Do you feel a bit like a slave to your social media? Always thinking about your next blog post, forgetting to respond to that guy on Twitter, and never Pinning at the right time?
I know what it’s like to always feel like you’re running to catch up, instead of being in control of how and where you spend your time.
There’s nothing wrong with flying by the seat of your pants and only writing or hanging out on social media when inspiration strikes – if it works for you. If you’ve found that’s a little too chaotic to be sustainable long-term, then you’ll benefit from being more intentional with your time. Which frees you up to have even more of it.
Three Reasons Why Scheduling is Good
It gives you more time
If it’s one thing I hear the most, it’s that bloggers don’t have enough time in the day to do all the things they want to (or think they should) to build their blog and make it the best it can be.
Time is finite, it’s so easily wasted, and yeah, it feels like there’s just not enough of it. Many of us are working on our blogs in the cracks of time we have around other work, family, and life commitments, and there are periods where we feel as though we are succeeding at the juggle about as well as we’d succeed at performing brain surgery on a puppy.
The reality is, you have to make time. Nobody is going to walk in, grab your kids and say “we’re going to the park, you blog for a couple of hours” (are they? If they are, can you send them to me?!), or take on a big project at your day job to free up time for you to finally get started on that eBook you’ve been putting off. If you’re not scheduling in time to blog, and scheduling your posts and social media updates, then of course you’re not getting as much done as you would like.
Scheduling = more time. Time to live, time to work evenly on all your projects, time to take your own kids to the park. (Tweet that!)
It gives you more flexibility
To be honest, I don’t know of any blogger who can sit on the internet all day and respond in real time, whether that’s publishing at the most appropriate hour, or answering every email, tweet, and Facebook message received. Nobody is up at two in the morning Pinning their latest posts because that’s when their particular audience is online (hello working from the Southern Hemisphere).
There are some people who like to read my blog at five in the morning. There are hundreds who come after I’ve gone to bed at night. The last thing I want to do is hit publish before sunup, but I also don’t want to miss out on the traffic that comes at the most convenient time for them, so post scheduling works in both my favour and theirs.
I know sometimes the word “schedule” makes people shudder, and they’ll tell you they prefer “flexible” any day. Schedule sounds locked down, tight, rigid. The beauty of working online is so we can publish immediately, spontaneously, and so we don’t have to toe the line of a 9-to-5. But done right, scheduling can bring freedom – what you want is a flexible schedule, something that works just for you.
Scheduling means I can more effectively work around my young family, who I really do have to respond in real time to. When my work is scheduled and my home day goes awry, I’ve got the flexibility to be present in the moment. If home is quiet, I’ve got the flexibility to blog and maybe set a few more scheduled posts and updates for the times I can’t be online. This kind of flexibility is invaluable.
It gives you control
One of the biggest lessons I learned last year is that I don’t work well in chaos. Trying to work, live, run a family, and blog all at once however I could fit it in was benefiting no-one. Least of all me. I felt stressed, constantly undone, forever forgetting things, and I went to bed almost every day knowing I’d let at least one person down.
Feeling always behind the eight ball is not how I want to get through each day long-term. I don’t want to feel reactionary to each situation as it arises, I’d rather be a step ahead, with a clear head, and proactive.
Scheduling allows me to control my time online, instead of it controlling me. I can write when I want, I can publish when I want, I can be on social media when I want, and there’s flexibility at the end of the day to rejig it if necessary. My readers get content in the times that work for them, and I can interact in the times that work for me. Win-win!
Three Ways Scheduling will Make You a Better Blogger
You are more present
Well, OK – the beauty of scheduling means you can blog without actually physically being present. But the times when you are online, you can be fully present. This is your time to blog, to interact on social media, to chat on Twitter. You don’t also have to be cooking dinner, finding gym shoes, or emailing your boss.
You can work when you’ve got the time spare, and you can concentrate better during that time.
You are more considered
So many mistakes are made when you rush, when you’re throwing something up and running out the door. If you’re writing something that isn’t going up until next Tuesday, there’s no rush. You can write, edit, and give it a once-over between now and then, picking up issues, typos, and adding that link to the article you just couldn’t remember at the time.
When you’re fully present with your writing or your social media, you write better and are more likely to avoid problems that crop up when your concentration is divided. You look more in control and authoritative. And you’re interacting when it’s best for you.
You’re sharing what matters
I know what it’s like when you’ve just found five cool things that your readers will love, but you can’t share all five at once – and you’re likely to forget or give up if you physically post them across a reasonable period of time. Scheduling helpful or funny articles at the times your audience would most like to see them (i.e. when they’re online and they’ve actually got the time to click through) means you’re being the most useful to them you can be. And we all know Usefulness is King!
You’re also not rushing to share something, anything in order to be seen – you’re sharing what’s useful, entertaining, or inspiring because you’ve got the time to find those things, and you’re giving it to your audience at the right time.
