Despite planning being something I'm good at and like to do I didn't always plan when it came to blogging. When I first started blogging I didn't have a real weekly posting schedule. I also didn't plan out my posts. More often than not an idea for a post would come to mind I'd write something and post it the same day. Admittedly this would sometimes cause stress, because I would be rushing to get my post completed. This resulted in short posts with little substance that had small, poorly edited images (if any images at all). It also didn't allow any time or thought for promotion of the posts. I'm surprised I gained any followers at all during that time.
When I decided to rebrand my blog, I also decided to become more organized and plan a bit more. As part of the rebrand I created a weekly posting schedule and began pre-scheduling up to two months of posts. Since I started pre-scheduling my blog posts, blogging has become so much more fun, easier and overall less stressful.
Related post: Starting a Blog Step 4: Planning Your Content
The BenefitsAdditionally, I've seen a few other benefits to pre-scheduling my blog posts
1. More quality contentAs I mentioned before, my blog posts when I first started blogging were short, devoid of any depth and had awful, dark unpinnable images. Now that I plan ahead and started pre-sheduling my content I stopped having to scramble with coming up with content or creating it. This leaves me more time to plan out the topics I'm writing about and write out longer, more detailed posts. It also leaves me time to take more quality images, edit them and create attractive graphics.
2. More time for other aspects of bloggingBlogging isn't just about writing and spitting out posts. It's also about connecting with other bloggers and your followers. Another aspect of blogging is the promotion of your blog and posts. Once I started pre-scheduling my posts I found that I wasn't spending as much time creating content. I know this sounds weird, but it's true. Knowing what I'm going to write about beforehand allows me to gather all the info I need and also think about the images and graphics I want to use to support the post.
I'm now spending my free time posting more on Pinterest to drive more traffic to my blog. I've also been responding to comments on blog in a more timely manner and not let days or weeks go by like I did in the past. I'm visiting and commenting on other blogs more than before and also learning more about blogging in the process.
3. Coverage during vacations and emergenciesOnce you've started to build momentum with anything, especially blogging, you don't want to lose it. And that can happen if you go for long stretches of time with no new content. There are some blogs that can get away with it, but the newer your blog is the less content you have and the less likely that will be the case.
By planning ahead and pre-scheduling posts you can look active without actually being active. I recently went through a stretch of time when I wasn't able to spend time creating content and had I not pre-scheduled several posts I wouldn't have any new content for close to a month. That could have resulted in lost engagement from current readers and a loss in new readership.
How to Start Pre-Scheduling Your Blog PostsOnce you've determined that planning and pre-scheduling is for you, here are some helpful tips on how to get started.
Create a scheduleA schedule is important. I've found it keeps me on track and somewhat accountable. I have a specific posting schedule that I try and stick to.
- Wednesdays - hair and beauty
- Saturdays - lifestyle and blogging
Having a schedule helps me know how many posts I need to complete so I have a couple of months of content. I also use Google calendar to determine the specific topics within each category I'll post about.
Start with an outlineOnce you have your schedule and topics in place, it's time to start writing. I' like to start with an outline. In my outline I write out the key points I want to hit and then start filling that in with a little more detail of the sections that will make up those key points. If I need to do more research I start finding sources and pulling in that information. Once I have all the info I start putting it together and fleshing out the post.
Having an outline helps me
- See how long my post could be
- Determine if the post could be broken up into a series
- See where I need to do some research
- Come pup with ideas for graphics and images
Create graphics/imagesGraphics and images can sometimes be a deciding factor for whether someone reads or doesn't read your post. The more attractive the image the better, but it can take time and planning.
If you like to shoot most of your images like me, you probably know how tedious a process if can be. Setting up the shots, getting good shots, selecting and editing the image all take time. It doesn't happen quickly so I need to set aside specific time to do shoots and if I don't know beforehand what I need to capture it makes the shoot even harder and longer. I also run the risk of not getting a shot I needed.
Related post: How to Create Blog Graphics with Canva
Do you pre-schedule your blog posts? Why/why not?