How to REALLY become a consistent blogger

How to REALLY become a consistent blogger

Lately, it seems like everyone and their mother is using an editorial calendar.

Not blogging consistently?

No problem. Just create an editorial calendar and you’ll be putting out content like the best of them.

Can’t come up with ideas you want to write about?

No problem. Do some brainstorming ahead of time, write your ideas in an editorial calendar, and you’ll be good to go.

I have no doubt that an editorial calendar works for some people.

But thinking that just writing post ideas in a calendar is going to make you a consistent blogger is like thinking that writing down “Go to the gym” on your calendar will make you a buff gym goer.

It just doesn’t work like that.

I’ve tried an editorial calendar myself. I schedule posts into my WordPress calendar and then I end up having a bunch of unpublished drafts that I thought I wanted to write about.

Yet I’ve been able to create a consistent blogging schedule and stick to it.

Here’s how you can become a consistent blogger, too.

1. Have a clear big picture goal for your blog.

Before writing this blog, I’ve had 6 other ones.

And all of them fizzled out after awhile. That’s because I didn’t have a clear idea of why I was blogging.

I would start out with a lot of joy and excitement in writing, and then after a few weeks, I would lose interest. My daily posts would start to become weekly posts, and then I would stop blogging altogether.

I am all for starting a blog just because it feels right.

But at some point in the process, you have to sit down and decide what your big picture goal is for the blog.

Is it to create a business and make money?

Is it to sell your existing products or services?

Is it to share your story?

Whatever you choose, it has to really, really MATTER to you. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to keep the momentum going.

2. Have clear short term goals for your blog.

So let’s say you chose “To sell my existing products or services” as your big picture goal.

That’s great, but you also need smaller, short term goals to inform your writing.

Having a short term goal will help you create an editorial calendar for your month that you’ll actually stick to because you’ll have a clear and specific outcome tied to it.

For example, if you sell jewelry, your short term goal might be to get your new line of earrings sold.

At the beginning of the month, you can sit down and think of 4-12 post ideas that are tied directly to your new earrings.

You could write a post about how to pick the perfect earrings to go with your outfit, another about how wearing earrings improves your appearance, etc.

You will be motivated to blog consistently because you will be acutely aware of the outcome of blogging versus not blogging. (i.e. people buying your products versus not buying them)

Then your editorial calendar will become a tool to organize your ideas, rather than a motivational tool.

3. Tie your editorial calendar to a promotional calendar.

It’s really hard to keep writing when you don’t know if anyone is going to read your posts.

That’s why it’s essential to have a promotional calendar in place.

For each blog post, I post it on Twitter 6 times over the course of 2 months. I use CoSchedule* (affiliate link) to do it.

I have a strategy for getting more followers on Twitter so I’m not just tweeting to 10 people.

I also share in a number of Facebook groups who have dedicated days for promoting blog posts.

Pinterest is also a huge one for me. For each post, I systematically share on Pinterest in a number of ways.

Having a promotional plan keeps me blogging because I know that when I write a post, I can put it in front of my audience.

So create a plan, and promote the heck out of every post you write. When your social shares, comments, and page views go up, it will keep you motivated to blog consistently.

4. Know when you will blog each week, and see it as a vital, non-negotiable part of building your business.

Choose a dedicated time to blog, and schedule it in, just like a client appointment.

Writing a post into your editorial calendar for next Wednesday will not ensure that you will actually write the post.

Creating a block of time next Wednesday when you will do nothing but blog, and being adamant about it, will mean that you’ll actually write.

You don’t need to write every day. You really, really don’t.

I started out writing every day. Then I scaled back to 5 times a week, and now 3 times a week.

Even though I don’t write as much, my posts are way better than they were before. Because I can put more thought and time into each one.

My point is, figure out what works FOR YOU. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much. If you create an unreasonable schedule for yourself, you’ll do it for a week, and when you realize it’s not sustainable, you’ll feel like a failure and give up writing altogether.

If you work better writing an hour everyday, do that. If you want to write only on Friday mornings, do that.

And if your schedule changes over time, let it. Just be sure you keep some time to write every week on your calendar.

5. Build relationships with other bloggers.

Blogging can be a lonely thing. Sitting at home in front of your computer by yourself producing content is hard.

And not only that. People who don’t blog just don’t get it. They say things like, Can you really make money from your blog? and I know you blog, but what do you do as your job? and How does your blog really benefit the world? (That one was courtesy of my sister. She’s a social worker.)

All of this can be very demotivating.

