Today is the last day of a 30 day blogging challenge I began… erm, 30 days ago. I won’t be glib about it because it’s been a really tough gig… a lot of long days and burning the midnight oil combined. As my last post in this challenge, I’m going to reward myself by writing straight out of my head (woohoo, no research) and pouring out my thoughts and ideas about how to write blog posts every day… if this is something you’re thinking of doing.
My Experience of Writing Every day For 30 Days
Before I dive in, I’ll give you a little overview of my 30 day blog writing challenge.
- One blog post every day for 30 days.
- All blog posts should be 1,000 words or longer.
- Each post to be written by me alone.
- All post images to be produced by me alone.
My objectives were to:
- Understand if posting frequency impacted visitor growth.
- Hit and exceed my 150 blog post milestone.
- Beef up certain categories on SideGains.
- Improve my writing speed.
- Challenge myself.
While it’s too early to comment on the impact on traffic, I think it’s ticked all my other objectives on the list… especially the last one!
However, I’m also at a point now where I can look back and pull together some of the difficulties I’ve come up against writing blog posts every day, and hopefully tell you about them so you can learn something from them.
So let’s get into this.
Have Clear Reasons
You need to have a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve.
Do you want to try to win more visitors to your blog? Maybe you’ve got something to promote and you want to build up a head of steam in advance?
Simply posting every day just to have more content, or because you just feel you should, for me are not sustaining reasons to post every day.
You need solid reasons to up your posting stakes, since you’ll need to grit your teeth at points. Without linking some strong reasons or objectives to justify increased output, it’ll be easier to let things fall away.
Believe me, even watching paint dry will seem more appealing when you’re facing a blog post without compelling reasons to write it.
Prepare Your Topic Ideas in Advance
If you’re planning to write every day, make sure you have a big list of ideas for posts. Brainstorm way more topic ideas than you’ll need, and add to them whenever an idea strikes. At points you might not be able to tackle some topics when you see them on your schedule.
If you’re feeling burned out and daunted about a particular topic when you come to it, a big list of topic ideas enables you to just move topics around your schedule so you can focus on something you feel more inspired about.
This is important.
There were some days I felt exhausted and I’d hit a topic I knew was going to require a lot of energy. I just parked it, and focused on another topic I knew would take less effort.
The point here is to create a schedule and plan what you’re going to post every day, but be flexible.
Plan Your Post Structure
Before I wrote anything, I thought about the structure of my post and created headings to guide me through writing it. I feel it helps to know the general direction your post is headed before you start writing.
So take a moment and plan the basic form of the post, before you hit your keyboard.
Of course your basic structure may change as you write. But if you have an idea of the rough course it’s going to take in advance, it makes it a lot easier to start at the right place and progress logically to the end.
Don’t Be a Perfectionist
If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll struggle to write blog posts every day… and the longer your posts, the greater a challenge it will be for you. Of course I’m not advocating you publish poor-quality posts, but don’t NOT publish just because things aren’t 100% perfect.
There might be sentences you feel could be better. Perhaps you think some paragraphs need editing. Or maybe you haven’t used enough images.
Don’t let these reasons hold you back. As long as your posts aren’t truly awful, publish them and review / update them at a later point. This is something I’ll have to do with some of the posts I’ve written every day over the past few weeks. I know some can be improved and I’ll tweak them as I go along.
Be Sensible in Your Approach to Word Count
It’s important to set yourself a target word count… but as a rough guide. It’s no secret that long-form content delivers a lot of benefits, but it takes a lot of time and research to deliver something useful, comprehensive and long.
Set yourself a decent word count target (750+ words… more if you feel able) but if you don’t hit that, don’t sweat over it… as long as the post has value.
Of course you’ll want to aim to produce longer pieces, because the benefits of long-form content are desirable. However, if this means your posts contain padding and fluff to hit a word count, the quality and value of your content will diminish… I guarantee it.
Reviews & Tutorials Take Longer to Write
If you write reviews and tutorials they will take a much longer time to produce. They often require tighter planning before you write a single word since you’ll want them to follow a logical structure, especially in the case of tutorials.
If you want to know how to write a blog post every day… don’t make all of your post topics tutorials and reviews!
