You're 5 days away from your normal blog post publishing day.
- Do you have a post ready to publish?
- Do you have an outline for a post ready?
- Do you have no idea what you're going to post that day?
Hopefully it's the first, or at least the second...
Either way, a hand-crafted posting schedule that reveals:
- What you're going to publish
- When you're going to publish it
- [And for what purpose]
...should be a prominent focus if you want to be taken seriously as a professional and blogger.
And if that (plus being prepared for your upcoming launches) is important to you, then you're in the right place.
Read on and get my top 4 audience [paraphrased] questions on scheduling content—answered.
- Do I need a posting schedule?
- What should I schedule? And what can I wing..?
- What should I use to manage my schedule?
- How can I keep up with my schedule?
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1. Do I Need A Posting Schedule?
It's almost Tuesday.
Blog post publishing day...
And you've got nothing. Nada. Zilch.
No idea or theme or even an inkling on what you should publish.
Do you like that feeling? Is it exciting? Or sickening?
If it's exciting, you're probably not reading this anyhow...
And if you're like the rest of us who actually care about the content we publish, your tummy is probably knotting up at the thought of being in an unnerving position like that.
The benefits of knowing what's coming next and being prepared for it are prevalent.
If you have a simple or even complex layout of a posting schedule, you're:
- prepared with what you need ready and by what date
- producing better content
- less stressed (in general)
Of course there's more. There's always more...
But I think these 3 points summarize the basic benefits best.
I won't get all high and mighty about having this mega plan or anything. Because some people can't function under such a rigid schedule.
(I can't anymore, that's for sure.)
With that said:
2. What Should I Schedule (And What Can I Wing)?
Well, what should you schedule? And what can you wing?
It's up to you. You know you better than anyone else.
You know what you have that, if not planned, never pans out for you.
Like, let's say, your blog posts.
Do posts that have no framework perform well for you? Or poorly?
Do posts that you "follow your heart" (wing it) on perform better than structured posts?
Because just like you train yourself, you train your returning audience on what to expect from you, too.
So, if you publish whenever you feel like it and that works for you, why change it?
But, if you know you need a stronger framework for your content, then continue:
What I do: I "wing" social media and thoroughly plan blog posts.
Okay, I don't really wing social media... But I don't have a set in stone schedule written up either.
My blog post schedule lays the general support for what's going to get published on social media, too.
EXAMPLE: This post published on Tuesday.
It's categorized under Growth Hacking (and Productivity) in the Goff Creative Archive. So it's also categorized under Growth Hacking in my rolling spreadsheet of content.
That way all the posts are split up by their primary category in the spreadsheet.
(So it's easy to find, and easy to grab content to share on social media within the same category. Want to know more/decipher what the heck I'm talking about? I wrote a post on social media and that system here.)
So for social media, I scheduled this post for Tuesday and Saturday of the launch week into Buffer—my social automation tool.
And then it's shared again on the following Thursday, then again in two weeks following that on Wednesday.
I don't necessarily "schedule" this. I already know how I share content on social media. So it's like a laid-back way of organizing my social content.
(Okay, it's really called forming positive habits, but that's a whole different subject.)
Does that make sense?
Then, once I've filled in the publishing spots for the new post, I fill in the rest of the week with posts in the same primary category. (In my example's case, that'd be Growth Hacking.)
See how that works?
That way, I give myself enough publishing flexibility to reduce stress, but also know what to do and expect next.
Scheduling blog posts (and email content) is a much more thorough process.
That's where I use my method of brainstorming content.
[ For a detailed breakdown, get the Content Planning Workshop here ]
Start with themes or projects you have in mind before you start brainstorming content for your blog or social media.
EXAMPLE: Let's say I'm going to launch a course on creating and managing content in March. The posts leading up to that course's launch date should all pre-sell or prepare blog visitors for the upcoming course.
The posts after should focus on selling that course.
So, my posts leading up to the launch are about content creation and management. (And maybe even drop hints about the upcoming course in emails, on social, and so on.)
They're building trust, expertise and authority on the topic so that your existing readers are ready to buy when the product launches.
