Summer Blog Hours: 10 Ways To Keep Your Blog Going
School is out (at least until September).
What blogger doesn’t want time off?
Keep reading to check if you’ve got 1 of the 5 telltale signs you NEED to play hooky from your blog.
Like seedlings planted in the spring, we grow towards the sun during the summer. For bloggers, this means taking some well-deserved time to invest in yourself.
As you know, I’m a big proponent of consistently blogging. Publish the same time and on the same days to get readers to show up. A regular blogging schedule is a page directly out of traditional media’s playbook.
That said, I also believe in vacation time. You need to get away and unplug from email and social media.
Early in my career, one of my bosses made her staff take their vacation time.
Because they were a creative lot. They needed to re-charge so they could continue to be productive and creative.
When I worked at Citibank, employees had to take 2 weeks off together. It may have been a Fed requirement.
The goal wasn’t to improve our work. Rather, it was to see whether employees were taking care of more than their job. (Aka: Was any funny business going on?)
Another boss of mine prided himself on not missing a day of work regardless of how sick he was.
Until I pointed out that when he came to work with a head cold and non-stop drippy nose, his department’s productivity went down since everyone else got sick and stayed home.
Bottom line: Soldiering through doesn’t necessarily improve results.
These lessons apply to bloggers. Time off lets you take care of yourself and get some distance from your work. It helps you see what you’re doing and where you’re going more clearly.
Allowing yourself to go onto a summer schedule, gives you the opportunity to see where there are aspects of your blogging content and routine that can be improved.
Sometimes you’re just too absorbed in the daily details to see what you’re doing to move towards your larger goals.
5 Signs you REALLY need summer blog hours
Here are 5 signs you REALLY need summer blog hours. (Like I needed to tell you?)
- You’re on a blogging merry-go round. You feel you can’t get stop blogging or you’ll loose all of your momentum. You’re the blogging equivalent of the Dunkin Donuts man, “time to write the blog post.”
- You keep re-using the same 3 post ideas. Yikes! I’ve got blank computer screen syndrome and I need to post something, anything!?!?!
- You’ve special projects that never seem to get any time or attention. Whether they’re for you, your boss or your clients, these major efforts need you to focus with your full attention. This is a tall order in today’s always on, plugged-in world.
- You’re spending more and more time blogging (without even realizing it.) It’s like you’re fighting against your creativity. Every word on the screen takes forever.
- You’re constantly worried about the things with which you’re not keeping up. In today’s always connected world, there’s always something else to read, an email to answer, or a new technology or app to learn.
BONUS: You’re just not having fun. You’ve been working hard without tapping the brakes. You don’t even realize that everything is a blog post to you. You need some well-deserved time for yourself.
Actively blogging takes time. It’s not just the act of writing your posts but also the post-writing preparation and promotion.
We’re not suggesting that you become a blog slacker. Rather a consistent, albeit, lower level of publishing is still needed.
Give yourself permission to blog less this summer. This will provide you with the space to do things that matter to you, your boss, your clients and your family and friends.
10 Actionable blogging tips to keep summer blog hours
Here are 10 actionable blogging tips to help you allow yourself some much needed time to do other things. It doesn’t mean closing your blog for the summer!!! Instead, establish summer blog hours.
- Stockpile posts for future use. This blogging tip is a tall order. I know from experience. I do it when I’m going to be on vacation or away at a conference. While some bloggers can write a week’s worth of content in a day. I’m not one of them. Cranking out multiple posts in a day is hard.
- Update older posts. This works well if you cover a niche that changed over time. This way your reworked posts provide fresh, updated content.
- Republish your work published on other entities. Some third party media and blogs allow you to republish your articles on your own site. Take care. Check with the publisher or editor before you do this!!! Remember you promised them original content.
- Re-imagine successful older articles. Use a published post as the jumping off point for a new post. Think in terms of a series. Based on my experience, your articles will perform better if they aren’t titled part A and part B. The benefit is that you’ve got the inspiration and thinking done.
- Interview experts and bloggers in your field. This brings other people’s voices to your blog. It still requires work developing the questions and editing the final piece.
- Invite special guest bloggers. Lisa Barone did this with her blog. She selected people to write about their specialty. It still requires editing and formatting. This has the added benefit of being ego bait. Those involved tend to share the posts.
- Round up other people’s opinions. Arnie Kuenn does this a lot on his regular columns on third party media, such as this CMI article.
- Show off your readers. Gini Dietrich interviewed one of her followers for her Follow Friday posts. Lion’s Brand Studio Blog shows off their customers’ projects. Depending on your blog’s focus, get your audience involved. It can be their comments or photographs.
- Turn other content efforts into blog posts. Lee Odden is the master of this. He blogs about presentations before and after. I do it myself as I did for a CRM conference in Santiago, Chile. It’s easy since you’ve already creating content to extend one slide into a post. (BTW—here are 27 Ways to Reuse Blog Posts for Content Marketing.)
- Create a best of list. Many bloggers do this at the end of the year to fill their editorial calendar during a slow period. It’s also a useful way to collect all of the key resources on your blog in one place.
Some of these summer blog hours tips often require lead time, especially those dependent on other people’s calendars.
An editorial calendar is a must with a thinner publishing schedule.
So if you haven’t planned for summer blog hours in your editorial calendar, don’t sweat it. Start now so that you can act like a NYC shrink and take off the month of August.
Of course, you may need to use some of your streamlined publishing schedule to stockpile future articles.
What’s your key to maintaining summer blog hours?
BTW—If you haven’t guessed it by now, we’re moving to summer blog hours. We’ll be publishing 3 times per week instead of 5.
We’re not alone. So is Copyblogger.
P.S. Here are 99 Free Summer Blog Titles to help inspire you.
Join me at Social Media Marketing World this coming Spring in sunny San Diego, California, where I'll be presenting a session on Blogging.
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