I’m just saying.
Include a smattering of topics you can write about that do not require research, since often it’s the research that affects how long it takes you to publish.
Being able to write straight out of your head from opinion or experience, will get you through when the going gets tough!
Images Consume Your Available Time
Following on from the idea of reviews and tutorials, longer posts will likely require images to support what you’re writing about or make your posts more engaging.
Images take a lot of time to produce.
One of the things I found early on is that I’d have to add at least an hour onto image creation for every post I’d written. For me, featured images, screenshots and Pinterest pin images (I usually create 3 per post) add a lot of extra work.
I recall one day being ecstatic finishing off a post that I’d struggled with for around 8 hours… only to sink when I realized it was 3am and I needed to create images for Pinterest!
When you’re planning your topics and scheduling, always keep one eye open on the number of images you might require and move topics around your schedule accordingly.
Recalibrate the Way You Work
Committing to writing a post every day is a big deal. There were some days (many actually) where I couldn’t face the prospect of another x hours sat in front of a screen prepping. At times I wanted to quit and my wife encouraged me to press on on at least two occasions.
One of the main reasons for feeling like this was trying to balance all the other things I wanted to do at the same time, and do so with the same intensity prior to blogging every day.
In retrospect this was stupid. You can’t do everything all at once and to try to do so is a bad idea.
However, even though I knew this I struggled through trying to keep up on Twitter, posting Pins on Pinterest and I even started to make posts for Instagram!
Part of the reason was I’d already started testing a long term marketing strategy for Pinterest and didn’t want to disrupt this test.
Another reason was trying to “keep up with the Joneses”. I felt that by not trying to push hard in other social media platforms I would lose ground compared to others I follow.
What I should have done was recalibrate how I was working and throttle back in some areas to make posting every day much more manageable. However, I always knew my 30 day blogging challenge was finite and felt I could be a tough guy and scrape through. This was silly.
Since I knew my increased blogging activity was finite, it was indeed possible, although not pleasant.
If my intention was to continue at this pace going forward, I don’t know how I’d be able to write a blog post every day without something giving.
I’ve preambled a bit here, but my point is if you want to post every day, you might have to recalibrate how you work on other things to this possible, or at least make it a less painful process.
This might mean you forgo some of your other activities or scale them back to hit your posting schedule.
Work Up to It
I’d been posting 3 – 4 blog posts a week for around 10 months before I started my blogging challenge, so I’d had a bit of preparation. This definitely helped me to write blog posts every day throughout the period.
Had I decided to up my output from 1 post a week to 7, I think I’d have had a really rude awakening.
If you’re not used to writing blog posts with this kind of frequency, I wouldn’t recommend suddenly ramping up to try to write a post a day.
Ease your way up to it. Increase your writing frequency in smaller steps and work towards the point where the step up to daily posting isn’t so dramatic.
You wouldn’t prepare for a marathon by going from jogging around the block a few times to a marathon overnight. Most people would tell you that would be crazy, even if you didn’t already know it yourself.
Take smaller steps. Build up your writing muscle and work up to a point where writing blog posts every day is not such a stretch.
I won’t pretend that writing a blog post every day isn’t hard… it is! I’m delighted to be falling back to 3 – 4 posts a week again.
For me personally posting every day is too much, unless I aim to write posts with a far shorter word count than I usually produce.
Anyways… as a summary… if you want to write and publish every day, these techniques based upon my experience of the last 30 days, may help.
- Have clear reasons to write at this pace.
- Prepare your topic ideas in advance.
- Plan the structure of your posts before you start writing.
- Don’t be a perfectionist because you’ll never publish anything.
- Have a word count target, but be flexible.
- Be aware that certain types of post take longer to write than others and mix them up if they’re too much of a challenge.
- Longer posts require images… images add to the time it takes to publish.
- Recalibrate how you work so you can fit everything in.
- Work your way up to writing every day… going from 0 – 60 overnight will probably break you.
With this post I mark the end of my 30 day blogging challenge. I’m going to have a beer and watch a movie!
Bye for now.
I’d be really interested in hearing your thoughts about how to write a blog post every day. Leave me a comment below and let’s debate it.