Towards the end of last year I was struggling to come up with regular blog content. But since the start of this year there have only been 4 weeks in which I haven’t posted at least 5 times a week. I have to say I am a bit impressed with myself. I love blogging and I gave myself a little challenge near the beginning of the year to post more consistently, improve my blogging ‘skills’ and improve the quality of what I am putting out. I hadn’t considered the fact that at the same time I was putting out original content (thanks Decorator’s Notebook for pointing it out). What do I mean by ‘original’? Written posts, posts that use your own photos (useful for diys and recipes that might not be your own) and reinterpretation or ‘curation’ of images in an original way (with sufficient crediting!). Tumblr style reposting is not in there!
These are the big factors for how I have increased my level of posting and kept it up:
1. Use an editorial calendar
The best tool for creating a regular schedule and building up content that I have found is an editorial calendar. I used to keep a google calendar with ideas and scheduling but it didn’t really carry through to actions for me. A couple months ago I started using the wordpress plugin called “edit flow”. I don’t know if it is the best (there was another option I tried but it didn’t seem to work with my theme). The benefit is that it shows in an easily visible way what posts you have planned and allows you to easily schedule posts in advance. Honestly, I don’t think without this I would be posting as regularly. I have seen people who schedule posts months in advance but I normally just plan out a week in advance, with extra ideas flowing over into the following weeks
2. Regular features
Keeping some ‘standards’ that you can rely on helps you to focus your writing. I generally post something on a Monday that I did over the weekend (or even the one before), Wednesday is somehow food related and I have a ‘happy Friday’ post which is a bit more relaxed (and generally written the night before) which pulls together things from the week and bits that I have found over the week to link to. I am not super strict about sticking to these all the time but it is helpful in preventing writers block
3. Length variety
It would be nigh on impossible (at least for me) to write an epic post for everyday of the week. Sometimes all it requires is a simple picture that relates to how you are feeling or a peak of a series you have coming up (a tip from those wedding photographers). I did this recently with a lomography photo series where I posted a photo and explained what would be coming up (while I was away).
4. Break it up
The lomography example is another great example of how you can use one occasion for multiple posts. I had taken a roll of film (36 pictures). But no-one wants to look at 36 pictures in one go so broke it up into recurring themes between pictures. The perfect thing to do this with (if you aren’t a photographer using film) is holiday posts – break it up into where you ate, a cool museum you visited, a quirky story of when you got lost.
5. Guest posts
I recently asked a group of bloggers if they would contribute to a series on turning 29. This allowed me to fill a week with posts and still have a bit of a break from trying to come up with content. This is also really good when you are going away or if you foresee a busy period coming up.
6. Have a life
It can be very easy to get stuck in a world of reading blog posts and endlessly scrolling through pinterest looking for inspiration but the best inspiration is going out into the real world and doing stuff. Go to a museum, try a new restaurant, go to the park and try pack a new cocktail combination, meet up with fellow bloggers and make flower crowns. You know, whatever floats your boat.
7. Original visuals
Even if you aren’t a photographer taking your own photos and using them on your posts is huge. I have seen several posts explaining why this is important and providing tips on how to do this so I won’t go into it. You don’t need a crazy expensive camera, lots of bloggers use their phones, and you don’t need to be an amazing artist. People like to see your point of view and your story. If you are looking to improve your photography skills (and are based in London) check out my photo walks. Creating video content is another way of putting something completely original out there – whether it is a vlog, a holiday video or a how to.
8. Take it easy
I try and post daily Monday to Friday. Sometimes this doesn’t work and I will post over the weekend (still keeping my total at five). But if you don’t reach your desired posting goal do no beat yourself up when you haven’t posted. Don’t kill yourself to get 7 posts out a week – consider what you feel is achievable and will work for you whether that is once a week or more. Take the occasional break (but tell your readers if you foresee if being a bit longer, it is only polite).
Blogging should be enjoyable and fun but if you want a more structured blog I hope you find these useful. I’d love to know if you have any more suggestions too.