Thursday, January 15, 2009

Get On A Daily Schedule To Blog More Often

Do you wish you could "up" your blogging frequency? Unfortunately writing daily is not an easy habit to put in place for many of us (including, ah-hem, yours truly). “How do I find the time?” is the main complaint I hear from people that attend my blogging workshops.

My client, Moira Collins, seems to have figured it out. She publishes a post every other day on her blog, Kiddie Star Signs. She says it has really helped to bring traffic to her main website, Kiddiegram.com where she offers astrological charts for children. So I was curious to find out how she does it.

Moira says she was initially inspired by her close friend, cartoonist Nicole Hollander, who has to have a cartoon ready every day for her syndicated comic strip, Sylvia. "Even if she goes on vacation she always has a backlog of cartoons ready, so that's the model I followed", explains Moira.

Every morning while sipping coffee Moira checks Google news and other entertainment sources, like celebrity baby blogs and People Magazine, to get ideas on what to write about. Once she decides on a topic she gathers all the elements she'll need later on. "I'm often writing two posts at once - one for the next day and one for 2 days from now. I do the initial work on the astrological chart I will make reference to, and then decide what pages on my website to link to," she adds.

If, for example, she reads that Nicole Richie and Joel Madden are getting married on their daughter's birthday, she makes sure to have Harlow's chart and a link to an earlier post she wrote about her ready so she can easily include it in her new post. Then when the news actually breaks she has the post ready to go. “Forbes did a list of top celebrity babies so I have all those charts and the charts of their parents on file for when I need them.” She also takes notes on the sources for the quotes and photos she will use and get related links, then she decides on labels & titles

Moira says that since she's had the blog, traffic on Kiddiegram.com has grown tremendously, and visitors stay longer. "Once they get to the website people spend a lot more time there because there's more content to browse through", she adds.

By posting regularly Moira was picked up by Astrodispatch, a big astrology clearinghouse. Then Molly Hall at About.com, who has written about Kiddiegram.com a couple of times in the past, put the Kiddie Star Signs blog on her "best astrology blogs" list and linked to one of the posts on Ethan Hawke's baby.

“If bigger sites hadn't referenced me I wouldn't be encouraged to continue writing as often because I’m very busy. You continue writing because you realize that's what your peers read,” Moira points out.

Here's Moira's blogging schedule:

  • She publishes a post every other day but writes everyday so she has posts in the pipeline. If something bigger comes up she’ll put aside what she's prepared in advance and features the breaking news first.

  • She dedicates between 1/2 hour to 45 min. on average per day to her blog. If it’s a tricky post she'll spend an hour on it.

  • She spends an extra hour a week researching.

  • She tends to write short posts.

  • She publishes her posts in the morning. To stay on track she'll do research for the 2nd post before publishing the one for that day.

  • If there's nothing going on or she doesn't feel creative, she won't write. It's more interesting to give it a break or wait for inspiration to come the next day.

My friend and fellow social media enthusiast BL Ochman just wrote an entry on her blog interviewing marketing guru Seth Godin about why he decided to start posting daily. Check it out.

What are your challenges when it comes to blogging more often? Please share!



PS - Above is a slideshow of Moira's adorable astrologically-themed designs. They've just been selected for the new Flip HD & Mino. Congrats Moira!

2 comments:

Chaitanya Sagar said...

Carmina, nice post! Frequent blogging is a constant pain but frequent and regular posting helps build audience. But it's a LOT of work.

I subscribe to the standard that every WORD should be useful to my readers and that's how I respect their time. I don't waste any space, any time. But that means that I have to research well, and pour over my blog many times before I am satisfied of the quality. That helps attract quality audience but delays it.

I run www.p2w2.com (we help small businesses outsource) and so would recommend that you consider hiring a ghost writer. You could tell him/her what to write and make sure that you go over it and 'make it your own' before you publish it. It saves you time and energy and a lot of frustration.

Chaitanya
http://www.p2w2.com

Andrew Lennon said...

Great topic, Carmina. I suppose I'm on one extreme of the spectrum; I've made the time to publish 3-5 articles a day while working a full-time job, but at the sacrifice of sleep! Most days I wake up at 4am (sometimes 3:00) and work on my site over several cups of much-needed coffee until I get ready for my "real" job at 7am to be to work by 8:00. After work I usually spend 6:00pm - 11:00pm working on the site, and then am back up at 3 or 4 the next morning.

I just launched TheDailyAnchor.com - a marketing and advertising blog - at the beginning of January and it's been doing very well, but I'm not sure how much longer my body will survive on 4-5 hours of sleep a night! I'm blessed with an incredibly supportive and understanding girlfriend, but the time I dedicate to the site is most certainly unfair to our relationship.

In my case, I think there are four things that will help restore a little sanity in my life...

1. I've given up blogging on weekends. As much as I'd like to post content 7 days a week, I've found I need weekends to handle site maintenance (advertising, design, etc.) That, and I think my girlfriend would kill me if I didn't have at least some downtime.

2. I've started an editorial calendar, which is basically broken down by date and article categories (marketing, advertising, news, etc.) I use my weekends to spec-out my article ideas for the upcoming week. Sure, things pop up on a daily basis and I tend to modify the schedule on a daily basis, but having a schedule down on paper (er, Excel) helps me stay organized and focused.

3. I can't do it alone. My site is The Daily Anchor; I can't exactly get away with posting weekly or sporadically! I have big goals and high hopes for the site, so I've enlisted a few friends and colleagues of mine to help develop content. I'm still developing 80% of the content myself, but even if 1 out of 4 articles a day is by a contributing editor, that's a HUGE help and a huge time-saver. I have 4 contributing editors right now, and hope to grow this to 10 within the next month.

4. I've scaled back my expectations. Even though I knew it from the start, quality matters more than quantity, and I'd rather post 2 GREAT articles a day than bust my hump to produce 5. Last night I took a rare break from the blog to go out to dinner and a show with my girlfriend and her mom, and fell asleep as soon as we got home. I woke up at 4:00 per usual, but instead of racing to publish 4 stories I decided to write just 1, and am darn happy with how it turned out.

I'm still cutting my teeth on this blogging thing, and have yet to set a schedule that properly balances productivity, health, and "real life," but I'm learning as I go. Thanks for another great post.

All the best,

Andrew

 
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