Plan Your Social Media Messaging (aka Dog Wags Tail)

Blogging and creating material for your social media can either control you or you can control it. There is no deep spiritual application on this issue. It is simply effective time management and discipline.

Manage it, or it will manage you.

It’s like a student who stays up all night to study before a big test because they were at the beach playing volleyball with friends the previous day.

No one feels sorry for him when he shows up blurry-eyed the next morning.

But I have something to confess. I’ve taken this purely enjoyable process of writing for this agency blog and turned it into a death-march of obsessive-compulsive behavior.

You see, I’ve already got topics and notes for blog posts every week through October.

That’s October 2017 (next year).

For Pete’s sake, 2017.

The weird part is I don’t decide what shirt to wear until the morning each day or decide what to have for lunch hours in advance.

It’s this one thing. Okay, maybe there are a few other things.

There is something about the regular commitment of posting blogs that turns me into a crazy person. The others in the agency laugh at me. Steve expresses concern.

I am going to try and justify my behavior today in an attempt to turn a borderline personality disorder into a trait to be admired and revered.

Good luck on that one Bunky. This is just weird.

Personal Justification #1: Always one to look for the easy way out, the thought of having to be creative and pithy on one or two days notice is frightening to me. Planning is my defense mechanism.

Personal Justification #2: My mother’s words about “not waiting until the last minute to do your school work,” still ring in my ears. If I don’t plan my blogging, she’ll know. She’ll know.

Personal Justification #3: Since I know most other people don’t plan their blogs to the extent I do, it makes me feel superior. (In reality, I am quite proud of my humility.)

Okay, enough of this.

You need to treat your blogging and content for social media like any professional media organization plans their editorial calendar. Here’s how to make blogging and social media content easier: (and even enjoyable)

Introductory Note – You are never off-duty. Blog vacations are for people treating their platform as an avocation. If you are serious about being a professional author and blogger, you are always on-duty. Planning ahead will allow you to disengage for a week here and there and not make it look like you disappeared. If you actually do disappear, so does your readership.

Step One – have a clear idea of your message platform and your target audience. NOTE: “Anything that comes to mind” is not a message platform and “Everyone” is not an audience. If you write anything to everyone you will reach no one with nothing. (Unless you are a famous person then we are all interested in what color shoes you are wearing today)

Step Two – make a calendar with dates you need to have content for distribution. Spreadsheets are helpful with columns:


Notes About Date

Message Topic

Deadline to Complete

Date Completed

Other notes

The best system is one you use. So find the best tools for you.

Step Three – identify those dates connected to a holiday, event, anniversary or something that will give direction to your material. For Christians, you need to do something for Easter and Christmas, so there’s two. There are also the other holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc., that can be a starting point for something. Make a note in the calendar to give you a framework to create. Creativity flourishes inside a fence.

Step Four – Depending on your primary message and audience, note those dates and topics needing to be addressed. For instance, if you are writing about issues related to cancer, you need to have material prepared for Cancer Awareness Week, various events related to it and more. The point here is some material “writes itself” when there is an obvious reason and purpose.

Step Five – Discipline yourself to work ahead and regularly. Do something little every day for 10 minutes, like journaling. If you plan and work ahead, you will sincerely enjoy the process of creating content for your audience.

But take my advice with a grain of salt as this is coming from someone who already knows what he will write about for the October 31, 2017 blog post.


Leave a Comment

A Day in an Editor’s Brain

How’s that for a terrifying blog title? Okay, so we won’t spend a whole day there. But as I pondered how to give you a glimpse into what freelance editors do, it occurred to me that the easiest, and best, method would be to just let you live in this …

Read More

What an Editor Does: Peeling Back the Layers

Okay, as we launch into the next few weeks of looking at what editors do, here are a few basics to remember: 1. We are, for the purposes of this blog, talking about Freelance Editors. Not show who work at publishing houses. 2. Editors are, in essence, coaches. They won’t …

Read More

The Worst Proofreading Error of All-Time

Take a close look at the picture above. Read it out loud. The word “not” is missing. As in “Thou shalt ___ commit adultery.” It is from an edition of the Bible published in 1631, now affectionately known as “The Sinners Bible” or “The Wicked Bible.”  Adulterers of the realm …

Read More

Details, Details (Do They Matter?)

I was chatting with a reader the other day who told me about an advertisement she’d received about a new book. She said, “I read the sample, but then the author said that Black-eyed Susans bloomed in May, but they don’t bloom until August. I didn’t buy the book.” “Did you …

Read More

Proofreading: Tips and Tricks

Since I have regularly displayed my lack of proofreading skills in past blog posts I thought it might be appropriate to look at some ways we can effectively proof our work. At every conference I’ve ever attended there is at least one person’s proposal, pitch page, or sample chapter that …

Read More

What an Editor Does, Phase 2

Next week, I promise, we’ll jump into the nuts and bolts of editing. But today I want to talk about what editors don’t do. Why do I bring these things up? Because I’ve encountered each and every one of them as a freelance editor. I’ve had clients say, “While you’re …

Read More

What An Editor Does –Phase 1

As we saw from the comments last week, editors have many tasks. As do copyeditors and proofreaders, but for the next few blogs we’re focusing on editors. I’ve been an editor for over 35 years, both in-house and freelance. And I’ve worked with all categories of books except Children’s books …

Read More

What Does an Editor Do?

When I tell people I’m an editor, I get some interesting comments… “Wow, you must really know how to spell great!” “So, what, you fix commas and stuff?” “An editor, huh? Don’t you get tired of rewriting other people’s stuff?” “Don’t you get tired of reading?” “Wow, so you get …

Read More