How to Take Time Off as an Online Publisher
It’s the height of the summer and the combination of being hot and having bored, listless kids is enough to make anyone ready for some time off. This week’s also the great American summer picnic holiday too: Independence Day (if you’re reading this retroactively, insert the next popular holiday). Everyone’s ready for a visit to the beach, a concert in the park, a ballgame and fireworks.
Problem is, if you’re an online publisher you might be thinking that you can’t possibly take any time off because there’s breaking news, there are topics that can drive traffic to your site, heck, Google Trends could reveal hints of the Next Big Topic! How could you possibly afford to be offline for days on end when the world keeps turning and life keeps moving forward?
Yeah, there’s a certain comfort in being a so-called workaholic, but while you’re sitting in front of your computer or laptop 24×7 the rest of your life is proceeding apace too. Your spouse or partner is twiddling their thumbs, and the kids are hoping to play. Below, I’ll highlight some strategies that online publishers can use to step away and unplug without sacrificing growth.
Finding Comfort In Unplugging
Go on, there’s a power switch on your computer. Use it. Become familiar with it. And that goes double for your mobile phone because it’s like a leech pulling your attention away from your family and friends. But just because you’re unplugging doesn’t mean your site needs to freeze or stop publishing lively new content!
In fact, content management systems like WordPress have excellent schedulers that let you write and queue up articles days or even weeks in advance. You can do the same with Twitter, YouTube and even Facebook (business pages, at least), all without paying a dime. This means that there’s the challenge of working ahead, sure, but that evergreen content you have that’s always popular with your readers? Could be a great time to have a “best of week” and bump all those valuable articles back to the fore.
This isn’t just a theoretical discussion either, because I’m on holiday this week at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and faced the exact same challenge both with my AskDaveTaylor site and my YouTube channel. By the time I’d left for this trip, however, I had already recorded and queued up two weeks worth of videos and a week’s worth of articles that are still trickling out morning by morning.
Start Using An Editorial Calendar (Seriously)
I don’t use an editorial calendar by the nature of the content I produce, but I am still very aware of the seasonality of the tech and consumer electronics world. Coming up very soon we’ll be starting to push out Back to College tech stories, for example, and it’s never too soon to start publishing content about Christmas shopping, believe it or not.
Right now, since it’s summer and Independence Day, those are prime topics to write about, so for July 4, AskDaveTaylor takes a break from the usual tech topics and will have an article about the history of the American Revolutionary War. Why not? Certainly thematic content is always excellent and more likely to be shared and pick up some social media juice along the way.
If you do have a more formal editorial calendar with assigned topics each week or month, that can make working ahead even easier. If you know what’s supposed to be published in a few weeks, it’s far easier to hire out or come up with that content, right?
Wrapping it all up
Finally, remember you can relax too. Even if your site sees a bit of a dip in traffic and revenue while you’re on holiday, it’s something you can easily recover from when you get back to the office. And isn’t a nice tan and a chance to enjoy your family – and your success – worth it?
As for me, the Lake beckons, I’ve got a great new thriller to read, my teen daughter is ready for some frisbee and there are burgers and corn on the cob ready to cook up for lunch, so I’m outta here…
Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since it was known as the ARPAnet and has decades of experience as an independent online publisher. Dave owns multiple online businesses and websites. You can check out his site AskDaveTaylor.com or find him on social media as @DaveTaylor to learn more about how he sees emerging technology.