That’s why you need to get out there and meet other bloggers.

I’ve built really great relationships with other bloggers in Facebook groups.

I met my accountability partner in a Facebook group, and we talk on the phone every single week. He keeps me going and gives me great ideas. Just this morning, he helped me brainstorm my first paid product.

You can also find them through podcasts, on Twitter, at conferences, and by commenting regularly on their blogs.

To stay motivated to blog consistently, you need to put relationship building as high on the list as actually writing blog posts. It’s that important.

How to REALLY become a consistent blogger - Facebook

If your editorial calendar isn’t working, it’s not you.

It’s not because you’re flaky, or can’t keep to a schedule.

It’s because staying motivated to blog consistently is hard, and it requires more than a list of post ideas.

Instead of only focusing on your editorial calendar, figure out:

  • Your long term goal for your blog.
  • Your short term goals for your posts.
  • How to promote the heck out of every post and get it read.
  • When you will blog every week. And stick to it.
  • How to build relationships with other bloggers.

If this list seems daunting, it is.

This isn’t an easy, quick fix.

But it is a framework for how to become a consistent blogger. If you are willing to do the work.

  • Peggy Nolan

    Just some other thoughts – what’s really been working for me is that my blog has a theme – “Let Go Move Forward.” Nearly everything I write about is tied in some way to my theme. I have a wall that I converted into a white board and on it are my ideas and a running list of solutions people are looking for. I also post less on my blog, a little more on HuffPost and LifeHack, and then I promote, promote, promote. It seems to be working 🙂

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks for your thoughts @peggy_nolan:disqus. I agree that having a central theme and a place to write ideas is SO IMPORTANT. I want a whiteboard wall, too!

  • Another awesome post Daniela! I actually just created an editorial calendar, and you’re right – it didn’t magically make me a better, more consistent blogger. It did help me organize my thoughts though, as it’s nice to visually plan out what I might want to blog about over the next month. Along with your other great tips, you need to keep track of every idea, whether you write it down in a notebook, on a whiteboard, or in an Evernote. It’s good to have your own ideas file anytime you’re running low on blog post inspiration.

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks, @robynpetrik:disqus! And thanks for that tip. I use Evernote to keep track of all of my ideas, and it’s really helpful to have some to choose from when I get stuck.

  • Valentine J. Brkich

    Great post! Blogging is fun, but it’s hard work, too. It’s easy to get burnt out. Writing every day just doesn’t work for me, either. I’ve found that once a week feels just right. ; )

    • Daniela Uslan

      @valentinejbrkich:disqus, you are so right. I used to think that blogging had to be all fun. But then I only worked on it when I felt like it. Once I committed to it and saw it as a job, I was able to figure out a schedule that works for me.

  • Great tips! I’ll be putting some of these to use as I work on my blog!

    • Daniela Uslan

      @erineflynn:disqus yay! I’m glad you can use some of the tips!

  • Love this Daniela. Like anything else – just writing it on a calendar doesn’t magically make it happen. I do find that writing a plan out is better than not writing one at all! But I love your point here. Thanks.

    • Daniela Uslan

      @kmgoetz:disqus, I do think an editorial calendar can help, and you are right, it’s MUCH better to have a plan! But I’ve found that I don’t actually follow through without the other components.

  • Janet Hoover

    These are great tips! I especially need to remember #4! Thanks 🙂

    • Daniela Uslan

      @bluetaildesigns:disqus I am glad you liked the tips. #4 is really the crux of the whole thing. Giving yourself that also gives you time to work on the other ones!

  • Nathalie Doremieux

    I loveit! I probably have over 20 blog posts in drafts that I started and never finished because you’re right I do’nt have the motivation because it does not tie to any goal I have. Great tip!

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks, @nathaliedoremieux:disqus! I hate it when that happens. Do you have a concrete goal now?

  • Omg I was cracking up at your intro. Can’t write? No problem! Just get an editorial calendar! Hahaha.

    • Daniela Uslan

      @mallietothrydzik:disqus I’m glad I made you laugh! I used to think an editorial was the be all end all. Until it didn’t help me write consistently.

  • Love the idea of a promotional calendar. My editorial calendar works really well for me but I find that I worry about repeating social shares about the posts even though I know that only a few people see the shares at any one time. It’s time for me to get over that! Thanks.

  • Kristin

    Thanks for this! I’m changing things up all the time and trying to improve my current blog with another in mind. Scaling back to 3 days a week and sticking to it has really helped, but I have a lot more to learn about promotion and this would help have a more concrete plan.m thanks!

