How to Plan Your Blog
The basics of blogging cover all the basic essentials, including your writing style, blog category and the content of your blog. Planning your blog can be difficult if you do not know what you want to talk about. It could be extra hard if you do not have the necessary background in blogging. However, knowing what you want to blog about can easily come to you once you start browsing and poking around other blogs. You can pick ideas from those blogs, expound and make them the basis of your blog.
|photo : pixels.com/Andrea Piacquadio|
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#1. You require some forethought.
If you want to plan your posts, content, or updates, you must plan ahead of time. It is not possible to plan, create, and publish your posts all on the same day. That is improvising, not planning. The trick is to get ahead of your workflow and create a buffer so that you have time to plan.
For most content creators, this means sticking to a publication schedule of 3-4 weeks. With that much lead time, you can begin to move more deliberately, creating content that meets a strategic need.
But it all starts with planning ahead of time. When you're creating content on a daily basis, it's difficult to make a plan — and then stick to it. That doesn't mean you can't write a topical blog post every now and then; it just means it's the exception, not the rule.
#2. Develop a content calendar.
You can begin creating your content calendar once you've decided how much lead time you'll give yourself or what type of content cycle you'll use. A content calendar is a tool for scheduling when your content will be published.
|photo : pixels.com/Bich Tran|
If you work in 3-4 week increments, your content calendar should be planned out at least that far in advance. A good content calendar will usually include the following items:
When will the posts be published? (if you have multiple posts a day, you should note this).
Where will posts be published?
Those in charge of posts (writers and editors, for example).
Assets required to complete the post (videos, images, and so on).
The free Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress is my go-to content calendar. It allows you to drag and drop draft posts to the days of the week when you want them to be published, and it shows you the next 2-5 weeks of your publishing schedule at a glance.
#3. The Blogging Categories
Generally, there are several types of blogs. Nevertheless, there are three popular categories of blogs, such as: the organizational, business and personal blogs.
The first category, the organization, uses the power of blogs to communicate either externally with the public or internally within their organizations. This kind of blog has the purpose of facilitation internal communications amongst employees, colleagues and other organizational personnel. In addition, organizational blogs normally publish information that is of interest by the public. In a certain instance, there are organizational blogs that publish seminar schedules, meetings, and announcements for their clients, customers or members.
The business blogs, on the other hand, are for promoting services or products offered by businesses in order to help increase profits, revenue and interest of potential consumers. These kinds of blogs can look for ways to increase their reputation and authority with vendors, customers and partners. They do this by publishing contents that express expertise and knowledge within a specific market portion, niche or industry.
The personal blogs are those that contain contents that are more of a reflection of bloggers’ opinions and thoughts. Normally, they are used to publish articles that voice their points of view on several kinds and varieties of events and topics. Bloggers who publish personal contents usually find pleasure in documenting their everyday lives, stream of consciousness and even their hate to specific events through articles that reflects their moods.
#4. Generate a LOT of ideas.
You can begin to take a more thoughtful and intentional approach to your content topics once you have some lead time. It all starts with a brainstorming session.
Now, just because you come up with an idea doesn't mean it's a good one. The brainstorming process involves making a list of ideas that you can then curate for your content objectives.
In other words, generate a large number of ideas and then select the ones that are most appropriate for your specific business or niche. Consider the following when brainstorming:
- Always keep track of any upcoming holidays or special events in the next content cycle. Holidays are always good for generating relevant post topics.
- Consider your past. Examine your blog post archives to see what was popular a year ago and whether you can generate or choose similar ideas when planning your posts.
- Look for current events that are relevant to your business or niche and see if you can make a connection. Although not every current event or news item warrants its own blog or social media post, they can always be used to spark new and interesting ideas.
- Use tools like Google Trends to see what people are searching for that may be relevant to your niche.
- The best post ideas aren't always the most obvious. Check out Interesting and Non-Obvious Email Uses for ideas.
- Finally, don't miss our post How to Come Up With Content Ideas for even more inspiration.
The longer your running topic list, the easier it will be to plan what content should be posted when. It's simple to add holiday posts to your content calendar. Topical posts should probably be scheduled at the start of your 3-4 week post cycle. But the point is that once you've compiled a list of topics, you can decide where and when to place them.