Three Ways To Schedule your Work
Start with a plan
I always say planning is essential to be more efficient and to use your time more wisely. In 5 Ways to Make Your Blogging Life Easier, I talk about planning (and scheduling + automating!) and how they can give you more freedom. In order to schedule your time and your content, you have to know what you want to do, where you want it to take you, and when you work best.
I do everything from long-term checklists and calendars to a five-minute brainstorm and rough outline of the tasks of the day and in what order I’ll do them. I can’t recommend enough that five-minute brainstorm before you get started – it saves a lot of time and heartache later. Slotting your tasks into the time you have available that day will be the best thing you can do that morning to get started on the right foot.
Then, of course, you can branch out into larger, more long-term goals and lists (and refer to those lists when writing your monthly, weekly, or daily plan).
Related: Setting Blog Goals: Why You Need Them, and How To Write Them
Do what works
Get to know the automation tools available out there for bloggers – Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule, Edgar, or whichever one works for you. Get to know when your audience is online, what kinds of updates they respond to, and what kinds of content you enjoy creating. There’s no point posting to Facebook 11 times a day if it’s irrelevant, uninteresting, or clickbait.
Related: Boost Your Organic Reach on Facebook with These Tips
Use social media scheduling
Different apps work for different needs, although the ones I mentioned in the previous point usually cover several platforms. For example, I use CoSchedule to schedule my daily posts to Facebook and Twitter, and they make it easier to post way into the future. I can post several times to Twitter without leaving my WordPress dashboard. Facebook prefers its own scheduling tool, so if I can, I’ll delete the CoSchedule upload to Facebook and use the Facebook scheduler. If’I’m out that day, I leave the CoSchedule one – I do find that the Facebook schedule has better reach.
I use Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling, Buffer for tweets on Twitter or tweeting articles from other sites, and I’m interested at looking into Edgar for a couple of other things I’ve got in mind. I’d love to know which one you use though, and why? I think they’re all useful for different things.
Related: How to Socialize Your Posts for Maximum Effect
Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.
This is a great article, I am agree with you automation services make blogging life more easy. I use hootsuite for our social automation and WordPress also giving you best automation service like we can schedule our post any specific time or date.. thanks so much for this great article..
it’s so handy, isn’t it!
Scheduling has helped me tons Stacey. The irony; when you cede control, not running around all day long, trying to manually post updates, you feel in control with scheduling. I use Evergreen Post Tweeter to send out updates on Twitter all day long as it tweets my old posts. I use Hootsuite to update to social networks around the clock.
As for social media I spend little time on these sites, these days because they’re a big time suck. Sure, a few moments of connecting is important but the extraneous chatting and stuff like that is time wasted. I could be writing my next post, my next eBook or commenting on Problogger ;), instead of chatting people up on FB. So that 1-2 combo of scheduling and spending minimum time on social sites has helped make me a better blogger and it’s skyrocketed my effectiveness and productivity too. Folks wonder how I do it, publishing eBooks weekly and such; I use your times and I cut down on social time to do what matters and to feel more in control of my life. Thanks Stacey!
Oh yep, dialling back on social media has helped tons! so has getting up very early in the morning, but it’s getting cold now so not sure how excited I’m going to be doing that for much longer :)
How are you finding Evergreen Post Tweeter? I used to see irrelevant posts being auto-tweeted by others and I didn’t like it. Can you choose what to post? Also, are you getting much traffic from twitter any more? I’ve heard it’s driving nothing much at all these days for some blogs.
Okay, thanks for the motivation. I hope I can to be the professional blogger and can make proudly. :)
I never really got into the scheduling until I dug deep into the analytics of my blog. After a few months I realized that a good percentage of my traffic was coming from times I am usually unable to be online.
I tested it out for a week and started posting my articles around these times and saw a pretty decent jump in views. When you target a certain group of your readers and schedule around “their” time you really do a lot for your blog.
Thank you for the extensive post and great tips!
First of all thanks for your well detailed post. Sometimes i can’t maintain Scheduling Hope this article will help me most.
Scheduling content is always good. Unfortunately, there isn’t a scheduling plugin available for vBulletin. vB owners are in the business of creating “lots and lots of content.” Does anyone know of such a vB plugin available by chance?
What a great article.
I’ve been scheduling tweets and blog posts for a couple of years and can confirm everything you said. Being able to work on blog posts in advance is a great way to create time to revise and edit. Getting to the end of the week and knowing everything is ready to go for the weekend is also a great stress reliever.
I use HootSuite exclusively, but my social media involvement is limited. I’ve been on Twitter for about a year and have been using HootSuite most of that time. It does what I need to it to, it’s easy to use, and I can schedule for three different accounts from the same location.
I just started with Pinterest, so haven’t looked into scheduling. Yet.
Thanks for the great article and best wishes,
Thanks Carrie, loved your insights! I’ve used HootSuite too, I really like it. I used it in the early days before testing out some of the newer things to see if they fit. It’s still a work in progress!
This is a great way to focus on the core of blogging when we get caught up in the frenzy of content creation. Thanks for sharing this!!!
