Don’t just throw all your content against the wall and hope something sticks.
To be a successful content creator, you need to be a self-confessed neat freak.
Order and organization need to come somewhat naturally to you.
And if this doesn’t sound like you, well, you’re going to need help.
A key part of running a successful website is following a strategy that’s carefully planned out, considered and structured. The best, most profitable and most well-known blogs and websites never just publish content on a whim—and neither should you.
So if you’re serious about your website and building a long-term content strategy, it’s vital that you’re not only planning and creating your content in advance but also optimizing your blog by scheduling upcoming content in advance as well.
Sure, WordPress does provide the basic ability to schedule posts while you’re creating them, but there’s also a range of nifty plugins that you can download separately. These will let you do more with your scheduling and make it really pay off for you.
But before I get into those scheduling plugins, let’s delve a little more into the benefits of scheduling your upcoming posts in WordPress.
Why Should I Be Scheduling Posts?
Unless the post you’re writing is time-sensitive and needs to be published fast, you should never be hitting “publish” right away on any of your content. Planning, creating and especially scheduling posts in advance gives you greater control of your content strategy and allows you to optimize it for peak reach and engagement.
Scheduling posts for publication in WordPress means you can:
Develop a consistent content publishing schedule
When it comes to your content, consistency is much more important than quantity.
Whether you’re publishing once a week, twice a month or every second day, it’s a good idea to try and develop a routine so that your audience knows what to expect.
Once you’ve developed a routine that your audience has come to rely on, scheduling posts in advance allows you to maintain that routine with minimal effort on your part.
Test peak publishing times
The best time to publish content is different for everyone and depends on your particular audience. Ideally, you want to be pushing content live when your audience is online and most engaged, and that will vary between websites and blogs.
Scheduling content allows you to test and experiment with various days and times to find out when you get the highest engagement, and ongoing testing is key to a good content strategy—because that’s how you keep improving.
Publish for peak traffic numbers
Running on from that, it’s also important that you schedule posts to line up with peak website traffic to ensure you get the most sets of eyes possible on your content.
Web browsing activity is generally at its highest during leisure hours, after the average work day (around 5 p.m – 11 p.m.), and so you should be scheduling posts to suit.
Normal working hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. are also generally pretty busy for the internet, but this audience will usually be focusing on work-related content and news rather than casual browsing. So, make sure you keep that in mind.
Build up a backlog
This is essential to an effective content strategy. Having a backlog of content waiting to be published is good preparation and planning, because you never know when something will come up and you may not have the time (or motivation) to write when you’d intended to.
Using WordPress post schedulers means you can create content when and as you have the time and inspiration to, and you can build up a ready-to-go backlog to fall back on when you’re hit by the dreaded writer’s block.
Make it possible to take a break
One of the biggest benefits of scheduling your posts in advance is that you can take time off from your website without stressing about inactivity.
These days we seem to take work with us everywhere we go—even on vacation—without ever really switching off completely.
Post scheduling allows you to step back and take a break from your responsibilities with relief, knowing that your blog or website will keep publishing and functioning without you having to be there to run it.
Organize and balance your content
Planning your content strategy ahead of time makes it easier to see the whole picture and more effectively analyze your content’s strengths and weaknesses.
With a publication schedule, you’ll be able to spot any areas that your blog or website is particularly light on, isn’t taking advantage of or is focusing too heavily on.
You can easily adjust your schedule to address these issues, giving you a more balanced and organized strategy overall.
WordPress Post Schedulers: 6 Plugins for Smarter Scheduling
Schedule Posts Calendar
There are some really great plugins out there that can improve the way you schedule your posts, and I’m going to start with one of the simplest.
WP Scheduled Posts
WP Scheduled Posts expands upon the previous Schedule Posts Calendar, adding a customizable widget to your dashboard and admin bar that shows a real-time list of upcoming scheduled posts.
It lets you adjust out-of-the-box scheduling features like post type, category, date/time structure and more. This is an especially useful plugin for multi-author websites and blogs.
Publish to Schedule
Perfect for when you’re going away or when you have particular days and times that you publish content without fail, Publish to Schedule completely automates your scheduling to run on your calendar.
You simply configure your specifications and then, whenever you hit “publish,” the post automatically gets added to your schedule with no more than your specified number of posts going out per day.
Editorial Calendar is a fantastic, visual representation of your content calendar that lets you instantly see the whole picture of upcoming posts and when they’re scheduled to go live—remember the importance of that?
This plugin makes it super easy to spot gaps in your content, schedule drafts and rearrange your entire calendar with a seamless drag-and-drop interface. Perfect for blogs that post frequently.
SOUP – Show Off Upcoming Posts
Now this one’s not technically a scheduling plugin, but integrates with your WordPress schedule to show upcoming, unpublished posts to readers on your site.
This means they can benefit from your scheduling too because their interest is piqued with what’s coming up, and better yet, they might plan to come back to your site for it or even subscribe.
SOUP lets you configure the upcoming posts your readers see, too—scheduled posts, drafts or both.
I’m cheating a bit by putting this plugin on the list, as well—Blog2Social is not technically a post scheduling plugin, but instead an automatic scheduling and posting tool for social media that integrates with your WordPress website.
Set it so that, when you publish a post on your site (or when a scheduled post goes out), it’s automatically shared on your social networks at their peak publishing times. You can literally schedule up to one year in advance. Now that’s organization!
Get Scheduling with WordPress
However you choose to go about scheduling your WordPress posts, it’s absolutely vital that you do. Embrace that inner neat freak!
I recommend checking out all the plugins on this list.
Apply a smart combination of them to your website, and they’ll help you better plan and organize your content.
Give your audience what they’re looking for on a regular basis—because ultimately, that’s the key to your success.