How to Develop a Publication Plan for your Blog.

Schedule Publication Plan by TeroVesalainen CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay
 Alexandra Skey of Spokal .com believes your blogging strategy should include planning, research, writing, publish­ing, promot­ing and measur­ing the perform­ance. This is a typic­al product devel­op­ment technique – the clear indic­a­tion that your blog post is a product. A product of your think­ing, but a product nonethe­less. It is time to devel­op a public­a­tion plan.

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.

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.

Have Goals

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.

*Million Readers

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

Strategy - Publication Plan Puzzle by rawpixel CC0 Public Domain from PixabayWill 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.

Forthcoming Work

To Do List by bohed CC0 Public Domain from PixabayThe 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.

Trello

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.

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