in Start

5 Ingredients Required to Create a Blog Schedule That Works

Some find schedules freeing while others hate it!

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series. Check out the other posts!]

Smart bloggers eventually identify patterns in their writing and their weekly output and craft a schedule that works for them. Sometimes these “schedules” are explicit and written down while for others it’s more of a “feeling” and intuitive in nature, the latter of course being seasoned and vetted!

The challenge is that most of us, especially newer bloggers, have never been taught or coached to find those patterns or even shown some basic techniques so as to create that robust blog schedule that sustains a successful blog!

The point is that great blogs that have great blog content typically have a great blog posting schedule working behind the scenes. This isn’t always the case but more often than not there’s a so-called “method to the madness,” especially for those that consider themselves professional bloggers.

But for starters, you might be wondering what I mean exactly when I say a “blog schedule” – what I mean specifically is a weekly (or monthly) outline of what and when your blog content gets published, perhaps as granular down to categories and even keywords!

Heck, it might even look like this and show your daily schedule:

An old schedule from a few years ago.

I crafted this blogging schedule out 3 years or so ago and used it for more than 2 years as I grew my blogs toward significant profitability. Eventually this blog schedule catapulted me into a full time blogging career and so I know that scheduling does, in fact, work!

I now have a more broad daily/weekly/monthly scheduling process but to start I needed to really train myself and “lock myself in” to a system for the highest levels of output and efficiency.

Do you need a daily system like the one pictured above? Probably not (well, maybe some of you do…). What you do need to do is know some of the key ingredients so that you can create the right blog schedule that works for you.

The 5 Key Ingredients

There are a number of factors at play that can help guide you to the right blog posting schedule and many more that you might entertain based on your personality and personal preference, but here are 5 key ingredients that I typically share when I coach and counsel others on creating their schedule.

1. Categories

Your categories play a significant role in finding the right pace for your blog schedule. More specifically, the quantity and quality of your categories can shift your schedule quite a bit.

If you have 5 categories and have committed to engage with those pieces of content every single week then you’ve begun to create that schedule already. Your aim is to publish at least one blog post per category per week. That was easy.

If you need some suggestions on the amount of categories your blog should have then you should probably read this post here on my thoughts. Remember, the more focused your categories are the better defined the blog posts can be and the more targeted they will become. It’s easier to hit the target when you know where it is!

Now, if your category are qualitatively large and broad you might have a hard time nailing down the exact number of blog posts per category – again, this is an issue with your ability to focus your categories! Take another look at those categories and refine them if you can!

2. Personal Goals

You might have some personal goals in terms of your schedule that you’d like to hit. I believe in short term goals as they’ve helped me become a success as I create sustainable momentum forward with my blogs and with my writing.

If you have a goal of writing 30 times per month then your blog schedule will reflect your ability to do just that. You’ll make your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule block out the time necessary to write and to execute on your goal.

I would imagine that a combination of this personal goal can help you make the right adjustments in your schedule so that you can be optimal in reaching your numbers!

I also know of some bloggers who have traffic goals instead of publishing goals – for example, they try to hit a certain number of pageviews a month and continue to publish and track daily their metrics. If one post knocks it out of the park in the first week then they consider themselves covered for that month in terms of their goal and they go easy for the rest of the month. If they are falling behind in traffic they pick up the pace and publish a bit more so as to increase those numbers.

You can do both/and here and find what works for you.

The right mix of ingredients make all the difference.

3. Niche and Focus

Your particular niche will really help navigate you towards what might be an optimal posting schedule for you. For example, if you’re blogging in the high-tech industry you already know that it’s one of the highest publishing sectors out there in terms of blog posts.

As such your publishing goal is going to be substantially higher than in other industries and your blog posting schedule will need to reflect that particular niche, culture, and general expectation.

This can be tough for a new-ish blogger and sure there’s some definite “give” here but you’ll want to do your research. I’d also recommend perhaps taking a look at your blogging persona to help give yourself some clarity in this arena. You might also take a look at the “Blogging Tree” to further your research.

Whatever you come up with you’ll want to make a schedule that paces well with the understood culture and industry. If not you could lose valuable readers and eyeballs. Or, you just might be such an innovator as to create an entirely new expectation – who knows?

4. Experiment, Measure, and Refine

At the end of the day you’re going to have to do a bunch of experimenting when it comes to your schedule. You might create a robust daily schedule like I did in the beginning and try it out for a few weeks. If  you find that you’re constantly behind then change it up and adjust. If you’ve found yourself with too much free time and not enough content then adjust accordingly as well.

But, don’t forget to measure the success or points of tension and failure as you work through the refining process of your schedule. You might find that the first few weeks of your new schedule are doable but the traffic patterns or numbers aren’t working out. Adjust or change it up!

Your goal over the course of the first year is to find a sustainable pace that you’ve refined over time. Start somewhere but know that you’re not locking yourself into a schedule forever!

5. Be Flexible, Be You

Finally, you have to remember that your schedule is your schedule and no one elses. If you’re not having fun or feel comfortable and are stressed all the time about it then something is wrong!

I re-iterate so you don’t forget:

  • If you’re not having fun then your schedule is wrong! Change it!
  • If you’re not feeling comfortable about the pace or the results then refine it!
  • If you feel stressed all the time about the schedule then you need to adjust your expectations!

A blog schedule is to help you be more productive and to get more out of your blog – don’t let it cramp your style or set you back! Use it as a tool for advancement and greater success in what you’re already doing. The schedule is yours and yours alone to change and edit over time – at the end of the day you have to live with it!

And, of course, if you’re not a scheduler at all then you probably already skipped this post entirely!

Hope that helps! Would love to see what you come up with in terms of your blog schedule!

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series. Check out the other posts!]