Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cluster Posting for Authors

One of the biggest complaints I hear from authors is that blogging and social media are a chore. Time is always a problem, and balancing the requirement of writing with other things can leave an author frustrated and scrambling from one thing to the next.

I write a lot of blog posts and do a fair amount of social media, but I’ve found some tricks. One of them is cluster posting. I’m doing it right now as I add posts to this blog, in fact. When Lisa asked if I’d be interested in joining the team, I readily accepted. What could be better than hanging out with other writers and talking shop? But my schedule is a little nuts. That’s where cluster posting comes in.

Got a Lot of Blogging to Do?

I’m a blogger by trade so cluster posting also helps me get more work done for my clients. (More work equals more money. Usually.) More than that, however, cluster posting helps me focus and feel less stressed. When I run from Facebook to Twitter to trying to do one client’s posts, then another, then my own… it can get a little overwhelming. When I’m feeling that way, I rarely write the kind of posts I want to write. But when I’m on a roll, I can write quicker and with more clarity. That’s the idea behind cluster posting.

I also use this technique when I have to do a series of articles for a client. It helps me write quicker and come up with ideas at the same time.

How Do You Cluster Post?

Cluster posting is a writing technique that helps build on one idea to create several other ideas. Start with one keyword item, and then think of a long-tail keyword next. For instance, “make money blogging” might be a keyword, but “make money blogging for small business startups” is a long-tail keyword.

Once you start with that first idea, you’ll naturally think of other things that don’t fall into the post you’re writing about but are worth writing up at a later time. Except that the “later time” is right after you finish the first post.

In the above example, if I write about “make money blogging for small business startups” I might think of “how to diversify your client base beyond business startups” as a write. When I finish the first post, I’ll make notes for the second and then write it.

Expanding on Ideas

If you don’t naturally think of another idea (which is rare), try looking for areas where you can expand on what you’ve just written. For example, if you use a term in one post, use another post to dig deeper and define the term. If you use a particular example to reinforce your point, write another post giving more details on that example.

The best way to keep track of all this is to keep one file or notebook that you continually go back to before you create your posts. When you write one post, think about how you can quickly incorporate another idea before you move on to a different activity.

Advantages of Cluster Posting

By far the biggest advantage in working this way is that you will be able to maximum your time. Instead of logging on to one blog, writing up a post and then logging off, you write several posts and then put them up when you have a block of them. This saves time logging on and off and also allows your creative side to pump out work. With this method, you don’t need to stop and start again.

For authors, this is especially important. You have to meet other deadlines, so you don’t have time to write one promotional post here, another guest post there, etc. By blocking off time to do it in chunks, you’ll be more productive and write more original blog posts. This will help you as you promote your books and your writing.

Cluster Posting and SEO

This technique also helps with SEO. By drilling down to the long-tail keywords you’ll get more search engine juice for your posts than if you’d just covered a topic in broader terms. You’ll have a better chance of reaching readers using their specific search engine terms than if you had limited yourself to just one general post. 


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Cherie Burbach has written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, and more. Visit her website, cherieburbach.com. 
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12 comments:

  1. I found too that just doing a lot of blog posts at one time, and posting them on a schedule, frees me up from the anxiety and allows me to focus more fully on other projects I have going. Great post, Cherie!

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    1. I think you'll like cluster posting. Let me know how it goes.

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  2. I have also found that when a I write a variety of blog posts at one time and get them scheduled, I have less anxiety to have that monkey off my back and can focus more on the other projects when I turn to them.

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  3. I had never heard of cluster posting. This is wonderful! Thanks for teaching me something, Cherie--can't wait to put it to use!

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  4. This is information I needed today! Thanks so much for this post. I schedule tweets with Hootsuite, but this idea will really help me.

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  5. Terrific tips, Cherie! I always learn so much from you.

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  6. Great tips, Cherie! I always learn so much from you!

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  7. Okay, I just finished writing a blog then came here to read. I'm going back to write more blogs. HUH? I really need to write my next one for here. ;)

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