Podcast: Why Should You Plan Your Blog Posts Ahead?

16 Jul 2010

Planner
Image by ellajphillips, via Flickr

 

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In this show:

• I talk about why it's so important to plan at least some of your blogging ahead. This is an idea not many bloggers seem to use, but it's really powerful.

• I share some approaches to planning and some tools that work.

• ...And I talk about the specific benefits you can get from all this planning.

Links:

• As I mentioned in the show, my Mom plans her blog a year in advance. Check out her system!

• Charlie Gilkey offers free downloadable Blog Post Planners each month.

• ...And here's ProBlogger Darren Rowse's take on Building an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog.

Comments

This is great advise! I recently started planning my posts about a week in advance and have already found that they are easier to write, and hopefully of higher quality because of it. I'm also taking more photos in anticipation of upcoming posts. Thanks so much!


This was a great podcast. I added a new blog calendar to my google calendar and already came up with ideas for a month in just a few minutes-crazy! I'm such a procrastinator and non-planner- but you are so right. I always have these ideas in my brain, I just don't get them down in an organized way so half the time they don't happen.

And obviously you practice what you preach. You always have such great posts, and podcasts. The information is so relevant and useful! I wish you many more years of success! Thanks for being such an inspiration.


Another great podcast, I admit I tend to do a bit of both. I started my blog so family and friends could keep up with our daily goings on but it kind of grew so although I still do the family posts I also have crafty/sewing/cooking/Montessori posts in there too. So for tutorials or projects I try and plan ahead so everyday posts I tend to blog about them a day or two after they happen and I also have a collection of random posts pre-written and kept as drafts for those times when I suddenly have no time to write posts, all I have to do then publish the pre-written post.
I don't think I could ever manage planning all my posts ahead of time, certainly not a year ahead like your mom! But having half of them planned is a happy balance and works for me.


Yaay! Thank you so much, Ally, for checking out the podcast. I'm so glad you enjoyed the planning show - boy, for sure your teaching-planning skills should make blog-planning a snap!


Oh my goodness- I have been looking for a podcast to listen to and found CraftyPod early this week. I have listened to the last two years of your podcast just this week. There is so much greatness in this podcast. This particular episode was great to know it is possible to plan ahead in your blogs- and practical! As a teacher, I am a born planner, but I never even thought about applying it to my blog.

Looking forward to your future podcasts!


Oh, I am really looking forward to listening to this tomorrow. I have just now begun to plan my blog posts ahead, and it is SO rewarding. Today I actually posted three, as they were all ready to go, and I figured: why not? I'm already preparing more. But I will space them out more from now on. Because I have a feeling that your podcast isn't about posting up to a dozen posts at a time since they're ready to go, anyway.

Okay, I have to apologize for this comment.
Thank you.


very timely; thanks!


Thanks for the tip, a year planner may be what I need. I already plan ahead a bit as English is not my native tong, but may bee I need to lift my eyes a bit and plan ahead a bit more... Thanks again for a grate show.

EWian


Yaaaay! That's awesome, Elizabeth! I'm so glad you've had good results!


Thank you for such good ideas. I'm just starting my blog and this will help me start off on the right foot!


What a great podcast! Of course I loved it - it is on one of my favorite subjects!

One thing I really liked was your analogy to magazine editors. I had never thought about blog post planning in that way - but it is a perfect example to point to.

One of the reasons I plan ahead, it that it creates a framework to hang ideas on. So - yes - I do plan a year ahead, but sometimes those posts change a great deal and become even higher value than originally intended because related content comes my way in the meantime. With that planner in place, I can hang my new ideas along side the original idea! As an example, my recent post on making a simple sun dress expanded to include making your own fabrics with sun painting, natural dyes and Spoonflower. But it started out as "sun dress pattern" on my June calendar.

So what I wanted to add is this - not only does planning help a blogger create higher value posts, but it aids in the process by giving the blogger a place to collect related thoughts, links, and ideas.

And you might be surprised just how much fun it is!


As I said on Twitter the other day, I'm currently trying to get together a stack of 'pantry posts' that will see me through my ill patches.


