Blogging has never been my strong suit. In fact, I am REALLY bad at maintaining a regular schedule on most things beyond a few weeks. Something disrupts the habit and I lose my rhythm, resulting in the whole effort flopping. This year I have a new goal on my blog to post once a week. To help myself out, I have developed a new process and some new rules for keeping up with my writing.
To get myself started, I needed to set myself some ground rules. This is both to keep myself on track and to ensure that, should I hit a wall, I could pick back up on the blogging process with little issue.
- Post once a week, regardless of day.
- Start writing early in the week. When it is done, get it scheduled asap.
- Do not immediately change focus of the blog if a new idea pops up. See instead if a second post can be made later for that.
- If a planned post isn’t working, do not be afraid to postpone the original plan and pick another post from the idea list to finish.
- Be forgiving. But seriously, post once a week.
1. Jot down all ideas within OneNote section for blog posts.
The first major hurdle to conquer was to get all of my ideas written down in one centralized place. I used to do this in Todoist, but being unable to immediately start writing in the same application became an issue. To fix this, I swapped all my blog ideas over to individual pages on OneNote. It’s super convenient, as I can access the app from my desktop, my laptop, and my phone. When it’s time for me to sit down and write, I can see all the ideas in one place and immediately dive in on a topic.
2. Plan out post and related cross posts in Content Calendar
The second step I needed to tackle was keeping track of the wheres and whens of writing. While my blog is the primary concern, I have Patreon and Medium to think about as well. Some things are going to be Patreon Early Access. Others are going to be optimized to go live on Medium as soon as possible. In order to balance all of this, I need to keep a content calendar.
Originally I was going to use a Google Calendar for this, but I wasn’t satisfied with my options. Instead, I went with Airtable. Its database functionality is supremely helpful in seeing what sorts of posts I’ve made before, what stage of writing everything is at, etc. I evaluated several content calendar templates Airtable had to offer before merging elements of various templates into my current setup. If you are interested in how this works, let me know! I’d be happy to do a tour of my setup for you as a later post if there is interest.
Once an idea is in the content calendar, I decide on a rough queue for my ideas so I know what I should prioritize. I look into things like what events are going on in the next few months, what I’ve posted recently, and what has done well before to set up an order for posts. Having some idea what might be next helps me buckle down and write.
3. Write the post in full in OneNote
After I have a rough queue of posts worked out, I can start writing. I do my writing in OneNote, where it is easy to swap between machines. It also is a good way to save screenshots for posts like these where screenshots are relevant. If I write myself into a corner or just don’t feel like I can write on a particular topic that week, I have all the other posts in the queue right there on the side of the OneNote notebook to see and think on.
It also is handy to have everything in one place because often one blog post idea leads to another. As I come up with ideas, I start new OneNote pages for these concepts and leave them there for later. It keeps me from feeling pressured to work these sections into the current project, for fear of forgetting to write on them later.
4. Put into WordPress to edit and format
Once my draft is done, it is time to edit and format my post. This is the time for me to determine where the “primary home” of a post is, if I haven’t already. WordPress, Patreon, and Medium all have different formatting for posts, so I usually pick a primary location to work in, then edit the formatting for cross-posting later.
Nine times out of ten, that primary home is WordPress. This is doubly convenient for me, as I use the Yoast SEO tools to help me optimize my posts for search engine indexing and readability. It is very easy for me to lose track of my writing while in the midst of a draft. Having something that can proofread my document for lengthy sentences and such is a huge benefit to my editing process.
5. Schedule for posting, prep cross-posts
Once the editing is done, I schedule the post to go public across all relevant platforms. If it is a public post for my blog, this is relatively easy. I just set the scheduled release, then set up scheduled social media posts to plug it once it goes live. If I am looking to do a Patreon early release, I need to determine the delay and make sure that the post goes live on both my blog and Patreon at roughly the same time.
Finally, if a post is intended for Medium, I typically post it on my blog first. I then use the import tool on Medium to bring the post there, to ensure the metadata for the post directs readers back to my blog. For Medium, I try to post content near the beginning/end of the month, as I know some free account readers will burn through Medium’s three free articles limit very quickly. I want to get as many eyes on a post as I can.
Once my post is scheduled, I finally record the time it will go live in my content calendar and set myself a reminder. Not all platforms react to scheduling posts the same way, so it is good to double check everything goes public properly and with the correct links.
I am still working on this process. For example, Patreon exclusives are still a work in progress for me. There’s just too much I want everyone to be able to see. I am also trying to improve on the “timeliness” of blog post content and a general backlog of content I can rely on should I have a busy or “off” week. Still, I hope this has given you some ideas if you are working on a blogging process of your own.