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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.
  1. Like many here I do some of both. I have planned items and weekly features. I also like to group stories and sidebars that are published within a few days of one another. But I always leave room for breaking news.

  2. I also try to do a little bit of both. What I find myself doing is carrying around my Dad Pad (A small leather-back notepad that my 9 year old son gave my for Christmas) everywhere I go and I write down post ideas and titles as I think of them. Then throughout the week I will just sit down and blog what-ever comes to mind – If I run into a wall and can’t think of anything, that is when I break out my Dad Pad and use one of those ideas.

    I think it only makes sense to do both, after-all most of us have those days where the ideas aren’t flowing in as well as other days.

    This is a great question! I like reading the different responses that people leave.

    Thanks for the post Darren. Have a great day buddy.

    Brian M. Connole | i-Blogger

  3. My blogging can be very spontaneous. Sometimes I’ll think of topic for a great article on the spot where as other times I have to really think and brainstorm. Sometimes I have a topic prepared beforehand and It’s just a matter of me sitting down and getting the thought down.

  4. Yes, I like to try to plan. I’m just starting and work from the idea of planning my posts. I want to reach men and get them to think how important they are in the life of themselves, family, churches, and the world around them.

    I have started a series on the aspects of men in leadership. I want to post weekly, but with the Easter holiday It will be 2 weeks since my last post. Being consistent is a full time adventure. I have a great deal to learn and I’m having fun and open to help and ideas to help me in the development of a blog. Thanks for your tips thusfar!

  5. First of all, let me just say a big thank you to Darren for posting my question!

    It’s an issue I think about a lot. On my blog I have a mix of ‘somewhat regular features’ as well as inspired posting. I just have so many ideas for feature series that I struggle to fit it all in, and keep it going!

    I also currently have about 1.5 months of posts scheduled, as I post every day and have had the time lately to find a lot of wonderful art/handmade/vintage etc to feature on ED.

    I’ve been blogging on this blog for about a year and a half now, and still trying to find my feet, posting 6 days a week, without getting burnt out. I certainly feel relaxed knowing I’ve got stuff prepared ahead of time, especially as I’m about to go travelling and will have limited internet time to keep my blog and my business running.

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments, it’s been a really interesting read :)

  6. I tend to run several posts in the same vein at a time. Also, I try to stay a day or two ahead at all times, with a post scheduled and ready to go for tomorrow. It’s also nice to have several drafts in reserve in case you need one!

  7. I have some pre-outlined topics, but most days I just write about whatever I am feeling passionate about that day. If nothing hits me, then I’ll use one of the topics, but for the most part my posts aren’t preplanned ahead of time.

  8. I keep a basic schedule of 3 times per week, but will deviate from it for special news or other timely info.

    I apply a pattern of posts types across that schedule, but once again I will deviate from it as appropriate. Its more about setting a baseline for content.

    But at all times I have a general theme that I’m running with over several weeks, whether it be a formalised series of posts or a more general conversational direction. I’m finding that works pretty well and helps keep fresh content ideas in plentiful supply.

  9. Yes, I typically have posts scheduled 5-7 days in advance.. Scheduling posts has been one of the biggest factors in our increase in traffic. Readers now anticipate and expect our daily features..

  10. i have a running list of topics, when I decide a topic meets the quality of the site, i do a quick little 5 min outline of what I want to write, then 2-3 hours later I have a 2000-3000 word post.

  11. I don’t know if I would call what I do planning, but I do come up with most of my blog posts in advance.

    I sit down with Omni Outliner on the ol’ Mac and start banging out some ideas on different subjects. Some of them are just a single thought, some of them end up being a full outline.

    If I see a series that seems to be coming together, then I’ll set up a series a posts.

    But, I think I’m going to start putting together a more structured blogging schedule from now on.

  12. I m a new blogger and write about education. I plan post based on events and like admissions, internships, seminar and higher studies. Then finally break each topic in smaller and write them along the weeks, well before the even comes.

    I was really successful with that and google indexed pages well before the even and as soon the result came I found a huge increase in traffic.

    Now within a year i get almost a million page views have over 2600 email readers.

  13. I make a point of staying open. I only post when inspiration strikes. I write about the problems I solve for clients as an editor, so every day that I work there is usually an idea to base the post around. But I don’t put any pressure on myself. I prefer to post only a couple times a week, but have inspired posts.

  14. I try to post several times a week, but basically I just blog as I feel like it or as I think of something to write about. Maybe if blogging was my full time job I’d be a bit more methodical.

