Sunday night’s Blogchat centered on an interesting way to boost productivity in 2013: the use of “topic buckets” as you plan out your blog.
As Blogchat creator Mack Collier explains, the first step involves picking three or four topics you want to write about. (I have a few more than that here, so I wind up narrowing it down to a few core topics and then allowing for a “wild card day” that ends up being a catch-all for the other topics that might not be usable every week.)
So what does looking at your blog plan as “topic buckets” do for you?
Let’s say that you decide you’re going to focus on three topics for your blog. I’ll choose three of my common topics: faith, TV and blogging. So you have three buckets, representing three topics and, ideally, three days of the week that you’ll publish. You can write a post on faith and schedule it in advance: you’ve filled that bucket. You can then either write a post about one of the other two topics or write another faith post and put it in the following week’s bucket. It’s the same with the other topics: you don’t have to write the posts in the order they’ll publish. Write what’s on your mind, but use the bucket concept as “placeholders” for your content so you can visualize how far ahead of schedule you can get and what is still left to do to remain on schedule.
In my case, my Saturdays and Sundays each have a bucket for the weekly meme I post. But I can write ahead on those and fill several weeks’ buckets in advance.
You don’t necessarily have to lock a specific topic to a specific day, but I’m trying to work towards that so I can have a little more focus in the behind-the-scenes planning. I know what my next topic should be, but I allow myself enough flexibility that I can switch a topic if I need to.
At the moment, I’m thinking Tuesday will be grammar day, so I’ve already got three grammar-related posts either written or almost written. That’s three weeks of buckets almost taken care of.
Because I’m using an editorial calendar for my blog, the bucket concept works well for me; I can just as easily see it on the calendar as filling a day rather than filling a bucket. It’s up to you how you choose to visualize it, but the “topic bucket” concept is an easy way to picture what you’re trying to do.
Is it something you’d try for your blogging goals in 2013? Or do you have a better way to visualize how your post strategy?
I have to do this. I am still trying to figure out which is the best software to write and keep my posts organized for all three sites. I need many buckets.
The thing I hate most about having a blog is the nagging feeling of "having to" write a post. I am not at my best when I feel like I should be posting something just to, well, post something. This might go some ways to alleviate that...
@msalakka I agree completely. I try to post something every day, but on days when I genuinely have nothing, I just don't post...that bugs me, too, but not as much as posting something I know isn't really ready just because I feel some imaginary deadline looming.
The grammar list of redundant phrases that I posted Tuesday was written as one of three posts. The other two are already scheduled. One is completely written, the other has a little more tweaking to go. But I knew I had two or three posts in my head on that subject, so I figured I would go ahead and fill those "buckets" while I could. So I wind up with three weeks’ worth of posts (on one day in one topic) nearly at once. The bucket idea is at least attractive in that it gives you "permission" to write ahead on one topic when you don't have something ready to go for the "next" one.