A rather thought provoking podcast. I had extremely mixed feelings when I first heard it. I must admit my first reaction was "how dare you!", but then I tried to analyse why that was my reaction. Yes, your podcast really made me think.
For quite a while I have been wanting to improve my own podcast. It is really only for my own benefit. I do not have a company I am trying to promote. Just me, the things that interest and inspire me and a record of the things I make.
Taking a little time to think things through, I have just started to put together a little spreadsheet. As suggested, I have started with plotting where the "holidays" and various other static dates come. Also placing the dates of local events which may prove to be of interest to others. It will be interesting to see where this will take me.
After all, if I am enthused about what I am sharing, perhaps others will be too.
Thanks for making me stop and think.
Best wishes,
Mandy
(A quilter/textile enthusiast in her mid fifties from the UK.)


Mandy, what a fascinating comment. Thank you so much for sharing your honest reactions here. I'll be so interested to hear how your experiments in planning work out - how the process feels for you, and what the effect is on your podcast. I hope you'll come back and report your results - even if, after testing, you decide that my suggestions aren't right for you! I wish you all the best with your podcast - and if you wanted to pop back here and give us a link, I'm sure folks would love to take a listen!


Thank YOU for sharing your experiences with planning and non-planning, Sophie. I usually have the very same experience when I don't plan ahead - posts are harder to find!


Blog planning and I have had a rather sporadic relationship. When I first started, I planned out posts and gave myself plenty of time to write and edit. Then I wanted to try being more spontaneous so I planned less and posted when the mood struck me. Now, I'm trying to be both spontaneous and forward thinking. Your tips should help get me to that point. Thanks!


That's interesting, April - did you find yourself preferring one method over the other?


I think it's good to plan posts, especially since inspiration sort of comes and goes. When you have multiple ideas, blog one but save the others for when you might not have ideas or when things might be busy. I think it's a good way to keep a blog consistent, in terms of post frequency. In the end, I think it's just a personal decision and all dependent on what you plan to do with your blog - what the goal is...


I couldn't agree more, Linda - it really does all come down to what your goals are for blogging.


tHIS podcast is so good. It always makes me think. My goals have shifted a bit, after years of pondering and trying out things and doing different stuff, and even so, even if I don't want a professional web presence, I do want my blog to be compelling, and your tips and suggestions and insight really help me all along the way. I love your links, too.

Will you marry me? I mean, if it's okay with Katin? And Pushkin?

oh. but that would make Scout and Pushkin step-siblings.

It would never work.


Heh! I wonder how Pushkin would do with a step-brother? :-)


Thanks to you and your always-helpful tips for bloggers, I've already planned a post for National Mustard Day! (I know y'all might hurt yourselves in a rush to beat me to that one, so be careful now.) It'll be in the queue and ready to go on August 7. :-)


Awesome! See, who knew National Mustard Day was coming up?! :-)


Thank you for this podcast! Great points! I definitely need to plan.


Great podcast. I definitely think that planning ahead, whenever possible, is a good thing, whether its blog posts or anything else for that matter. I usually start scheduling drafts for my blog about a week ahead of time as well. Especially for business tip posts and tutorials. Then I can work on them throughout the week as additional ideas come to me, etc. I typically don't get too hung up on holidays because I know there are so many other blogs posting about it, and I don't have much of an interest with all the other things I want to write about it. BUT I do agree that these types of posts can grab a readers attention, especially if its something they themselves are enthusiastic about as well. Relating to your readers through your writing and stories is such a great way to build readership.


These are all great points, Brittni - thank you so much for chiming in here!


I know this is an older post, but I wanted to let you know that I listened to it today and you really helped me think about the whys and hows of organizing blog posts. I look forward to making a plan this weekend! Comparing it to the work a magazine editor would do was very helpful for me. Thanks!


Wow, Becca - awesome! I'm so glad you were able to put the ideas into practice right away. You're so right - I do think most of us have more blog post ideas than we realize, but without the planning-ahead, they just don't happen.

I wish you all the best with your planning - please feel free to pop back here later and let us know how it's going!


Sounds like you have a great mix of planning styles for your various kinds of content, Jojoebi!


