This guest post is by Alex of ToMakeALiving.com.
The word “proactive” is tossed around a lot these days, and you could easily be forgiven for thinking that being proactive is pretty much the only way to blog or do anything else.
Certainly in your blogging life there are times when being proactive is important; but it’s not always the answer!
The problem with being proactiveBeing proactive essentially means doing things unprompted—typically, you set a schedule and you work to it. This is a great way to ensure you get things done. The problem is that to be proactive in this way, sometimes you have to write blog posts at times when you don’t feel all that inspired; this can result in posts that are less than perfect, which is never a good thing.
Reasons to be reactive
There is a lot that you have to do to build a successful blog, but the one vital ingredient you cannot miss is writing top-quality blog posts. Like it or not, the best posts are not the ones you force out—they’re the ones written from seeds of ideas which spring into your head at three in the morning, on the way to work, or when you’re out with your friends.
Inspiration is not something that can be forced, and as such the best blog posts will always be the ones written in response to the inspiration we get when we are not even seeking it. This is the beauty of writing reactively.
The problem with being reactive
On the other hand of course, if you only ever write when inspiration hits you, you might find that you just don’t write often enough, or that your posts are inconsistent—which, again, is bad news for your blog.
So how can you get the best of both worlds? Write reactively inspired blog posts which flow and read like poetry, but do it proactively and in a structured way so as to build a reliable blog that gathers a consistent following of dedicated readers.
How to blog reactively-proactively
The key to successful reactive blogging is to be proactive in every other area of your work flow, support the elements which encourage inspiration, and grab it when it comes. Here’s how.
Have a schedule for posts
For best results you should have posts going out consistently, so decide on a schedule and stick to it. Write it down or even publish it so your readers know the deal (this makes you accountable, so you are less likely to let it slide). From now on, no matter when you actually write your posts, this is when they will be published.
Keep a bank of posts
On some weeks, you’ll be visited by inspiration, and some you won’t. Try to get ahead so that you always have at least two or three weeks’ worth of content ready to go live. This way, on the weeks where you can’t string together a decent post, you don’t have to force out something that isn’t up to scratch.
Schedule your inspiration
Just because you are waiting to be inspired before you write doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive about what inspires you. Make a list of the websites, newsletters, and bloggers who inspire you and utilize your favourite RSS reader, iPad app, or simply subscribe to have their content delivered to you each week.
My personal schedule
Just to help put the process into context, here’s the blog schedule I use for one of my blogs.
I use the time-release WordPress plugin to ensure that a post is published every Wednesday at 6:30pm. All I need to do is ensure that there is always at least one post written and ready to go live; the plugin makes sure I stick to my schedule.
I use Google reader to aggregate my favorite sites, then every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday around lunch time I check my reader and have a look at what’s new in my niche.
So when do I write my blog posts? Whenever I get a good idea or otherwise feel inspired to write! By following this proactive schedule I never fail to have at least one good idea each week, but by keeping four or five posts in the bank (this is what I aim for), I never feel any pressure to write.
All the same, if I find that I have more posts than I need and my bank of posts is full, I will skim a couple off the top and use them for guest posting and link building purposes. I have a separate schedule for link building, but that’s another post altogether…
So hopefully you can see how this strategy allows you to get all of the benefits of being proactive without having to smother your creativity. The result? You get inspired, very topical posts, published consistently and to a timely schedule—and hopefully an altogether better blog. Neat, huh?
My name is Alex from ToMakeALiving.com where I blog about how to earn money online in all manner of different ways. I also offer a quality link building service for bloggers and affiliate marketers. Please check out my site for more info and lots of great tips.