I know the struggles of writers block. Of sitting down in from of the computer knowing that your heart is calling you to share itself with the world, but your brain just isn’t firing. You have no idea what to write about, or when to write it. You see others sending out newsletters filled with several posts a week and wonder, “How the heck do they get it done?! Where do all of those ideas come from?”. That was me a few years ago… before I started planning out my content.
When I first started blogging, I was working full time, consulting part time, planning a wedding, and was going back to school to become an NTP… not exactly chill. Regardless of how busy I was, I knew that blogging was what I wanted to do, so I made time for it. The problem was that time was scattered all over the place. It wasn’t pre-planned, it wasn’t organized, and it showed in my content. Fast forward two and a half years later, and I almost make as much from my blog as I did from my full-time job. There are a lot of layers within that, but planning out my blog content ahead of time has completely transformed the way I blog.
First, How Do You Know What the Heck To Write?
This is probably the biggest question within blogging. What do you even write? Here are some fool proof methods that I use to keep my blog content fresh…
Write with the Seasons
This is always the first priority. Does your content even make sense for the season that it’s in? Are you writing about ice-cream in the winter or soup in the summer?
Keep an eye on major holidays and back your content up at least 2-3 weeks ahead of time. You can’t post a Christmas recipe on December 23rd and expect it to go viral. You need to give it enough time to get out there, get social shares, and give time for people to plan. For example, I posted my cranberry turkey poppers which were a Thanksgiving recipe on November 5th. That gave it enough time to get around 15K repins throughout the holiday season, rather than posting it the week of Thanksgiving.
What Questions Are People Asking You? Answer Them In Blog Posts!
As someone with Hashimoto’s disease, I get tons of questions about it. One specific question was about thyroid medication. Everyone wanted to know about thyroid medication! Rather than typing out the same email 50 times, and making my readers do way too much work to find answers, I turned it into a blog post. Now, I can just forward it along, or readers can find it in my blog archives.
Whenever I feel stumped on what to write about, I go through my inbox and look for patterns of what everyone is asking. I almost always have ideas after that!
This is a bit more sophisticated, and the next level of the previous step. It requires going beyond just what people are asking you, and looking at what they’re asking Google.
One of my favorite tools to get into this is just Google autocomplete! Type in something like “instant pot recipes” and you’ll see at the bottom of the page the suggested terms that relate to what you searched, such as “paleo instant pot recipes”, “pot roast instant pot recipes”, etc. This is a really easy way to get some ideas about what people are searching.
Another helpful tool is called Google Keyword Planner, which I got very familiar with working professionally with Google AdWords. This helps you see search volume for certain terms. You can also do this with more expensive, sophisticated tools like SEM rush, or Moz. As someone with a digital marketing background, I got a bit more training in this than most do, and I’m about to go to a 3 day conference on it in March again, so don’t overwhelm yourself with this step all at once.
What’s Trending? How Can You Put Your Own Spin On It?
Look around… what is everyone in your nice talking about? Turmeric? Collagen? Meal Prep? Whole30? In my niche of holistic wellness, it’s all of the above! I always keep my eyes open for hot topics and think of how I can put my own spin on them.
This method is how I wrote some of my most popular blog posts, such as…
- Turmeric Bites (turmeric is definitely trending)
- Turmeric Chicken Soup
- Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers (both a seasonal and trendy thing… it was Super Bowl and everyone is always talking about how much they love sweet potato!)
How Do You Organize It?
Keep A Content Calendar
This is the single most important piece of the puzzle! Keep a master calendar that keeps you on track for at least a month ahead. I plan up to 6 months ahead at a time, but you want to be able to plan enough to make sure that you’re staying ahead of holidays, and have time to squeeze in last minute write ins.
For my content calendar, I just use google sheets! It’s free, and it’s easy to customize. You can also use something like excel, but I love being able to access my calendar from my phone or computer since it’s stored on the cloud. I keep separate sheets for the different seasons and have one column with the dates, and another with the corresponding post titles. Easy to follow, and easy to plan!
Keep A Detailed To Do List
Now that you’ve planned your posts, you have to actually get it done. You have to go shopping for supplies, take photos, write, edit, and promote it. I keep detailed to do lists to make sure that all of my content planning stays organized and on track.
However, it’s not all about making a to-do list the day of. Rather, writing out the steps that you need to do in advance to make a post happen. My favorite tool that I’ve been using for year for this is my Day Designer! It’s a paper planner that has pages day by day to make space for hourly appointments, and daily to do lists!
So, let’s say that I plan to post a muffin recipe on March 26th. I write in Day Designer to do list to shop for ingredients on March 11th, take photos on March 12th, and write and edit photos on March 15th. That way, I plan for each step to make sure it all gets done, and that it gets done ahead of time!
I’m on my fourth Day Designer, and it’s by far my favorite tool for staying organized and planning ahead.
I hope these tips were helpful! Let me know if the comments if you have any tips for planning content that you love.