  15. I post on the fly for the most part, but I do try to cater to current events whenever possible. For example, I had some funny ideas on college basketball, so I waited until March Madness began to publish it. I felt like I could tag it appropriately so I can get some of the NCAA searches stumble on my site a little easier than usual. It was pretty effective that time and usually still is.

  16. I usually blog when the inspiration hits me, or after I submit an article or video, I’ll re-post on my blog as well. Although, I should come up with a structure to plan some posts. I’m working on scheduling my time better, so that may become one of my strategies.

    Take Care and Create Your Greatest Day!
    Kelli =)

    P.S. I’m enjoying reading your blog – you have some great content here! =)

  17. I keep of list of topics I would like to address so I’ll have a balance of topics, but if an inspiring idea presents it’s self, I go with the flow. Interesting question!

  18. I never know what I’m going to write about until my fingers touch the keyboard.

  19. I post mine ahead of time unless I’m coming close to the last scheduled post and don’t yet have one ready to go up and then I’ll hopefully have inspiration come from somewhere and be able to write something up.

    …And if I’m lucky I’ll have enough inspiration to keep the momentum going and write out a few so I’m set up again for a few days or weeks or so.

    Great topic!

  20. Those are actually perfect shoes for just about ANY occasion! am already tall and sometimes just want some super cute flats that are classy enough to wear.

  21. I try and plan my weeks out, but end up not using the plan most of the time. I’m starting to plan more, as I will be doing some series of posts, which ideally need to be planned so that I know when they will be happening.

    I mainly just write posts when i feel like it and then put them on the post schedule and go from there.

  22. Hi Darren
    Great to meet you at ConnectNow last week
    I am certainly going to plan my blog posts more, while ill always add it photos and videos during the week the solid posts need to tell a bigger story I feel.
    In the past I have run on a fortnight cycle of say 5 or 6 posts based around a particular topic.
    Mixing it up is good. But I like to sit down and think of 10 to 15 ideas so I know what I’m working towards

  23. I tend to use both – good for a marketing perspective, but also any current workload might have something relevant that others should be aware of. So a little impromptu posting is definitely required to have a good balance.

  24. I write best when something takes my breath away or an issue of interest flares up. The reality is, that hardly happens often enough and planning some for those blank patches help you keep at it.

  25. It’s nice to plan these kind of things but when it comes to writing as your editorial calendar says,..

    It’s great to know how to do plans with an editorial calendar and how to use schedules but what bloggers really need, is a push in the back. There’s a really wide gap between “planning it” and “doing it”. I think that’s the biggest problem with this kind of planning.

  26. I have to say I don’t plan mine either, I don’t know, but I like to write when I have something unique to give to my readers, when something just pops into my head,and I say Wow they are going to love this!

    That’s just me though. I think if you plan your post it will make it a lot easier to do everyday or how often you want to write. It probably helps also to have a set schedule that way your readers know when to expect a post.

  27. Absolutely! I plan my blog posts months in advance. However, I periodically change things around and take off in a creative direction to later return to my plan. I like the security of a plan so I know I have topics to write about. I also like the freedom to change it up now and then. Planning and Flexibility = PlanFlex.

  28. I write a few ‘sketches’ first before adding and substract. Maybe the next 3 post are planned but not far ahead than that.

  29. I have three main blogs. One I run WP on as a CMS but the site has the feel of a website more than a blog. I get in at least one article per month. I base this article on information I gather through conversations on Twtitter.

    I have another blog where I report changes that occur on the previously mentioned website. This is more like a sandbox/development blog for completed and upcoming projects/plans, but only for the site (not the blog).

    I try to write one blog post per week on my blog which is at blogpost. This can either be based on information gathered on Twitter but that isn’t good enough information to be on my site, an article summary/critique, or promotional for something that is already on the site.

  30. No, personally I do not plan my blog posts. I just write whatever comes out of my mind in that period of time and not realizing how can these be of use.

  31. Yes, sometimes I do. And, when I can actually pull it off, I’m so glad I did. Planning posts ahead of time, and writing them, and scheduling them to post is a huge time saver and makes me feel very efficient. It is a great feeling to be so organized.

    However, more often than not, I wing it, and write unplanned, spontaneous posts. That’s usually when I shine and more of my personality sparkles.

    From a reader’s perspective, I think a balance of both is good. As a reader, I’d rather see who the blogger is . . . let your personality come through.

  32. Designing my blog I plan to do two features a week on Tuesday and Thursday. I’m then leaving other days to post and comment on recent news that’s relevant to my readers.

  33. I must fall in the ‘both’ category as well. Sometimes the ideas are coming fast and furious. Mostly I just tuck them away until I spefically sit down to post, but occasionally I’ll just sit and start spilling the words out. Those are usually my best posts and though I may not put them up immediately, depending on the time/day, they often force me to re-think other posting plans I may have made previously.

