I am a HUGE fan of planning posts out in advance. And I’ve figured out that if you plan your posts, you will absolutely WIN at blogging. Not that it’s a race or a contest – it’s more of a daily/weekly/monthly achievement for many people. And what’s even better, you’re writing will improve as a result through planning in advance.
No one is forcing you to blog or to write online. But practically everyone is saying “oh you need to do this in order to grow, make sales, be heard, blah blah blah” and you know what? They’re right. They’re absolutely right. Think of blogging as a contest against yourself. You’re the only one who blogs like you do, so you can’t really pit yourself against other bloggers. We all have our own little niches, and these niches and blogging activities take time.
Your time, and my time, is so valuable. We’ll never get that last minute of our life back. Nor will we get that hour back that we spent drumming our fingers on the keyboard trying to figure out what to post for the day just for the sake of posting.
Time is precious. I’d like to spend as much of it with my family as I possibly can. So wasting time trying to figure out what I’m going to say, write about or even blog about on a daily basis has no business in my life. And if you’re a creative person like me, you probably want to have family time and time to create, too… whether that’s working on your next novel, painting, crafting, writing eBooks, creating digital content, or whatever it is that drives your passion.
What if I told you that you can cut down the amount of time that you spent “business blogging” – you know… that portion of your blog that is intended to communicate with your customers, fill SEO content, and such – down to about 8 hours a month? In fact, you could probably take an entire day, one day a month, and have it all done? You’re probably thinking… no way – that’s crazy. Actually, it’s not. From planning your blog posts to writing them, from developing your images and batching them out, scheduling and posting them… if you do it the way I have learned to do it, you’ll absolutely WIN at blogging.
I feel so strongly about planning content in advance because it has enabled me to focus on other things – like my photography business, my creative work as a graphic designer, and writing. Plus, I get so much more time with my 6 kids and husband that I didn’t have before. My productivity has shot way up as a result and I’d like to encourage you to give it a whirl. It’s been a complete game-changer for me. I no longer cringe and think, oh crap I have to write something today. It’s already done and I’m watching people share it online the day it posted! When I wake up, I already have a ton of traffic on it. To me, that’s a WIN.
Tips for Planning Posts
Here are some tips:
- Pick a theme for the month
- Use headlines that are open-friendly and attractive
- Provide tips for your audience – help them learn something new
- Provide links to help them discover new things
- Share a work in progress
- Ask for your followers’ opinions
- Write naturally and don’t force it – write like you’re talking to a friend
- If you can’t commit to a subject for a month, pick weekly themes
- Schedule at times that are optimal for your audience to read
- Post daily
- Keep it fun, light, and entertaining – or at least, informative!
I use the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin to help me plan my posts out, and I highly recommend you use it, as well. It keeps everything so organized and also lets me know what time the posts are scheduled to go out (I typically send at 5 a.m. my time so that the east coast is reading it by 8 a.m. or 7 a.m., depending on daylight savings time).
Plus, I have all my images for my posts completed in advance, as well, so I’m not searching for photos. I already did all that work when I batched everything together.
I find there’s a greater consistency in my style, color choice and layout, when I plan my posts in advance. And when you stick to a subject, if you have an audience for it, they’ll come back the next day to read more. I see repeat visitors all the time on my site, and it’s a great reinforcement that what I’m doing is working and they’re benefiting from it.
So here’s to winning at blogging – ready to plan your posts out and get real productive with your blogging? Get moving! Start right now! 30 days of posts – grab your notebook and jot them all down! If you’re at a loss, try this list of subject matter. In my “Social Media Marketing Strategy with Enhanced Productivity” course launching here in June, I give out my whole list of blog headlines that are popular with readers that you can fill in the blanks. But try these out:
1. Pillar Post – In-depth posts that define your blog and brand.
2. List Post
3. Tutorial or How-To Post – DIY posts, walkthroughs or step-by-step instructions.
4. Inspirational or Motivational Post
5. Review or Critique Post – Review books, writing tools or platforms that are of interest to your audience.
6. Behind-the-Scenes Post – Let your readers have a peek behind the curtain.
7. Manifesto Post – Describe what you believe, your vision of the world, share undeniable truths, and a few tips and advice.
