How to plan your blog posts for a year
Whether you’re a newbie or you’ve been around the blogging block, the key to engagement is consistency. And if you want to be consistent – you’ve got to plan your blog content.
Over the years I’ve tried every blogging routine you can imagine – weekly posts, monthly posts, daily posts. When I’ve been uninspired or just can’t be a**ed I’ve pretended I’m busy, on vacation, on top-secret government business (<== not the last one, have you seen my poker face?!)
What does consistency mean?
The most important thing I’ve learnt from all these schedules is that posting at least once a month is crucial. Personally, I’ve settled on weekly – it works best for me and my readers. Occasionally I’ll post daily, like when I run challenges or sequences walking readers through a particular skill or project, but that only happens a few times a year (and is usually via email.)
If you’re still feeling exhausted at the mere thought of 12 months’ worth of posts, don’t worry – that’s totally normal. Planning blog content for an entire year is daunting if you haven’t done it before.
But you know the best thing about planning your blog content for a whole year? The head space it creates. As entrepreneurs, we need head space.
Why is planning and consistency important?
Because blogging is a creative process, knowing that you have to come up with posts regularly can be a real buzz kill, so now that you’re armed with the info from this month’s other posts, we can get right into how to plan your calendar for the year (there’s a free planner to download at the end of this post.)
Planning and consistency are important for your readers too. They know what to expect. They know they can pop on to your page every other Tuesday and read some great content. If you have a subscriber list that’s even more important.
Since I switched to posting on the same day every week, I've noticed an increase in engagement, opens and click-throughs from my email newsletter.
There’s a lot of data out there on the best day to post – my advice? If you’re just getting started with blogging, don’t obsess about it too much.
Plan your blog content = plan your year
Content flows more naturally when it’s line with the rhythm of your business. I’m guessing you have goals and events throughout the year and that correlate with things that are happening in your industry. For example, perhaps you’re in the accessories industry so fashion weeks around the world play a huge part in your year.
The first step, therefore, is to look at the next 12 months. Use the planner below and fill in the key events in your business calendar for the year. I want you to think about:
Holidays (national and local, where relevant)
Launches or promotions you’re planning
Events you’ll be attending
Monthly fixtures (Let’s say you do a Q&A post or you review a product every month)
Analyse your current content
If you already blog – hooray! It’s much easier to plan your content when you’ve got a base of posts to analyse. You can dive into Google Analytics, Instagram, Pinterest and all your other channels and see what’s been performing well. Which of your posts have had the most shares? What have comments been about? Has anyone contacted you with suggestions for topics?
If you don’t yet have these stats, don’t worry – this series is designed to help you either way. If you haven’t been blogging long enough (or, um, at all) to know what’s working and what’s not, then you can use the magical witchy amazingess that is l’internet to see what’s working for other people in your industry.
Think about recent trends in your industry, can you fill a gap in your competitor’s content? Cover a popular topic from a different angle? Maybe you get asked the same questions again and again? Keep track of these and use each question as a blog topic in itself.
Use this information to do the following:
a. Decide on a theme per month
b. Decide on post types, e.g. interviews, step-by-step guides, product reviews, etc.
c. Create a working title for each post
Put the theme under the theme column in the planner, and then the type of post it is in the type column for each week. You’ll see that I’ve given you space for 4 posts per month, but you can obviously do less than that if you’re just starting out. Next, add your working title to the Title column.
You’ll notice that the planner also has a blogging checklist. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about ways to overcome the overwhelm of blogging regularly. Last week we talked about the process and structure of the individual blog post.
This week we’ve got a checklist to tick off for every post, from writing through to re-posting on your social media channels of choice.
These are the steps I recommend for each and every post:
- Plan the post using the structure I gave you in last week’s infographic – bullet points are fine
- Decide on the headline
- Choose keyword(s) – remember this can be a phrase, e.g. this post’s keywords are “plan blog content“
- Write the post
- Proofread (I run spellcheck, read it aloud, and then print it) and assess readability. You can have a look at my guide to editing your own content if you’d like some pointers
- Check links & references
- Create images & downloadable resources (often called content upgrades) and add to post – check out my guide to Canva for WordPress for some help with blog graphics
- Ensure that the keyword(s) feature in the post, headings, alt tags of images and meta description
- Hit publish
You didn’t think it stopped there, did you? Here’s a (short!) list of what to do after you hit publish:
- Re-size or amend relevant graphics from the post to share on social media (Canva has a fantastic magical re-sizing tool if you’re on a Canva for Work plan)
- Schedule your social media posts – here’s an awesome article by CoSchedule with a posting schedule to boost your traffic. (There are lots of social media scheduling tools out there – just ask in the comments if you’d like any recommendations.)
And a few optional extras:
- Consider doing a vlog or a FB Live with a summary of your main points
- Pull out some of the content and create quotes for social media, or include some Click to Tweet quotes within the post (this also breaks up blocks of content nicely)
- If you’ve got email subscribers, share the post via your newsletter
This post should set you on the path to blogging success this year. The year where you finally get out of your own way and use your blogging as the powerful marketing tool it is.
Using today’s planner, along with the resources from the other posts this month will give you confidence and (most importantly) a structure for communicating with your ideal clients. Providing value and information they can actually use.
What are you waiting for? Download the planner now and get started on your blogging adventure!
If you’re still feeling a little stuck with blogging, you can always check out my blogging bundles to give you a little breathing space.