Right now, people from all around the world are Googling questions. You have the answers and create surprisingly helpful resources for them on your website, but unless you develop a solid publishing routine, you will undoubtedly get mired down with the minutia of running an online business and will fail to serve your audience.
Step 8 is all about getting into a rhythm that will help to keep you on track, and away from the most common killer of blogs: laziness.
Writer’s block is the worst thing that can happen to a blogger–especially if you have limited time to run your business. I realize that many of you really don’t have any extra time to run a business, and will opt to stay up 45 minutes later or wake up 45 minutes earlier each day to build your site. Some of you will squeeze in your working time while pretending to be listening in Mr. Johnson’s incredibly boring history class. Others will pretend to ignore the kids in the other room while you try and ink out a blog post.
You don’t have enough time to work inefficiently. This plan will help.
I want you to write down your publishing routine. Write out the days of the week that you will publish on your site. Generally, I recommend Monday through Friday, but Friday is almost always the worst day of the week to publish so you may consider taking Fridays off and moving your fifth publishing day to Saturday.
Now, I want you to plan what you will publish on those days. Here is an example:
Monday – Short blog post of 750 words on a very narrow niche topic, mostly to slowly build up pages that will send Google traffic over time. These very niche topics are things like “How to plant an aspen tree in clay soil in the fall” rather than more competitive keywords such as “Tips for growing trees.”
Tuesday – Publish a Youtube video tutorial and put it somewhere on the site or share it on social media.
Wednesday – Write a full-feature blog post of no fewer than 2,000 words. Write something surprisingly helpful. This will certainly take more than 45 minutes to make, so you’ll have to put every extra five or ten minutes you can squeeze out of the other days of the week to get started on this.
Thursday – Record and publish a podcast.
Saturday – Write another short blog post of 750 words on a very narrow niche topic, like on Monday.
Obviously you can alter this plan to better fit your needs, but it’s an example. Notice, however, that three days of the week are focused on content that could be shared now to get a big spike in traffic. Two days of the week we are working on long-tail keywords on niche topics that may only bring a handful of people to your site each month, but which can really build up over time.
Now is the time. Seriously. Go over to Google docs or grab a scrap of paper and make a publishing routine. Have something you can look at each time you sit down to work. This will keep you from spinning your wheels.
6 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Schedule
1. No cheater days, unless you want cheater results
I lost 42 pounds (19kg) last year. I learned quickly that taking a cheater days makes dieting ten times harder. Your goal is to make publishing part of a typical day for you, not something you have to force yourself to endure. Enjoy writing and building out your site. Be proud of what you make for your audience, and don’t let cheater days trick you into thinking otherwise.
2. Get help
If you have a spouse, best friend, or parent who is close to you, explain what you are doing. If your spouse sees you staying up late on the computer and ignoring them, you are unlikely to have the kind of support you need. Give your spouse episode one of the Income School podcast, an interview with me and my wife talking about how we got started. Explain to them that this is something very important to you and that you need their help to make it work.
I have even seen a few couples who tackled a blog together: one created podcasts and videos and the other wrote on the website. Now that is a recipe for success.
3. Schedule Your Content
Most of you will have only a few minutes a day to look at your business, but then every once in a while you’ll have a day off work, time while in an airport, or a quiet Saturday when you can really pound out a lot of work.
It can be tempting to publish multiple pieces of content on these days. Don’t. Use WordPress’s scheduling tool to set your post to publish on a day in the future.
This way, you’re always working on content that won’t be published for a week or 10 days. If an emergency comes up or you want to spend a little more time with a piece of content, you’re okay because you are always ahead. You never want to miss a day, so having a queue can really take the pressure off.
4. Create a Hit List
No, not of all the drivers on the road who annoy you. I want you to create a hit list of headlines, and then I want you to kill one every day.
I explain my hit list strategy in this Income School Podcast episode. What I want you to do is to think of as many titles for articles as you possibly can, and list them on a Google doc. Then, every time you sit down to prepare content for your audience, you just go to the top of the hit list and write out the first one. This will keep you from suffering from writer’s block.
Eventually, you will run out of ideas for articles and will need some help. For this, I use Long Tail Pro software (affiliate link). It’s not terribly expensive since it’s just a one-time purchase (I don’t recommend the monthly fee plan they have. Just buy the software once and be done). What it will do is you can type in the keywords of what your site is about, and it will spit out hundreds or thousands of searches that people have done on Google. This is a gold mine for finding good article topics.
If you just really can’t invest any money on your website, then you could also use the free method that I explain in the podcast episode I just mentioned. It isn’t as thorough, but should help you get started with your hit list.
If you aren’t sure what a hit list should look like, you can see one of mine here.
Remember that hit lists are not lists of keywords. I want you to think of the actual headline or title for the post. If you need help thinking of catchy headlines to match the keywords or topics, look at popular magazines in the checkout line and note their headlines. You’ll be able to easily change them up to match your topic. Also, watch sites like PetFlow and ViralNova, which are blogs with the best headlines in the business.
5. Expand Your Hit List
Once you have a list of 50 or 60 headlines for your articles, I recommend building it out.
Suppose one of the articles is “10 Tips for Faster Fastballs” on a baseball coaching blog. When I write the headline, I have no idea what the tips are going to be. I leave that to think up when I write the article. One way to make the article go quicker is to think of as many tips as you can when you write the headline.
For example, I might write, “10 Tips for Faster Fastballs. Lift weights, extend your elbow, rotate at the hips just as you release the ball.” I just wrote down 3 tips that came to me at the moment. Now when I go back to actually write the article, I have 3 tips ready to write out, and I have a fresh mind that will give me a few others right away.
Four months from now, if you follow the publishing schedule, you’ll have a traffic. Some people will have more traffic and some fewer, but you’ll have traffic. And traffic means you have a business.