8. Progress Post – Updates, milestones or progress you’ve made on a particular task.
9. Top Resources/Link list Post
10. Top Posts Compilation Post – The Best of _____.
11. FAQ’s Post – Answers to reader’s frequently asked questions (there’s a good chance they’re typing these same questions into Google search).
12. SAQ’s Post – Questions your readers should be asking, but aren’t.
13. Diary Entry Post
14. Live-Blogging Post – Keep your readers in the loop by providing rolling coverage of an ongoing event or conference.
15. Case Study Post – People learn best with examples.
16. Predictions Post – How changes in the industry, in technology or in the tools (social media, blogging, etc.) will affect your ability to earn a living or make your mark as a writer.
17. Link Roundup/Curation Post – Have a weekly or monthly roundup of the “best on the web”.
18. Project Showcase Post – Highlight what you’re working on right now.
19. Events/Announcements/Updates Post – Controversial topics, industry news, parallels between events and your writing, topic or genre.
20. Crowdsourced Post – Expert insights, bring multiple influencers together to answer a single question.
21. Profile Post – Write about a person or organization related to your topic.
22. Quiz Post
23. “What If” Post
24. People to Follow Post – curate a list of people that may be helpful or impactful to your readers; make it easy for your readers to connect with them through their website, social media channels, books, etc.
25. Vlog Post – A journalistic video documentation of your life, thoughts, opinions or interests.
26. Giveaway or Competition Post
27. Interview Post
28. An Open Letter Post – The intimate, yet public nature of an open letter post draws readers in.
29. Personal Experience Post – Let your guard down. Form a connection with your readers by sharing a deeply personal experience.
30. Webinar or Live Broadcast Post
31. Serialized Story Post – Publish a story in episodic chunks to keep readers coming back for more.
32. Commentary Post – Expand upon or add your own explanation of an event or another’s work.
33. Reaction Post – Your response to content created by someone else.
34. News Post – Report or comment on events as they are happening. Must be relevant to your readers (add your perspective).
35. Comparison Post
36. Story/Anecdote Post – Parable, life lessons or emotional re-telling of events.
37. Research Post – Share what you’re learning about a given topic that relates to your next book, or curate research from other sources and pull it all together into an article.
38. Opinion Post – Yours or others’ opinions on a particular topic or issue.
39. Post Series – String related posts together to build momentum or for a more comprehensive approach to a topic.
40. Cheat Sheet Post
41. Reader Showcase Post – Acknowledge and highlight your avid fans.
42. Checklist Post
43. Challenge Post – Often a series, where you get readers to participate in a challenge and provide updates of progress made.
44. Survey Post/Statistics Post – Collect some data or do a bit of research and share the results. Highlight key takeaways, important findings, or ways to implement the new information.
45. Carnival Post – Host a blog carnival on a specific topic and allow other writers to submit their post links.
46. Quote Post – Pull together multiple quotes from influential people (other writers, publishers, industry experts).
47. Guest Post – Host another writer on your site.
48. Infographic Post
49. Image/Graphics/Visual Post – Include a collection of images around a central topic or idea.
50. Presentation/Slideshare Post
51. Video Post – Upload and embed video into your blog post.
52. Feedback Post – Ask for feedback on possible book covers for your new release, characters, etc.
53. Problem/Solution Post – Define a problem that your readers have and present the solution.
54. Cause Post – Call your readers to action regarding something that is important to you or close to your heart.
Mix it up a bit to give your readers something new and refreshing on a daily basis. I personally love list posts, but they can also get old from a “voice” standpoint. Plan things out so you have a healthy mix of all types.
Happy blogging – go out and WIN!
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