Monday, August 3, 2015

Reader Question: How Do You Plan, Write, and Organize Blog Posts Methodically?

It's tricky to write high quality blog posts quickly and consistently, especially when you first start out. It's not uncommon to feel overwhelmed or to eventually burn out. Consistent, quality blogging, particularly ones with frequent DIY posts, takes planning over time. When you incorporate blog planning into your lifestyle it can be very simple. Here's a few things I've picked up over the years to imagine, plan, write, and organize my blog posts methodically:

Behind the desk is my editorial calendar. I use sticky-notes so I can move my post order. 

1. Always have a notebook to write every single idea that comes to mind.

I have composition books full, I'll never run out of ideas!

2. Branch the initial ideas into supporting posts/subjects.

You can turn one posts into dozens easily. I recently did a post on Kombucha. I could write follow-ups like:

Topic: How to Make Kombucha
|
Related Sub-Topics to Turn into Posts
|
-Kombucha Flavoring Tips
-Uses for Kombucha SCOBYs
-Ways to Use Kombucha Topically
-Specific Kombucha Health Tips
-Favorite Brands of Store-Bought Kombucha
-Octopus (I kid..)

Think of how to expand on a topic and you, too, will have notebooks full of topics in NO TIME. I'll go into digital tools you can use to come up with even more ideas in a future post!

3. Always learn/do new things.

A writer will always be inspired when he/she is exploring and learning. I'm in school (and at this rate, I will always be in school! so, many, classes!) and this opens the door to hundreds of topics as I learn every day. I also get out and explore new things at every chance, camera in-hand. Speaking of which...

4. Always keep your camera on-hand.

I love to compose editorial style photos, but that's not always realistic with time constraints. (And now recently for me, camera troubles.) Keeping your camera on-hand and your environment photogenic (aka, clean!) makes it easy to snap shots for posts as you go about your day.

5. Write posts with every free chance you get.

I write posts/ideas for posts/outlines for posts in my notebook when I'm waiting at the DMV/car repair shop, when I'm a road trip passenger, or even during lulls in class. Then, all I have to do is type it into the computer when I get home.


6. Eliminate posts that monopolize energy, or effort until you can (and still want to) take them on.

This is my former process. I still follow a lot of those rules, but now I don't have to snap dozens of photos for a single post! I used to have to do this for my extensive "thrift haul" posts. These posts were my bread winner, but I cannot stress the monumental effort they took from sourcing the items, to cleaning, research, description writing, hundreds of photos, photo editing, and then post writing. It was a nightmarish two days, and then the items cluttered every inch of my life.

I got a big push-back on not doing those haul posts regularly (more are coming, I still thrift, but these posts take time so they're less frequent) or vintage reselling anymore, but you have to do what's right/healthy for you. I'm less stressed and my home is almost completely clear again. Even if you love to do a certain type of post, if it's monopolizing too much time (most bloggers don't get paid much, if at all, remember that!), you may need to cut that post temporarily or diminish its frequency.

7. Plan Ahead

I write posts on post-it notes, then put them on my calendar to plan posts ahead of time. The post-its make it easy to move the posts if desired, which I do a lot! I write my posts ahead of time, try to write your post a day ahead of time if you can. When you re-read your post the next day typos will pop out at you, you can't see them soon after writing them because you know what you wrote and your mind fills in the correct word. Hence, every publication's need for editors.

8. Be Prepared For Changes

Have back-ups in case planned posts fall-through. More on this below, but having some posts you've written quickly just-in-case (like round-ups) or interviews are helpful.

9. Decrease the Amount of Posts

I went from posting 5-6 days a week to 3 days a week, it saved my sanity! Often, less is more! Post one day a week if that's what you have to do to ensure quality consistent posting.

10. Have a "Post Schedule"

Right now my schedule is: (I think I'll change it up seasonally, Fall is looking like a "budget" theme for Mondays. For summer it's been organization as I deep purge my apartment.)


I have the image above clearly on my side-bar so visitors know what to come back for, and it makes it so much easier to keep organized and posting consistently when you have themes like this.

Bonus Tip: Keep one stupid-easy  post series on your roster to balance your work-load. I have a travel re-cap series for Fridays because I live to travel and will always have photos to share for it. It's easy for me to do, and a nice "palate cleanser" for the week of informative posts to come the following week. (You don't have to think as deeply into this shit as I do, I just enjoy it!) Another easy posts are round-ups (like this one) of previous posts. I used to think this was silly and redundant when I have archives, but people love these posts and they tend to perform extremely well traffic-wise, too. It's not that people are entirely ignoring the archives, but it's hard to identify common themes with long lists of posts to go through. Everyone likes things made simple. It connects (and re-connects) new and old followers with content that's still helpful. These are very shareable posts social media wise so people can come back to the helpful "list" and re-read them for the helpful recipes or tips.

I'll follow up with post prompts and tools, but for the most part, the biggest take-away, particularly with lifestyle blogging, is to make small changes for a big difference. Photograph what you're doing throughout the day anyway (think your dinner would make a neat recipe post? shoot it and that's one part of one post down). When you have your posts planned ahead of time, you can accomplish them in steps and have them ready for publication faster and easier.

What's your blog post routine? I'd love to read any tips/tricks you use. Also, feel free to ask any questions in the comments.
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9 comments:

  1. This is all great stuff Vanessa, thank you! I especially like your advice in number 6, as this is where I seem to get stuck a lot / spend too much time.

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    1. Yep, I've been there :P you want to do the very best quality content possible, but sometimes you have to calculate your time and (temporarily or not) cut your losses.

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    2. ps: Awesome giveaway! I entered :)

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  2. You're fantastic. You always have such detailed information to share. I've been blogging for nearly six years which has seen us three children in that time, if there's one thing I know I've had to learn is to be flexible with post planning and finding time to write.

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    1. I can't imagine doing all you do with kiddos in tow, too! Flexible is definitely key! I move my editorial schedule around a lot.

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  4. BOOKMARKED, you wonderful, organized, idea machine you!

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    1. Inspired by your question of course ;) I hope it helps, I'm going to do a super detailed one on idea-making soon. I used to have to write tons of advertising copy per day and learned many tools for constantly having fresh ideas O_o haha

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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