    Love ProBlogger BTW.


  34. i plan to post 3 posts a week

    sometimes more when i was on holiday :D

  35. I plan mine ! … can not work without my planning !

  36. Most my posts are planned and written in stages.

    But I also write post On Demand, if something motivates/inspires me to sit and write.

  37. I indulge in both the methods. After writing the wrap-up blog every Saturday, I sit down and only plan the topics for the coming week, never the content. Swapping and shifting does happen when I hit upon something interesting or when a story breaks. There are times when additional posts are made but my content is always written with the flow and never planned.

  38. I think an editorial calendar is important for bloggers. On my Savvy Book Marketer blog I am currently posting four days a week. My posts are planned in an Excel spreadsheet. I aim for a balance of posts each week: one longer how-to article, one resource post, one guest post and one other post. I enter topics into the spreadsheet as ideas come to me, and each Friday I write and schedule all four of next week’s posts. I have guest posts scheduled about four to six weeks in advance, to keep the pipeline full.

    I think having a plan and scheduling in advance helps bloggers to be more productive and reduces the “what am I going to post about today” writer’s block.

    Thanks Darren (and your guest posters) for all of your wonderful advice on ProBlogger!

  39. When I have time I sit down and brainstorm some possible blog topics but sometimes I just think of a topic and can’t wait to blog about it, so I just get right into it.

  40. I usually blog once a week and every month I try to plan my posting schedule.

  41. Funnily enough I have just started a content plan. I have only been blogging for two months now and I felt that there wasn’t enough structure to the posting. I will probably tend to tweak post date if I feel the need to but I am more relaxed about blogging now so that’s a good thing, right?

  42. Because of the nature of my blog, which follows the daily Moon sign, I have a semi-planned blog. At the beginning of each month, I post a general piece about zodiactivities (activities suitable to each moon sign) for the entire month. I use each sign’s zodiactivities to start a post for the rest of the month. Each Moon Sign post includes something related to the Moon or Sun sign and about cooking and gardening by the Moon, too. Following this schedule give me 12-14 posts for the month.

    Additionally, I post at each New and Full Moon, and then let the muse inspire me for additional posts throughout the month.

    It’s both structured and muse inspired.

    cj wright

  43. I plan mine, quite regularly. Looking at trends and keywords of people who don’t stay long on the blog, i try to answer questions that might have brought them there in the first place…hoping that the possible 2nd chance might change their mind.

    Also, it gives you insight into “what’s missing” on the blog. Sometimes you can’t think of everything to write about, so I also use this same method to get me through periods of writers block.

  44. My best posts emerge organically, when I have a burning need to sort something out or clarify something for myself. Those show up when they do. My cornerstone content is planned. And i want to have a pattern of alternating practical post and motivational post. I have at least 20 posts semi-ready to go at any given time because I write what I need to write when it shows up. I DO love blogging.

  45. I sometimes plan my blog posts months in advance because i know that things come up, so I want to have at least 10 posts ready to go for publishing

  46. I believe scheduling posts is important but the most important thing is having the discpiline to follow through with it. I usually plan mine, expect if some circumstances uncontrollable arises…

  47. I plan up to three weeks in advance even going so far as to schedule posts for that time period. Then if I have inspiration or have something I’d like to post right away, I bump and reschedule any planned post. I also have about 8 different types of posts that I do as well.

    I have no idea if people who read it appreciate it.

  48. I shoot from the hip as they say. I sit down and fire off at least three posts and then I see if I have anything else to say and save those as drafts.

    Then I look forward to possible holidays or special occasions and plan those posts making sure I have affiliates codes and what not ready for them.

  49. When I am discovering content to write about, when it goes live depends on how much I’ve written that day, if tomorrow is a work day, and if the news or material is abundant or not.

    For instance, I pumped out a bunch of articles all day Sunday, but timed a few of them for Monday morning since I wouldn’t be able to put anything up Monday morning.

    it keeps my site fresh with content when it otherwise would be quiet. Most of my morning content usually does come from the night before… and sure, I start having my news items pop up after other websites, but it’s about my readers and what they’ve come to expect.

  50. I plan to blog 3 times a week and I have several topics that I could blog about under each day (i.e. I blog about motherhood on Mondays, travel on Wednesdays, fun stuff on Fridays). HOWEVER, I really don’t stick to it as I tend to blog more about things as they come up. But this does give me a structure in case nothing comes up. Also, it gives me a place to “plug in” ideas as they come to me, but don’t want to blog about them yet.

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