Creating a blog is easy. Creating a good blog is hard. If you are new to starting a blog, a common piece of advice you might receive is this:
Create a backlog of articles before you launch. That way, if you ever get off schedule, you have a few blog posts to pull from.
Almost every single time I’ve talked to someone about starting a blog, they give this advice. This is the worst blogging advice ever. Here’s why:
Why This Is Terrible Advice
This advice is entirely predicated on you failing at keeping a schedule. It’s basically saying, try really hard to blog consistently, but if you don’t, just pull a “get out of a jail free” card. It’s a great fail-safe idea, but it’s not sustainable over the long-run. Why? Eventually you’re going to run out of get out of jail free cards. If you focus on just creating a backlog of posts & pulling from them when you need to, eventually, you’ll run out of a backlog of posts and you won’t know what to do. Usually, what happens is people get frustrated, get behind. They get upset and beat themselves up over it before eventually quitting.
Instead of creating an archive of posts to pull from, if you get behind, here are three things you should do instead:
1. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead is crucial to maintaining a successful blog. Instead of focusing on creating this never-ending backlog, and always feeling as if you must make up for being behind, work ahead!
Go ahead, and write the same posts you were planning to write as a backlog. Next, install the WordPress editorial calendar plugin, and start working ahead. Take the posts that you were planning to hold on to “for a rainy day,” and start scheduling them out for the future. You will find that if you start scheduling them out in advance, you can work two to three weeks ahead of time.
2. Create A Habit
While you are two weeks ahead of schedule, stick to your specific writing schedule. Focus on making new content and publishing, until this becomes a habit. By doing this, you are not just planning in case of emergency, you are also staying ahead of schedule.
Do this for a month at least. You only need 21 days to build a habit. I guarantee that you will notice a difference. Once you’re in the rhythm, here are some tips for making your habits stick.
3. Be On The Offensive
Keeping a backlog of posts means that you are barely staying on top of things, and when you fall behind, you slowly pluck from the backlog. Doing this once or twice this isn’t a bad thing, but over time, you’ll realize you have nothing left to pull from. This is a defensive way to handle your blog schedule. If you only play defense, you will lose.
Instead, be on the offensive. Be three steps ahead of the chaos, difficulty, and obstacles that come with blogging. Be ready for it. By being proactive, you will get ahead. All of a sudden, the weight of hitting your publishing deadline is gone! You will feel like a champ, because you no longer have that deadline beating you down. You win!
Thinking ahead makes life easier. If you know you are going on vacation for an extended time, commit to knocking out a few blog posts, so you stay ahead of the game.
Don’t do what most people do. They’re just waiting to fail.
What’s the worst blogging advice you’ve ever heard?