Blogging is great isn’t it? Except you’ve got to come up with new content week in, week out.
Sometimes this can be stressful as you feel the constant pressure to perform. If you don’t want running your blog to feel like being a corporate slave, you’ve got to find ways of easing the strain.
1. Use an editorial calendar
The first thing to do is to set up an editorial calendar for your blog. You can do this based on the types of posts that got most attention in the past or the type you most enjoyed writing.
An editorial calendar takes the stress out of blogging because you know exactly what kind of content you need to find for a given day. I’ll come back to the editorial calendar at the end.
2. Keep an ideas file
Hand in hand with the editorial calendar goes an ideas file. Ideally, you’ll have access to this wherever you go.
It could be as simple as a notebook that you take everywhere with you, or a digital document that you keep in sync on your computer, laptop and smartphone, using a program like Evernote or something similar.
As a travel blogger, every trip leads to ideas, and many interactions with other bloggers also give food for thought. Write ideas down as they happen and you will find it easy to fill your editorial calendar.
3. Write great posts – and schedule them
Once you have those blog post ideas noted down, start writing them up. Combine them in different ways, if that works, so you can create some truly great posts. But when you do – and this is key – don’t use them all at once.
Great posts need to be spaced out so people have time to absorb them. So you probably won’t need more than one or two of those a week. See, isn’t that already sounding better than the daily grind?
4. Use guest posts
There’s no rule that says that you have to write all the great content on your blog yourself. You could try using sites like MyBlogGuest and Blogger LinkUp to find guest posts on areas you don’t cover.
I’m a bit of a nomad, but there are places I’ve never visited, so I recently used these sites to find bloggers who wrote about Brazil and India for my travel blog from personal experience. This was a win-win – I got blog content and my readers got to find out about somewhere new.
5. Interview other bloggers
Get to know your blogging community and let your readers do the same by interviewing other travel bloggers. Whether you use email interviews, podcast interviews or video interviews, you will be adding something new to the mix on your travel blog.
To get good interviews, either come up with a great interview template (a set of questions you ask all interviewees), which is the easier option or research your subjects so you can tailor the interview to them. You can also do a mixture of both.
With interviews, the hardest part is the editing, but most of the content is generated by your interviewee.
6. Use photos and videos
This is a great one, especially for travel bloggers or those in a creative industry. Some bloggers make a daily photo post, where all they have to do is write a caption.
If you’ve got thousands of digital photos stored, then this might work for you. Others generate or source videos related to a theme and publish these. Again, the content you have to generate is minimal, so it’s a good idea to do one of these posts every so often.
7. Do round-ups
Round-ups are a great way to get new content on your blog without having to write something completely new. They provide value for your readers and there are lots of ways to do these. Problogger Darren Rowse is a great believer in ‘sneeze pages’ that collect the existing content on your blog around various themes.
You can also collate the best or most commented or most trafficked posts over a period of a week, month or quarter. You get new blog readers all the time and this is a great way to alert them to what they might have missed.
If you don’t mind some extra effort you can also do round-ups of the best posts you’ve read on a particular topic. This is a good way to interact and connect with other bloggers.
You can also collate and comment on the news in your niche. Some of my newsy posts on airport parking and other aspects of travel have been well received.
Putting it all together
I said I’d come back to the editorial calendar. Now that you have all these content ideas, you can really make this a useful tool.
Schedule your killer posts on the days when your blog gets the most traffic and at the time when most people look at the posts (you can use your stats to find this info). Then slot in some of the other posts around them.
On my travel blog, I currently have a regular interview slot and a regular guest post slot, and then rotate among the other kinds of content on the other three days I post.
I’ve found that this approach helps me plan. Instead of having an empty blog looming large in my mind, I now know what content I need when and can use my ideas file to fill gaps.
Do you plan your blog content in advance? What works best for you?
Sharon Hurley Hall has been travel blogging for three years. She manages the Taking Off Travel Blog for off airport parking firm, Park Ride Fly USA.