Operating a blog isn’t an easy task, particularly when you always post high-quality blog posts to satisfy your audiences’ appetites, build other products, prepare your email newsletters, run social networks, and probably even publish a number of guest posts on a weekly basis.
If you’re still a newbie blogger who’s just getting started with a blog, or perhaps you just want to vacate your blog for some time, all of these might sound more tasking.
This tutorial is specifically created to your rescue: whether you’re a newbie or struggling veteran blogger, this tutorial will walk you through the fundamentals of blogging and will help you include social media marketing and guest posts in your blog calendar successfully.
I deliberately prepared this guide knowing that it isn’t feasible to run a successful blog without having a thoughtful blogging plan.
Blog Scheduling Fundamentals
The maiden step is getting a diary (paper or virtual) or blog calendar to schedule your blogging plan.
In case you may not want to incur extra costs on getting these blogging materials in place, you have a couple of free mobile apps at your disposal that you can download straight to your personal computer or mobile phone, 100% free blog calendars that you can simply print out and manually fill, or PHP-based blog calendars that you can download and install on your personal website.
As soon as you’ve got those materials in place, begin to plan in earnest.
This tutorial is structured as shown below:
- Planning your blog calendar
- Becoming productive
- Becoming consistent
- Including guest posts in your blogging routine
- Including social media marketing in your blogging routine
- Troubleshooting (when things don’t suffice as expected)
After the fundamentals, you’ll have to study how to integrate seasonal blog posts into your routine, and leverage blogging tools that can help in drawing a plan you feel comfortable with.
Why is Having a Blogging Routine So Significant?
I have a blogging student who happens to be a newbie blogger and has seriously faced hard times on how to become well-organized and efficient with his new blog. Having sought expert advice on this, he determined to start blogging on a weekly basis and kept to that schedule as well as got a lot of inspirations reading other bloggers’ posts.
He learned how important it is to craft a captivating headline which he was able to master on leveraging my blogging expertise and he kept building out content on his site as he continued receiving inspirations. I independently edit my content offline, and I also like posting frequently because of the productivity it brings to my blogging effort.
Here is the power of blog planning.
Yes, the tutorial you stumbled on is mainly about becoming a pro blogger. Sit back and read every bit down the page.
The first step is grabbing your blog calendar and scheduling all your appointments along with other vital tasks you might want to prioritize for the week, month or year.
Then, schedule your blogging hours, because you’ll need to keep to those schedules as much as you can.
My pro advice in regard to certain health issues is getting one hard deadline and one soft deadline.
- A hard deadline is a routine which you can’t suspend until another time, because failing to observe it will lead to missing your overall blogging plan.
- A soft deadline is a specific deadline; a specific day and time you must get your write-up ready for publication. And you can possibly postpone, yet without hindering your overall blogging plan.
Be a pro blogger, set hard and soft deadlines for your write-ups!
Setting hard and soft deadlines will make it flexible for you to have some spare time to go on research and will also help in ensuring that you stay on track.
After organizing several interview sessions with a couple of expert bloggers, I figured out that it’s difficult to have a consistent blogging lifestyle without having a blogging routine. Even if a successful blogger tells you he doesn’t integrate scheduling into blogging, you’ll need to question such how he became successful. Why? Building a successful blog is strictly based on consistent blogging and that isn’t feasible without having a blogging routine.
Scheduling can occur every week, every month, every quarter, every half of the year, or once yearly. I used to get the best results when I plan out my blog calendar monthly, but I’ve sometimes cut back to weekly routines and can’t really remember planning for anything less than weekly.
You’ll live a productive life when you can plan your schedule, blog on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Despite your blogging schedule, you can still live the kind of life you want outside blogging and you would just create some fun blogging.
Setting a monthly calendar enables you to view a big structure of your site. Most probably, you’re connecting with numerous readers through your blog. You must be sure you’re consistently publishing blog posts to keep your readers up to date.
It will become easier for you if you can simply serialize a few topics into a series of blog posts, so you can continue to build on research and increase productivity.
Begin somewhere first, but make sure to always stay cool
A friend of mine once told me about her desire to blog on a weekly basis. Her pro advice to newbie bloggers is; “Blog 2-4 times a week. Keep writing a pile of quality blog posts while you blog a few times weekly. Most importantly, WordPress site owners can choose the specific dates for publishing posts which will make it possible to still keep to their posting schedules for the month.”
She further added the blogging tips below:
- Utilize blog schedulers such as Hootsuite for the proper scheduling of your blog posts.
- Conduct an online search for blog idea generators which will enable you to enter 2-3 words and craft blog topics for almost a calendar year without spending a dime.
