In the years before 2016, I’ve regularly dropped the ball on my blog as soon as life and work became hectic. As other issues climbed on the priority list, blogging and newsletter slid down, until they completely fell off. I suppose that’s how a lot of bloggers treat their blogs: it’s all well and good, until “life happens”.
Last year I’ve updated my blog every single week without fail, despite all the things that were happening: client deadlines, long workdays, launches, teaching, traveling and conferences, vacations, burnout... It was quite an eventful year let me tell you, and my blog kept on ticking like clockwork.
Want to know how? Here’s the biggest change in my approach that made it possible.
The Blog Brewing Party
The practice behind this somewhat ridiculous name is a dedicated day for editing, illustrating and scheduling blog posts once a month.
Once every 30 days, I clear out my schedule from all current projects and focus on crafting and polishing content for my blog. While it sounds like a hard thing to do (who can spare an entire day with so much work on my plate?), it was so much easier than finding a few hours every single week.
My workload varies wildly from week to week: on occasion my client commitments are minimal, and at other times I’m swamped with work. Sometimes I’m busy preparing for an upcoming conference or a workshop, and at other times I’m dedicated to personal projects.
There’s no such thing as an average week. Because my schedule is so unpredictable, planning for weekly blog updates is impossible. I’ve proven to myself again and again that I can’t do it.
Monthly updates on the other hand are totally manageable, despite how difficult it sounds. I haven't missed one in a year (even if it sometimes meant doing it on a Saturday).
Why batching is better than scattering
As I've mentioned in my post Visual artists’ guide to creating attractive blog images, batching similar tasks makes them faster and easier, because you don't waste time switching from one application to the other and warming up for each task.
Batching editing also makes the writing part easier: I don't edit as I write—I dump my ideas on the page as fast as possible, and polish them later. That way, I can spare an hour or two on more quiet weeks to write down whatever I feel inspired to write about, and rest assured that come editing day, I’ll have plenty of raw material to work with.
The practical side of blog editing day
You might be wondering okay, how do you actually pull this off? How do you make sure it happens?
Here’s the trick: Create a recurring event once a month in your calendar app that blocks off your entire day for blog editing.
(You can give it a clever name like I did, because renaming things can get the “ick” out of boring work.)
Deceptively simple, ain’t it? But don't get fooled by its simplicity. The challenge is sticking to it. If you use a paper planner or a calendar app, auto-scheduling the monthly blog date makes dedicating time to it much easier:
- When people inquire about your availability, you’ll see that this day is already booked.
- When planning for project timelines, you’ll account for this day as busy and factor it into your estimates.
- In the case of conflicts with events you can’t reschedule, you can move the blog editing appointment to the day before, or the following day.
Treating this commitment with the same respect and dedication as you do the obligations that concern other people is key. Content marketing has tremendous potential to put you on the map as an expert and attract a wider audience, but only if you do it regularly.
Yes, taking off a day from your client work or art sounds scary, but after pulling off a focused work-a-thon dedicated to your blog, you’ll be relieved to not have to do any of the hard work to keep up with blogging for a whole month.
Imagine that: one day of work, and you’re done for the month.
All your blog posts are waiting for their publication date edited, illustrated, with the relevant “click to tweet” snippets and calls to action.
All you need to do is press “Publish” and promote the post on social media and your newsletter.
Your readers are happy that they get to read something useful and inspiring every single week. You’re happy that your content marketing assets are growing. Win win for everyone.
@nelchee uses a clever technique to NEVER miss a weekly blog post. Learn about it here:
I’m not the only one using this approach, and I vouch that it works much better than trying to keep up every week (which sometimes resulted in not publishing anything for months).
The remaining challenge is to find the time to write the drafts in the first place. I know a lot of you wonder how to do this, because each time I run a workshop or do a talk on content marketing, a bunch of people ask me this question. I’ll cover this topic in one of my upcoming posts.
Until then, try this approach on for size and let me know how it works out for you.