t schedule posts one month in advance. My process involves weekly self portraits, old art, and whatever random art I come up with for the third post of the week.

    I think the most important part of planning out your blog posts is to make sure to post them on the same days each week so readers will know when you’re going to post new stuff. Consistency folks.

  35. I try to plan my posts each week. I add thoughts to my notebook, and open it on monday morning or sunday evening. I look at it, and plan. But, sometimes I do as you, inspiration hits me and I write a blog post without any further planning :)

  36. I find that when I just jump into the writing of a post, I get mixed results and tend to edit for a lot longer. If I can write a quick paragraph or two about my main points, outline from there, and then write it out, I get a lot better result.

  37. Tracy says:

    I wait for inspiration to hit. I guess I’m a blogcrastinator. I keep a list of things that I want to talk about and try to pull from that or I’ll wait for inspiration to hit. I may not blog everyday but it works for me.

  38. Lately I’ve been shifting the gears of my blog toward news and real people’s activities. This make me plan the post more because I start caring about the content when it’s people I work with and respect.

  39. Lately I have had writer’s block and have not been planning my posts at all. Generally however, I find the best way to write regularly is to make a list of the “problems” or “issues” that my clients are having and then write posts about each one. Since I have a very targeted clientele, this works for me in that my target clients searche for terms and my “solution” posts come up in the search results.

  40. Rob berman says:

    I blog once each week. I tend to write in advance and schedule out a few weeks in advance. I usually follow a theme of items. I just finished a four part series which was my first true series. I got more readers at the end than at the beginning of the series. A few more multi-part series planned.

  41. Clare says:

    I general plot out my week’s blog posts on my Google Calandar and write and schedule them ahead of time. If I’m suddenly inspired to write something, I go for it and don’t worry too much about the schedule. Often, the best pieces are impromptu. Thanks for the continuing advice.

  42. Dave Higgs says:

    I do both:

    I have a series I am busy compiling in which the topics are mapped out – I am almost finished it, but there are still 3 posts to go.

    On the other habd I often post when I read something on somone else’s blog and feel inspired. This results in one of 2 types of posts: Either I write a short post with a link to the orig post or I reasearch and post a bigger article in a day or so, linking to that and perhaps others as a source.

    D

  43. Anton says:

    I plan mine. I makes me feel more comfortable. Sometimes i dont have enough time left to write a daily post. It makes me feel more relaxed if the post is planned in advance.
    The only exception is when I happen to have hot news and dont want rivals to be earlier with posting it.

  44. ppcfusion says:

    i post when i find interesting stuff,all are handpicked
    ppcfusion.co.cc

  45. Euro Boy says:

    I believe its best to plan your blog before you post it to prevent various updates and prevent readers from confusion.

  46. Samuel says:

    Iam regular post think as i think. Maybe i will try to post something relate to our plan :).

  47. I have planned blog posts in the past. I think my biggest challenge is still refining in my ownmind exactly what my blogs (the one above and http://thisoldbrain.net ) are about. What is my exact purpose? General or specific? Who is my true audience. I should have probably figured that out after a year, but alas, have not.

  48. Kim W says:

    RIght now I am adding one new post per day because the site is a themes directory. I plan to keep doing this until I run out of free holiday wordpress themes to feature. ;-)

  49. obsessedkim says:

    My posts are generally spontaneous and unplanned. If a subject has been playing on my mind for a few days it usually becomes the next post. My thoughts just kind of materialise at the moment of writing, like a stream of consciousness. Feels more real that way. Good question :)

  50. Nunzio Bruno says:

    I try to do a bit of both too. The blog I have running now is my only one and when I’m working on it I try to divide my attention on the business part of it and the content. I’ll usually take the weekends to come up with a few articles/posts so that I have some ready to go or to send out to other bloggers for cross-blogging opportunities. I like to be creative and spontaneous though because it keeps it interesting and challenging for me so I try not to get too carries away with the content pre-planning.