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Do You Plan Your Blog Posts?

Posted By Darren Rowse 12th of April 2010 Reader Questions 0 Comments

Time for a little reader discussion – this one inspired by a Tweet by @JessVanDen who asked:

“do you have a regular posting structure, or just post things as you think of them/find them. i.e. regular features or not?”

I’d like to widen the topic slightly and see if readers do any kind of planning of blog posts ahead of time – or whether they just blog as they sit down each day to blog?

My Answer – I try to do a bit of both each week – I look at the week ahead most Mondays and put together a bit of a plan of attack for the week – but I also tend to swap things around during the week as inspiration hits. Sometimes I’ll add extra posts into the schedule and on other occasions I might swap the plan around and post things in a different order.

What about you – do you plan your blog posts ahead of time?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I plan mine, generally following a theme I develop the week prior. After which creation then publication. I think it’s really up to the blog’s author, which ever method results in the best material.

  2. I have a team of writers, each scheduled for one article per week or month. I fill in the gaps to make sure there is new content every day. I do one regular feature myself – fiction on fridays – but lots of other random stuff.

  3. I write for multiple blogs, so before each week I plan which I’ll post to on which days. Sometimes I have specific topics in mind, sometimes just a general idea, and once in a while I just wing it. When something new comes up that I want to fit in right away, I’ll usually (but not always) bump my scheduled topic to another day.

  4. I usually blog once a week and do try to plan them ahead of time. I am new at this so I always like to read other peoples thoughts and opinions. Glad I found problogger! When an idea comes to me and I’m in the middle of doing something else, I will jot it down for later when I’m ready to write and post my blog.

  5. On my personal blog, I tend to have both planned and impromptu. I schedule the planned posts ahead of time, for my daily schedule sometimes distracts me from posting (scheduling eliminates the bad effects of forgetting). This has balanced out my posting in recent weeks.

    In addition to the planned posts, I’ll put up an impromptu post when something comes up.

  6. Great question…
    As much as I would like to think everything is planned in advance, I am pretty much blogging where the muse takes me.

    There is a plan, but in fact, I don’t follow it very much.

    Thank you for asking
    Fred

  7. I typically sit down on Saturday or Sunday and start between 4 and 6 drafts of posts whether they are recipes I am planning to write or health related topics I want to discuss. Sometimes, I even go a step further and write a few of them out so that on days I don’t feel inspired, I can publish something that I have already written.

  8. I try to be ahead of my posting at least one week, but preferrably two weeks. Normally I publish Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but there might be more posts if things happen and I want to report on it directly.

    I’ve found that having posts ready for a couple of weeks gives me peace of mind :)

    Also, I have a weekly round-up of Joomla blog posts from the last week which is published every Thursday.

    Other than that, I write posts based on what people search for on my blog, words from Google Analytics, topics I find on Twitter and elaborate on, answers to reader questions, and problems I solve as I work with Joomla.

    So, I don’t plan my posts around specific themes on specific days, but rather try to keep a steady flow of varied posts.

  9. It depends on the blogs I publish. I have one in German about traumatised children and one about learning foreign languages in German which I care for a lot, and I try to post on them on a regular basis, about twice a week. I must admit though, that I neglect the English blog about traumatised children, partly because there are few readers. After all, I have a job to do which earns my living, so time is tight…

  10. Never plan in my old blog. But since I’m switching to a new niche with a more focus topics in this new blog, I think I’ll start to plan ahead of time like what you have done on what would I write. At least, I’m going to plan for weekly topics, then write 4 or 5 posts based on the topic I chose for that week. If there is any breaking news topic, I could add a post of that breaking news topic in a fly.

  11. I would have to say I take both paths on my blog depending on where I am going with it. I find it interesting sometimes going into it having an idea and just going with the flow and see where it leads me.

    Sometimes you end up sparking new ideas or avenues that need to be looked at and studied.

    Bottom line, I tend to think quite a bit about what I want to write about from a topic stand point, but it’s usually when I sit down when I start coming up with a structure.

  12. I also do a bit of both, depending on the blog. My personal blog is almost completely random. My sports blogging tends to follow the schedule of the team, with press conferences and games set to a schedule. Of course I’ll provide thoughts on breaking news as it develops as well.

    I try to plan out some ideas for features in a calendar to provide some extra structure that keeps me disciplined.

  13. Like Laura, I have both planned and impromptu. I keep a google doc of planned posts, many already written, which is a huge help when I don’t have much time to devote to the site.

