When you want to keep your blog fresh and always booming with new content, it can really, really be a stressful thing. In my I’m so overwhelmed that my blog is suffering post, I discussed this pretty candidly. In this four part series, I’m going to share tips to be a better blogger, even with a full time job.
Please note that this series was written in desperation for myself. I’ll be referring to it constantly. I hope you will to.
Take some time and just write down everything that comes to mind about your blog. Post ideas, color scheme changes, template updates, what you like, what you don’t like, where you want to be in a year, goals–you name it. Get it all out of your mind to you can have it for future use and expand on it. I use Google Docs as a tool for my blog. It syncs easily, I can use it on the phone or web. I keep it open in a separate tab all day, and add to it when an idea comes to mind.
WORKING LUNCH W/ LAPTOP (PHONE/ NOTEBOOK/ ETC.)
My hair dresser made me think about this a lot more. Use this power hour (or half hour) to eat lunch while working on post drafts, editing videos or photos, answering emails, sending invoices, pitching, etc. That’s one hour where you can get concentrated work accomplished, if you really focus on it.
SCHEDULE DAYS FOR TASKS
Trying to do all the steps to creating a blog post at once can be daunting! But if you use an hour a day to do one type of task, you can be far more productive. For instance, take all of your photography on Saturdays. Take an hour on Tuesday morning/evening to start drafting all your posts for the next week, etc. Use Thursdays to schedule recycled posts (don’t let them get lost!), and Fridays to schedule new posts. Develop a routine and knock out a major part of the process.
Okay, this might not make you the most productive blogger at work (or whereever you are). Sometimes when inspiration hits I need to get started on a blog post draft! I open Outlook while I’m at my desk and just type out all of my ideas for that post. In fact, that’s how I created the outline for this post!
UTILIZE YOUR MORNINGS
Ah, this can be a hard one, but it’s all about routine. It took me a few months to realize that waking up at 7am to leave at 8am isn’t very productive. I started off waking up at 6:30, which was pretty tough, but I’m used to it now. Ultimately, I’d like to get up around 5 or 5:15. That way, you can dedicate a portion of your morning to productivity around the house, blogging, or any of the other things you’re into.
I LOVE this. Basically, this is a timer that gets you to work in 25 minute increments, then the alarm goes off, your computer dims, and then you can start again. This really helps me concentrate on a task and get work done without lollygagging. I use tomato-timer and pomodoro.
CREATE A WEEKLY TIME LIMIT
Maybe you want to devote a total of five hours a week to your blog. I’ve tried “clocking in” and not going over that time. Again, this is a way to ensure that you knock out content while being able to knock out other things. I used to spend endlesss amounts of time “blogging”, ie checking social media, etc. Nope!
BE OKAY WITH NOT POSTING A BILLION TIMES A WEEK
In an ideal blogging world, I’d like to post three times a day! There’s no way in the world I can devote that kind of time to my blog, so I have to be okay with posting 2-3 times per week. When I pressure myself to post 5 times a week, I end up only posting once, because I get overwhelmed. It’s a sad reality.
SET UP DRAFTS AS YOU GO
Did you begin a post and you’ve got some good content going for it? Go ahead and throw it in your editor and draft it! Add images and links later, if necessary.
TOTALLY UNPLUG AND GO AT IT
This was the productivity tip that helped me like no other. I wrote all about it here.
CREATE AN ONGOING GOOGLE DOC
I absolutely live by this! I create Google docs that I can edit at any time. Since they live on the web, it’s easy to update on your phone or on your computer so you can continuously work on them. I have pages like short and long term goals, blog re-design ideas, random post ideas–basically anything that comes to mind.
THE OLD FAITHFUL EDITORIAL CALENDAR
I work so hard to use an editorial calendar. It’s something that I’ve never been good at. I like to plan my posts in advance, but I never really you finish. An editorial calendar is basically an idea we took from magazines. They will share a calendar of what each month’s issue will contain. So you know that May will be dedicated to Spring beauty, and February is all about Valentine’s day. We can do this on a much smaller scale, as bloggers. You can lay out your calendar with themes, specific posts, or whatever else you can think of.
Here’s an easy one! Basically you’re getting people to write content for your blog so that you don’t have to. If your goal is to have fresh content for your blog five days a week, see if you can have a guest post once every couple of weeks. It’s also a good idea because you get the perspective of someone else. That reader might bring their own audience, too! Take the pressure off yourself!
AUTOMATE LIKE CRAZY
Set up as much as you can ahead of time so that you don’t have to do it in your current moment. Once you finish your blog post, schedule it in HootSuite to go to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. That way, if it goes out at 11 AM you don’t actually have to do it–Hootsuite does it for you. If you knock out all the automation ahead of time then it’s much easier for you to not think about it later.
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP
If you don’t get content up on time or everybody’s upset that you’re changing, It’s okay. My goal is to post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It almost never happens. And ya know what? Everything will be fine. Life will go on and you can always start again.
CREATE “EVENTS” ON YOUR CALENDAR
I’ve recently started using my Google calendar as an editorial calendar. All of my videos and blog posts are scheduled there ahead of time, so I can see what I need to be doing during the week. I also schedule time (an hour here or there) to work on the blog, and that is set up like any other appointment or obligation.
ALWAYS KEEP A RUNNING TO DO LIST
This kind of goes back to the Google Docs idea. Create a list of blog post topics, layout changes, or tweets to share. Whenever you need inspiration or have time to knock out some things, take a look at that list. You’ll be surprised how many small gems you’ll find there over time!
REVISIT SOME THINGS UNTIL LATER DOWN THE ROAD
Don’t force certain topics. Did you draw a blank or are running out of ideas? Give it time, let your brain focus on other things, then come back to it later down the road. I’m telling you, people will be able to notice when your posting just for the sake of getting content up.
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF
There really isn’t a win for doing this. It gets you nowhere. Trust me, I have spent years wondering “why didn’t I get that opportunity” or “How does she have so many followers?”. What a gigantic waste of time.
Wouldn’t it be great to know that you have posts set up for every Monday of the next month? It can happen! Spend a span of work time scheduling a particular series. Once you’ve written all the copy, schedule the posts for the appropriate times.