When new clients first start blogging, I always stress the importance of a publishing schedule. The easiest part is creating one. The hard part, of course, is following it.
And since I haven’t updated this blog since February 9, I can’t exactly hold myself up as Mr. business-blogging model citizen – at least not at the moment.
You see… I’ve been there.
It’s true. Sticking to a publishing schedule is a really really difficult thing to do. Having just gone a month without a single post, I can honestly say that I’ve “been there:”
- “Oh, I’ll just write a blog post on Friday afternoon when I’m not so rushed.”
- “I’ll do it on the weekend. I won’t have so many emails to answer then.”
- “It’s cool. I’ll have time for a new post tomorrow. Promise.”
- “Maybe I should just hire someone to blog for me… Nah.”
These were some of the excuses I came up with over the past month – excuses that actually kept me from writing a single post.
On the bright side, I’m really busy with my work. I’ve received several new inquiries in the last month, and serving clients really is what’s keeping me from updating the blog. In fact, I think that’s probably what hinders so many companies trying to maintain great blogs – staying on top of client projects and writing regular posts is just a ton of work.
Trust me: I get it. I’m going through it right now.
What you’ve got to realize (and what I’m realizing myself) is that while day-to-day business tasks will inevitably pile up and blogging may seem pretty low-priority, it’s maintaining the blog that ensures you’ll still have plenty of work to do later in the year. It’s consistency, after all, that gets you ahead in the Internet marketing world.
Sure, you’ve got to do everything: blogs, newsletters, landing pages, et al. But if you don’t do those things consistently, they’ll start to lose their effectiveness. Then you’ll wonder where all that great ROI is hiding.
Ok. We’ve established that sticking to a publishing schedule is difficult. What are you going to do about it?
Other than hiring somebody to write everything for you – which, by the way, is what I do – here’s one way to set up a publishing schedule that works. It’s how I’m going to proceed for the rest of the year, and though I tried to think of all the possible ways to screw this method up, and I couldn’t think of a single one.
Assuming, that is, one actually follows the method. Here goes:
1. Each Thursday morning, come up with five possible post titles.
Yep. Just five. Then you can carry on your Thursday the way you normally would.
Doing this shouldn’t take you any more than, say… ten minutes. And coming up with five new post possibilities each week is a great way to incorporate ideas you may have come up with or heard about over the last seven or so days. I don’t know about you, but I’m always coming up with new post ideas that I forget about because I don’t write them down every week!
Now you’ll always remember what it was you wanted to write about.
2. Write one post each Friday morning. First thing.
That way it’s done.
Sure it’s just a draft. You’ll need to go back and revise it later. But the hard part is out of the way, and doing the rest – adding images, formatting, revising – won’t take as much time or require as much concentration.
If you have a meeting or some other sort of obligation every Friday, you’re free to move this “system” back a day. You could brainstorm post topics on Wednesday and write the draft on Thursday, for instance.
3. Write a second post after lunch.
If you’re a once-a-weeker, this might not apply. But for those of us who intend to publish more than once a week, writing a second post the same day you wrote the first one is critical.
Why? Because your mind is still focused on producing content for the blog. In the course of writing the first post, you may have even thought of a solid follow-up topic that wasn’t in your original title list.
All in all, it might take three to four hours out of your Friday to do this. But if you’re committed to having a blog that helps you bring in new business, I shouldn’t have to convince you that it’s worth it.
4. Sit on it.
Don’t think about the posts for a few days. Enjoy your weekend.
5. On Monday morning, revise, edit, format, and schedule the posts.
This shouldn’t take you more than an hour for both posts – two hours tops if they need a lot of revisions. Then they’ll be scheduled and ready to go.
If you know it takes you longer to write, edit, and publish blog articles than the process I’ve described here, that’s fine. Actually, it’s good!
Writing articles for your company blog isn’t something to be taken lightly. The more time you spend on the blog, the better your content will serve you (and your audience) in the long run.
And be sure to turn off your email during all of the above steps. You can’t possibly be producing useful, shareworthy content if you’re constantly responding to inquiries or sending out tweets. Turn off your speakers, close all applications you’re not using, and just… write.
Remember: This is my system.
It might not work as well for you, or your schedule might not allow for it.
If nothing else, use it as a blueprint to create your own system for publishing new blog articles. It’s become quite the cliché to say that “content is king,” but many people forget that “consistency is key” as well.
So pick a method you know will work, and find the discipline to follow it. In a month, I’ll let you know how this whole publishing schedule “thing” went for me.