I know, I know, that title may be a little cray cray, but I swear...when I hear people discuss their frustrations with keeping and maintaining consistency with blogging, it often times sounds like they are at their wits end! (Maybe not to the point of ripping their eyes out of their head, but you catch my drift!)
Maintaining consistency can be a SUPER difficult thing to do. Life gets in the way. Ideas run out. Schedules collide. Emergencies happen. I've been blogging for almost six years and things like this have consistently happened to me. Funny, isn't it?
Things are consistently not consistent!
I've come up with some best practices for maintaining consistency within my own blogging. I've been strategically doing these things for over a year now and my blogging has reached a level it's never achieved in the past.
I think it's important before we begin to mention that if you have goals to grow your blog and readership, I highly suggest working out a blog strategy first. It's hard to keep up with something if you don't really know WHY you are doing it or what goal you want to achieve by doing it!
KEEP A RUNNING LIST OF IDEAS SOMEWHERE THAT IS EASILY ACCESSIBLE
We all know it happens. The best ideas for blog post come to you while in the shower, or driving or in the middle of cooking dinner or when you have zero phone service or Wi-Fi. UGH.
Whether it be keeping a pad of paper and a pen next to the shower or your bed, or utilizing voice notes on your phone while you are driving or having a resource that you can access on your phone and your computer (like Trello, Evernote or OneNote), have something! Think about where you usually are when you have your best ideas and make sure you have something to get them DOWN and out of your head when they strike.
Once I get the idea OUT of my head I can relax and not worry about if I will forget it etc…because I know it is somewhere that I can go back and find and access later. And you will never have to sit down and crack open the computer and stare blankly at the screen because you have no idea what to write about.
MAKE A SCHEDULE AND STICK WITH IT
Lots of research and studies have shown that consistent blogging is the best blogging. When readers are thrown off by your posting five posts one week and one post the next and then no posts for two months, it chips away at trust and reliability. Both of them are important for building a readership.
A common misconception related to consistency though is frequency. You don't have to blog a LOT in order to be consistent. Once a month is still consistent.
Only want to blog once a week? Post on Monday's only. Want to blog four times a week? Decide which days work best for you and stick with it. When you have a consistent schedule, you rarely feel like you are constantly falling behind.
I never blog post on the weekends. Like seriously, NEVER. That doesn't mean that sometimes I work on blog posts on the weekends, but I have given myself permission to only post 2-3 times a week and those days are always weekdays. I have totally flourished under this schedule and I no longer feel the pressure to post just to post.
PRE WRITE AND SCHEDULE YOUR POSTS
Has this ever happened to you?
You have an hour blocked off to write a blog post. You've finished other tasks and have the laptop open and your fingers on the keys and then blammo!!! You are completely uninspired and/or find that you just have nothing to write about? Or maybe you are distracted by something that just happened and you simply can't find it within you to crank out a post right at that moment. Or maybe you are going on vacation and won't have time to get the posts done during that time away.
This is where pre-planning and scheduling will absolutely be your biggest friend when it comes to consistent blogging. I try to make my blog calendar months in advance and write posts way ahead of time depending on what I'm talking about. This is obviously way easier to do when you aren't blogging about your day to day life, but there is likely still some content that you can pre-schedule in order to take a bit of the burden off.
When I have a month's blog posts written and scheduled a month ahead of time, I find that it frees up my creativity and I'm able to think of more topics and have more time to flesh them out. I can write when I'm feeling inspired and I don't feel so much pressure to write when I'm not. I'm still blogging consistently, but the pressure of the deadline isn't looming in front of me so creativity has full reign to flourish.
USE A RESOURCE
....like Buffer, Hootsuite, Meet Edgar or Co-Schedule to schedule everything ahead of time. Utilizing resources like social media tools can take some of the blech out of blogging. If you have your posts all scheduled and written for the week, you can schedule them on social media as well. This way you can crank out everything all at once and in one sitting instead of constantly having to interrupt what you are doing in order to post things online.
Remember that blogging is the process of building a foundation. Just because you may not have a lot of readers now, doesn't mean you won't in the future. I find reminding myself of this and it helps me to stay un-frustrated about "numbers" or a following. I am encouraged to stay consistent when I realize that every single post I click "publish" on is building a stronger and stronger foundation for the future.
DECIDE IF YOU WANT TO GO LONG OR SHORT WITH CONTENT
It’s a good idea to figure out if you want to be a long or short content blogger. This can all be part of your blogging strategy….check out this post to find out how to create one.
If your goal is to create super helpful and detailed long form content blog posts, then be realistic about how often you post. You know each post will take you a certain number of hours to write, so depending on your schedule you may realistically only be able to post once a week.
If you are more the short content type of blogger however, posting 4-5 times a week may be less of a time commitment and you may be able to keep up with that schedule. Think about this ahead of time or if things change, make adjustments as you go.
BE AWARE OF YOUR CALENDAR
The calendar is one of the most important things for a small business owner, especially if you have children. Keep that calendar up to date and bump it up against your blogging calendar. If you know you are going to be out of town for an extended period of time or if you have responsibilities or a big project that will be occupying a large chunk of time coming up, factor that in and get some posts pre-scheduled. This will keep you from running into a week out of nowhere, where you have zero time to get a blog post out and then you are hard on yourself because you couldn't get it all done. Life happens to everyone, being as planned out as possible ahead of time reduces the stress and lets you keep to a steady and consistent schedule!