How to Create a Publishing Schedule

Schedules, deadlines, restrictions. Eww. As a writer, setting up a publishing schedule can be both daunting and painful. Kind of like doing your taxes actually. But did you know that it isn’t all about goals and deadlines? It’s also just as much about organising your ideas so that you can deliver the best content for your audience. It’s inspiring to see all your ideas mapped out, and working out the best ways to deliver them is beneficial to both you and your reader. Below are some tips and a template you can use for your own blog.

Decide what you will write about

Whether you’re starting as a blogger or planning your next batch of content, you will need to decide what to write about. Sometimes this will come easily to you and other times you may develop a serious case of The Blanks. You might even have too many ideas – yes, it happens.

When you’re deciding what to write about you should find the balance between what your audience wants and what you know. Chris Garrett illustrated this point well:

blog-this

          Source: Problogger

If you are having trouble thinking clearly about this ask yourself the following questions (make sure you have paper and pen or a doc open to jot down your ideas!):

You:

  • What are your interests?
  • What topics are you knowledgeable about?
  • Which of these topics are relevant to your blog and audience?
  • How much could you write about your topics?

Your reader:

  • What do they want to know?
  • What are they passionate about?
  • What do they need to know?
  • What do they love?
  • What do they hate?

Bonus tip: If you’re not sure what your readers want, ask them. You could ask a simple question on social media or set up a poll  (you can find some handy poll tools in Travis Bernard’s article about Social Media Strategy). You might also like to browse forums that relate to your topics and see what people are talking about – Reddit is a good place to start.

Set up a content pool

Look at all those ideas swimming around in your head. It’s a beautiful thing. Creating a content pool is helpful for a number of reasons – it helps you record, sort and determine which ideas are actually worth writing about.

content-pool

Feel free to make a copy and tailor this schedule to your blog by adding and removing columns to best suit you.

Determine which social platforms you will use

When it comes to choosing which social media platforms you will use for your blog or brand, all that glitters is not gold. It can be tempting to sign up to all the big social media platforms because they are popular and therefore will theoretically benefit your blog. But before you go on a sign up spree, ask yourself the simple question ‘does it actually suit my blog?’.

For example, if you don’t have images or video to share, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube aren’t going to be much help to you. It would make more sense for you to focus on other social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Linkedin. Below is a breakdown of popular social platforms you might like to consider:

Facebook

  • 1.28 billion monthly active users.
  • 829 million daily active users on average in June 2014.
  • 654 million mobile daily active users on average in June 2014.

Twitter

  • 271 million monthly active users.
  • 78% of Twitter active users are on mobile.
  • 500 million Tweets are sent per day.

Pinterest

  • 40 million monthly active users.
  • 1.36 million users daily.
  • 80% of Pinterest users are female.
  • 23% of Pinterest users use it at least once per day.
  • Over 70 million total users.

Google Plus

  • 540 million monthly active users.
  • 20 million unique monthly mobile users.

Instagram

  • 200 million monthly active users.
  • 60 million average photos per day.

Youtube

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube. To break it down, that’s nearly one hour for every person on Earth.
  • Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time.

LinkedIn

  • LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network.
  • More than 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
  • Over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.
  • 41% of LinkedIn visits are via mobile.

Need help creating goals for your social platforms and blog? Below is an example of a calendar you could easily create yourself:

Schedule

Measure your progress

As well as giving you focus and helping you create better content, a schedule also helps you measure progress. Track how many goals you have hit each week/month and don’t be afraid to change it up to suit you. After a week or two you might like to:

  1. Revise your plans back to something more realistic
  2. Step up your goals if you think you have room to
  3. Reward yourself with something you love doing (or eating) for doing well

Whether you’re a blogger, a business or both, create content you can be proud of with a schedule that works for you. Next week I’ll be looking at how to stick to editorial goals while enjoying your writing and avoiding stress.

What are your best tips for creating a publishing schedule that works?