- Schedule quality posts on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others.
Another expert blogger was interviewed on the way for newbie bloggers to get started with blogging and he recommended; “Newbie bloggers should start very small first, aiming for 1-3 posts per week.” He says, “As you continue to gain popularity gradually, you should upgrade to posting on all working days (Monday to Friday), meaning that you should resume to working days weekly routines, writing tons of fresh articles, but should neither publish every day nor publish all at the same time. Start with a minimum of 10 good articles written in documents. Begin publishing 1-3 per week”.
The amount of time you’re willing to devote to blogging strictly determines how detailed and insightful your write-ups would be.
A Professional piece of advice for those who love to write long-form articles:
“If you wish to keep at writing long-form posts that are of length 2000+ words, you won’t necessarily need to post too frequently. If your write-ups are of length 1000 words and below, then it’s likely best to publish more frequently weekly. There’s nothing wrong about it, but if you’re less frequent in publishing such posts, your blog will probably become dead, and traffic will definitely fall.”
A fellow expert blogger was interviewed on the best way to go and he said, “Your blog must be regularly updated lest it looks dead, thus making it necessary to keep at publishing posts a few times per week. But in respect of those contingencies which may spring up all of a sudden, it’s advisable to write a ton of fresh posts in advance to ensure you’ve got enough new articles to publish for at least a week or two in case you may experience writer’s block and may be unable to write for a couple of days or weeks.”
1. Planning Your Editorial Calendar
Let’s examine a little more into the efficacy of leveraging a blog editorial calendar.
A content strategist and pro blogger said, “A blog editorial calendar can help you convert your planning into an overall success, and there’s no cause to use any costly software at all, as a spreadsheet, Google calendar, or Smartsheet can be used judiciously.”
An expert blogger recommended: “Work out writing plans ahead of time, looking at a minimum of two months ahead. That way, an overview of how many articles you want to write in a specified frame of time can be planned out or worked upon ahead. So, even if you have an unexpected emergency or have a preoccupation with something unexpected, you can still keep up your editorial calendar and continue blogging regularly.”
You’ll see a recommended list of several tools and editorial blog calendar apps at the bottom of this tutorial.
2. Becoming Productive
If you can be doing a bit of exercise, drinking a few cups of water, listening to some cool music, taking a cup of tea, and most significantly, getting the right mindset, you’ll easily zone in, and if you’re having too much of anxiety, there are a couple of strategies you can implement to ensure your marketing goal is reached.
Without much of a stretch, you should make a lot of fun blogging like a sporting activity you enjoy most.
But that alone isn’t going to be enough to stay productive. You’ll also need external stimuli. You need external strength as well.
“Visit as many other niche-related blogs as possible.”
A veteran blogger and coach said, “The best way to never run out of essential blogging concepts and keep up a stable flow of blogging ideas is to visit as many niche-related bloggers as possible. You can find lots of inspiration visiting and reading as many niche-related blogs as you can.”
“Don’t visit alone, but follow and subscribe to their blog RSS feeds as well. Keeping up old blog topic ideas and restructuring them into new posts are all essential elements of journalism which are equally applicable to a successful blogging lifestyle. View some of those old topic ideas from a new perspective and use them while trying to come up with more fantastic guest posts and blog posts.”
“Have fun with blogging”
Planning is instrumental, but allow a few days of the week to let the ideas flow in and don’t let blogging take all of the fun away from you. It shouldn’t get to that! You should only write when you’ve got the inspiration, so exciting ideas can keep on flowing within you during the course of writing.
A productivity strategist said, “I write 2-3 blog posts at a stretch when I’m motivated and extremely inspired to blog, so I keep on writing as I get a flow of new and more exciting ideas alongside.”
If I’m invited to a conference, seminar, or an occasion, I’ll write a blog post or more about it. For example, I visited a veterinary event some months ago, and weeks after that, I wrote 3 blog posts about it which I intended to publish on my pet website days later.
3. Becoming Consistent
You can rest assured to stay consistent once you’ve got a calendar and a plan for blogging.
An expert blogger said, “It’s vital to have a consistent plan for writing and keep at it. One of the major points to note for most bloggers is staying consistent. So, the number of posts you can publish a week doesn’t matter to your audience but keeping to a content plan which members of your ideal audience have already known. I would rather say it doesn’t matter to maintain a frequency but delivering quality as frequently as possible every month.
Another popular blogger contributed, “It is quality that takes preeminence over quantity, not how many times you can post per week or per month. She further explains that several authority bloggers who currently rank #1 on Google don’t publish more than 2-3 times monthly, though the word-lengths might be 10000+ words, and the write-ups would be full of information that is hard to find elsewhere. Examples of such bloggers are Brian Dean, Neil Patel, and many more. They have all built a huge audience of followers based on the quality of their work, not on their frequency of posting.”
