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.
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.
Now that your online life is sorted, go enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones!