I’m not the world’s most successful blogger but after seven years of blogging, I am pretty proud of my little space on the internet. I’ve had some great opportunities through blogging, have made amazing friends..and overall, found myself incredibly proud of myself for keeping it going for so long.
Even though there have been lulls where I’ve lost all motvation or personal stuff has overwhelmed me, as a whole, I’ve stuck at it and, in recent years, have stuck to a pretty secure deadline of blogging every other day. There’s been odd times when I’ve missed this – take this week, for example, where I missed my Sunday post simply because I’d been away since Thursday and simply hadn’t had the time beforehand to do everything = sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
But when you stay focused and stick to a schedule, it makes all the difference. It’s incredibly easy to see the difference between a post planned and written in advance with great content and stunning photos as opposed to a post that’s been half-heartedly written with a stock photo thrown in to hit a deadline (trust me, I’ve done this before!). Sticking to a schedule or some sort of plan makes your blog look better, impresses clients and leaves you feeling proud of your content.
Here are some tips on how to get your sh*t together when it comes to blogging and how to always stay on top of things – even if you work full time like me!
GET TO GRIPS WITH A SPREADSHEET
Google Spreadsheets are my absolute savour, mostly because I can access them from anywhere – home, work or my phone for example. I used to hate any sort of spreadsheet when I was younger and now people at work even make fun of me because of how much I rely on them! I keep one strictly for everything blogging and this is a place for me to list ideas, what’s going live when and tracks things like statistics, finances and more. Although I do scribble down posts in an actual planner, I find this so much more useful because posts get swapped around all the time and I can keep an eye on where everything is shared. Having it laid out in front of me makes me notice things like if I’ve got three lifestyle posts and then three music posts in a row – prompting me to mix them up – and see what needs doing to make the posts live.
SCHEDULE TIME IN
Whether you can only write when inspiration strikes or you can only write on a Sunday morning in bed for example, always, always schedule some blog time in once a week (or less, depending on how regular you post). I always give myself a Sunday afternoon and in this time I do any blog admin like tracking followers, commenting on other blogs, approving my own comments, going through my to do list etc. I find it much easier to do this in a set time weekly because it helps me feel prepped for the week ahead. I also use this time to plan my social media – beforehand I’d share my blog posts once on Facebook and three times on Twitter – that’s it. Now that I plan other content (not necessarily related to blogging but just to grow my social media following and help me seem more approachable), it makes so much difference. For example, being away and not planning anything over the last week or so has led my Facebook audience reach to drop by 33% compared to the previous seven days, whereas my page views over the last month have gone up by 5%. So you can see the difference: by taking the time to regularly schedule things, my reach has been creeping up and up. But it drops very quickly when I don’t take that time. Which brings me to my next point…
This is a tough point because it can be argued about what statistics are most valuable/true and a lot of people believe you shouldn’t blog for followers/numbers to go up – and I agree. But if you’re producing regular content – especially sponsored posts or content about brands – it’s always good to keep track of audience reach and page views. Not only is this useful for any company you’re collaborating with, but it really helps to understand your reach a lot better. Facebook and Twitter can show you what links actually get clicked on and on some websites you can track the best times to post for the most views. It’s a great way to keep on top of what you’re doing right and what isn’t working which, overall, saves you a lot of time. I quickly learned from Twitter that my tweets with media/photos get the most impressions, and Facebook taught me that my audience are on Facebook more in the afternoon and evenings and so taking time to schedule things to go live early in the morning is a complete waste of time.
This is something I’m still getting used to; usually on a Sunday after I’ve written one or two posts and done all my blog admin, I feel like I’ve done more than enough. I struggle to understand how some bloggers can find the time to bulk write up to five posts in one day! But I think this is super important, especially when you know you’ll be going away or won’t have the time to write. If you’re on holiday, I do think it’s important to take a break away from it all and that it is silly to feel pressured to have content up in that time but on the otherhand, if things like sponsored posts need to be written for that time, then it’s good to sit down and bulk write it in advance. I’m always well aware of life throwing obstacles at you too – sometimes I’ll have no motivation or family/work stuff going on, so my current goal is trying to have a set few posts sitting in my drafts always ready to post in case of something popping up. Things like book reviews or ‘get to know me’ posts are great for this type of thing as they’re not time sensitive so can go live whenever – even if it’s months after you wrote it! Y’know, unless you did a get to know me post about hooking up with an uber hot rockstar then all of a sudden you’re married…that’s not really a great time to make that kind of post live..!
GET A PLANNER
..not just for blogging, but in general. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt really on top of things via my spreadsheet and mentally decided that I’ll take all my photos or do a particular review one evening…then look through my planner and see I’ve got meetings like, three days in a row which means late finishes from work and NO TIME TO BLOG. I mean, if you already prefer to keep some sort of blogging schedule in a planner then great. But if not, it’s a good idea to realize that, well, if you’re not a full time blogger, blogging often takes up ‘you time’ – evenings and lunch breaks for example. So I find it helpful to stick to a Google Spreadsheet for the bulk of my blogging planning, but cast an eye over my actual life planner per week too. Also, I tend to plan posts per month, then write them into my planner weekly because yes they get swapped around a lot, but by a Sunday evening I usually manage to have a clear plan with whats going live that week coming up, so can write it in and pencil in any last minute photos or social media shares I need to do.
However, it’s also important to remember that people plan in a variety of different ways. A lot of people prefer to just write when inspiration strikes, instead of putting on a business head and planning lots. I know I prefer to write when inspiration strikes (which is luckily on a lazy Sunday afternoon) so I mix the two: plan all my blog admin but not plan the actual creative side of things. So it really is whatever works for you. In my personal experience, sticking to some sort of schedule makes me feel a lot more relaxed and confident about my blogging and personally I feel that shows through my writing.
How do you blog? Do you stick to some sort of schedule? Or just write when inspiration strikes? Let me know!