    I always carry a notebook with me to jot down ideas, since you never know when a great new topic will present itself.

    I’ve thought about having a structured editorial calendar, but that generally means more commitment and less flexibility.

  14. Mostly planned. I have topics lined out using Google Calendars, I have a calendar set aside for blog posts…it is synced with my phone so if I have a moment of inspiration, I can input it from my phone and add the entry. So far, I’ve managed to keep 3 months worth of topics that way.

    I post 4-5x a week, so there is room for inspirational inserts or breaking news in my niche. I don’t write more than a week’s worth in advance (if that) so if I don’t feel like writing about a particular topic on the day it happened to fall on, I’ll switch it up with GCals drag and drop interface.

  15. First time commenting after reading here about 5 months …

    On previous blogs I have written, I have not maintained a posting schedule. I posted when the inspiration struck, but I was always thinking about the blogs and looking for material to write about and craft. This allowed me to stay regular and consistent because the blogs were a part of me and my ongoing life.

    But I have a new blog now that is more of a serious project for me. It is the most intentional thing I have ever done online, and it also means more to me than anything else I’ve ever done.

    I launched it during a time when my life schedule was becoming very full, so I knew committing to it was going to require forethought and a great degree of intentionality from me. Posts I read here about Darren’s encouragement to have a posting schedule or editorial calendar helped me starting thinking in those terms about what I was doing. I’ve also been immensely helped over the past couple weeks by Charlie Gilkey’s wonderful blog planning calendars! You should seriously check those out if you haven’t already.

    All this to say that I’ve been going about this new blog project much more carefully than ever before. I’m not fully on top of it yet (do be “fully on top of it,” for me, would mean planning a whole month in advance), but I am planning about a week in advance right now, which I’ve found helpful and keeps me in peace of mind.

  16. I post three times a week, on Monday, Weds and Friday. My life tends to be a bit crazy during the week, so I’ve developed a system that works for me. I keep a stickie on my desktop that I jot little notes on every time I have an inspiration for a blog post. Then, on the weekend, usually Saturday morning, I sit down for a couple of hours and bang out at least two blog posts for the week. Sometimes I do all three, but I do like to keep it a bit loose, in case something interesting shows up.
    Then, when I get up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, I just hit publish!

  17. I plan ahead… I spend about half an hour on a Sunday morning away from the computer and pop post ideas into the relevant days of my diary… then if some inspiration hits during the week I just add it onto the relevant page… when I get to the end of a day and all of the kids are in bed and I finally get to blog I have a couple of ideas ready and good to go. I have never managed to write a post in advance… I have to post as soon as I have written… I just love getting posts out there!!! So planning – yes, I all for it… Writing ahead – I just can’t do it!!!

  18. I do plan my posts, each week I’m publishing 4 posts at least – one practical, one supporting, one theoretical and one “other” and this goes on and on :).

    It’s useful, because I have so much to talk about, and I can’t write each day because I don’t have much time, and this way I can make every reader happy.

  19. I do plan mine most of the time. I keep a bit of a Microsoft Word Archive where I post all my ideas and cross out the ones that I have done. I go down the list in order; most of the time. Sometimes I will find something on the list and say “I really want to write about this today”. Other times (like today, coincidently) I will come up with an interesting topic and outline in my head, and in fear of forgetting the outline, I write it on the spot.

    So the answer to your question, I do a little bit a planning and a little bit of spontanaety.

  20. It’s ironic this question has come up as yesterday I planned out my blog posts for the next three months.

    It’s great to have organisation as to me It provides consistency. I am not the best person for remembering things and without a valid plan I am all over the place.

    I have an excel sheet where I control all my finances for the blog, website idea’s(not just for the blog), traffic and blog post idea’s. It is really helpful.

    If I were to get inspiration for another idea I would have no problem fitting it in my schedule.

  21. I do a little of both. I have a list of topics to write about, and while I’d love to say I get them all written for the week and scheduled, life often doesn’t allow that. Having a topic list helps. Not setting all up ahead of time also allows me to respond to things in the industry. I have four blogs I run so it is sometimes hard to stay ahead of the curve. For a couple of weeks, I wrote all weekend and scheduled posts to come out throughout the week. Have to say that was a really great way to do it, it just isn’t something I have been able to maintain.

  22. I have a topic list in Microsoft Word arranged by different categories. Since I have been wanting to create a site like the one I have for some time, and its a bit on the philosophical side, I tend to scan through to see what gaps I need to cover to “fill out” the story and the big picture I’m trying to convey.