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks, @disqus_KoUyXsO0x3:disqus! It’s funny how scaling back can help with consistency!

  • Adrian G

    I have a motivational speaker named James Clear who sends me a newsletter twice a week and he has helped me. I’ve posted at least twice a week for nearly 8 years and now I have a pretty significant body of work to draw upon. And I think you’re absolutely right. It’s about making strong commitments and sticking to them, even though life happens, and happens. I try to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays and do the Sharefest every Saturday and for me that is a miracle of consistency! And it has paid off with the numbers. I’ve about doubled my following over a year – well, “not much” plus “not much” = “still not all that much”, but it’s MORE than just “not much”. But at least it’s progress in the right direction! #SITSSharefest

    • Daniela Uslan

      @disqus_D9x1x0i0TZ:disqus I have seen some of James Clear’s stuff. He is really motivational! That is amazing that you’ve been blogging for almost 8 years! I am sure I can learn a lot from you about staying consistent with blogging as well! The Sharefest is so great! This is my second week doing it and I LOVE it!

  • Even though I’m highly motivated (I probably spend way too much time on all the different aspects on my blog), I found this post extremely helpful. I’m still fairly new and love learning from people who know more about this than me. You had a lot of great tips and I’m planning to implement some of the ideas you suggested! Thanks for the help 🙂

    • Daniela Uslan

      @lisahenryodriscoll:disqus, I totally know what you mean about spending too much time on different aspects of your blog. I often go down a rabbit hole of doing different things, and have to remember to get back to the actual writing! I’m glad you found this helpful!

  • Daniela Uslan

    @kirstydesigns:disqus, thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Daniela Uslan

    @disqus_hz1Y0uoiwv:disqus, thanks! I appreciate it!

  • Gail Akeman

    I haven’t pushed myself with a editorial calendar. I do find it hard to get ideas though.

  • Great tips! I used to post 5 days a week and it was too much. So I went down to 3 times a week and that wasn’t working either. So I settled on 4 times a week and that is perfect for me. Thanks for sharing these great tips 🙂

  • Leslie

    I love how you give a summary of your post at the end. It’s like reiterating the bullet points of your post. Makes me want to take notes. Thank you for your wonderful advice.

    • Daniela Uslan

      Thanks, Leslie! I really appreciate that!

  • I’ve heard and read about editorial posts before. I guess I should start one. Thanks for the reminder and the extra tips!

  • Dawn Reber

    Thank you for the great tips. I’ve had a blog for a few years now but have no clue where I want to go with it. I am super distracted with all the possibilities out there but I’m bound and determined to find my way.

  • Monica Bruno

    Great post, as usual, Daniela! This is something I still need to work on … It’s part of the reason I have a love hate relationship with my blog. But, I must say, since I’ve been following you, you’ve made this process so much clearer. Thank you!

  • Ashlee Barclay

    I just signed up for CoSchedule! I love it – thanks for all of your tips!

  • Dear Daniela,

    I really enjoyed this post. I
    have recently started my first blog called Ambitiousmothers.com. Being that it
    is new, I am learning how to blog, and what I feel most passionate writing
    about. So your first point of choosing something that really matters to me, was
    exactly what I was looking for. Your second point of having clear short term
    goals was very instructive and I will be implementing this process into my
    blog. I feel like all my ideas are kind of all over the board and don’t really
    tie into one another just yet. Your third tip of Tying your editorial calendar
    to a promotional calendar was again something I didn’t know to do, and was very
    useful! I have your post added to my favorites so that I can use it as a reference.
    The 4th tip of setting a block of time aside each week is something
    that I am currently doing. This has helped me to stick with my schedule.
    Finally, your 5th point of building relationships with other
    bloggers is something that is new to me, and I am working on. I am looking
    forward to networking with other bloggers and brainstorming together. Could you
    please reference your Facebook groups? I think finding an accountability
    partner is a wonderful idea.

    Thank you again for this helpful post.

    Sincerely,

    Deanna Beeman

    Ambitiousmothers.com

  • Katie O’Brien

    Ohh my! I loved this post. I tumbled across this on Twitter and loved every word. I can’t do editorial calendars… I’ve tried over and over and just like you I end up with multiple drafts on topic I don’t feel like writing about. I have to just set the time to write and write whatever comes up for me in those moments that aligns with my mission. Thanks for writing this! Looking forward to circling back around and reading more!

  • Yes blogging is all about the relationships. Helpful for your target audience.