Alright, so we’ve talked about why you need a blog, we’ve established how you get one started, and now? Now I’m going to tell you how you can create a blog schedule so you can build your readership and successfully blog and provide you with the tools to get it done!
Over the years, I’ve learned that one of the biggest challenges about having a blog isn’t necessarily knowing what to blog about (stay tuned for that post!) but rather about how to do it in a consistent and strategic manner. Your readers want to develop a relationship with you, not a relationshit. This means generating a certain level of trust and expectations and in order to do this, you must make time for them in ways that will inspire that trust, loyalty and above all, sales.
Creating a blog schedule isn’t difficult and when you have one, neither is blogging. Here are 5 vital steps that you can employ in your blogging strategy to help create the consistency and expectations your readers deserve.
1. Be realistic.
This is probably the longest and most difficult of all the steps. If you’re going to write a blog that is successful, you need to be realistic about what kind of time you can commit to a blog. After writing literally hundreds (if not thousands) of blog posts, I can say with some certainty that the average 400 – 500 word post is going to take you anywhere from 2 – 3 hours to complete from inception, to keyword searching, writing, editing, image sourcing and promoting. Depending on your niche, attending events, cooking, conducting interviews, etc… can add hours onto each post. How much time do you really have?
Sit down, make a list of your blogging goals and in very realistic terms, evaluate how much time you can create to write quality blog posts. Can you really handle 3? Maybe just 1? There’s no shame in writing one post per week. It’s usually a good idea to aim for 2 to 3 so your content stays fresh and you develop a good reservoir of posts quickly. Bloggers that can come up with 7 (one for each day of the week) are a phenomena I have yet to understand or conquer myself. Start small; when you have that down pat, add some more.
One last thing before I move on to point 2… I’ve noticed a lot of new bloggers on the LinkedIn forums lately who are posting multiple times per day. That’s a terrible idea and let me tell you why: You’ll overwhelm your audience. No reader can keep up with that many updates and if you inundate them with posts, they’ll stop coming to your site. Moreover, no one can write that may posts and have them be of high quality content. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Google indexes sites based on quality content. If you’re spamming your blog at every whim, Google (and your potential reader base) is going to call bullshit.
2. Select “themed” posting days.
Some call these categories, others topics. The point is, choosing a specific focus for the same day each week makes it easy peasy to come up with content for that day. For example, Tuesdays right now are Blogging Tuesdays on the ohksocial blog… So what do I write about? Blogging. Or on Gastronomical Sovereignty, Wednesdays are a fun real-food link up called Fresh Foods Wednesday. What do I share on that day? Fresh food and the link up. See what I mean? To determine the best themed content for you, look at what’s important to your customers or most interesting to you. Make a list. Write it down. See what comes out. If you can only commit 2 posts per week but you have 4 themes you want to discuss, schedule each theme every other week so you can cover everything you want to.
3. Schedule your posts.
This may take a bit of trial and error and a whole lot of monitoring via Google Analytics, but in time you will see what the best days and times are for your posts. I typically schedule posts 2 months in advance. That way, when the first month runs out, it’s in my iCal to schedule the 3rd month’s posts so I’m never left scrambling for content. Essentially, you want to write down, on specific days a working-title for each and every post so you have a map of where your blog is going. You can do this through virtual programs such as WordPress Editorial Calendar, Evernote, or the old fashioned way (and my preference), in a binder with a few printed calendars and some loose leaf paper. Speaking of which, continue reading for your FREE blogging schedule printables!
Set aside one day a week to write your posts. For me, this is Sunday. I get up, make myself a giant pot of baileys and coffee (err, green tea) and sit out on my front stoop and look at my schedule for the next week. Then I write, write, write. Every blog platform allows you to schedule your actual posts to go live when you want them to – this way you don’t have to worry about publishing them at the right time. It’s already done. To ensure I actually write the posts on Sunday, I set my iCal (with alarm) to go off on first thing Sunday morning so I can’t avoid it. I also have a recurring alarm that goes off through out the week so I remember to check comments, post updates to specific social media sites and promote my brand by commenting on other people’s blogs. But more on that later.
As time goes on, what worked for the goose, may not work so well for the gander. Essentially, you’ll have to monitor which posts get the most reaction, which days see more voter turn out than others, and of course, which posts you enjoy writing the most. If something isn’t working or blogging feels too much like work, change something. Make it work for you. If you’re excited to write and you give your readership valuable content, blogging will be a much better experience for everyone involved. And who doesn’t want that?
For your FREE blog planning printables, just right click the images above, select “Save As…” and then print baby print!
Do you have a blog schedule? How often do you post? Any lessons you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment below and tell us how you manage your blog posts! Or better yet, leave me a question on blogging and I’ll do my best to answer it for you!
In the meantime, read:
- Part 1: 10 Reasons Why You Need A Blog
- Part 2: 7 Easy Steps to Start A Blog
- Part 3: How To Create A Blog Schedule (Free Printables!)
- Part 4: How to Write Great Shit (& Own It!)
- Part 5: How to Build Your Blog Audience
- Part 6: 10 Things your Blog Should Definitely Have (Free Infographic!)
- Part 7: Keep Your Blog Fresh!
- Part 8: What NOT To Do To Your Blog
- Part 9: Beyond Blogging: What To Do Moving Forward
- Part 10: How to Do It: Free Ebook for Entrepreneurs, Bloggers and Brands!