I’m a non-schedule sorta guy, possibly to my detriment, making schedules for all of these posts takes the joy out of the process for me. I like to flow with the ebb and take things off the cuff as they roll out and become an emerging discussion or I like to look back historically at something and see how that relates to the now.
Blogging Tips for Schedule Averse Bloggers
The reason I am writing this article is because this week, which started 12/01/2014 and will end 19/01/2014, I have taken 2 days off work to devote to my existing blog (Blog Prefect) and my new blog (JackoWrites). I also have taken this time off to have a break from routine. At time of writing (because I’ve been writing this article predominantly on Sunday the 11th Jan) I have spent numerous weekends at the Gatwick Virgin Atlantic Airways Hangar working on my assignments for my degree. I’ve seen a lot of inside the building, too much actually.
I realised that in the later part of 2014, I had neglected the blog a fair bit, caught on a hot step from having to decide to take the earlier route to completing my degree. It wasn’t a great trade-off but the only one I could take at the time. It does mean that come June, my evenings are becoming free for quality (and washing my clothes, groan).
The crux of my issue
Because I’m not a schedule guy, I don’t run with a lot of content in the bank. I don’t have a lot of drafts ready to post. This week because I know that I have 48 hours (minus the sleep and other required functions) I wanted to get a bit ahead of the curve.
I wrote two articles to warm the cockles (hopefully) and I had a third one partially written but it ddidn’tseem to hit the spot in my own assessment, so is on the chopping block to be dismembered, fed to an angry alligator, and then re-written to be awesome.
Monday to Wednesday
In a way, I do try to stick to some kind of schedule. I know that the most efficient days of posting for my target audience fall within Monday to Wednesday. I need to get my posts published between those three days to be efficient. In any other day, other than pure fluke, I do not get the returns on viewing because people don’t view the same kind of material in the 2nd bigger half of the week.
I also think that 1 post a week is important and that a chain of posts can often be very profitable in terms of traffic intake.
I had a sustained burst of chained posts during the summer months last year. Some of those posts fell on their arse, others rose to the top. The ones that performed best were not always the ones I thought were going to do well. The key component seems to be perfect timing, perfect topic and simplicity in the core.
- Perfect Timing
- Perfect Topic
- Simplicity in the Core
I would surmise that this is why my “guide” posts are always a hit. They are in need and the probability of a person consulting more than one guide for ‘safety’s sake’ highly likely.
Sustaining the burst
In order to sustain that big period of almost unbroken posting for a month or more, I had to develop inventive ways of creating both high quality and decent length posts coupled with high quality but short posts. It was hard but the 60 minute challenge I devised worked a treat.
60 minutes of writing on a topic. +30 minutes for getting the title and images right. Setting aside 90 minutes a day was easy and I was able to support my bigger value 1,500+ word posts with these 900 – 1,200 words posts.
The results were interesting because occasionally the short posts that I wrote, in the short-term, would outperform some of my word heavy posts. Eventually these word heavy posts would then take back the crown but for a time the shorties had dominion.
Writing these shorter entries gave me the ability to test out ideas with the audience. Where I received comment or +’s I knew it was strong, where it met with disinterest I knew it was weak.
Bonuses from the experiments
A lot of my philosophical development ideas have been developed not from the months where I’ve spent longer on posts, but from that month of experiment. It forced me to think about a lot of what Bloggers face and helped me to deepen my philosophy. There were a lot of Launchpad disasters akin to those old black and white films where the helicopter ends up tearing itself apart before getting even a millimeter of fresh air under its feet. The saying is true, you learn far more from failure.
July 2014 was a particularly good time where I covered a lot of ground and I look to recapture that spirit this year so be prepared for all manner of experiments in July time which coincides with Blog Prefect’s 2nd Birthday.
Offshoots from July
One particular article that I wrote is helping me develop a .pdf guide for BlogPrefect that I think has not been covered in-depth like many over topics and I would like to fill that need.
There was also another particular topic that I covered which I am looking to write another guide on.
The importance of reaching out of the comfort zone
When we are comfortable we don’t strive for better, we don’t get the benefit of overcoming challenge, we don’t feel the reward of succeeding. We simply are. It is not a good place just to be comfortable, we should seek to get a little uncomfortable once in a while.
Whilst humans are creatures of habit, we also seek change in those things that become mundane, we seek a little bit less of the everyday to make our everyday a pinch more exciting.
As of 14th January 2015
I’ve left myself a bit of a difficult path. I missed the Monday Window and the Tuesday Window.