#5. The Target Audience
Your target audience and blogging style comes hand in hand. The moment you think of creating your own blog, you must first realize what your target audience is; you must know what they want, need and desire to read about. The blog you create and the contents you publish must provide quality and value to the readers in order to be effective in establishing communication and expanding readership.
More so, the kind of blog you want to create essentially creates its own target audience. For instance, an organizational blog is meant for those who are members or clients of a certain organization. Although the target audience may be limited, there is a good chance for consistency with regards to the dialogue you create with your readers and eventually more people would be interested in your blog.
The mentioned personal blogs are not normally designed for social dialogue with a certain target readership of any category and is rather meant to serve as a collection of your musings. These kinds of blogs are best reserved to your close friends and they are your target audience.
If you identify your target audience successfully, your messages that you want everyone to know about will be effectively targeted. Some of the greatest joys of blogging come from the use of your enthusiasm in publishing signification information for a community where there is a free exchange of opinions between the readers and you.
#6. Produce consistent content
If you've made a calendar, brainstormed ideas, and established a content cycle, the next step in planning your posts is to begin the creation process. You can begin writing blog posts or social media content if you have them. You can start producing podcasts or videos if you already have them.
The key to successful content creation is consistency. This means avoiding last-minute heroics and procrastination. If you want to publish a post in the first week of May, make it by mid-April. Here are some pointers for creating consistent content:
It's helpful to estimate how long each piece of content will take to create (how long for a blog, how long for a social media post, and so on) and work backward from there.
Maintain as much consistency as possible with your schedule. When you fall behind, work can begin to pile up, and you may find yourself in a mad dash to keep up with your content calendar. Obviously, this is not the best way to produce your best work.
Create a buffer of evergreen content that you can easily publish in the event of an emergency, if possible. This can help fill any gaps that may arise as a result of unforeseen circumstances.
When planning your posts, don't be afraid to reuse old content. Reviving an old blog post is an excellent way to keep your content current and your website relevant. It's often a good idea to save these refreshes for times when you know your content creation schedule will be hectic.
If you enjoy storytelling, read Storytelling: A Blogger's Guide for more information. Remember to include images: It's a Visual Universe: A How-To Guide for Finding Images for Blog Posts and Newsletters.
#7. Use data to determine when to post.
When planning your monthly posts, the overall goal is to avoid making arbitrary decisions about when to post. In some cases, this will entail using data to determine when to post on each day. After all, your overall goal when planning your posts is to increase the number of people who view each and every one of them.
Sometimes posting where and when those eyes are already looking is the best way to accomplish this. There are two ways to get information about when that might be:
Examine your own analytics data. Even free tools like Google Analytics will usually tell you when users visit your website. You can schedule your most important posts to go live at those times.
When it comes to social media, popular times vary depending on the service, and it's not difficult to find specific data for each platform. However, the general rule of thumb is that posting in the morning before the work rush and in the evening after the work rush is relatively popular.
You can also look for information by topic. Some topics will appeal primarily to those who work from home, while others may appeal to those who spend the majority of their weekends online. Popular times will differ depending on your niche and business.
#8 Schedule your posts in advance.
Once you've determined when your traffic is at its peak, you can more easily plan when to distribute your content. And once you know when your posts should be published, you can focus on ensuring that they are published on time.
By pre-scheduling your posts, WordPress allows you to "set and forget" all of them. Make a plan for the day and time you want to publish your posts. When planning your posts, you should avoid posting on weekends unless your niche specifically calls for it.
Scheduling social media posts may necessitate a different set of tools than scheduling blog posts, particularly if you're using a platform like Instagram. It is definitely worthwhile to spend some time selecting the appropriate tool and platform.
You don't have to publish each blog individually when you schedule your posts (and it's often best to do this in batches), which makes much more efficient and effective use of your time.
#9. As a blogger and writer, Be like a reader.
This is the most important key in the blogging world. Your blog will always be visited by readers if your writing is clear and satisfying, and they will gladly share your articles on various social media platforms.
Keep your plans flexible.
Whatever strategy you devise, it will almost certainly encounter difficulties. That is why it is critical to keep your content plan fluid and dynamic, as well as to plan your posts. That may appear counterintuitive until you consider what your plan is supposed to accomplish.
A blog post plan is intended to help you publish more thoughtfully and intentionally, and thus become more organized. Knowing how to plan your posts will help your content become more effective and efficient, which will benefit your organization.
Do you schedule your blog posts? What tools or tips do you use to make it easier to post to your blog? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!