During my Blog Starter training, my client and I often come up with lots and lots of different topics and, often find it quite easy to do so.
The next stage is to discuss which blog to write when; which one to write first, then second, etc., or on a specific date, and try to come up with an order.
People who often advise about blog writing recommend scheduling, i.e. making a plan of blog topics and perhaps listing (with dates) when to write on a particular subject. However, I have found that they don’t often give much advice on exactly how to do this. So I hope in this latest addition to my ‘Hurdles’ series I aim to fill this gap.
Publishing vs Writing
The first thing I need to say is my title could be considered misleading – primarily, because in this post I am going to be talking about scheduling and ensuring your blog topics marry well (where possible) with the date it is published. The word ‘published’ is key here, because that is what I am focussing on. I don’t actually mean ‘what to write when’ but ‘what to publish when’. Why? Because I truly believe in writing when you have the time, the commitment and the ‘want’ to do it. This may mean writing 2-3 blogs in one go or across a week, even if you aim to publish a blog only once a week, every fortnight or, even, just once a month.
Putting aside the physical writing and editing, let’s talk about scheduling your posts. Although inevitably this will help with guiding you as to the order you write them in.
You only need one thing to schedule: a diary/calendar or a list of dates (i.e. in a table or spreadsheet). This could be digital or print.
Search engine bots love regularity so how ever often you are going to blog, list these dates or in a diary/calendar mark when your blog posts will be published, i.e. every ‘Thursday’ (or whatever day you think most suits your primary audience!). Then, quite simply, start inserting titles from your topic list – in pencil, if in a physical diary/calendar, as you need to be ready to do some chopping and changing!
I would only plan ahead about 8 blogs in advance, fewer if you are only blogging monthly. Things change; things happen; so any more than that is probably not worth it (or you’ll be rewriting the whole schedule all the time).
Keep your topics list in a safe, accessible place and add to it often when you get an idea.
Also, do remember to make a note of when you need to start scheduling again, perhaps after 4-5 blogs.
Individual blog posts should have a narrative within themselves and stand alone to be read in any order. This ensures they appeal to any first-time reader of your blog. However, there is no harm in assessing what topics may naturally follow on from each other. It will make it easier to link back to previous posts if they flow or develop a particular topic area.
Pay close attention to the dates you are assigning certain blogs too. If your regular blog publication day coincides with national day, for example Valentine’s Day or St George’s Day, consider if it is worth writing something which relates to this and your business. Or perhaps it is an anniversary of your business starting or an employee starting – this gives you a ready made ‘extra’ blog topic.
If you are doing a series, like this ‘Hurdles to blogging’ one for example, consider all of the different areas you will cover, then the best order and then how you will space them between your other blogs, or if you are going to put them out at one after the other.
Sometimes throw the schedule out the window
I love a good spreadsheet. I love a good bit of planning. However, sometimes you have to forget the schedule and blog about something which just grabs your attention. This could be something reported in the news or something special which happens in your life…or even a new discovery or invention you come across! That’s ok! Blogs are meant to be like news and can be ‘reactionary’. If you put off a blog on a timely topic because of your schedule, then you will only look late to the game (or worse jumping on the bandwagon), when you eventually schedule it in and you’ll kick yourself. Remember any blog already written can always be published at a later date, even if it has to be a little adapted to remain up-to-date.
Don’t forget, if you do insert an ‘unexpected blog post’, to update your scheduling document, so you don’t miss what was originally planned.
So, off you go…happy scheduling!
Check out my other eight ‘Hurdles to blogging’ posts too.