I missed the Monday Window because my Monday post was not ready to go. It was not ready because the images were not ready. I also had to go shopping at the supermarket and perform some much-needed ironing (all prep for Thursday – Friday)
I missed the Tuesday Window because I was out on part 1 of my 6 month celebratory date with my girlfriend. We went bowling and on a nice stroll. I bowled with my left arm this time and was fascinated to see that I actually have a natural ‘curl’ whereas I’m a very straight bowler with the right. It was an interesting experiment and I scored 84 on the first with 1 strike and 1 spare and 71 on the second, missing out on the spare 4 times in a row. I also had some great success on the air hockey table beating my lady-love 7 – 4, the only shame was two OGs (doh). Obviously my tasks had still not been completed.
I started out Wednesday well, got out of bed early which meant that I could leave work earlier owing to getting in earlier but this didn’t translate to a Wednesday post. They still weren’t ready.
As of 15th January
I sent out both posts with mixed results. My slightly shorter post did better, my bigger post did worse but I expect it to perform better as time passes.
I performed a load of other tasks like fixing a few things on both my sites, creating some new content which will appear later on, sharing some stuff from other people (because despite the reciprocity rule, sometimes some things do help me out.) and trying to get my Twitter moving a bit (@blogprefect by the way.)
Fast Forward to 19th January
The lack of momentum was a killer in the end although Thursday performed well with a double dose of posts and they are still performing after the fact. I can’t help but think that Friday output was a complete fail and that left me at a loss for the end of the week.
Having said that, I had plenty of time to think about new ideas and that was a benefit.
The two posts were:
I cannot deny that I enjoyed my time off but I don’t thing I came out of the other side with what I had intended. I’d worked hard to clear the decks so that I had time to spend but I lost the cohesion and it didn’t end up the way I wanted it to come to pass.
Things to learn
There is an important concept when you are trying to pull off a strategy. Execution is important. You have to do the work to get the required item out on time. There are no two ways about it. Making excuses just makes you look weak in the scheme of things.
- No amount of extra planning can make up for poor execution.
Having been in a planning department for years I can attest that on many occasions the plans that we have laboured over have been cast aside but we are better for making those plans. It is the execution where no plans are made, where it all goes to pot (and I’ve witnessed many occasions where that has been the case).
- You can approach things wrong from the start.
That is to say that you can go into something with a great idea of where you want to end up but you actually need everybody else to play ball to get there.
- Over production doesn’t relate to equal or sustained interest
Over production can often mean that you are just shaving off the gold from your more likely successor. This is why many bloggers, although tempted by shorter more often, stick to awesome less often, but aspire to awesome more often. To do the big pieces more often, you need more resources, sometimes even more people, to lend a hand.
- You can fight against what you know is true but it will bite you in the bottom
The fact of the matter is, for Blog Prefect at any rate, it performs worse on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Doing things then will never be as efficient as hitting the prime zone, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Releasing two posts on a Thursday was not efficient.
More food for thought
Now I pass over some wisdom from other bloggers who have written on this topic but they got the first page of Google results.
Starting first off with Marcus Sheridan from TheSalesLion.Com:
“Yep, that’s right, there is NO perfect blogging schedule. Actually, better stated, there is—the one that allows you to accomplish your goals and love every minute of this wonderful act we call blogging.”
He is right. There is no one size fits all. The truth is, you never know what can work for you until you start tinkering with the formula once in a while. More on that interesting article here.
Annabel Candy of Copyblogger.com strikes on another important nail:
“Successful bloggers know where they’re going. They have a master plan and they stick to it. Yes, they adapt based on feedback, but always in service of a vision.
To paraphrase Seth Godin’s recent book Linchpin, “Effective bloggers ship.” Top bloggers don’t waffle for months about the typeface on their upcoming ebook. They may tailor the angle, price, or format to better suit their market. But they don’t let themselves get derailed. They follow the plan.”
You need a plan Stan! This excerpt comes from a series of 8 important habits of highly effective bloggers found here.
But there is a problem making plans, you have to stick to them. Ann Smarty of InternetMarketingNinjas.com makes a good point when you’ve made your editorial calendar:
“The calendar is going to do you no good if you make it, then close the page and forget about it entirely. Make sure that you’re using your calendar, pulling it up daily or even multiple times a day to see what you should be working on. Also make sure that you’re regularly adding ideas to it, like those ones that hit you at 3am when you should be sleeping!”
You can read more about creating an effective editorial calendar here, 2am is more my time personally.
How would you spend 48 hours? What would you do?
No Reggie Hammond in the comments if you please. (You need to have seen the film 48 hours to get that, it was made in 1982, 1 year after my birth).