But maybe you don't have a product right now.
Maybe you're just working on building your presence online.
You can focus on themes to heighten your authority in your niche.
Because, although it can be "fun" to write about whatever you want to write about, you generally don't earn much of an income from that type of effort.
(Your content goals should factor heavily in here too.)
So, again, what can you wing and what do you need to pre-plan?
3. What Should I Use To Manage My Posting Schedule?
Paper or plastic?
But seriously though. What do you work best with?
I'm an on-paper person. If I rely on my digital calendar and to-do list, I tend to push tasks and scheduled things off.
And I just seem to "miss" more things or get stressed if I don't see that upcoming appointment or meeting laid out in front of me as a constant reminder.
(I'm a digital procrastinator...)
Maybe you prefer to keep everything in spreadsheets or in your Google Calendar, even.
Either way, you should have everything down and out of your head.
It should be gathered in a cohesive way—in a way that helps you achieve your content and business goals.
So, maybe that's on paper, or on a whiteboard in your office space, in a spreadsheet or digital calendar. Just get it down and go from there.
4. How Can I Keep Up With My Schedule?
I might tick you off with this, but this is another "it's up to you" answer.
I can give you every tool and strategy available, but none of it will work without the follow through.
So, the better question is:
What will you do to keep up with your posting schedule?
What I can do is give you a list to some of my best, most trusted content on creating a schedule that works:
- How To Simply And Effective Organize Your Work-From-Home Schedule
- Dissecting A Mompreneur's Schedule: Strategies To Run Your Day Like A Well-Oiled Machine
- How To Create A Simple Social Strategy For The Active Entrepreneur
Because once you have an idea for your schedule, you can then start thinking about what you'll post (and when) to your content schedule.
Where you can start.
Now that the main questions are covered, here's a few tips to get you started on your posting schedule:
- What kind of platform do you prefer to organize with? Paper? Digital? A whiteboard or bulletin board?
- What media or schedule do you need to plan ahead for? (Blog posts? Social media? Podcasts?) And how far ahead do you need to detail out what to expect for yourself in the future?
- [Is there anything you can leave as a tentative guideline? Like how I "plan" my social media content around my blog content?]
- What information do you need to make your posting schedule successful?
And that fourth question is where we'll wrap this post up with.
It's a pretty open-ended question, so let's get specific.
What information do you need to make your posting schedule successful?
EXAMPLE: Let's say your blog post planning schedule needs these questions answered:
- Do you need a basic topic outline / breakdown? (Something you'd jot down in a notebook or spreadsheet?)
- What day(s) will you publish on? (How often will you publish?)
- What time will the post(s) launch?
- How will you lay out your schedule? In your planner? In a digital or online-hosted content calendar?
- How far in advance do you need to have a post ready before it publishes?
- How far in advance will you edit, add links and images, and more to your post before it publishes?
- How often will you re-share that post? (I share a new post on two days in the first week of the post going live. Then on one day again the next week. Then on one day, again, two weeks following that. After that, I re-share via social media and in email trainings whenever the post works with the newest post being published. Does that make sense?)
And your social media schedule needs to know:
- Do you need a (even tentative) outline for what you'll publish each week, month, or quarter on social media?
- How often will you share a single post in one day? 3 times? 4? 5 or more? So how many total posts should you share (of yours and others') each day?
- How often will you re-share successful content on social?
EXAMPLE: A post you shared gets lots of clicks and re-shares. It's a consistent winner on social media. (You've got a gold nugget for your social strategy here.) So, how often will you re-share this winner? Once a week? Once or twice a month? And how will you track it? In a spreadsheet or notebook?—See where I'm going with this?
No matter how you plan, they all need to work together.
How you publish blog content should depend on what project or product you're going to launch within a given timeframe.
How you post to social media should depend on how your blog content, project or product launch works, too.
So, what will you do to make your posting schedule successful?
I hope you found this post helpful, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
P.S. Comments, emails, running a business and being a mom of 3 were just too much for me to handle. So, blog comments got the boot. But the lack of a comment box doesn't mean I don't want to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with me via @GoffCreative on Twitter or directly via email.
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