I have a confession to make… Last week I deleted 490 draft blog posts. They were just sitting there waiting for the rainy day that meant I'd turn them into a full, publishable piece of content that will connect and resonate with you my dear reader. Sadly it wasn't to be. I've published just under 700 blog posts in the last 4 years, and I still had 2/3rds waiting to be published!
Clearly I had a very drafty blog!
I wasn't using drafts to get ahead in blogging, I was using them to empty my mind. That's not what drafts are meant for! I deleted them all. Every single last one of them. I'll make another confession and say that it hurt. All of those half-done ideas waiting to be fully realised… I'd let them down; they were never going to be.
This post is about using your drafts section to your advantage, so that you can get ahead of the game. There are rules though:
- If a draft doesn't become a post within 90 days it must be deleted
- If an idea doesn't have a rough headline it cannot be a draft
- If an idea isn't bursting to get onto the page, it's not ready and shouldn't be a draft.
Now that you have the draft post rules, let's see how you can use draft posts to build out your editorial calendar and not get in a mess with your blog's draft section.
Use Drafts to Work on Your Next Blog Post (or Two)
The most obvious way to use drafts is of course to work on your current blog post until it is ready to publish.
But don’t just stop there. If you know you have a busy day tomorrow or later on in the week, go ahead and give yourself a head start by creating a draft and working on it here and there as you can fit it in your busy day. You’ll be glad you did when it comes time to wrap up that particular post.
You'll find that blogging this way can free up a lot of your time and energy.
Use Draft Blog Posts to Plan Out Your Week
You can also use drafts to plan out your blogging for the week. Let’s say you want to post 5 times per week. Come up with 5 topics and create a draft for each. Then start working on them, making sure you wrap up and publish at least one of the posts on each of your publishing days.
Not only will this keep you on track and show you at a glance what you’ll be blogging about this week, it also allows you to work on multiple posts throughout the week, giving you options when you get stuck on writing one post.
This is also a great way to complete the 30 day blogging challenge. On day one I send the participants to a post with 30 days of prompts that can be adapted to their niche. These could be popped into drafts and then a little sparkle added to them as and when they were needed. I need to find a way to make this a WP Plugin :). I'd love for bloggers to be able to import 30 draft ideas and adapt them.
Use Drafts as A Way of Storing Blog Post Ideas
This is the most dangerous way of using your drafts section, and it's how I managed to accrue 490 potential posts.
Use drafts as the storage for ideas for future blog posts. Set up a category and call it “draft ideas”. When you get an idea for a blog post, go ahead and create a draft post of that idea. Come up with a rough headline and make a quick note of what your blog post will be about, and tick the “draft ideas” category. If you’ve got a little more time, go ahead and write a quick outline for the post. Remember to save it as a draft.
Do this anytime you come up with an idea and save them for later. Then whenever you need something to blog about, browse through your draft ideas category and pick one of these. The idea is there and you may even have done some of the writing already. These drafts make for fast blog posts and are just the thing when you’re suffering from writers block.
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