Thank you so much for this post. Yes I've finally got around to listening to it.
I'm going to plan my blog posts in the way of posting different things on different days... sewing sunday, scrapbook saturday, tutorial tuesday etc but not every sunday/sat/tues - will have a post - only when I do a project to do with that subject. No pressure to do stuff every day or every week. kind of frees me up abit more now. Its really saving me time instead of taking up extra time to plan. lol


That's a really nice approach, Debra - adding some structure, but not necessarily locking yourself into anything rigid. Nice!


I so enjoyed this podcast. Up until now, everything I've read and heard about blogging suggests that the spontaneity of posts is the draw. A few months ago I did start somewhat planning my posts - I plan out the subject matter for the week, and try to take photos ahead, but still write the actual posts on each day. This has definitely helped me feel more in control and less stressed. The few times I have done the writing in advance I felt guilty! I even feel guilty about going back and editing spelling after the fact! After listening to this today, I realize that I'm on the right track with the planning. I like what you said about a blog being a magazine vs a journal, and I realize that is much more in alignment with what I'm trying to do with my blog.

I love your podcasts! I sit and crochet and listen; it just makes me happy and I always learn something!


Thank you so much, Bobbi! Sounds like you've been ahead of the curve on blog-planning!


This is going to change so much for me--so much. I love my blog, and I just keep staring a it, trying to make it better and better. And you've helped kick me off in the right direction. Thank you thank you thank you.


Yaaay! I'm thrilled it was useful for you, Ginger. All the best with your blog!


For 12 weeks, I had made a somewhat planned schedule for my posts. The past two weeks, I decided to stop those planned posts to see what would happened and, boy oh boy, is it ever hard to actually write some posts. So, it's back to planning for me. I really enjoyed some of your ideas in this podcast, like planning a weekly or monthly feature post. There are things I've been wanting to do for a while on my blog and your podcast was just the little boost I needed to actually get started on those things. So a big thank you!
Sophie


Thanks for this great podcast! I just got a notebook to do my weekly blog planning...and it fits well with my plan of having a notebook for crafts, one for travels and one for inspiring images/color combinations (that I can translate in knitting, drawing or sewing projects). Your blog is truly inspirational! valeria


Yay! That's great, Valeria! Happy Planning!


Thanks Diane, That is totally logical and sound advice. Thanks very much!
Keep up the excellent and entertaining work!
Emily


Okay so I listened and I think I get the basic philosophy behind the theory. I am wondering however do I still need to plan ahead even if I have a regular output of work that I share with my audience. I don't have a shortage of blog material because its usually just me sharing recent work that I have done for clients and there are typically 2-3 posts like this per week which is the maximum I can do for my schedule. So do you think I should still plan ahead even if I know there is no shortage of material around the corner??

Thanks,
Emily

PS. Love the podcasts! Just discovered them through a crafty friend and I am thoroughly enjoying and benefiting from them.


Hi, Emily -

I think there might be two reasons, in your situation, to consider planning posts ahead. (And as you'll see, acting on these is optional.)

First, if your business has any busier seasons, then planning some posts ahead is a great way to carry you through these times without your blog suffering.

Or, if you find yourself unhappy with the amount of traffic your blog is getting, and you're considering some new approaches to your content, then advance planning could be helpful.

If you're happy with the content you're producing, and the number of people reading, it, then there's nothing to change!


Hi,

Just wanted to stop by and say "Thank You" for all of your wonderful advise and interviews that you have contributed to Handmade Spark. I'm a writer for them also, as well as an Etsy store owner. So, I look forward to each of your posts. So far the blogging tips you've shared in this one above has been most helpful. See ya around the web, or I should say...here ya around the web.


Thank you so much, Jennifer! I've really enjoyed getting to know the Handmade Spark community.


I've been listening and reading all the info you've pointed me to and wow! Thank you so much for all the time and insight you're sharing - very valuable for someone like me who is devoted to building a blog with her entire heart and making room for it to emerge as an online business.


Hello, I just wanted to say thanks for the informative podcast! While I'm a painter, and not much for crafting, I've found several of your podcasts on blogging and etsy to be incredibly invaluable. I'm glad I gave your podcast a listen! Great stuff, and you even directed me to a few people and places I didn't know about! Great work, thanks again!


Wow, thank YOU, Jesse! I'm so glad they were valuable. I'd love to reach into the art community as well as the craft community with this show, so if there are any topics you'd love to hear in future, please let me know! craftypod at deeepideas dot com.


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