Tell me about it. Even the most organised super-mum in the world will experience a crisis that eats into her blogging time.
So if we are to avoid the horrible spectre of the neglected or forgotten blog, looming over us threatening our existence as bloggers, we need to know some tips and tricks to make the whole process easier for us.
Because facing the daunting task of keeping your posting remotely on a regular basis can seem like having to climb Everest every week.
However, if you are able to plan your blogging activities, both at the time as well as in advance, then the task doesn’t seems so unattainable.
This Infographic gives you a quick visual guide:
And here’s some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
1. First find some ideas
There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page biting your nails down to the quick as you struggle to think of something to write.
If any of you use Delia Smith cookbooks, you’ll probably know she suggests starting her recipes at least 3 days in advance (most infuriating!). Unfortunately the same applies to time-effective blogging. Unless you’re a pro, scatty or just plain mad, it’s not a good idea to start blogging ‘cold’.
You need to ‘put your blogging hat on’, which is what I call making yourself receptive to blogging ideas around you. Even the most mundane things can trigger a blog post. Then either write or record this fabulous idea immediately! Doesn’t matter how: paper, phone, writing on the back of your hand, the idea is to preserve these potential blogging subjects before you forget them.
2. Do something with them
Once you’ve gathered these ideas, scribble them down into a post draft on your blog. Write them as bullet points, trigger words or captured thoughts. What you’re doing is creating an outline, which is the basic framework of a blog post.
The idea is not to create an immediate perfect post. This rarely happens, even with hardened pros. Usually they will have a number of drafts in various stages of completion, ranging from a few words to almost ready.
The reason for writing an outline is that it enables you to craft a better post, create a beginning, middle and end, work out the direction or purpose, fill in the gaps with additional information, avoid any duplication and focus fully on the headline.
3. When are you at your best?
If you want to optimise your blogging effectiveness, you need to be aware of which times you are most productive, or when your brain works properly(!)
Once you’ve sorted out the most suitable time of day (when the kids are at school or having their afternoon nap, for example), you need to schedule or rearrange your diary to accommodate this. Block out this time and stick to it. Don’t let any other appointments eat into it.
And make sure you spend this time in the most suitable environment possible. Eliminate any distractions, such as your phone, emails, friends ringing up for a chat, the postman knocking on the door, or your dog begging for a walk.
4. Where’s your kitchen timer?
Working for long periods of time without a break is not good for you. I’m afraid I am guilty of this, as sometimes I don’t get up from my computer for hours! This ‘problem’ happens for those who are able to fully focus on a task at hand, oblivious of anything that goes on around them.
I read somewhere that we are most productive in small time slots. I had a friend who only worked for 25 minutes at a time, and even though it seemed like she was always having a break and talking to someone, she was incredibly productive in between.
Get out your kitchen timer and set it to a very short period of time, anything from 5 to 15 minutes. This will force you to focus on your writing. Also it’s brilliant for overcoming writer’s block, as it drives you into a writing pattern: once you’ve started you’ll find it difficult to stop.
You’d be amazed how much you can achieve in a short amount of time. It’s also a very good way of avoiding procrastination. Remember you are not creating something perfect first time, only something that can be worked on later.
5. Be firm with yourself
Now’s the time to get disciplined. Writing a blog doesn’t work for time-wasters or for those with a flippant attitude. Even if you’re not blogging for business, you should take it seriously as if you were.
Blogging is much easier if you have a proper purpose or objective. This provides something for you to focus on and offers a basis for good posting subjects, as well as understanding who you are writing for and providing the sort of thing your readers want to read.
If you’re an ultra-organised blogger, you will have written your posts well in advance before they have to be published. This will give you plenty of time to find extra material, analyse your audience’s needs and create any additional landing pages or resources to back up your post’s objectives.
6. Break everything down
I mentioned in No. 2 above that it’s not a good idea to write your post all in one go (unless you prefer to do it like that). Don’t worry if your post takes a long time to develop, your brain will value the time taken as it subconsciously works on the contents until you next edit it.
Having several posts ‘on the go’ will require different tasks to be done on them. Create these into a series of ‘jobs’, such as drafting an outline, doing additional research, padding out the ‘flesh’ of the post, editing and refining, formatting for SEO or readability, and finally publishing and promoting.
Leaving gaps or breaks in between these jobs helps prevent feelings of overwhelm, and allows you to solve any problems or find better ideas.
7. Focus on your worth
Any decent mummy blogger won’t be blogging just for the hell of it. There should always be some sort of purpose, even if it is to get more readers or to raise awareness of your blog’s niche or subject. If you are blogging to promote a business, this should be part of your marketing strategy, hence the need for objectives and proper functionality.
Find out which posts are most preferred by your ideal readers. Which ones have the most likes, shares or comments. What subjects or headlines have resonated the best and attracted the most attention. Then see if you can do more of the same, or even better!
Even if your posting schedule is only to blog consistently once a week, you will need to work even harder to keep your audience interested and on your side. Make sure you provide the most valuable and useful content for them, combined with enticing call to actions to join your newsletter list if you have one, or buy your products if they are available.
8. Have you got a content calendar?
To successfully create your posts in advance, carefully developing them through a variety of draft forms over a period of time, requires planning. And this is usually done with the aid of an editorial calendar.
This will enable you to schedule when you post, determine the best kind of subjects and which readers to focus on, and allow you to write posts in advance to meet various deadlines or to take advantage of social or seasonal events.
By knowing the desired timeline of your posts’ development, you’ll be able to sort out enough time to gather the necessary information and write the kind of content that will enhance your credibility and boost your readership, as well as fulfil your blog’s objectives or purpose.
9. What happens when you’re not around?
Being able to schedule your posts in advance has many advantages. It stops you from having your finger hovering over the publish button at your preferred time of posting.
This means you can create a series of posts to publish by themselves while you are away on holiday, sunning yourself on a beach. We all know how important it is to have proper time out, and being reassured that your blog’s automation is doing everything for you is very helpful.
This also means if you are suddenly very busy or have something more productive to do, you can attend that children’s party or focus on that shopping spree, confident that your blog will not appear to be neglected while you are having fun!
10. Be ready for emergencies
I remember when a good blogging friend announced on Facebook that she had broken some fingers when they got slammed in her car door. As well as emitting a sympathetic ‘ouch’, I felt for her inability to blog while they healed.
However, as she was a prolific blogger, her blog didn’t suffer. This was because she had drafted a series of posts in advance, and they were in a sufficient state to be completed with just one finger.
This shows you should take heed of the suggestion that you ought to have a series of blog posts ruminating gently in your drafts section, just in case a similar situation arises to you (which I hope it won’t!)
Now over to you
Let me know what processes you put in place to make your blogging easier and to make your time more efficient while doing so. We will all benefit from this advice and information, which can only be a good thing.