How To Maintain Momentum in Blogging

How do you maintain blogging momentum year after year? Use these tips for generating post ideas, repurposing content, and more.

Someone asked me in last week’s eLearning Freelancer Bootcamp Q&A about how I maintain my blogging momentum. I’ve been blogging since late 2006, and I’m still publishing every week. I have published over 1100 posts (about 400 “real” posts plus 700 posts of curated links). That’s a lot of writing. Many people start blogging but struggle to get past the first handful of posts. These are the methods I use to keep blogging consistently, year after year.

How to Maintain Momentum in Blogging. Hands of a woman typing at a laptop late at night.

Consistent publishing schedule

Decide how often you want to publish, and aim to stick to that. One post a month consistently is better than 8 posts one month and then nothing for the next 3 months as you recover. I aim to publish every Tuesday morning, with emails going out either Tuesdays or Wednesdays depending on the exact publishing time.

Block time to write

Along with planning the publishing time, I block time on Thursday mornings to write blog posts. It helps to have a consistent time. I reschedule that time if needed (I’m writing this on a Monday afternoon because I had a migraine last Thursday), but I never cancel that appointment on my calendar.

I recommend blocking the time a few days before the post should go live. That gives you a little more leeway to make time if you’re sick or something else comes up (like it did for this week).

Plan topics in advance

I keep a spreadsheet with a tentative list of topics for each week. If I’m not feeling particularly inspired, it’s easier to start writing when the topic has already been chosen than to have to pick a topic and then start writing.

Although I find it helpful, I don’t strictly hold myself to that schedule. If I get a good idea for a post that I’m more motivated to write about, I move things around and change the schedule.

Create a series of posts

One way to keep the blogging momentum going is to create a series of posts. This might be different aspects of a topic (like my instructional design careers posts) or each part of a complex process in sequence. I have a series of posts following each step of creating a branching scenario (see the bottom of that post for links to the whole series).

A series of posts lets you dive deeply into a particular topic over time, rather than feeling like you have to cram everything into a single monster post. Sometimes, the comments or feedback on an early post in the series will give you direction or inspiration for later posts.

Collect inspiration

I keep a very messy Google Doc with inspiration for posts. In a post several years ago about where I get blog post ideas, I noted my primary sources:

  • Reading
  • Online discussions
  • Questions from readers

All of those sources can give you good questions or ideas. Part of the trick is writing them down or collecting them as you come across those ideas. The running document works well for me, but you might find a tool like Evernote to be easier for collecting those thoughts.

Repurpose content

As I mentioned earlier, this post was inspired by a question during a live Q&A. I talked about several of these points live. It wasn’t written down, but it was recorded, and it’s already fresh in my mind. I have often turned email or social media questions into blog posts. After all, if I have already written a paragraph or two on LinkedIn, that’s a good start on a blog post.

Clark Quinn has gotten several blog posts from recent social media conversations on general learning myths and on combating the learning styles myth. Those are good examples of creating a longer form reflection from something that started in a different context.

I now have a significant number of posts in my archive, so I’m also updating old posts. A lot of the content is evergreen, but I need to clean up broken links, add images, and improve readability.

Repurposing helps you maintain blogging momentum by saving your energy and time. You don’t always have to start from scratch. If you have taken the time to answer a question (especially a question you’ve seen repeatedly), that’s content you can often use.

Presentations and podcasts

I use the recordings of presentations or podcast interviews as blog posts. That’s the most direct repurposing I do. I could go one step further and add transcripts to the blog posts, which might be helpful for folks who would rather read than listen. (If you’d appreciate that, could you let me know with a comment or reply?)

When I plan a presentation or conference session, I often repurpose content. It goes in both directions: I present on topics I have blogged about, and I blog about the specifics of my presentation.

For example, let’s take my session on Streamlining Branching Scenario Planning and Design. I have given this presentation for two groups (with changes):

I’ll also be giving this session again at DevLearn in October.

That presentation drew on several existing blog posts, like 3 Tricks for Working with SMEs on Branching Scenarios and Managing the Complexity of Branching Scenarios. I also wrote some new posts, like Branch and Bottleneck Scenario Structure. That post in particular meant I already had some graphics ready to include in my presentation. So, I got a good topic for a blog post, plus I reused that topic in my presentation. My blog was essentially my first draft for thinking about the presentation.

Summary

With planning, consistency, inspiration, and repurposing, it’s easier to maintain momentum in blogging. It can be a challenge to keep writing all the time. I think this applies to a lot of content creation, not just blogging. If you’re creating a podcast, posting YouTube videos, or even just posting consistently on LinkedIn, these tips may make it easier to maintain momentum.

5 thoughts on “How To Maintain Momentum in Blogging

  1. Christy, Thank you for sharing this blog. Your content is always valuable. I do have one question and maybe I missed the answer when reading your article, but how do I choose your topics? How do you know if they are going to grab your readers’ attention?

    1. Joshua, I didn’t talk about it as much in this post, but what I wrote 5 years ago in this post is still mostly true.
      https://www.christytuckerlearning.com/where-i-get-blog-post-ideas/

      I write about things I’m reading and learning about, or about questions people have. Those questions might be sent to me in an email or part of an online discussion.

      Honestly though, I don’t really know what will grab my readers’ attention. If it’s a question that I have seen asked repeatedly, that’s a pretty good indicator. I did a survey recently to ask people what they would like to learn about, and I’ll use those responses as ideas for future posts. But sometimes I write something that I think will be interesting to folks, but it flops. Sometimes I dash off something quick that I think will be mediocre, but takes off and gets shared a bunch.

      I try to write things that are interesting to me, or that help me with my own reflective learning. That often works; others in the field are interested in the same things as me. Plus, even if a post gets minimal traffic, I still learn something (or deepen my understanding of a topic by writing about it).

      I don’t worry tons about SEO. I try to publish consistently every Tuesday, and I try to offer helpful content. I have been doing a little bit of SEO in the last year (looking at post title length, internal links, key phrases, etc.). But mostly, I’m here for the long haul, not quick SEO wins. It isn’t necessarily important that a post title grab people’s attention and get lots of views. It’s fun when it happens, but my business model is more about steady traffic and referrals, not spikes of high traffic.

  2. As I regularly mention, thoughts that end up in presentations and books tend to show up on my blog first. It’s a two way street but also looking for something new to blog about is a great instigator of learning!

    1. I didn’t include it here, but in that Q&A session, we talked about using what you’re learning as the topics for posts. Folks don’t have to be “thought leaders” or whatever to have something valuable to say. Even people who are fairly new to the field can contribute something meaningful just by writing about what they’re learning about. That also fits well with the learning field, since this is a field where we’re always learning something new (and we tend to be people who enjoy that continuous learning).

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