build_and_manage_an_article_reserveSo you’ve decided to build up an article reserve for your site, in an effort to maintain a more consistent posting schedule. How do you do it? Where do you start? What types of articles do you reserve and which do you publish immediately?

In this post I’ll give a few guidelines that should help get your reserve up and running smoothly in no time.

Size of the Reserve

The first and most important question is to decide on the size of your article reserve before you begin building it. It can be very frustrating to slide down the slippery slope of “oh just one more article” and find that you’re not optimizing the distribution of the content you’re producing.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a specific target, you may find that you lose motivation to construct your reserve before you’ve finished, and wind up only half-completing the task.

So how many articles is is enough or too much?

I usually go by the 2-4 week rule. I want to have at least enough content in my reserve to last two weeks of my basic blog schedule, but not more than a month.

If you post 3 times a week, keep 6-12 articles ready to go. If you post everyday, you’ll probably want 15-30 handy.

I find this timeframe to be the sweetspot. If I only have one week’s worth of articles saved, it is all too easy to find that my schedule becomes too hectic to dedicate time to writing for a week, and I burn through the articles quickly.

More than a month, on the other hand, and you’re starting to build up too much content that could be published more quickly and give you better traffic results. If this is the case, and you’re constantly producing more articles than fits your schedule, consider increasing the frequency of your scheduled posts.

Which Articles to Include

When deciding which articles to include there are two aspects to consider.

The first is if the article is time sensitive. If you’re writing on any sort of news-related topic, or even if you’re writing an article in response to a recent article that’s somewhere else in the blogosphere, it’s better to publish the post immediately.

However, I find that for the sites I run, most of the posts I write are not really time sensitive. In this case, I consider the relationship between posts on my site. Sometimes it makes sense to do a related series of posts that are published consecutively, in which case I don’t usually place the article in my reserve.

If neither of these conditions are relevant, then the article is a good candidate for your article reserve. However, I still usually wind up rotating articles through the reserve, and not simply hoarding a preset group of posts. This means that all of the posts I write do get incorporated into the blog relatively quickly, within a few weeks of the time I wrote them.

I hope this helps get you started building a complete article reserve. What other techniques have you found successful managing pre-planned blog content?

If you still haven’t decided if an article reserve is right for you, read more about how to weigh the pros and cons.