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Set Your Blog Posts to Publish Before You Write Them

If you're struggling with accountability, this 15-minute prep work will put you on the right track to productivity.

Oren Cohen
Oren Cohen
6 min read
Photo by Jazmin Quaynor / Unsplash

Demanding ourselves to work more after a workday is always challenging. If you’re anything like me, you eat something, take a shower, and dive into YouTube or Netflix for the remainder of the evening. And the following day, we’ll be mad at ourselves for our lack of accountability.

We all heard by now that if you give your goals actual deadlines with real consequences, you are more likely to accomplish them. In this article, I want to share how I took this idea and used it to transform my publishing strategy.

Let’s dive right in!

I Scheduled All of My Posts Until Dec. 2021

And when I say schedule, I don’t mean put it up in a lovely little calendar to remind me. I mean mechanically schedule. Like, go out into the world automatically when the time comes kind of schedule.

I use Ghost for my blog, and I realized that I could schedule all of my posts upfront. It took around 15 minutes to schedule up to December 2021.

Here’s what it looks like:

A list of posts with generic names that were scheduled up to Dec. 31st, 2021.
Screenshot by the author.

Almost any modern blogging software will allow you to use scheduling. Aside from Ghost, you can definitely use it on Medium, WordPress, or Wix.

For my sanity, I chose to publish one new post every Friday at 15:00. Maybe your frequency will be one blog post every two weeks? Perhaps you’ll publish two pieces in a week? It’s your choice. Make sure your frequency is reasonable.

The critical part to remember is that you need to stay consistent throughout the year. My suggestion is to start with one frequency you know you’ll be able to accomplish, and then once you finish writing all posts for that frequency until the end of the year, start adding more.

Now, if there are no consequences for failure, this won’t work. You’ll miss out on your deadline, nobody will know, and life will continue.

In the next section, I’ll give you an idea of how to make it count.

Let’s Discuss The Consequences

What would happen if you missed your deadline for publishing a new blog post?

For me, it’s quite a bit of embarrassment and a lack of professionalism — the reason being that every blog piece I publish, Ghost automatically sends to my email subscribers.

And imagine what it’s like to send an empty blog post to over 880 people straight to their inbox. I’m getting itchy just thinking about it!

Screenshot by the author.

Also, I have automation in place to tweet my article once it’s published. So, I need to satisfy both my email subscribers and my Twitter audience.

I can’t afford to miss out on the deadline.

What can you do to make this deadline matter to you? Do you also have email subscribers that await content from you? Do you have a Twitter audience? Is there anything at all you can do to make sure there’s a tangible consequence to not uploading a new piece on time?

If you don’t have a small audience, that’s okay. Perhaps you can arrange with a close friend that they check up your blog every X time you choose, and if they don’t see a new blog post there, you owe them $20. If you’re serious, make it $100.

As long as there’s a concrete consequence to not publishing, you’ll meet your deadline.

Why Do This At All?

You’re probably reading this article and are not convinced about why you need to schedule at all. Why not just post whenever we want?

Aside from the actual research I linked to in the second paragraph, the reason is that your blog is a long game. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes for a second: You arrive at your blog, and you see a post from yesterday — woohoo! — and the post before that is from…January?! Nope. That creator isn’t serious. Bye!

There are many elements to the way readers perceive a creator. We all know it because all of us are also readers. You inherently judge a creator by the number of posts they have, their publishing frequency, their number of followers, and the engagement on their posts.

As a creator, you know it’s not easy to find readers. Most bloggers only start seeing traction after a long time going unnoticed.

That is why scheduling is so important. It removes the guesswork from your publishing strategy. You don’t need to care how many people will read your work; you just need to put it out there. This is how we grow.

Scheduling Frees Time For Peripheral Content

The other benefit of scheduling your posts is that you can now have more time to promote them with peripheral content. It’s no secret that SEO takes time. You don’t see results overnight — especially if your blog is new. But social media can drive readers much faster than Google.

Suppose you spent the time to write all of your pieces up to the end of 2021. Now you can spend some time each week, let’s say an hour, to create some digital assets on Canva to promote the weekly article. Or you can work on creating YouTube or TikTok videos to accompany your blog posts.

The choice is yours.

One thing to note, though, is how easily this can spread into lots of endeavors. Please remember that your highest priority is your blog. No matter if you post on Social Media or YouTube — your blog (and your email subscribers) should always have fresh content each week. Never sacrifice that for peripheral content. You won’t have to if you do this after you already have content prepared.

That’s why it’s so essential to finish writing all posts for your blog and build a buffer. Then start building those external content opportunities.

Scheduling Gives You Time to Polish Your Work

Whenever I post an article, I do my best to go over it, squash grammar mistakes, read it out loud, and see where it needs improvement.

But more often than not, I would go back to an article and then find out that I could have written some sentences differently. It’s a lost cause at this point because I already sent that article to people’s inboxes. I could improve it for future blog visitors, but the people who matter the most don’t need to read the same piece twice — even if it’s improved.

When you schedule your work ahead of time, this becomes an excellent opportunity to revisit your work before sending it out. You’ll be amazed by how we grow when we let our minds simmer on an idea.

You could even do one better and send your work to a professional editor if you can afford it. For me, that would be a game-changer as I’m not a native English speaker. I do my best, but there will always be things that an editor can improve in my work.

No matter your situation, I firmly believe that giving a post time before revisiting it would impact the quality of your writing a lot for the better.

Conclusion

In this article, we went over how vital scheduling could be for your publishing strategy.

I shared with you the two critical parts of a good scheduling frequency:

  1. A frequency to which you can commit.
  2. Severe consequences for not publishing on time.

You already know what that means for me, and if you haven’t taken the opportunity yet — please take some time to think about what a good consequence you could give yourself for not publishing.

We talked about why schedule at all and the benefits of having a stream of content ready to publish.

My last bit of advice for you is to press on. Writing content upfront isn’t easy, and you’ll find many reasons to quit along the way. But think about how freeing it would be to know that you have content ready to go no matter what. You might become busy with work or family life, but your blog will keep serving your readers on a schedule.

Invest in scheduling, and future you will thank you.

Thanks for reading!

BloggingWritingEntrepreneurshipBusinessPublishing

Oren Cohen

I'm a software engineer, blogger, and aspiring fantasy novelist. Helping geeks build online homes. Reach out! I don't bite :)