I teach a course in business blogging, so it would be natural to assume that I have a well-organized blog calendar packed with inspiring topics all tightly scheduled well into the future, right? Well, I don’t.
The truth is, I’ve attempted to use a blog calendar many times over the past few years. I’d invest hours into set-up and schedule a brilliant topic for each date. I was very proud of my organizational skills each time. But…get this…I never used it!
Why I Gave Up My Blog Calendar
Here was the typical scenario: I’d sit down at my desk all ready to create the blog of the week. Opening my calendar, I’d check out the topic I had scheduled for that week and Boom! Roadblock! No inspiration. Almost every time I simply wasn’t feeling it, and that made the task difficult and nauseating. It’s really not fun to try to squeeze out inspiration when you’re not inspired. And even worse, the finished product comes out pretty “blah”.
So, I finally came to terms with my blog calendar failure and gave myself permission to trash it. Then I set out to create a simple solution that would keep me accountable and give me the freedom to write what feels good each time. My solution works like a charm. I stay on a blog publishing schedule but nothing dictates my topic. If you’ve struggled to stick to a calendar too, you may find my solution helpful. It only requires two steps, but it’s very powerful:
Step 1: Schedule A Blog Publish Day & Stick To It
OK, I did say at the beginning that you don’t need a blog calendar – but I sort of lied. The key to successful business blogging is consistency so you do need to publish your blog on a regular basis to keep your website fresh, keep your audience engaged and grow your Internet visibility. But we all get busy which can become the perfect excuse to just to let the blog slide. Next thing you know, months have gone by with no blogs!
So here’s what I recommend. Choose one day of the week to be your Blog Publish Day. For me it’s every Tuesday. It only took about a month for my Tuesday blogs to become habit. And, to keep myself even more accountable, Tuesday Tips is the name of my blog.
I blog every week but I’m not saying that you have to publish as frequently. Au contraire! You have a business to run! Instead of being focused on pushing out blog content every day or week, if you can eek out only one post a month, you still must publish it every month.
Note: entrepreneurs who attend my Blog School are encouraged to focus on the quality of their content, how re-usable it is, and how it’s shared across the web, as opposed to writing just to write.
Here’s what my blog calendar looks like. Can’t get simpler than that, right?
So, your first step is to create a schedule that works for you, and then commit to it.
Step 2. Create A Blog Idea Document
The best blog ideas seem to appear as if by magic. That’s because if you keep your ears and your mind open, you’ll notice when a great blog idea floats by. When that happens, STOP FOR A SECOND AND WRITE IT DOWN!
Be on the lookout for blog ideas from:
- The questions that your best customers ask you all the time. Those questions (and your solutions) make fantastic blog topics.
- The AHA! moments that hit when you least expect them. When you’re at a seminar, during a meeting with a potential customer or attending a networking event. Sometimes even while you’re in the shower!
- The little things you do that make your life better or easier. Many of us have ideal customers that struggle with the same things that we do. They really appreciate your help and begin to associate you with your brilliant solutions. (Note: you don’t have to give away all your secrets to do this, again a trick from Blog School).
- The blogs your colleagues and even your competitors send out. What they publish can often be a great source of ideas for you – especially if you don’t agree with them!
Here’s my Blog Idea Document. (I use Google Docs so I can access it on the fly from any device, my phone, my computer or my iPad.)
If you’re sick of struggling to stick to a blog calendar, I hope my solution helps. Make sure to schedule your Blog Publish Day and stick to it like glue. (You could even give it a name like I did. Calling my blog “Tuesday Tips” keeps me on track). Then, start a Blog Idea Document like mine and add to it every time you get a hit of inspiration. Try it, and the next time you sit down to write a blog you’ll find that the perfect topic jumps right out at you and you will be feeling it!
Need a little extra help coming up with blog topics? Check out my FREE cheatsheet below:
Thanks for reading,