In the second of a four part series, we continue the theme of Planning for 2021. Today I will take a look at site content planning, including why you should do it and how to go about it. If you missed last week’s post on Deadlines and Dead Certs, I recommend you click through and give that a read too. Without further ado however, let’s take a look at site content planning …
What is a Site Content Plan?
Quite simply, it’s a plan of what you intend to publish on your author platform. For the purpose of this post, I will mainly be talking about your blog post plan but site content plans can also include pages, eBooks, case studies, podcasts, videos etc.
Some people prefer to just wing it and post whatever comes into their heads, whenever that happens to be. Although this works for some, it is not recommended (I’ll tell you about the reasons for this below). Having a fully formulated plan that you can put into action during the year saves you time and stress.
Why Should You Have a Site Content Plan?
Google likes websites to have fresh, new content and sites that are stagnating are seen in a negative light as the algorithm sees them as neglected. Therefore, publishing content on a consistent basis is far better than publishing in a random, ad hoc manner.
Having a plan is also much better for you as a site owner, as it means you don’t have to scratch around in a last minute mad panic trying to think what you’re going to blog about. You can work out when you plan to publish posts and what you are going to write about on those days. A plan keeps you organised and accountable.
Another good reason to have a plan is that it can give you a lot of insight into your content. By planning out your content you can ensure that you post seasonal content in plenty of time for the appropriate season, ensure that you are mixing content up so it’s not always the same type or on the same subject, and so you’re not tirelessly searching for new topics to write about. All the hard work is done in advance.
Some people prefer to plan weekly, some monthly and some annually. The importance here is to ensure that you do plan. That is the most crucial part. We will look below at how you should plan and, as a result, will consider the timeframe that is best to content plan for.
How Do You Plan Your Strategy?
First of all, figure out when you are going to post content on your site.
If you’re an established blogger, you will probably already have a publishing schedule. However, if you’re new to the blogging game, think about how often you can realistically (this is the crucial part) be able to blog. You need to be consistent so make sure you create a schedule that will work for you.
Personally, my own blog is a bit of a strange one as I run three blogs under one site:
- I have my daily journal where I post daily. The on-site blog is about three weeks behind real time but in real time I am on day 152 and in all that time have only missed a couple of days when life went very pear-shaped. The on site journal has published every single day without fail.
- I have the Planning for Writers blog where I blog weekly (always on a Monday).
- Finally, I have a general blog which is a little more inconsistent. I always publish a book review post on the first Wednesday of the month and usually a random post on the third Wednesday of the month but I do also sometimes publish other posts on the intervening Wednesdays.
- I also post a writing prompt weekly on Saturdays which are technically blog posts but I treat those as separate.
The key is consistency, so you need to be able to commit to whatever schedule you decide to go with. As yet, I’ve not missed any post that’s been on my schedule, so I know my schedule works for me (it won’t work for everyone). I am also very aware that I couldn’t publish any more frequently and therefore, I won’t be adding to the tally.
You then need to consider what you are going to blog about.
I’d recommend setting time aside to have a really big brainstorm about the topics that you want to blog about in your niche. Think about overarching subjects and then break them down into smaller topics. Consider building yourself a mind map or spider diagram of your ideas so you can see what content you have. There are plenty of tools out there to help you do this digitally if you prefer. I am a pen and paper girl when it comes to planning so can’t recommend any particular tools but if you know of any tried and tested tools, please drop a note of them in the comments.
When considering what you want to write about, do some research. You should know what the target audience for your niche is, so consider what content they need to resolve a problem, or need assistance with. A good tip is to join Facebook groups where your target audience hang out and find out what the trending topics are, what do they need help with etc. Those are the type of posts that are likely to gain you the most traction.
Also, do your keyword research for topics you have identified. This is not only useful for the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of your posts, but will also give you further ideas for posts that you may not have considered previously.
The final piece of the puzzle is to create your content calendar.
As I said above, you can do this on a weekly, monthly or annual basis but I’d recommend planning at least a month in advance. That way, you have plenty of time for deadlines and you will always feel in control. Planning a whole year in advance could seem like too daunting a challenge for some people, and I totally get that, so work out what’s best for you.
Personally, I normally plan month by month but I am hoping to find time this month to look at the bigger picture for 2021 and be much more organised. We’ll see how that goes!
How you create the calendar is also very much a personal choice. Some people prefer digital methods, some prefer a wall chart, some a diary or other notebook inspired planner, and some prefer printable templates you can find online. Personally, I have a paper diary for my plan though I use a ruled notebook for doing all the jotting down of ideas etc. before I transpose those into a proper plan in the diary.
Planning for 2021 (Part II – Site Content Planning) Summary
In summary, planning your content is key. It does take time but it is time well spent as it can save you time and stress in the future. Having deadlines and a comprehensive idea of the topic you will be blogging about gives you peace of mind as well as accountability.
How is your planning for 2021 going? Have you started? Have you organised your own blog and site content planning? Do you think planning for the year is an important task or do you prefer to wing it? Do let me know how organised you are in the comments.