On the flip side when I plan out my content in advance it's actually much easier and less stressful. In fact planning your blog content has the following advantages
- Keeps you on track. The plan for your blog content should map back to your blog goals. By putting together a plan you can track the progress you're making towards your goals.
- Gives you something to refer back to. When I plot out the topics I'm going to be writing on and my related post ideas I can prioritize which ones I'll work on first and when they need to be completed.
- Improves the quality of your content. I've found when I plan out several weeks worth of content, I don't have to struggle to come up with content or scramble to create it. This leaves me more time to outline, write and tweak my posts. I've also found myself writing longer, more detailed and engaging posts when I don't feel like I'm pressed for time.
- Helps you plan for vacations and holidays. When I plan out my content I can make sure I have posts going live on schedule. This is helpful when I'm traveling for work, on vacation or sick. I can also plan and prepare seasonal content without having to create it at the last minute and possibly miss out on additional traffic.
- Lets you see the variety of your content and provide the type of content your audience wants. I've realized that in my first year of blogging, the majority of the blog posts I did were wash day posts for my hair. They weren't my more popular posts either, my infographic and tip posts were, but I didn't do as many of them. If I had been planning my content I would have seen that my content wasn't varied and also wasn't what my audience wanted.
Overall it saves time. Despite knowing and seeing these benefits I have to admit that I'll typically plan one month and not plan the next three. I'm finding that it really comes down to me being disciplined and creating a plan that is attainable for me.
So, how do you plan blog content? By creating an editorial calendar.
To create an editorial calendar the first thing you'll need is a calendar or content management system. I'm blogging on a budget so I don't use a content management system as they come with a monthly fee. Instead I use Google Calendar because it's free, easy to use and easy to access. Some other options for an editorial calendar include
- Calendar printables
- WordPress Editorial Calendar (if you're on the WordPress platform there's the)
The editorial calendarBefore filling out the calendar it can be helpful to reflect on the following
- The focus of your blog
- Your blog mission statement
- Your blog goals
- Your list of blog categories
- How often you want to post
- Your social media selections
- Any special holidays or seasons you want to cover
- The types of content you want want to provide
- Written posts
Thinking through all of these things will help you lay out your plan. Now it's time to create the calendar. When I plan I
- Plot my categories against my weekly blog posting schedule
- List out a topic within each category
- Determine the type of content for that topic. The type of content I provide on my blog is usually a written post, infographic, tip, video or some combination of the four
You can see in the picture of my Google Calendar I color code my categories which correspond to the colors I use on my site. As you can see from this incomplete calendar I still struggle with being consistent with my planning and getting it down on paper. But when I do it, I find it to be very helpful and I create my best content.
Content promotionThe planning doesn't stop with creating the content. Next is a promotion plan. This is where your selected social media sites come into play. You don't want to spend all that time creating your content and then have no one read it. Planning your promotion also helps you stay consistent. It's helps keep your followers engaged and can help create consistent traffic to your blog.
Here's a promo schedule I put together for my blog (though I don't always follow it). The schedule is also reflected in the calendar image for my May content.
How do you plan your blog content?