As a blogger, creating a great blog content plan is essential if you want to grow your audience. And they aren’t just for bloggers, content plans are a great tool for influencers that want to keep their social channels consistent. As many bloggers will attest to, growing an organic following is about more than just what you’ve written. The real key to greater blogging success is planning.
Why Do I Need a Blog Content Plan or Strategy?
When you start out blogging, your passion and interest are likely what guides your writing. This is what makes blogs so great; they are a free space to write about what excites/bores you [delete as appropriate]. And this is a great way to create engaging content. Passion is an essential ingredient in the recipe for a successful blog. But passion alone won’t make a blog great and the best writer could find themselves with a dwindling audience if they don’t think plan effectively.
A comprehensive content plan or strategy will help you to work out how to organise your content, when to post and the channels that will deliver the best results.
What Should I Consider Before Creating My Content Plan?
The great thing about content planning is you can start it at any point in your blogging journey. If you already have content it could help you to organise it and also strategise what types of content you could write next. But before you get started, it’s important to consider the following to include in your next blog content plan:
- Who is my audience?
- Which types of content do they respond well to?
- What different types of content can I create? (different formats)
- Where will I be publishing and sharing my content?
This gives you a starting point when considering what to include in your content strategy. To help you get started, here are our five essential steps to creating a great blog content plan.
Step 1: Set Goals and Be S.M.A.R.T
If you know something about marketing, then you’ll know that setting goals is about more than simply wishing your goals will be achieved. You have to ensure that the goals you set are SMART.
Before creating your content, decide what your goals are. Do you want to drive more traffic to your blog? Be seen as a trendsetter? Or maybe improve engagement with your current audience? Whatever they are, be specific and realistic, think about how you can measure your progress and set a time limit. Taking this approach will help you to know what the purpose of each content piece is. It will also allow you to check back later and see if you have achieved these and make changes depending on the outcome.
Step 2: Do Your Research
Now that you know the purpose of each content piece and what you want to achieve, it’s time to do some research. What content does your audience respond well to? Is there anything that doesn’t work as well? What do you enjoy writing about? Ask yourself a few questions and based on the goals you’ve set, you should start to form a picture of what works well for you. Whether it’s listicles or great photographs, it’s important to know what your audience enjoys.
If you have a blog, this is also a good time to discover how well you rank on Google or other search engines. There are a few tools you can use to find out. SimilarWeb is a great tool to help you find out more about your SEO. Just pop your URL into the searchbox at the top and you’ll get stats on your ranking, where you’re getting referrals from and the top keywords that drive traffic to your blog. This is invaluable and should help you shape your blog content plan.
Step 3: Create Targeted Content
You’ve set goals and you understand what content performs well. Now the fun part: making engaging content. Whether you are creating content from scratch or have a backlog that you haven’t gotten around to publishing, start thinking about your content in relation to your goals. Example: One of your goals is to improve your engagement rate. During your research you discovered that three of your “How To…” articles received a lot of comments and social shares, then think of this type of content as an engagement driver. When planning future content, try to replicate what you did in these posts. And you don’t have to start from scratch: if you already have a post that you think could work well, make tweaks to it to give it an SEO boost. Similarly, if you rank highly in a Google search for “creating a capsule wardrobe”, then try creating similar content around this topic.
Using keywords as a base for content is still the no.1 way to grow your audience organically. If you are new to SEO writing, here’s some SEO 101:
Bonus Tip: If you rank well for a certain post, give other, relevant posts some ‘linkjuice’ by creating internal links. Boosting your blog’s SEO should be a central part of your content strategy.
As mentioned earlier, you have so many options when it comes to the format and style of your content. Different types of content also have an impact on the type of audience they attract as well as the type of engagement you can expect from them. Here are a few examples of content that you can create for your blog:
Let’s keep this brief, as we all know what a blog post consists of…
Infographics are a really great way to communicate lots of information in an attractive, digestible way. There are plenty of platforms and websites that offer you was to use tools to create them now too, in case you aren’t a graphic designer. Try Venngage or Picktochart.
