I don’t claim to be a blogging expert… in fact, there are MANY parts of blogging that don’t do well… or do at all ;-) So please let me preface this blog post by saying that I know there are many areas with my blogging that need improvement. I am not going to talk about SEO or blog design, etc. because I am not good at those things. I need to improve there for sure! Haha!
My goal for this blog post is to simply share the things I’ve implemented (some very recently) with my blogging schedule which have helped me to blog more quickly, more frequently, and they’ve helped me to dread blogging less ;-)
I don’t know about you, but blogging has always been a HUGE time commitment for me! Blogging can take hours, or even days, out of a workweek. With the randomness of our shooting, editing, and meeting schedules, as photographers, we are always grasping at anything that can help cut down on what can sometimes be an overwhelming part of our businesses: blogging!
Today, I’m sharing 5 Blogging Tips that have helped me blog more frequently, spend less time doing it, and feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders…
1. Decide on your blogging days and set aside blog writing time
One thing I’ve learned is that consistency is key. If you’re blogging on a Monday, then 2 weeks later on a Thursday, then again on the next day, then 3 weeks go by before you blog again, people will be confused. They won’t know what to expect from you, and therefore they will be less likely to keep coming back to your blog. I recommend deciding on specific days of the week that you want to have a blog posted. You could choose once a week on Mondays or maybe you choose to blog every Monday-Friday (more power to you!), or maybe you decide to blog twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is what I’ve chosen to do.
I decided I wanted to blog consistently twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, plus on every first Friday of the month for a #FridayIntroduction ;-) I chose twice a week because I felt that that was pretty manageable, yet I knew I would be challenged (in a good way). I also specifically chose Tuesday and Thursday to give myself plenty of time to prep wedding blogs from the previous Saturday. I am proud to say that with the exception of one time, I have been able to stick with that consistent schedule for several months now… even through busy wedding season and multiple out of town trips!
Once you’ve decided on the days you want your blogs to go live, you then need to actually set some time aside to write/prep the blogs. I highly recommend that you plan a blogging DAY… a day where you set aside several hours just dedicated to blogging. By knocking several out all at once, you will ultimately save time because you stay in the rhythm of blogging. Studies have shown that we are more productive when we have longer blocks of time dedicated to something than when we keep having distractions/breaks thrown in.
Personally, I will set aside about 3-5 hours straight every week or two just dedicated to blogging. I typically knock out 2-3 blog posts in that timeframe.
2. Plan your topics in advance
At the end of each month, start planning out your blog topics for the following month based on your chosen blogging schedule (i.e. Tuesdays and Thursdays). The way I thought through my topics was:
Two days a week times 4 weeks is 8 blogs a month.
Knowing that about 3 of those 8 will be wedding blogs and about 3 of the remaining 5 will be engagement sessions/bridal sessions, I know that I will need about 2 non-photoshoot blogs planned for the month. So, for example, this blog is one of my 2 non-photoshoot blogs planned for this month.
When I know that I need to come up with 2 blog topics that are just strictly “helpful” type blogs, it’s amazing how easy it is to come up with ideas without feeling overwhelmed! Sitting down with pen and paper and my calendar and actually planning it out really helped make it less daunting for me. There is nothing more stressful (for me, anyway) than feeling the pressure to come up with a topic, write it, and publish the blog all at once, all on the same day… which brings me to my next tip!
3. Write your blog posts in advance
In addition to planning your blog topics in advance, it is important to actually put your blog together/write your blog posts in advance as well.
This has been THE change that has been the most instrumental in taking the stress out of blogging for me. I know it’s tough (it gets easier with time, I promise!) but make sure you plan for blogging time at least 1-2 days in advance of the blog going live. Or even better, write your blogs several days, a week, or even a month in advance! I typically average the 2 days to 1 week in advance timeframe. This blog, for example, is currently being written a week before it goes live :)
“But Erin, I can’t write my wedding blogs or engagement blogs before they happen.”
True. But you can prep and write your wedding blog on Tuesday or Wednesday with plans to post it on Thursday. That’s what I’ve been doing and it’s been working wonderfully! Again, the key is to just make sure you’re putting it together at least a day in advance to keep the stress and feeling of urgency to a minimum. I used to randomly blog a wedding just whenever I could and often posted it late in the day or evening the same day I wrote it. It was extremely stressful and I believe that less people saw the blogs as a result of the late-in-the-day posting.
Instead, write/prep your wedding blog a day or two in advance. You can then schedule it to go live on the day and time you want! I am currently writing this blog on Friday, June 23rd and I will be scheduling it to go live on Thursday, June 29th at about 5am. Ta-da!
4. Schedule out your blog posts on a calendar
I have a color coded category on my google calendar that I use to mark my blog days and what my blog topic will be. This helps me see what I have coming up at a glance. It also helps me to see where I still don’t have a blog topic for a certain date which encourages me to brainstorm for ideas.
And the great thing about having my blog topics scheduled out on my calendar is that I can adjust when I’m posting certain blogs with a few quick drags and drops of my mouse! I actually had another blog scheduled for today, but last week, this idea came to my mind for a blog post and I wanted to get it posted sooner rather than later. So I swapped that blog post for next week instead. And, what do you know?! That means that I now have next week’s blog already written and ready to go! Ahh! Can’t you just feel the weight being lifted?! It’s wonderful!
5. Edit your blog photos soon after the wedding/photoshoot
I’ve gotten into the schedule of always culling my weddings/photoshoots within 2 days and editing the photos I want to feature on the blog right after that. The key here is to schedule time for this. I know it’s hard to schedule this time and stick to it, but just think of it as a photoshoot with a client. When you schedule a shoot with a client, you put it on your calendar, you have a set time, and you go do it. It’s non-negotiable. I now think of my culling/editing/blog prep time as non-negotiable time that I set aside that I have to get done on X day.
By culling your shoot/wedding and getting your blog images edited within 48 hours, you will feel so accomplished! Haha! Trust me. I know from over 10 years in this industry how much this helps! ;-)
Next, I save the edited blog photos before sending my Lightroom catalog off to my amazing photo editor (I’ll have to blog on that topic another day: How hiring an editor was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business <3)
Doing things this way basically kills 3 birds with 1 stone:
A.) I get reference photos edited for my editor
B.) I get the catalog sent to my editor quickly within a few days of the wedding/shoot
C.) My blog photos are ready for me right off the bat, thus allowing me to post the blog quickly
Oh and I’m pretty sure your clients will love you for getting their blog posted within a week of their wedding! ;-) Trust me, the feeling of accomplishment, making your clients happy, and the weight lifted off of your shoulders when you get that blog posted within a week is life changing! I wish I had been doing this all along!!
BONUS TIP: Tag the vendors
If you’re a wedding photographer, make sure you get a vendor list from your brides before their wedding day. You can then use this list to add to the end of your blog post and to tag the other vendors when you post your blog on Facebook and Instagram! By tagging them, you are increasing the number of people who will see your blog/increasing the chances of your blog being shared AND you’re supporting other vendors in the process by sharing their business with your followers! Win win! :-D
So if I had to sum up the biggest overarching tip of this post, it would simply be:
You have to prioritize blogging time. That is ultimately what it comes down to. If you don’t prioritize it, then these tips won’t really work ;-) There is no magical blogging button that gets it all done for you without any effort on your part, unfortunately. BUT, at the very least, we can implement difference systems to help make the blogging process less daunting.
I hope this has been helpful and that you’ve gotten a few new tips/ideas to help you stay consistent with your blogging! If you have any questions or additional tips, leave them in the comments below and I’d love to chat!