The Holidays are here. You may be taking your annual vacation to see family, or to go on an actual vacation. Hanging out at a computer may NOT be an option. Whether you will be far from an internet connection, or if your vacation itinerary is so full you won't really have a chance to sit down and blog, it doesn't mean your blog will have to go dark while you're away. Some suggest to get guests posts to fill in the content, but during certain times of year, like the Holidays… EVERYONE is busy. Also, people do spend time online during the holidays, so missing out on traffic is also going to be tough for your blog.
So what CAN you do?
Schedule your posts ahead of time!
Over the past six months, I've gotten to love scheduling posts and social media. As you know, I've been taking time off to spend with my baby… hey, it only will happen once in my life. Not planning any more kids, so I'm going to enjoy this baby as much as possible! Anyway, keeping things going on a consistent schedule while my offline life has consistently inconsistent demands calls for the use of scheduling tools. Sure that may mean that I can't get back to people in real time, but as long as you don't schedule with a robotic tone in your voice, you won't come off as a robot.
Take your vacation, you deserve it. Here's what you'll need to schedule everything in advance.
Tips for Scheduling Your Posts
It may look like such a minor thing, but like people say timing is everything. It is not enough considering what to post, but also when to post it. You probably think that it's not something that will take much of your time. You can handle it with no difficulties, and that may be true, but it's not very efficient. Also, handling all the posting yourself can be cumbersome and incredibly stressful, which is not good for your health.
Even if you have just one blog, learning how to create a good schedule will give you invaluable organizational skills, especially as the traffic for your blog increases. It's never too soon to practice this skill. Consider it as an investment for your professional future.
Although each blog has its particularities (like finding the best time to post, for example), there are a set of general rules that can apply to every blog. So, how can we start acquiring these necessary skills? Well, the first step is to have the appropriate tools for the job. That starts by understanding the platform you are using for your blog. Each one offers different options and tools and you can easily get familiar with each one of them.
Resources to Schedule Blog Posts:
Most CMS (Content Managing Systems ie. your blog platform) come with a built-in scheduling tool to publish posts in advance. Here are the links to the help pages to find out how to schedule your posts on your CMS:
- WordPress: How to Schedule Posts in WordPress. Works the same in .org and .com versions. Tip: Click “View Post” AFTER scheduling to get correct URL.
- Blogspot: How to Schedule Posts in Blogspot
- Tumblr: How to Schedule Posts in Tumblr
- Squarespace: How to Schedule Posts in Squarespace
Social Media Scheduling Tools:
The big rule for social media is that you need to cater to each platform differently. Which means blasting out to every medium the same way will make you look like a robot spammer. Personalize each post using these tools:
I use Hootsuite to schedule my tweets. You can view as a list or a calendar which is handy for scheduling the times after your post goes live. It's a great way to add in your personality to each tweet as well.
Facebook: Facebook Page Scheduler
Facebook recently revamped their scheduling tool on brand pages, so it's a HECK of a lot easier. Remember when you had to select the year, month, day and time? UGGGH! I made so many scheduling mistakes then! The new way you just add in your date and time, then schedule! Easy as pie!
I wasn't able to locate any free options, but the word on the street is Viraltag (formerly Pinnerly which used to be free) is the best tool to schedule your pins. Don't freak, it's only $4.99 a month, so if you're going to be away, just pay the $5 if the traffic from Pinterest is worth it to you!
Did you know you could post to Instagram from your web browser? Crazy! So if you have posts going up and you're out and about, Posts.so, which is a paid service, has a free option. So while you're away, you can upload five Instagrams, which if used wisely can be just enough!
Newsletters are a tried and true marketing tool for bloggers, so don't miss your opportunities while you're enjoying your egg nog! Mailchimp has always had a schedule tool for each campaign, so set your newsletters to send out on the dates with all your scheduled posts and you're golden!
Link Trackers: Bitly
While not quite a scheduling tool, Bitly allows you to see just how successful your scheduling efforts are by tracking your links.
Have a Clear List of Goals Ready to Implement
The next step is to set a clear list of goals of what you want to achieve. Why do you need a particular schedule and not other? Does it help you achieve your goals? The way we organize our posts must answer these questions.
Good organization is of the essence. Have a planner that where you can keep your schedule organized and tidy, and don’t forget to update it every week. As a general rule, people are creatures of habit; they do not like unpredictability. What does this mean? It means that you must be consistent and stick to the schedule you have created. I also include here this: Please, reread what you have written before posting.
This is not just for the sake of grammar or structure or even posts filled with mistakes, it is also because there’s another thing your public will hate, and that is when a post suddenly changes. Your consistency will suffer as a result and consistency is the first step to building a relationship of trust with your public.
In this case, it's highly recommended to use programs like Grammarly or trusted writing services like college papers. Although it is specialized in Academia, it is my firm believe that a good blog requires a bit of research sooner or later, and college papers offer a top-quality service that will make sure your post is free from plagiarism and well informed.
How many posts should you have per week? That entirely depends on what kind of blog you have. For example, a blog dedicated to news needs daily posting, but even then, I would recommend caution. It is better if you avoid posting daily.
There are many good reasons why, but if I would have to take one above the others is this: fatigue. Remember what I said about attention, people only have so much to give each day, and it is better if we are not the ones depleting it.
The Bottom Line
In an increasingly competitive internet, you will need all the advantages you can get to direct people to your blog. One essential skill to grab people’s attention is a well-prepared schedule. Posting something at the right time can mean the difference between a successful blog and an abandoned one. Lot’s of successful bloggers have a clear schedule for their blog posts, so make sure you do the same with your posts.
Now that your online life is sorted, go enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones!