How long has it been since you pressed publish on your last blog post? A week? A fortnight? A month? A few months? Longer? While you still think about your blog all the time, you’ve somehow let your blogging routine slip and are now out of the habit. Life is busy, you can’t seem to find the time to work out let along blog and all this energy you once poured into your blog is now finding its way into other aspects of your life. So how do you get your blogging mojo back and start to blog more consistently again? Having been blogging for over five years now, I’ve got a few tips to share on how to stay consistent over the long term. Here are eight easy ways you can blog more consistently and grow your audience this year:
1. Do a big brainstorm and make a list
It’s very hard to write a new blog post if you have no fresh ideas for new content! One of the best things you can do to get yourself going and to ensure you’re never stuck for ideas on what to write about is to start a big list of blog post topics. Whenever you have a new idea for a blog post – they will come at truly random times, believe me! – add it to the list. Try to brainstorm content that is varied and also responds to what your readers seem to be interested in. I like to organise my ideas using Trello, an easy to use, web-based project management application. You can arrange your ideas into categories, create checklists and assign tasks to be completed. Once you’ve got a nice, healthy blog post ideas list, you can start thinking about publishing priorities and a setting up a timeframe for getting your posts written up and out into the world.
2. Decide on a realistic publishing schedule
There are some bloggers that publish new blog posts every day and some that publish once a fortnight. No matter how frequently you post, it’s okay! Don’t feel pressured to publish every day – I certainly don’t as that frequency is unrealistic for me. I take a long time to write posts for The Department of Wandering and can’t just churn them out like a factory machine. It’s important to think realistically about what kind of publishing schedule would work for you. Maybe you’ll post on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays? Maybe it’s once a week on a Tuesday? Perhaps you can only manage once a fortnight and post every second Thursday? It doesn’t matter. What matters is sticking to whatever schedule you’ve decided on week in, week out and staying consistent.
3. Map out your blog’s content calendar in advance
Once you’ve got a big ol’ blog post ideas list and a solid publishing schedule you can actually commit to, it’s time to start mapping out your content calendar. I love planning my monthly editorial calendar. I get such a kick out of doing this each month! Pencil in the posts you’re going to publish for that month ahead of time. Seeing them in writing will help you commit to getting them done, just as if they were cold, hard deadlines. Try and have some variety in your sequencing and cover a good range of topics, themes and categories in the month so your readers don’t get bored.
It’s also important to be able to remain flexible, however, and respond to your readers’ blog post requests and questions. This post, for example, wasn’t included in my February content calendar, but a reader contacted me specifically requesting a post on how to be more consistent with updating her blog. Of course I was more than happy to work this one in for her as I had a sneaking suspicion it might be a useful post for many of my other readers who are bloggers out there!
4. Dedicate set times to work on your blog
Routines make everything in life easier. Routines build good habits, increase efficiency and mean that you don’t need to think about whether or not you’ll do something, you just do it on autopilot. It’s the same with blogging. Setting up a dedicated schedule in your week to work on your blog will definitely bring more consistency into your blogging. Even if you work full-time, you can still set up a blogging schedule that works for you. Depending on the structure of your days, it might look something like:
- Getting up an hour earlier to work on your blog before leaving for your day job
- Instead of making small talk with colleagues on your lunch break, eat your lunch at your desk and work on a blog post
- Blocking out a chunk of time to write on the weekends, say from 8am to 10am on Saturday mornings. You’ll start the weekend feeling super accomplished!
5. Get rid of those distractions
Distractions are a blogger’s nemesis. In order to remain self-motivated and productive, your focus has got to be razor sharp. If it’s not, time is going to fly by without you accomplishing much of anything. If you’ve only got a small window of time to work on your blog, ensuring that you can be as productive as possible is even more important! Getting rid of distractions will enable you to pump out work much more efficiently. Some of the things that really work for me to help me focus include:
- Ensuring that my working space is neat and tidy. If it’s cluttered, I just can’t focus! Before sitting down to work, I make sure that there’s nothing on my desk that doesn’t need to be there and also that the room is clean and ordered. If there’s stuff everywhere, I can’t think about anything else except cleaning it up!
- Turning my phone on silent and putting it face down so that I’m not disturbed by messages or tempted to look at notifications.
- Closing down all tabs on my browser except those that I absolutely need. Goodbye Facebook. Goodbye email. Goodbye news sites. Goodbye funny dog videos. None of these are helpful to what I’m doing right now.
- Telling Ben (my fiancé who also works from home) that I’m writing and to not bother me for a while. He has the habit of calling out to me or popping in on me to ask me things so this way he knows it’s serious work time. The co-habitating joys!
6. Break down your task into small actionable steps
Sometimes writing a whole blog post from start to finish can be a daunting prospect. Cue: procrastination. Trust me, I know what it’s like, especially because The Department of Wandering’s blog posts are so lengthy and are almost always over 1,000 words + (this one is actually 1700 words!). One of the things you can do to help get a blog post finished is to break down the big task into lots of small, manageable steps. For example, while the big task might be, ‘Write blog post on “8 Easy Ways to Blog More Consistently to Grow Your Audience”, I’d break it up into little steps that look like this:
- Devise structure and insert sub-headings (I don’t work in a linear way. I find it easier to choose one sub-heading to work on at a time and almost never start at the beginning)
- Write 200 words per sub-heading (these are manageable chunks and don’t take too long to write)
- Edit or source the accompanying photos
- ‘SEO-ify’ the post including inserting a focus keyword, ensuring keyword density and naming images with relevant keywords
- Create a content upgrade if necessary (see below for a downloadable guide on ’10 simple ways to find more time to blog’)
- Design a pinnable Pinterest image
- Proofread post
- Publish post
- Share on social media
It’s much easier to work on these things one at a time and check them off as you go rather than being overwhelmed by everything all at once.
7. Reward yourself for accomplishing something
Rewards are an awesome motivator so plan out some you can give to yourself once you’ve achieved a task. Whether it’s a food reward (my personal favourite!), a purchase or a coffee break, pick a reward that is genuinely something you look forward to receiving. I like to say to myself, ‘Write 1,000 words and then you can have that glass of wine’. It works surprisingly well! Don’t just give yourself whatever you desire, turn it into a game and work for it. It’s not only more motivating to get the work done but the reward is so much more satisfying when you know you really deserve it!
8. Make blogging fun again!
If you genuinely enjoy working on your blog, it’s much easier to find the motivation to sit down and write! If it’s something that causes you anxiety, dread and you’re feeling uninspired, it’s going to be one heck of a whole lot harder to get in the flow and develop a healthy relationship with it again. Your blog should always be a source of joy but if it doesn’t feel that way, it’s time to think about how you can make blogging fun again.
Blogging can be lonely so why not reach out to some other bloggers or readers and start a connection or maybe even organise a meet-up? Another thing you can do to make blogging fun again is to remember to create content that genuinely excites YOU and avoid churning out posts simply because you think that that’s what your readers want. If you’re not passionate about what you’re writing about, it will shine through in your writing. Also, why not think about trying something new? If you’ve never made a vlog before, why not start learning how? Or maybe think about starting a new weekly series on your blog? There are so many ways to inject new life into your blogging routine that will give you a motivational boost.
If you enjoyed this post you might also like to read:
- It’s My 3-Year Blogiversary! Here Are My 3 Biggest Blogging Confessions
- One Year On: 10 Things That Happen When You Quit the 9-5
Are you a blogger? How do you stay consistent with blogging?