If you're anything like me, creating blog content on a regular basis can be difficult. There are many other business tasks that need to get done each day and it's easy to push of writing a blog post until the last minute.
My Blogging Plan
I try to write all of my blog posts for the month at the beginning of the month so that they're on the schedule and ready to go without me having to worry about forgetting to post. To do this, I have to have a system in place or I'd get totally lost in my ideas. This is how I plan my content and write my blog posts:
- Brainstorm Ideas
- I do this once a month, but I'm also gathering ideas as they come to me. I start by writing all of my blog post ideas down on post it notes (love them!) or in a notebook. I like to include posts about my process, any discoveries I've made in business, my struggles, and tools that I use frequently. I'll also include tutorials for programs that I use daily because as much as I take that for granted, there are people out there who don't know how to use Photoshop or Squarespace the way I do.
- Create Categories
- I have a piece of foam board with my blog categories listed on it and once I have a bunch of ideas, I will write them on the category colored post-it and add it to the foam board. I usually have more than enough ideas for the month, so I leave any ideas I don't use for the next time I'm planning.
- Set Up a Calendar
- Once I have my ideas on the foam board, I'll pull off the best and most relevant ideas and add them to my calendar. I actually have a monthly paper calendar hanging by my desk, so I'll add a post-it for each day I'm going to schedule a blog post. Since the ideas are color coded, I can move them around if I'm too heavy in one area.
- Create an Outline
- I'm not sure if this is a common blogging practice or not, but I know that it helps me a lot. Once I have a schedule, I write down each idea on a piece of notebook paper and then jot down all of my ideas for the post. Sometimes this looks like a formal outline, but other times it's a jumble of ideas and notes. Either way, it gives me a place to start when I'm writing.
- Create Graphics
- I like creating my graphics before writing my posts because it keeps me organized. I have a specific template for each category, so it's easy to change the text, save the image, and create a new blog post draft with just the title and graphic. Then, when it's time to write, I have every post already in front of me and I just have to write.
- Write and Edit
- After all of that is finished, I usually set aside a few hours to write. I don't write every post on the same day because it can be exhausting for me to do all at once, but I do sit down each day (usually in the afternoons) and write from my outline. I try to write first, from the heart, and then go back and edit later. I've found that this helps me to really use my voice and get out my ideas without censoring them.
- Post and Review
- Once a post is written, I'll officially schedule it in Squarespace (usually at 6:00 am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday). After a post is on the schedule, I don't touch it unless I think of something important I missed or if I create a worksheet I want to add. Since I finish each post in advance, I don't have to worry throughout the week about what I'm going to write and it gives me more time to work for my clients and on my business. About a week after the post goes live, I like to check to see how it did: comments, shares, and downloads and keep track of those things so that I can better plan for future posts.
Don't be afraid to do your own thing
Right now, blogging can seem especially daunting because long-form content is so popular. People are talking about how writing 2,000 words posts have helped to grow their businesses, and of course, you should do the same. I tried that for a while, really tried to write those long, detailed posts, but it just didn't fit well with my style.
As in any other area of your business, you have to find your own way of making blogging work for you. It shouldn't be something you stress about all week and spend hours on each day if writing doesn't light you up. I would much rather design for hours than write blog posts.
Try out a few different things, but once you find something that works for you and your audience, stick with it. People will know if you're trying to force something just to hit a certain number of words or shares on social media. Write from the heart and let your people find you.