    Taking a clue from a previous post from Darren, I have been attempting to schedule my posts at least a week, preferably two ahead of time, though at first I was trying to keep up with Darrens frequency, but that;s not for me. I notice that the philosophical stuff is like pulling teeth to write, it takes a lot of time!

  23. Yes I plan my blog posts and have made me a blog calendar. You can see my blog calendar and read about how I use it at this post here.
    http://basketmasterweavings.blogspot.com/2010/02/using-blog-calendar.html
    Thanks for all the advice you give. I appreciate all you do for the blogging community.
    Nancy

  24. I rarely plan, but I do have a list of blog ideas if I’m ever stumped – which is most of the time haha.

  25. Like Nancy and Lakita, I have a Google calendar devoted to my blog. I also have two moleskins: a medium one for my purse, and a tiny one for my pocket. It’s amazing how many topic ideas come to me when I’m away from a screen (I would say more than 75%). When I jot down a few sentences in my notebook, I also find that writing the actual post is faster.

    So, to answer your question more directly, I plan. But the plan is merely a road map, and I frequently take another route.

  26. I plan out my posts. I have to with my busy life with my kids or I wouldn’t ever post anything! I do like to throw in some extras, but it doesn’t happen to often especially since I’m trying to guest post at numerous places!!!

  27. I’m trying to post every day, even if it’s just a short post, so I keep a list of topics in a Word document where I also write and edit them. My schedule is pretty much to post things when I think they’re finished.

  28. My niche, detailed cooking recipes, requires me to do a lot of planning. It’s perfectly normal for a recipe to span three or four posts. Plus, many recipes require prerequiste knowledge. For example, I’m going over how I made edible mini-figures for a LEGO Star Wars Death Star Cake, but before I can do that I have to go over how to make the edible modeling clay. So for me, planning and sequencing is critical.

  29. I do both of them. I have a blog about vegan cooking, so usually I write the recipes and do the photos ahead of time because you don’t need to wait for the muse to come.

    Sometimes I will write the post itself too (I don’t like food blogs with only recipes. I think it’s always nicer to find a story behind it, an anecdote or even some random thoughts), but often I wait until I’m inspired. With the photo edition happens the same.

    I have some post drafts and ideas, so not always it comes from nothing, but I tend to improvise (except for this week: I have a post scheduled for monday…hooray! :D)

  30. I do both. I plan about 3 months ahead but remain flexible as to what I post by the week depending on the circumstances here and what suits the blog’s needs by that time. We have regular power and internet cuts so I can’t always guarantee posting when I intend to, although try to automate as much as possible because of that, but it doesn’t always work. If I don’t plan I’d never post anything!

  31. I do several things. I keep running lists and emails sent to myself with ideas for future blog posts. As I complete research for the posts, I keep adding information until I decide to fully write it up as a post.

    For food posts, it may take a while to get certain ingredients, adapt the recipe, cook or bake it, photograph it, then write it up.

    For posts related to politics and law, I might wait for a specific event to happen related to legislation, so that I can provide a better source as a link and provide more details related to the issue.

    Depending upon what’s big in the news, I may be inspired to do a different type of post due to its timeliness. And some posts are just random fun out of the blue.

  32. I try and post every day. I try to mix it up with dedicated research posts, summary posts, and fluff scam reporting posts.

  33. I do a bit of both, but probably in reverse order from many people. I write first, plan after. I’m nervous when I don’t have several posts pre-written and ready to go. My schedule is too erratic to be able to count on the time to write just when I need a post. So I try to have several posts written and ready. I tend to write in spurts, Several posts in a couple of days that will be posted over time. So once I have the posts written, I take the calendar and plan when they’ll be posted. Some might go up fairly quickly and some might wait as long as several weeks. Of course, it’s always in pencil in the calendar so I can be flexible and change things around as new posts get written and added in.

  34. Working on a “dusted off” post planning schedule now for a new site.

    Planning topics a week at a time with a 30 day look forward to where I want to be and conversations I might want to have.

    Also allowing for flexability in the plan for occaisional muses, meanderings and possibilities.

  35. I usually just write the posts day by day, but for the writing workshops I run on my blog I obsessively plan weeks or even months ahead.

    I’m trying to work in some more planning for my blog, hoping to plan posts weekly, and I try to keep some things the same (an exercise every Tuesday and links every Friday) but it doesn’t always work out that way.

