Never underestimate the content backlog


I (and many other people) frequently recommend that content creators create a backlog of content before they start any content-creating (or curating) endeavors. I’m pretty sure when I say this people think “oh sure, I suppose that would be nice.” What they don’t realize is that I’m recommending it because I’ve suffered through the pain of not having a backlog. At UserVoice I struggled for almost a year with creating great content on a deadline alongside my other responsibilities. Once I created a content backlog, my stress levels dropped and the quality of my content increased significantly.

First and foremost, a backlog allows you creative breathing room. You don’t have to come up with great ideas on a tight deadline, you don’t have to rush a post out the door before it’s as good as it should be, and you don’t have to use filler (ew).

This also means you can focus on new projects as they occur without your content channels drying up. And you know those new projects will come out of left field and demand all of your time for a week or two.

(Backlog also means you can take vacations, which are pretty cool.)

Vacation - Community Manager Appreciation Day ecard

A backlog doesn’t mean a week’s worth of content. In my opinion, you want a month to two months worth of content. Whatever amount of content you think is enough, at least double it. Things come up, and even seasoned content-creation professionals like myself can find themselves with a quiet blog and an anemic Twitter account. There’s no such thing as too much content backlog.

Has your project already started? Well then find a few weeks (it might have to be next month) where you can temporarily pause most of your other responsibilities and focus on creating that backlog. I did this for UserVoice and I’m currently doing this for my musical project, Kicking Tuesday, which I’ve let run a bit dry.

Take the time to build your content backlog. It’s 150% worth it.

Backlog photo courtesy of Leo Reynolds.
Postcard courtesy of UserVoice.