WordPress has a handy little feature that allows you to schedule blog posts ahead of time. So, do you use it? If so, how far out do you schedule? What are the pros and cons?
I’m a scheduling devotee, and have been since very early on in my blogging days. I want to deliver a consistent reading experience to readers of my blog, but I’m not a consistent writer. Sometimes I’ll go a week without writing anything at all, and sometimes I’ll bang out 4 posts in a day.
I like to post daily, and that’s something that’s sustainable for me, but only if I schedule. I perform worse under pressure, so trying to push myself to write a new post every day probably wouldn’t work out very well.
So, how far in advance do I schedule? At least 2 weeks, preferably closer to 3. The only exception is my Saturday weekend wrap-up post. I add bits and pieces to it throughout the week, and on Friday I finalize it and schedule it to publish on Saturday. While the weekend wrap-up is time-specific, most of my other posts aren’t, which is nicely conducive to scheduling.
My schedule isn’t set in stone, and if I want to write about something in response to something I’ve read elsewhere, I’ll move that post to the front of the line. It’s all planned out on my Excel spreadsheet for all things blogging and writing. I think I might cease to function as a blogger if my spreadsheet (and its backup) died a digital death.
I see some bloggers who will have spurts of being extremely prolific, and then they’ll disappear for a while because of course such a pace isn’t sustainable. That seems like it would be a good situation to schedule at least some of those posts for later in order to maintain a steadier pace.
Scheduling can also be good if you publish once every week or two, as it helps your regular readers know when they can expect to see you.
There are some types of posts that scheduling probably doesn’t work so well for. If your blog is diary-style, that’s not really conducive to pre-scheduling. If you participate in prompts or challenges, those might not be a good fit for scheduling, unless you’re trying to space out your posts for that day. If you’re getting a consistent stream of material/inspiration from another source, there probably isn’t a clear benefit to scheduling.
Whether you choose to schedule or not, what matters most is coming up with a system that’s sustainable and feels good for you. Regardless of what you’d like to be putting out to your readers, if you’re not fulfilling your own needs then you risk getting burnt out.
And if you’re starting to get burnt out? Step back and take a breather for a while. The blogging world will still be here when you get back. And before you wade back in, give some thought to preparing a few posts beforehand to keep in reserve for later. What’s most sustainable for you is what’s going to end up being what’s best for your blog.
Do you schedule your posts? Do you ever feel pressure to keep up with your writing?