Contributed by: Roger C. Parker
The starting point for a successful blog content plan is to create a realistic blogging schedule, one that identifies schedules, deadlines, and content categories. This involves 4 steps:
- Identify the minimum number of blog posts each week.
- Select the day, or days, your weekly blog posts will run.
- Establish realistic deadlines. Build the habit of consistent blogging by assigning deadlines for writing and proofing your weekly blog posts.
- Select information categories for your scheduled blog posts. You don’t need to know the specific topic of your each week’s posts, but you should know information you’re going to address in your scheduled posts.
1. Posting frequency
Start by creating an honest appraisal of the amount of time you have available each week for creating your “minimum visibility” blog posts.
As previously discussed, you can always add additional posts each week, when events dictate and your time permits. But, it’s important to identify a realistic frequency of blog posts each week.
Be conservative in your commitment. It’s far worse to over-promise than it is to over-deliver. If you can’t realistically keep on schedule, you’ll disappoint your followers as well as yourself.
2. Choosing the day, or days, your posts will appear each week
It is essential that your “minimum visibility” posts run on the same day each week. If you’re posting once a week, for example, don’t post on a Monday one week, on a Wednesday the next week, and Tuesday the next week. Instead:
- Once a week. If you’re posting once a week, commit to adding a new blog post every Tuesday, for example.
- Twice a week. If you’re committing to 2 blog posts a week, run them every Tuesday and Thursday.
Grant’s brief input here: I agree with Roger on the twice a week days to post. For whatever reason, Tuesday and Thursdays are also my heaviest traffic days. However, this is one time you need to pay attention to your own stats and double check your best days. As Roger states, being consistent is very important and if you pick two days and stick to them, your readers will come to expect it too.
The consistent appearance of new posts communicates professionalism and builds familiarity with your clients, prospects, and readers. The consistency builds anticipation for each week’s new information.
3. Assign deadlines for completing each post
Avoid last-minute deadline madness and build the habit of consistent blogging by assigning deadlines for creating each blog post. These deadlines will provide the discipline needed to keep on schedule.
To create realistic deadlines, work backwards from the days your weekly blog posts are scheduled to run. For example, if your weekly blog posts run on Tuesdays:
- First draft. Start preparing your blog posts late Friday afternoon, or early Saturday morning. You don’t have to write the whole thing, just get the basic structure completed by Saturday night.
- Editing. For Tuesday blog posts, commit to editing your posts by Sunday night. Once you’ve written the first draft and set it aside overnight, when you take a fresh look at it, the problems you need to address are likely to be immediately obvious.
- Final proof. Take a final look at your Tuesday blog post late Monday night. This final review is likely to only require a few minutes, but you’ll be undoubtedly notice a few changes that will make a big difference in the readability of your post.
This habit of creating deadlines for preparing each blog post will go a long way towards helping you avoid embarrassing last-minute mistakes. The quality of your blog posts will increase and the stress of preparing them will decrease.
You’ll also be conditioning yourself to practice the habit of consistent blogging. Soon, you’ll become so habituated to your weekly deadlines that it will be easier for you to do the work, than put up with the nagging stress of missing a deadline.
4. Tips for efficient scheduling
Here are some tips for leveraging today’s online blogging and scheduling resources.
- Working with drafts. Today’s online blogging software, like TypePad and WordPress, allows you to create “drafts” of blog posts. These drafts are for your eyes only; the drafts won’t be publicly visible until you’re finished writing and editing them and you “publish” your posts. The draft feature lets you begin preparing a blog post at your office, finish it at home, and proof it once again at your office.
- Schedule versus Publish. Today’s blogging software allows you to schedule posts in advance. You can schedule a blog post to go live at any specific date and time, up to a year in advance. The ability to work on blog posts in advance is very important; allowing you to work on several blog posts at one time. However, do not use the Schedule feature until you’ve completed writing, editing, and proofing the post. Instead, use the Draft feature. Once a post has been scheduled, it will go live whether you’ve finished it, or not.
- Online calendars. One of the best things I ever did was to set up a free Google calendar and set up time each week to write, edit, and proof my blogs. Using the calendar’s “repeating events” feature, for example, every Friday afternoon at 4:00 PM, your Google calendar can automatically prompt you to begin the first your Tuesday blog post. Every Saturday afternoon at 1:00 PM, your calendar can remind you to edit your Tuesday post. And, every Monday afternoon at 2:00 PM, you’ll be prompted to give your Tuesday post a final proofing.
In the next post in this series, I’ll describe the importance of selecting different categories of information for your weekly “minimum consistency” posts.
In the meantime, visit my Published & Profitable daily writing tips blog where you’ll find other tips for planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from a book that promotes your personal brand.
Roger C. Parker is the 32 Million Dollar Author, writer’s coach, and e-course developer. Get his free, 14-page, Write Your Way to Success white paper at Published & Profitable.