If you’re a blogger or an influencer, you’ll ready know the power of visual content when it comes to capturing an audience’s attention. While creating high-quality video can require more investment (e.g. equipment, locations, props, etc.), creating great video content isn’t all about perfect lighting. And many viral videos were in fact created using a smart phone.
A great newsletter should already be a central part of your blog. If you have grown your audience organically, then an engaging newsletter will help you to keep them. If you haven’t already, think about using a simple marketing automation platform to send your first newsletter.
Depending on what your blog is about, creating templates that your readers can download for free can be a perfect way to ensure that your readers see your content as valuable. Like the free blog content planner that we have ready and waiting for you at the bottom of the article (don’t forget to download it!), templates allow you to reward your audience with some great content they can access, keep and share!
Step 4: Use a Content Planner
Now that you’ve done the hard work, it’s time to get organised. A content planner is a great way to get your newly developed blog content plan in order. A good content planner or content calendar, should outline what you will post on a daily basis. This can help you to keep a track of when to post, what you’ve already posted and what’s upcoming. This also allows you to make changes if your goals change or you need to add posts later.
Bonus Tip: Keep a track of topical events too (like holidays and festivals) so you can plan relevant posts around these events and stay up to date! To help you put your blog content plan into action, we’ve created a free downloadable content planner. Download it now and start sharing content that will help to boost your blog!
Step 5: (Social Media) Sharing is Caring
Once you know what you are posting and when, it’s time to share your creative efforts with the world! Along with good SEO, great social media is an important way to reach new audiences.
Facebook, Instagram & co. are not just platforms on which things can be shared. For bloggers, social media should be seen as an extension beyond the boundaries of your blog. But with sheer number of new social media platforms popping up every day, it can be challenging to know which ones to channel your efforts into.
But all this needs is some research and an understanding of your blog audience as well as your social audience. Establish which channels work best for you and which you are most comfortable with and get sharing. Not sure the best way to post your content to social media? Then consider developing a social media strategy too.
Bonus Step: Create Amazing Content
These five steps are an essential part of creating a successful blog content planner. But growing your blog and attracting regular readers is all about what you are writing about. Remember, the essence of great content is how valuable your audience believes it to be. It needs to be high-quality, carefully edited and curated to make your whole blog an enjoyable experience for your readers. This also mean that each element of your blog, from your ‘About Me’ page to your photography, needs to be well thought through.
This is especially true when it comes to brand collaborations. When thinking about integrating your sponsored content into your general blog content, it is even more important that you create sponsored content with personality to keep readers engaged and your brand partners happy.
Finally, once you have done all of the above, be smart and use the tools at your disposal. As a busy blogger, you don’t have time to consistently share your content throughout the day. Here are a few of our favourites apps and tools that can help you automate your blogging:
MailChimp is great for starting a newsletter. It allows you to create great looking email newsletters, and helps you to organise your subscribers and even understand the best time to send it out.
Bloglovin can help you find new ways to share your blog content and is a favourite amongst bloggers. It’s free, you can share content easily and also be inspired by other bloggers.
Hootsuite is a great tool to help you schedule your social media posts across multiple platform. Just set them up and let it post for you.
You’re Ready to Planning Better Content
This five step guide will help you understand the essentials of creating and planning your blog content. From ensuring it’s high-quality to understand the audience for it, a blog content plan should be the next thing you create for your blog. And as it’s the beginning of the year, this is a good time to start. To help you plan straight away, download our free content plan and start curating your content to maximise its reach and impact.
But don’t stop there. There are always ways that you could be optimising your blog content. Once the initial plan is complete, try to revisit it periodically and consider what is working, what could be improved and what you could be doing next.
What tips do you have for creating a great blog content plan? Let us know in the comments and if you liked this post, share it!
To get your copy of the free blog content plan, complete the form below and start planning better content today.