When it comes to deciding on which posts to add to the editorial calendar, and the post count, you should check your blogging goals, your readers, the amount of time, energy, and costs you’re willing to incur on your blog. At least one post a month must address the audience individually and aim to target your blogging goals which you’re trying to accomplish.
You’ll do well with 4 – 6 posts bi-monthly at least, but most importantly, you should post an appreciable number, to begin with, while you improve at a later time until you can keep to a consistent schedule.
4. Including Guest Posts in Your Blogging Routine
While planning your editorial calendar, guest posts should be included – they are exactly as vital as your blog posts and they’re meant for showcasing your skills and blogging potential.
What you must keep in mind is that you shouldn’t guest post at the expense of your personal blog and mustn’t do both at the expense of your personal health. It solely depends on how much time you are willing to devote to blogging.
A marketing operations manager advises, “Guest posting helps you build an ideal blog audience and brings a ton of links back to your site, but you should avoid burning out for this at the expense of your own blog and health. Also note that you can schedule to publish guest posts but if you weren’t granted the opportunity, you shouldn’t worry about it. You should rather build on.”
An expert blogger says, “Maintaining a consistent writing plan helps greatly and it works perfectly. For instance, I’ve discovered that I write most creatively on rising up early at dawn and can quickly compose a long-form post within 2-3 hours before I can start getting distracted. When you keep getting a pile of work to do, the writing task becomes more tedious for you, and it results in burning out.”
Another blogger said in a productivity interview, “You must pay much regard to your blogging productivity and lifestyle”
How many posts can you possibly write per month?
Go with that number and choose about 2 of the guest posts. It’s a normal blogging practice that you must balance your endeavors to avoid burnout or neglect.
For instance, my personal writing frequency and the number of quality guest posts I can realistically compose per month must key into my everyday writing goal of 1500+ words. If I do make any attempt to go beyond that, I’ll realize I’m already hurting my health seriously.
5. Including Social Media Marketing in Your Blogging Routine
Yes, you wouldn’t ever want to burn much of your time on socializing or marketing via social media, simply because you don’t just want it to eat so deep into your blogging time.
However, you must create some good time to promote your content, run your social media networks as well as respond to followers’ feedback and questions. You may not want to spend more than half an hour per day on that.
Alternatively, you can also follow the blogging strategy below:
To make sure you’re in control of the time you spend between content marketing and socializing, it’s advisable you create a free Hootsuite account which is completely free to set up. So, for the time schedule to go normally, you should apportion this into 70%:20%:10%.
- Curate 70% of your overall shares – I simply refer to video/photo re-shares, retweets, and so on.
- Make 20% of your posts to be content.
- 10% of your content may be used as your sales pitches.
As you market your content, you’ll grow your ideal blog audience.
6. Troubleshooting (When Things Don’t Suffice as Expected)
What should you do if you are on an emergency call on a scheduled day? And how do you adjust yourself when it seems that the blogging idea is drying up?
Having a hard and soft deadline really helps in case of an emergency situation or health issues, but keeping your readers updated through communications would be of paramount importance. Once you’ve found that you’ll likely have to disappoint your audience due to such contingencies, it’s normal blogging practice to keep them up to date and your traffic won’t be affected.
You could probably get in touch with your fans and audience via social media letting them know about your unforeseen emergency and assuring them of hearing from you once again as at when due.
While you continue to keep your audience up to date, you must ensure you read more than you write realizing the fact that we’re influenced by what we read when we’re writing. You must keep yourself up to date by reading external blog posts and grabbing more exciting ideas that can be used to update your blog audience.
You may not be able to draw more than 2 or 3 important lines from a whole blog post of 2000+ words that you can use in any of your future blog posts. And that’s why you must keep reading posts and get yourself equipped.
Sometimes in life, you may observe that your calendar is too filled with your present personal life. In such cases, don’t hesitate to create a tiny schedule that you can utilize when undergoing a hard time in life.
An expert blogger says, “I sit back and break out what I want to accomplish for a particular week, month or year. I may sometimes have a couple of goals such as posting an intended number of guest posts or blog posts for any given month and going about that, I may have to serialize these goals into smaller parts which can be accomplished on weekly basis.”
So, whenever an emergency springs up, I can easily tackle this and incorporate it into my routine without getting worked up. I’ve got what to be done for the week, so even if I miss some schedules for a couple of days, I know I can easily meet up at a later time.
