I’m always amazed — and irritated — at my colleagues who are blogging every day. I’ve tried that. I did it for a whole year once on my humor blog. By month four, I was regretting my choice. By month seven, I hated my blog. And by month 10, I longed for the sweet, sweet release of a sledgehammer to my monitor.
But I stuck it out. I made it the whole 12 months. And I saw a great increase in traffic. So much so that it is now about 80% less than what it once was, now that I’m publishing once a week. But I gained enough regular readers that publishing day (Friday) is the same level it was when I was doing the daily thing. That is, my regulars keep showing up and they keep reading. They just don’t keep coming back every day.
But if you want to blog on a daily basis, here are the 10 steps I took to make sure I made it all 365 days. (And remember, “daily” means “every day,” including Sundays. Be sure to take that into account.)
- Write certain evergreen posts that can be used anytime. Plug those in when you just can’t write that day from sickness, vacation, other plans.
- Write all posts the day before. That gives you an extra 24 hours cushion for that time you missed a post.
- Be prepared to use videos and photos. YouTube is a veritable cornucopia of blogging topics. Do a quick search, embed the video (when it’s permitted of course), write a few sentences of commentary, and voila!
- Do the same thing with photos.
- Depending on your blog platform, you may be able to email your posts in. Snap an interesting picture with your smartphone, attach it to an email, tap in a few sentences, and email it to your blog. You can always go back in later and expand it and clean it up, but at least you have the beginnings of the post.
- (Note: Most blog platforms publish the emailed content as soon as you send it, so that won’t work to save ideas for later. Use Evernote for that.)
- Carry around a notebook and write down ideas as you get them. Nothing is worse than an escaped idea. And if you can start sketching out notes at the same time, do it. Even go so far as to make an outline. Think about the outline on your way to and from work. Then, when you sit down at your computer, the thing is already written. You just need to type it out.
- Go for brevity. Remember, a blog post is not a 750 word column. A post can be 400, 300, even 200 words. You don’t want to make a regular habit of writing short pithy 100 word posts, but you can slip them in once in a while.
- Break up longer posts. Got a top 10 list of something? Turn it into two top fives. A couple months later, take each item from that top 10 list and expand on it for an additional post.
- Set a regularly scheduled topic for certain days of the week. For example, on my humor blog Sundays were always videos, Wednesdays were always reprints of old humor columns.
- Find other outlets in your industry that are about your chosen topic. Pull from them for inspiration. Since I wrote about some of the stuff that stupid people did, I got a lot of inspiration and ideas from Fark.com. (And let me just say, the British Town Councils are ripe for the picking for a satirical humorist.)
- Schedule your blogging time. Make it the same time every day. If you don’t, you’ll have to…
- …get up earlier or stay up later. This is like pro athlete training. You have to do it every day and you have to make sacrifices. That means missing sleep on one end of the day or the other, especially if you were screwing around and didn’t get it done when you should have. A few days like this, and you’ll learn to stay on schedule.
Your daily blogging goal will not succeed unless and until you commit to doing it. I don’t mean, “yeah, it sounds like a good idea,” but then it’s broken like a New Year’s resolution, by late morning on the second day. I mean, you absolutely say you’re going to do it, come hell or high water. (And then the theme to Rocky starts playing, and you find yourself dancing around at the top of your courthouse steps with a bunch of computer nerds yelling and cheering around you.)
When I made that commitment, it meant a lot of bleary-eyed posts that were written at 1:30 am and had to be polished up the following morning. It meant a lot of scrambling around to find new post ideas, and rehashing a lot of old topics. And sometimes it meant putting up some less-than-worthy posts and ideas just so I could keep going.
All in all, I’m glad I did it. I had a sense of accomplishment when I was done. It got me noticed by a lot of people, and got my name out to some new people. And I find myself being drawn back to it. This blog post marks the third business day in a row that I’ve written something on this particular blog, after being sporadic from time to time.
Will I keep it up? I don’t know. Do I have enough to say that I can keep up the momentum? Definitely. Do I have the time? That’s a tough one. I have clients to take care of.
I do know that I’m skipping weekends.
Photo credit: Kit Oates (Flickr)