If you are working on your blog non-stop, I have a question for you: Have you ever wanted to focus on something new, but your blog seems to suck every second of your free time? Let's say you want to write a book or join a photography course, but you feel guilty because you are supposed to publish new posts every single week! I feel you!! Unfortunately, Planning and working ahead to schedule your blog and social media posts is the only way to keep your blog running while you focus on something else – or while you’re lying on the beach, your call! Whatever you want to do with your blogging-free month, let’s divide into phases the tasks that we need to get done:
1. Planning Phase
>> In this phase, you will plan all those tasks you want to schedule, so make a list of anything you need to get done. It is extremely important that you focus on the most important areas of your blog, so. This means that you will need to set time aside for your blog posts, your social media accounts, your weekly email, and any other tasks that are important for your niche. If you run a photography or travel blog, taking pictures will probably be more important than any other task, so make sure you focus on that!
>> Then, write down when you will work on them, and make sure to block the time slots in your calendar or planner.
2. Brainstorming Phase
>> Before we go over to the actual content creation, you need to know what to write about. So if you don’t have an editorial calendar yet, you need one to start planning your content! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it is just a calendar for your blog posts, where you can add the blog title, the publishing date, and any other details that you find useful to have in handy. You don’t need any sophisticated software for that, an Excel table or Google Sheet would do! I like Airtable, which is like Excel on steroids, and yet free!
>> Once you have your editorial calendar up and running, take 30 to 60 minutes to write down any possible blog post subject that comes to mind.
>> When I plan the monthly content for my blog, I just take a piece of paper, list my blog categories, and start writing down potential blog posts. Just make sure to write at least 4 posts in advance!
>> Use this brainstorming phase to also write down any ideas that come to mind related to your blog posts, and that you could use for social media, for instance. I always include all ideas in my editorial calendar!
Content Creation Phase
>> Well, now is the time to actually start writing! Look for the time of the day when you feel the most creative, get a coffee or whatever your fuel is, and go to your favorite place to write! Make sure you will be able to work uninterrupted for a couple of hours at least.
>> If time is a problem, consider writing one single meaty and long blog post that you can divide into four pieces of content! Make a “theme month” out of it, and get ready to schedule!
>> If you still struggle with coming up with a way to start or finish your blog posts, check out this article on how to write when you don’t know how to start.
>> Proofread your posts and see if you can link them to each other.
>> Check your SEO and make any amendments if necessary.
- Upload all social media images onto your scheduler. I use Planoly and Nelio Software, both of which offer a free version, but there are lots of options! These are my recommendations for bloggers:
- Planoly for Instagram and Pinterest because I love how they handle the visual aspect of both social platforms.
- Nelio Software for Facebook and Twitter. It is a WordPress plugin, and I find it really useful that you can schedule your social media posts from the WordPress dashboard. If you download the app and don’t upgrade, you can use their free version. The caveat for this free version is that you can only schedule posts to come out on social media on the same day and time as the blog post.
- Blog 2 Social for many platforms! I am testing this WordPress plugin right now. It is quite affordable and it looks good, so I’ll keep you posted!
- Schedule all social media posts. I have a couple of tricks you may want to try:
- I tweak the SEO meta-description of my blog post, and use it for many of my social media posts, especially Twitter, as it won’t allow much text!
- For Instagram longer captions, I often use the beginning of the blog post as a hook, add a couple of emojis, and then list down all headings of the post as steps to follow.
>> You can schedule your weekly newsletters from your email service provider to be sent each week on a specific day and time.
>> However, if you’d like to keep it more personal and don’t want to send these automated emails, you could prepare them with a brief intro to your weekly post or whatever it is that you usually write about in your emails. Then, every week, sit down and write an intro or an update to the content you’ve written, and send the email when you’re done.