For those of you who missed last Monday’s post, I am doing a four week feature on organised blogging. This isn’t because I’m claiming to be some kind of expert on this area- it’s more that I’m trying to make improvements to my own approach to blogging and by sharing I hope that my readers will pick up some handy tips too! My last post covered how I’m trying to manage my time better by scheduling my week. This is helping to maximise the time I have to work on my blog. Today I am covering the benefits of planning blog content!
Sometimes my blog posts are pretty spontaneous; the result of something in my life that has inspired me, or sparked by a question from a reader (like my Stair Painting 101 post, for example). Most of the time though, my posts are not only planned in advance, they may actually have been written a week or more before they appear on the blog. This is for the following reasons:
· I generally produce my best work when I’ve given the post content prior thought. Some bloggers can sit down without knowing what they are going to write, yet instantly come up with a great idea and write it well. That isn’t me.
· I readily admit to being a bit of a control freak. Knowing what content is going out on the blog for the next week or so prevents any “oh my goodness, what if I can’t come up with a post idea” freak outs.
· I produce almost all of my post content on Mondays. It is when I have the most free time to sit down and just focus on the blog, so already having a posting plan means all I have to think about is putting my ideas into writing. Projects, photos and images are usually dealt with later in the week and then I auto-schedule the posts.
· Sometimes I want to split the content into several posts, this feature being an obvious example. In these cases I like to be able to give my readers an idea of what else I’m covering and when. This also allows me to coordinate the uploading of any relevant printables (since Thursdays are always printables day on A Typical English Home).
· I don’t work on the blog at all during school holidays. That means having to have posts lined up in advance, ready to go out.
So you are probably wondering how far in advance I plan the posts... there is no definite answer to that, but typically I have at least 2 weeks of posts planned out. Occasionally it is more – in January, for instance, I had virtually every post planned by the start of the month because Ryan’s Lego party accounted for a lot of content and I knew some of the projects on my to do list would be crossed off (the diy boot tray and the master bedroom update). I’m flexible though. Officially, Wednesday is my random post day when I share things like recipes or crafts. Unofficially though, I consider Wednesday my “bump day”. This means I generally have something in mind for a post but I’ll bump that to another week if something else crops up.
It all starts with an idea...
Naturally, to create a 2 to 4 week posting plan you need plenty of ideas for blog content. This blog only started in summer 2012, and a couple of newbie bloggers have sweetly commented that they are slightly in awe that I’ve managed to produce so much content in this time. I think my organised nature has definitely helped me out here, so I just want to explain the process I follow for creating a blog post plan.
A Typical English Home posts Monday to Thursday and I set a posting pattern for the week, right from the day I started this blog. It isn’t a feasible approach for everyone’s blog, but knowing that Monday is home projects, Tuesday is organisation topics, etc, makes planning content simpler because it narrows my focus for each day. (Obviously, I’m not rigid in my approach since home and organisation have had a switcheroo the last couple of weeks). My post ideas mainly come from three sources:
· Everyday life. When I start pencilling in ideas for the month I think about what is coming up in my own life first. Doing up one of the kid’s rooms? That’s likely to need at least a couple of posts, so I’ll allocate a couple of Monday spots for that. Valentine’s Day this month? Perhaps I can check out my Pinterest board for inspiration and get a couple of crafts done to share on a Wednesday, (incidentally, Valentine’s Day has barely had a look in on my blog – been too busy!)
· To do lists. I’ve said many times that I am a fan of to do lists – I always have a list of home and organisation projects I want to have a go at when I can find time. This really helps with planning blog content because the chances are if I don’t have anything obvious to post about one week that means there is also room in the schedule to tackle a long awaited project.
· Blog idea lists. This kind of ties in a little with the previous point. I have lists of blog ideas that I can refer to if I should ever get writer’s block. In reality though, I rarely have to refer to this and some of the ideas on the list have been on there since I started the blog. But for people whose blog isn’t so tied in with their everyday activities an idea list is essential, in my opinion.
As you can see from the Microsoft Excel snapshot further up this post, I have been using a spreadsheet as a blog diary. And that has worked well for me. But I'm more of a pen and paper kinda girl and tend to fall back on scribbling lists in my notebook even with my super duper master spreadsheet. So I am now in the process of creating a blog planner:
I'll be showing this off next week!
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