Last week we talked about why you should keep a blogging calendar. Are you keeping one already? Now that you are, it’s time to think about how to make writing and scheduling posts more efficient to you. If you want to read more posts from the #NewBloggers 101 post series, expand this list:
- 16.02. What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Social Media And Networking (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 09.02. What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Writing And Scheduling Posts (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 02.02. What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Blogging Calendars (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 25.01. How Do I Write A Proper Review Policy? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 19.01. Book Blogger Etiquette: How To Get Comments? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 10.01. How Do I Make A Good Edelweiss Or NetGalley Profile? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion, Edelweiss, NetGalley)
- 05.01. When Should I Start Requesting ARCs? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion, Edelweiss, NetGalley)
Why Should I Schedule Posts At All?
It seems that book bloggers have formed two distinct camps:
- some of us prefer to schedule posts in advance
cause we’re adorable little OCD beasts
- some of us feel like it’s best to go with the flow and post whenever inspiration graces them
Both ways are absolutely fine! But… Let’s look at what you miss out on, if you DON’T schedule your posts:
- life isn’t constant. Sooner or later, you’ll have a week when everything is more or less hectic, and what will happen? Likely, the blog will go a week or two without content. It’s up to you to decide if you want that or not, but if the thought stresses you – consider scheduling posts.
- some days you are just too tired! If you don’t have scheduled posts, AND your blog has gone a while without content, you’re just going to have to stick with it and sit down to write something. Anything. Quality suffers, and so do you.
- you might forget you need to post at all. Or quite the opposite – you have to keep all your posting times in your head. Personally, thinking about this stuff when I’ve got work and real life errands? Total stress.
Other than that, scheduling posts helps maintain a steady flow of content to your blog, meaning, your readers know when to expect your posts. Which is incredibly beneficial to your blog and the number of followers you will gain!
So what should I do, if I’ve decided to start scheduling posts from now on?
- Pick days you’re going to post on (keep them constant)
- Decide how many times a week you are going to post (entirely up to you! Hint: pick a number of posts you are capable of writing in a sitting. If you pick a higher number than you can deliver, you will be stressed out.)
- Figure out some kind of blogging calendar (it can be a bujo, a google sheet, an online calendar or just a notepad list)
- Pick a time in the week when you are free and comfortable to sit down and batch-write posts (most of the time it will probably be the weekend!)
Why do I advocate picking a single time to batch-write posts? Because it will be easier and faster to write them, if you get into the writing mood. It can take time, and the longer you write on a given day, the better the odds are that you will get ‘on the roll’. You will be able to churn out content much faster that way. Plus – you are saving the time that you’d spend remembering what topics you have, checking up on the blog calendar for dates and all those things that you’d have to do all over again, if you sat down on another day. Aim to write at least two posts per one sitting. That way, you will learn to write more efficiently as well. (Perhaps some seasoned bloggers will disagree with this? I will be waiting for your suggestions and opinions in the comments!)
The Technicalities of Scheduling Posts
I’m not going to get deep into the technicalities of scheduling posts, because WordPress and Blogger will have different ways to do it, I’m sure there are plenty of tutorials to do this. The main idea is, you set a time and date, and that’s when the post goes live. If you’re on WordPress, what I would suggest looking into, is ‘Publicize’:
Personally, I don’t really use the Twitter publicize function, and I will explain why in my next post about publishing everything to your social media. But I always tick the Facebook checkbox! If you are not going to go for a complicated social media posting strategy, using Publicize will save you loads of time. You can enable this function by connecting your social media to your WordPress through the settings in your WordPress profile:
I have a lot more to say about sharing on social media, and you can make that as simple or as complicated as you want, but we will be talking about that next time! Right now though, let’s get back to writing, and how to write more efficiently.
Writing Blog Posts More Easily
There are so many how-tos on how to write better! I am no writer, and this is not one of those workshops. Instead, I will give a few short tips that have helped me out. If you have more, please share in the comments! If you’re a new blogger, I would suggest checking out the comments too, because some of the more experienced bloggers might have already posted additional ideas there!
Value your ideas.
I have already mentioned this in the blogging calendar post – if you have an idea for a post, never let it go. Write it down immediately. On a restaurant napkin or your own hand, if need be – but you will thank yourself later. Especially if it’s a discussion post idea! Those are not always easy to come by.
And what’s more, don’t just write down the topic of the post. Chances are, your ideas are streaming into your head – write down the first sentences. Write down the point that you want to arrive at. Write down the feelings that it makes you feel. You might think, oh, it’s fine, I’m sure I’ll remember this when I sit down at the PC ten days later. Except you won’t. It never works that way. Sometimes, if you don’t jot down your ideas quick enough, you’ll lose them forever. And there’s your post gone.
Write down thoughts while your reading. Mark or save quotes.
It’s not necessary to include quotes in your reviews – but having them marked might help you write a review later. I’ve been asked how I can write good reviews 6 months after I read the book – simple, I take good notes. They will not let you forget, and what’s more – sometimes there won’t be too much left to write! Some of the notes become my reviews, with the structure fixed, or additional thoughts added. This? Saves LOADS of time.
If you’re struggling with a review, change the format.
If you’ve been writing block-text reviews, try ‘5 reasons I liked…’ Or if you’ve been giving the 5 reasons, go back to the simple text reviews. If you’re tired of them both, try to sum up what feelings you felt at certain percentages of the book. These are just a couple of examples you might have seen on my blog – and it’s definitely not an exhaustive list. There are far more ways. Get creative! A review doesn’t have to have a set format. Set yourself free!
Write from your own experience.
Do not push yourself to sound like some ‘professional reader’. You’re not a reviewer on a newspaper that gets paid and has to put out fancy content. People are reading your blog to get YOUR take on things. So don’t be afraid to just give your opinion. You don’t have to sound sophisticated, and your thoughts don’t have to be ‘correct’. Just be yourself! There IS a place for you in the blogsphere. You will find your reader.
If today’s not writing day, go blog hop instead. Or eat some cake.
Silly advice, I know! But it’s also totally true. If you’re struggling with inspiration or plain old grammar today (happens to everyone!), you should just go visit others instead. Commenting and blog hopping, as well as replying people’s comments, is a good activity, and it might help you push away your own writing demons and get some inspiration from other people’s posts! If you’re experiencing a day like this, you will be especially happy that you’ve started scheduling posts in advance.
And that’s it!
Next time on the productive blogger series we will talk about sharing your posts on social media and if you’re doing enough of that. That will also include dealing with ARCs in a timely fashion and giving feedback. We will also talk about replying and reacting to your own content, which is something we can forget to do. I hope you liked the post, and if you’ve got something to add, well – my comments are always open for suggestions!
Do you schedule posts in advance? And what writing hacks would you share with all of us?