One important lesson I’ve learned in my years of blogging is that it is always beneficial to work ahead, and that includes writing and scheduling blog posts in advance. I like to write and schedule mine about a month in advance, though it’s all about your personal preference! Either way, it can be a great way to help prevent blogging burnout. Here’s how I write and schedule blog posts ahead of time.
Why You Should Schedule Blog Posts Ahead of Time
Before we jump into the how let’s quickly address the why. Why is it beneficial to schedule blog posts ahead of time rather than just writing and posting them one post at a time? Well, there are a few reasons. First of all, writing your posts ahead of time, well in advance of when they are supposed to post, gives you a chance to come back at a later date with fresh eyes and properly proofread your post. I can tell you that I’m never as effective at proofreading immediately after I’ve written the post, so I like to wait at least one day.
Scheduling in advance also gives you the ability to schedule the corresponding social media promotion in advance. I’m not necessarily always sitting at my desk when a post goes live, able to hop on the computer and send it out to all of my social media channels. Having the post written and scheduled in advance means I don’t have to because then I can schedule the social media in advance as well.
Finally, scheduling blog posts ahead of time is a great “just in case” strategy. I never know what is going to pop up in my life in the weeks ahead that will prevent me from writing blog posts. I would prefer to write them ahead of time so I’m scheduled out several weeks, just in case something else comes up. This is especially great for when you’re going on vacation or when you know ahead of time you’ll be especially busy with other parts of your life. When we’re going into a busy season in my full-time job, I’m even more diligent about writing posts in advance since I know I will likely be working longer hours and will have less time to blog.
Decide on a Blogging Schedule
Before you start scheduling out blog posts, you’ll need to decide on a blogging schedule for yourself. The number of times per month or week that you decide to post isn’t all that important – it’s more about being consistent and making sure your readers know what they can expect from you.
As far as deciding how often to post on your blog, be realistic about what can work for your life. When I first started blogging, I posted five times per week. However, they were short posts and weren’t particularly good. Once I started improving my content and writing longer, more helpful posts, I had to cut back my posting schedule. First to four posts per week, then three, and I finally landed at two, which is how I often I post now.
It’s okay to post five times per week and it’s okay to post twice per month, as long as you are being consistent and sticking to a schedule that is manageable for you.
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Brainstorm Blog Post Ideas
I like to have a running list of blog post ideas going at all times. These days I have a ton of post ideas on my list and have new ideas pop up in my mind all the time that I can add to the list, but at one time this meant really devoting some time to brainstorming post ideas. What I would typically do is pick one category on my blog and brainstorm as many post ideas as I could before moving onto the next category.
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Create a Content Calendar
Now that you’ve brainstormed a nice long list of blog post ideas, it’s time to plug those ideas into a content calendar. Depending on what you write about, you can figure out your own strategy for plugging in post ideas. Since I have a few main topics I write about (blogging, productivity, personal development) I like to just rotate those topics, which makes it super easy to plug in post ideas!
This step is super important because when it comes time to start batch writing blog posts, your content calendar will essentially serve as a roadmap to help you do that. How far out you plan your content calendar will depend on how far in advance you would like to write and schedule blog posts. I like to have my posts written and scheduled about a month in advance, but prefer to have my content calendar planned closer to two months in advance.
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Schedule Time to Write Posts
If you’re writing a month’s worth of blog posts in advance, that’s going to take a pretty serious time commitment on the front end, but then significantly less going forward. When I first decided I wanted to get a month ahead with my writing, I decided to spend a few days and hammer out as many blog posts as I could. Since I post twice per week, this meant getting the next 8-10 posts written. I planned ahead and used a few days where I knew I didn’t have anything else going on.
If your time is more limited, you could even push yourself to write one post per day, and in just a couple of weeks, you’ll be a month ahead with your writing.
The great thing is that once you get over the initial hump of writing that month of blog posts, you’re back to only having to write the normal number of posts per week. So I still write two blog posts per week, but the two posts I’m writing this week won’t be published for another month.
Schedule Social Media Promotion
One of my favorite things about writing and schedule my blog posts in advance is that I can also schedule the social media promotion in advance! Each new blog post I published gets shared multiple times on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Because of this, you can imagine the time investment that would take if I were to post all of those social media posts in real time! Since I don’t spend all of my time on social media (nor do I have any desire to), it’s wonderful to be able to schedule those things in advance! And the further out you write and publish your blog posts, the further in advance you can plan and schedule your social media calendar.
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One of the great things about mass-writing blog posts ahead of time is that it gives you a chance to batch your tasks. Here are some examples of tasks I batch to make things go more quickly:
- I batch write outlines and copy for all of my blog posts.
- I batch photography needed for upcoming posts.
- I batch edit graphics for my blog posts.
- I batch edit the copy of my pre-written blog posts
- I batch schedule social media posts for my upcoming posts.
Batching my tasks like this allows me to really hone in on one area of blogging and give it my full attention for several blog posts before moving onto the next step.
Do you schedule blog posts in advance? If so, what is your strategy?
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