If it happens that I have to be less productive in any certain week, I know that I can leverage the subsequent weeks and keep on track since I already know what should be accomplished for the month.
If I have to draw plans for what should be done every day, I may get myself stressed out trying to meet up with the day’s routine. I’ve personally figured out that meeting up with a daily routine may be hard for an ideal blogger because several contingencies will surely spring up when not expected. Thus, I plan weekly and monthly blogging routines.
A blog owner said, “Life occurs and it can’t be avoided when it does; therefore, planning a weekly schedule settles it. It doesn’t have to look fancy. Simply log in your Hootsuite account and view the upcoming week using the publisher. Choose a specific time, pick any preferred network and plan a schedule.”
However, avoid getting stressed out on this. “If you must essentially miss a post for one cogent reason or the other, don’t bother about it, says an authority blogger.”
Tools for Blog and Social Media Planning
Planning is essential; however, you don’t have to do it all manually! There are free and paid tools that you can use effectively to speed up your blog productivity and keep everything under control without much of a stretch.
CoSchedule is an online editorial calendar designed specifically for digital marketers.
An expert blogger shared his personal experience of using this tool for content marketing:
He categorically mentioned, “About a decade ago, I tried it out and found that CoSchedule was excellent for the overall management of my blogs. I also realized that it was the wisest thing I could have done ever. Not alone that it makes managing the various tasks with several editors and writers easy, but it also enables me to find a blog idea from scratch through social media sharing – everything from a single dashboard that’s already integrated with WordPress for any WordPress site owner..
Soard and Garcia shared their experience too, recommending the tool as an incredible one for content marketing and planning.
Airtable is yet another blogging & social media marketing tool for planning an editorial calendar that uses a spreadsheet style.
Carter recommended this tool. “It is a flexible, online spreadsheet solution that makes the cross-referencing of data fields in any series of spreadsheets easy. For instance, I can keep my main calendar in a single spreadsheet, and connect it to different spreadsheets for tracking buyer personas, authors, keywords, and so on. It’s easy to share with my blog team, flexible to use, and visual.”
How to Schedule Plugins
You can check out a detailed article on improving editorial workflow in multi-author WordPress blogs. The guide is equally applicable to single author blogs.
The highest rated editorial WordPress plugins include:
Hootsuite is regarded as one of the most proficient Social Media Management tools that enable you to schedule out content on Twitter & Facebook such that socializing doesn’t end up taking too much of time”.
Idea Generators & Starters
It does happen sometimes that you just can’t find a topic idea to write about and, so, you feel stuck. This is what pro-bloggers refer to as writer’s block. Idea generators will come to your rescue as you can browse generators and create generators.
Idea starters are a complete list of topic prompts to help you get started creating and get rid of writer’s block whenever you find it difficult to come up with a topic idea to write about.
Of the most useful blogging tools pro bloggers utilize for their blogs, Trello performs the duty of ideas and tasks organization. It emphasizes how it is vital to jot down useful ideas or otherwise, you may possibly be unable to recall them all.
Similarly, Trello is completely free to leverage for bloggers of all levels.
Smartsheet is one of the best content planning tools that most pro bloggers leverage to plan their write-ups. Smartsheet is a collaborative work management tool that comes in the form of a spreadsheet and is easy to leverage and user-friendly.
It has a free trial offer and the pricing goes from $14 per month per user.
This is yet another awesome blogging tool that will enable you to see what is trending. This tool will help you find your target audience – people who would like what you blog about!
Buzzsumo is an excellent tool to leverage when you’re short of which blog idea to write about.
Asana is a social project management suite and collaborative calendar for teams and individuals.
You can use it completely free for 1 to 15 team members, and then the pricing goes from $8.33 and above per month per user.
If you would prefer a PHP-based, self-hosted solution for your editorial calendar, PHP-Calendar is an awesome open-source editorial calendar you can install on your device with some requirements.
Printable Blog Checklists & Calendars
Many of these are available for everyone completely free online and they were made by pro bloggers who wanted to decisively make their lives and those of their users more meaningful.
A couple of resources are here:
- The ultimate blog planner kit was created by the Designer Blogs Studios and it’s free to download and install.
- The editorial calendar template was created by Hubspot and any user can use it.
- The printable checklists – SMART blogging goals were shared by Suzi, the administrator of StarAMomBlog.com.
- The content calendar template was made available for free by CoSchedule.
And, anyone can explore thousands of blog planners on Pinterest!
Significantly, you can come up with an amazing blog schedule that will suffice if you’re conscious of:
- Your health conditions and lifestyle
- Your online marketing goals
- The extent to which you can automate
- The number of articles you can ideally post per month.