Oh yeah you’ve gotta ride that wave when it hits!
Great tips Stacey. It makes a huge difference to plan and schedule your activities – blogging or otherwise. I am really finding that going through my “to do list” and nominating the top 3 priorities and ONLY focussing on those 3 for that day works for me. If I get through them then great – Ill move onto the next ones. This really forces me to focus on what is a priority.
I’m still failing at that concept! Must try harder…
I work by shift, today, I work at day, tomorrow I work at night… So time is not solid.
I make schedule by the short time, hour-by-hour. For example: 8h A.M -> 10h A.M writing something, then 13h P.M -> 14h P.M reading.
Thank you for your sharing and making me be motivate.
I hope it works!
Great, handy article inspired me regarding Scheduling blog post. After reading this I decided to schedule article for my blog.
Thanks for Sharing!
Thanks for the post. I believe that scheduling the posts will really help the bloggers as sometimes they may don’t have time to update the posts and they can schedule the posts using any WP Plugins. Scheduling also helps the bloggers to make the plan about the series of posts.
Great information! It’s been a few years since I last had a blog and a lot changed since then. It’s good to find helpful info you have provided, so thanks
This is wonderful article. this blog provide automation services and provide easy way to create new blogs.
thank you for sharing..
Blogging when on a train, plane or bus might make you a better blogger but don’t we blog so we can be free and have flexibility in our lives? We will miss the life around us, by all means have a note pad and write down a few ideas and points but life experience also makes us better bloggers and I for one don’t intend to miss out on that to create a few weak posts. :-)
Just saying… great post though Stacey
Haha but I’m agreeing with you? You don’t have to blog on a train, plane, or bus – you’ve done it earlier and already scheduled it!
Scheduling can save time
I always schedule my posts…
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Thumps UP :)
Great article thanks.
Thanks, great motivation article ;)
Yes scheduling posts and tweets is a very good tactic in getting more traffic from social media websites especially Facebook and Twitter.I also used to schedule my posts and as a result I get extra 20% traffic on my website and this article has once again inspired my a lot.Fantastic job and thanks a lot for this article.
What software platform are you using?
Really? I definitely haven’t noticed that!
Building up your Twitter following through scheduling is also good for business.
So a good post Stacey. Most of my audience is in a different timezone so I couldn’t live without it.
One scheduling tool I love which helps us on our social media accounts (not blog linking per se) but I thought it would be useful for bloggers who leverage Instagram is schedugr.am for scheduling your posts.
Very, very useful. I’ve written more about this on my blog and other useful not so well know tools… schedugr.am are based in Melbourne, Australia which is fab!
Yes that app has been mentioned a few times lately – it seems people really like it!
I have a hard time following a schedule, not only with blogging but other stuff as well. The solution I have found is to set low targets such that they are achievable,but after reading this article i have tried to set some small schedules and that has helped me get more viewers to my website.
Thanks for sharing resourceful article. I was trying to find complete standards on Scheduling by blog and have searched lots of blogs but cannot discover much. After seeing your article, Now I can do it for my blog.
Great post. I use Hootsuite for Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + updates, along with Tailwind for Pinterest and Facebook I just schedule direct from, as you say. I find it really useful if I have specific campaigns that I want to promote or subjects that I am highlighting – then I can use my automated social media to start to form the backbone of my content. Like you say though, there is a balance between automation and actually being available to comment & contribute – I’m still working on that as I could definitely improve!
Schedulling is good… It is hard but if you can do, there’s more success in the future
I need to get back on a schedule … my life was gone to the dogs ever since I let it slide!
hope someday i become a pro blogger too :)
I haven’t tried scheduling the post. But i think i must do sometimes. After a long time i am writing my new blog, i got this post at the right time. Thanks for the post
Thanks Darren for sharing this great article.
I agree with your idea that bloggers should have a timeline in doing blogs, especially for bloggers who have kids. I am glad that I have stumbled upon this article because I am also busy on updating my blog for
sme business owners like me. I would like to keep them updated about the new ideas I have.
I too hate the word schedule and prefer the word flexible. I do feel like I’m on ‘lock down’, and for many of us, the reason why we started blogging is so that we don’t feel like this.
But you made some great suggestion, and one of the suggestions is using automated tools which I use. It’s great for when I go on vacation or if I want to promote another blog that I found valuable. It frees up a lot of your time and you can put yourself out there even more. But you still want to be active on social media, commenting, and other forms of communication to let people know that you are actually a human ;)
Thanks for your suggestions and I hope you have a great weekend!
Now that Hootsuite doesn’t allow automated scheduling to Facebook Groups and Google+ communities aren’t available for similar purposes, can you advise as to what other options are there out there?
I’ve just started blogging and the next step is tackling pinterest as a social media channel. Thanks to your recommendation I’m going to look into tailwind. Thank you.
I just figured out the beauty of Hootsuite and using that to schedule tweets. Automation makes life much easier for me, as I’m not always on social media.
This is a very useful post for all the bloggers. Keep posting valuable content like this. Thank you