  36. I wish I would plan mine ahead of time instead of posting whatever seems to be happening the day of. Now that I’ve started meal planning, I think the next step might be blog planning!

  37. I have a master table of topics to post. That serves as both a plan as well as an offline table of contents. Over that I use preformatted templates. Thus I just “fill in the blanks” to get a new post. Its almost doubled my posting rate.

  38. I post frequently and mostly the topics are written in a stream of conciousness, or a stream of bs. Just depends on how I feel that day. :)

  39. i never plan, i just write about ideas as i think of them… in my next blog i consider planning a year ahead or even more

  40. I try to work more intuitively. What I have is a list of topics that I want to cover or that simply spring to my mind.
    If I can’t come up with something suitable for the day I take a look at my list of topics and pick one. Sometimes I do this with a goal in mind (e.g., try to add something to an existing series of articles that I already have, or to introduce a greater variety in the topics I cover), and sometimes I simply choose what catches my attention.
    I try to keep at least 10 items in that list and sometimes I completely remove items even if I haven’t turned them into an article.

  41. I do better with some blogs than other. One blog I am definitely getting good at planning ahead. Certain kinds of posts go up on certain days.

    Now if I can get that organized with the rest of them I’ll really be rolling!

  42. I post 5 times a week, and I have a certain rhythm for posting:
    mondays: “Linking Horn” – a link roundup
    tuesdays: an in-depth articles of some description
    wednesdays: another in-depth article, probably an advice column or history article
    thursdays: a slightly-less in-depth article, usually a review, an outfit post, a shout out, or a humorous list
    fridays: something short and quick – an outfit post or a “metal mixtape”.

    I keep a long list “The Epic Post List” of article ideas and, on monday, I plan the articles for the week. I start writing my in-depth articles on monday, and finish them off the day I post them. I write the other articles as I post them, although I usually take pictures during the weekend.

  43. I do a little of both. I have a weekly speedlink on Wednesdays when I link out to some good blog posts I found (What’s Up Wednesdays) and I offer an inspiring, interesting, or funny quote on Sundays (Sunday Snippet). The other days of the week, I’ll either write on what comes to mind or turn to my “post idea pad” for topics I had written down previously, mostly related to freelance writing, personal development, professional development, and so on.

  44. Initially I posted with out any order or rhythm and never planned about posts ,it clearly reflected on my blogs performance,after observing other blogger and reading tips for pros I started a rhythm.

    I post almost daily and special care for weekends . and planning each day post is some what hard as new ideas pour in or we get inspiration any time.

    So when ever I get an idea i write it down and save the post and use them accordingly with out breaking the rhythm. and even One day one Idea or one different topic post will also suffice.

  45. I basically plan ahead for the week, but switch around if things warrant it. I may change my schedule if I get a sudden inspiration for an idea I want to write about immediately, or there is an immediate matter that needs to be addressed, such as a current event that needs to be written about — or anything of a timely nature. In these respects, Darren, I guess we are alike…

    krissy knox :)
    my twitter: @iamkrissy

  46. Particularly with writing the post itself, I create a mental outline of the subtopics I want to write about. I also create a set of new blog topics during the end of the month, and would work on them during the coming month.

  47. I have a blog about my adventures in the E.R over a weekend shift so I tend to write on Mondays when its all fresh in my mind. I thought about having different days dedicated to various topics like some others in the comments but havent yet gotten that in depth. Im a kindergardener when it comes to blogging but am quickly catching on.

    (www.dramantrauma.blogspot.com)

  48. A lesson I learned from 31DBBB was to create an editorial calendar. I like plan ahead for certain events and have ideas for at least a month’s worth of posts.

  49. I rarely plan mine out, unless I decide to do some kind of series. Usually things just catch my fancy. I have however been known to have lots of good ideas at once, write them all up, and then schedule them out over a series of days.

    Wendy

  50. As I found out that planning is a very abstract thing to do I decided not to look further than one week. I don’t do this just with blogging but with my whole life. Everything went different anyway. I don’t have to put the labels ‘good’ or ‘bad’ on it. It’s just different.

    When it comes to blogging I notice luckily that my audience is contacting me via e-mail and asking for articles on specific topics. This takes away the guess work what to write about next.

    A little struggle I experience since a week or so is that I’m busy developing a product for the first time and this bites a chunk out of the time I have for my blog.

    However, I don’t like to plan to far ahead. If I hadn’t stop doing this my blog would be history in the meantime because I would have stopped with it too soon.

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