Blogging for Authors: How Can I Make the Most of My Time?
Well, it seems I was right! One of y’all’s biggest problems with maintaining a blog is time. Boy, do I feel you or what?! Time management is one of those spectacular talents I have yet to fully master...but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a thing or two in these last couple years of blogging!
Most everyone was asking specifically about making time to work on posts, posting consistently, and having the energy to blog and keep up other things, so I’m sharing just a few of my thoughts and advice on those ever popular issues!
Please note that not all of these tips will work for everyone...and that they’re tailored for the author, not for getting the most out of your blog. If you want to make big bucks and have the largest blog known to man, you’ll probably end up sacrificing your physical and mental health, all your relationships, and Lord only knows what else. That’s why this post is focused on making blogging easier for you while still being effective!
Now, without further ado, my first tip for finding time to blog…
Make a Schedule That Works for You
So many bloggers (myself included) feel like they have to post just as often (or seldom, in some cases) as everyone else. What makes that difficult is that there are so many varying opinions on how often and how much you should post (and how long each post should be), and everyone is doing something different, so when you first start out, it seems so hard to figure out what exactly you should do.
And that’s the point! If everyone is doing something different—Grace posts 15 to 20 posts a month, R.M. posts 5 times a month, and E.K. only posts when she has news—then who’s to say there’s a strict structure for blogging?
No one. Exactly.
Everyone’s schedule is different, tailored to them and their needs (and often to their audience’s preference)...so how do you find out what works specifically for you?
#1: Be aware of your current lifestyle. Some bloggers, like myself, don’t go to school or work a job, so we can manage posting twice a week, while others have full-time jobs or families to take care of, so they only post twice a month. Consider your lifestyle right now—not what it was six months ago or what it might be in the future. Be aware of your workload, your schoolwork, your family responsibilities...and plan accordingly! As important as your blog is for your author career, it isn’t your priority, so always work around prior commitments and responsibilities! If that means only posting once a month for the time being, that’s fine! If that means you can eke out a post every other day, fantastic! Just don’t push yourself to write when you simply can’t!
#2 Understand your audience and type of blog. Some bloggers have history and research blogs, so naturally their posts are detailed and extensive, but often few and far between. Others do short product reviews and spotlights that only take thirty minutes to throw together. When you understand what you’re blogging about—occasional writing updates, web serials, book reviews and blog tours, etc.—you’ll have a better grasp of how often you should post and how long your posts should be!
The same goes for understanding your audience. Some authors blog for their readers, so their posts may be shorter and more engaging, with excerpts, updates, giveaways, and fun graphics. Other authors blog for fellow writers, so their posts may be long and well-researched, all about writing and publishing and marketing. Others still (like myself) do a mix of both, so some months their blog feed is full of short, fun posts and other times there’s just a trickle of deep, informative posts like this! Know who you’re writing for and what they’re interested in, and you’ll not only be able to craft an effective schedule, you’ll also feel less stressed when it comes to content!
#3 Don’t be afraid to try! Some things you’ll simply never know until you try, so do it! For your first week, throw out a short, poignant post every day, then evaluate the effects! Were you burned out or even more inspired? Or maybe try only a couple posts a month to get started, and see how much time you end up having leftover—enough to blog some more, or only enough to respond to comments.
After your first month, you’ll probably be able to see what you have time for and what works best, so keep that in mind as you continue blogging! You can always switch things up or reevaluate what you’re doing as time goes on—never feel ashamed to cut back on your posts (or throw out a few extra)...your readers will understand, trust me!
It sounds hard, I know, but consistency isn’t actually as difficult as it seems! People often mistake consistency for posting on the same day every week at the exact same time...but it’s not! Consistency goes right in with creating that schedule of yours by always be tailored toward your limitations and your preferences and by being as flexible as you make it!
I used to try and have a post out every Monday and every Wednesday, and then work around those posts for the rest of the week if I had anything extra to share...but I quickly ran out of ideas and motivation, and I noticed that my blog wasn’t getting much traction. It was actually once I broke out of this cycle that my blog took off and I felt more creative and inspired! I tried many new things, a lot of which have become fan favorites!
#1 Think of consistency on a monthly basis. Instead of thinking of consistency on a daily basis, think of it on a monthly basis. If you want to post five times a month, then focus on posting according to that rather than a strict regiment of posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If that means one post comes out in the first week, three come out in the second, and one comes out on the weekend, that’s fine! As long as you’re able to get those five posts out and get out another five posts the next month, you’re good!
#2 Write and schedule ahead. Most blog hosts allow you to schedule your posts (which is literally the greatest thing ever), so don’t ever feel like you have to wait until twenty minutes before you want your post to go live to write it and publish it. If you can, write it when you can and then schedule ahead! Scheduling is what will keep you from having three posts in one day or one post in March and seventeen in April...you can stay consistent without being strict!
#3 Write inspired. Don’t want to write that long post about the Civil War? Would rather write a free verse poem? Then do it! Write what you want, when you want to, and then, if you’ve already posted every day this week—you guessed it—schedule ahead! Don’t be afraid to try something new or break the regular schedule—you may find that readers prefer this new content or read more on Friday than they do on Tuesday!
What Else Can I Do?
Good question! One of the absolute best aspects of blogging is that it is so versatile! Don’t get what I mean? Allow me to explain…
I write a blog post. I share my post graphic (and any other images in my post) to my blog Pinterest board. I share a link to my post (plus a snippet) on Facebook. I (used to) share my top posts each month in my monthly newsletter.
I could also (1) make an infographic or quote graphic from my post for Pinterest, (2) share a graphic on Instagram, (3) make a story/TikTok with some of my thoughts on the post, (4) do a YouTube video or podcast episode about the same topic I just posted, (5) send out an email whenever a post goes live, (6) share a short form of my post on Facebook and Tumblr, (7) repost on Medium, (8) tweet my favorite line from the post, and the list goes on! A single blog post can be repurposed in so many ways, becoming the foundation of my author platform and every other marketing strategy I use.
Not only does that make blogging more effective, it also saves time! This method works in the reverse also—I know bloggers who share their IG stories or YT videos on their blogs or compile Facebook posts into a blog post. Instead of writing something new for every single platform, try sharing across platforms!
In the same vein, don’t hesitant to repost something from the archives every now and then! You’ll always have new followers and readers who’d be interested in reading some of your old content! With WordPress, you can repost other bloggers’ posts that you enjoyed, and you can always share guest posts, stories, or articles that you previously posted on other blogs and publications once their rights to the story have expired!
Speaking of guest posts...if you’re going to be away for some time or are going on hiatus (on that note, don’t feel bad if you feel like you need to go on hiatus), you can always put out a call for guest posts! Have a friend or fellow blogger share something on your blog whenever you don’t have time to write something yourself. Not only will you save time, you’ll also have a fresh, new voice brightening up your blog, and you’ll have their friends and followers hopping over to your blog to read their post and probably some of yours too!
What are some of your ideas and tips for saving and managing time? What do you do to stay consistent but fresh? How do you balance your life with your blog? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Yours in spirit and script,