It all Starts Here…
The analogy is appropriate for the typical blog post. Take a look at the following video and you should understand that you need something else to guide the overall development of your blog.
The link to the ProBlogger post in the video is here.
Public perception of what is happening with your blog is about what they can see and how you publicise it.That comes about because you have developed a publication plan. Your blog can develop into so much more – it embodies your hopes and dreams, but these may differ whether it is a personal or professional blog.
Type of Blog
Personal blogs frequently have material added as and when the writer feels in the mood. They will often have a wider range of interests. From commenting on the latest antics of a mad politician or celebrity to personal hopes and dreams. For this type of blog there is rarely a plan – the writer adds a new thought when it occurs to them. But it is not to say that a publication plan isn’t possible.
Professional and business related blogs require more thought. A publication plan is essential. Yes, writers add new posts when a thought occurs, but in general they should work to a plan. The publication plan will include scope for some posts to also coincide with your industry’s premier trade show. They can seem off the cuff, but as a matter of fact are planned (except for the quotes made by speakers).
Begin – What are your Goals?
Nathan Ellering of CoSchedule suggests that defining goals is the starting point. He states “folks who publish consistent content get as much as 30% more traffic for every post they publish.” We both agree that having a plan is better than asking “what am I going to write today?”
The first step is to define your schedule. This could include many things:
Ideas to research.
Articles to write.
Articles to edit.
Planning publication dates.
Planning your weekly publicity.
Ironically, even in the most professional of blogs, there is room to publish that post to celebrate Christmas, writer or blog birthdaysand significant anniversaries, even when they are only thinly related to the blog’s purpose.
Planning and writing out your goals is an important step to take. It is the first step to a publication plan That is as true for the writer that is seeking their first reader as for the person seeking their millionth reader*. Each milestone is important.
Yet, we tend to think about goals in terms of measurable things, like readers or money earned. There are plenty of other goals to consider as well, for example the pleasure of writing. Some other goals include:
The number of articles published per month.
Publishing a guest post.
Writing a guest post for someone else.
Creating a video.
Learning more about technical aspects of blogging.
Ellering suggests bloggers should target a tenfold improvement in readership. If you are getting 100 readers visiting per month then you should target a thousand. For many bloggers doubling readership could be marked as a success. If you set targets they should be attainable.
Talking about millionth reader triggered a flash memory. During 2017 I reached the 1 million mark on a general interest writing site I have been writing for. Being statistical geek (and loving to keep data on these types of thing) I discovered that when I added all the data up from all-sites over all-time it totalled 1,255,000 views. 10 years of effort, not a bad toll.
I am now looking forward to a million views on this site (and perhaps a little money to accompany that goal).
Build a Strategy
Will Blunt on Hubspot states “It’s the strategy part that trips up a lot of businesses. I’ve found that documenting your blog strategy is a great way to bridge the gap to successful execution.” With business most successful strategies are both documented and regularly reviewed.
Neil Patel believes “companies who put blogging first see a huge payoff.” If yours is a business blog you should consider it integral to your on-line strategy. As important as your main website, but more interactive.
Web SEO is also one of the benefits for your website. Most business websites are relatively static. You don’t change products or services very often. there are limited ways to keep your site visible to the search engines. A blog provides opportunities to discuss many subjects, when doing that you can link to company pages. This provides Google opportunities to review and potentially re-rank your site.
Remember this can work both ways, with your website referring to your blog (when fuller explorations are necessary). Your strategy should help you find ways to improve your web presence.
Develop a Publication Plan
A schedule is a different matter, it is about what material will get published. Kaleigh Moore says “without a plan for content, you’re essentially winging it.” I agree. Print publications use editorial or publication calendars, why not a blog? It doesn’t have to be complex, a simple list with deadlines.
Be aware the schedule you develop may relate to the ideas you are developing, but they are not the same thing. Evernote is a tool I recommend for developing ideas. It is an electronic journal that allows you to collect your thoughts. I use it to gather firstly ideas and secondly research. It is not a tool for developing a publication schedule.
The simplest form of scheduling tools is a to do list. It is best if your tasks have deadlines or rough timelines. My schedule of forthcoming work is divided into the following segments:
Next 6 Weeks
6 Weeks to 3 Months
3 to 6 Months
6 Months to 1 year
Longer than that
Initially my plan was held in a spreadsheet, but recently converted to using Trello. I use a similar breakdown but also manage deadlines.
Keep Reviewing it
Few of the pieces on my list have actual deadline dates. Those with deadlines are client work. I spend a few minutes each week reviewing the schedule, before starting work on something. Every 5 to 7 weeks I will fully review that schedule, spending an hour (or more) working through it.
Back in my days as a project manager it was a full time job managing and updating the plan and talking to lots of people. Then projects employed dozens or hundreds of people. Few blog projects have that scale. A publication plan is still essential.
Having used this software for a few weeks I am impressed, but don’t yet know all of its capabilities. Drag and drop allows tasks to be moved across the board as you need, so they appear in the right place. It is as simple as that to move your tasks around. It handles due dates and reminders.
In addition this tool is available for the smartphone. This empowers you on the go. I shall cover this software in more detail at another time. What you use to manage your plan is not of great importance, what matters is that you manage it.