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Create a year’s worth of blogs from only 12 articles
Would you like to have a larder full of blog posts for the year ahead? Here’s how to plan and choose your blog topics for this year and begin planning for next year too.
If the New Year came and went before you had the opportunity to plan your 2015 editorial calendar, don’t worry, now is a great time to plan your content.
1. Editorial Calendar
Using an editorial calendar is a great help and a much underrated tool when planning your blog posts. Knowing how often you’ll blog will tell you how many articles you need to write. Saying that you’ll blog once a week doesn’t sound too hard does it? However…
X1 blog every Friday and;
X1 blog on the last Friday of the month as a monthly round-up
= 51 articles in 2015
And that’s the brunt of the problem. A weekly blog sounds perfectly achievable, but 51, meaningful, articles is a lot of writing, so it’s no wonder many people find it hard to keep up the momentum. But what if I said that you only needed to write 12 articles?
2. Get Serious with your Series
Twelve articles sounds better doesn’t it? Writing 12, in-depth, articles that you can split into 3 or 4 blogs will give you a series of articles for each month, with a round-up article at the month end. This approach is much less daunting and already feels more achievable doesn’t it? These articles will form the backbone to your blog but you can always add to them by writing ad-hoc, topical, articles throughout the year.
3. Finding your topics
Why are people visiting your blog? What do they want from you?
- Business blogs tend to offer solutions to problems so make a note of the solutions you provide to your clients and look for themes.
- Business blogs also give prospective customers an insight into the internal goings on in your company. Sharing techniques, tools or strategies are great ways to build trust and credibility with your readers. And who doesn’t like a good inside story?
- Monitor what’s trending in your field and see what’s being discussed in your industry. Google alerts and Swayy are great sources.
- Adding keywords to a social CRM like Nimble is an excellent way to find blog ideas so that you continue to be relevant, current and credible within your existing network.
- Keep a note of questions you receive from clients and prospects – these are the people your blog is aimed at. Answering these questions, no matter how simple you think they are, is fulfilling a need, and it’s likely the answer will contain valuable information for your clients and prospects.
4. Capturing your topics
Start keeping a file/Trello board/spreadsheet/notebook/voice memo to capture questions as they arise because these will help you develop themes for next year too. Advanced planning at its simplest!
5. Choosing your 12 Topics
Look at your list and select the topics that motivate and excite you or that link to products or services that you plan to launch, or topics that answer frequently asked questions. Make sure the topics inspire and motivate you so that you’ll be excited to write about them.
6. Commit to your Calendar
Whether you use a spreadsheet, a calendar or decide to go Kanban Style – knowing your publication deadlines mean you can schedule times to write. Be realistic because this is a procrastinator’s paradise.
7. Honour your Calendar
Some people say that if it’s on the calendar, it’s in the schedule and that your schedule bridges the gap between your everyday reality and your big goals. This may be logical, but creativity and procrastination rarely comply with logic.
While studying at the Open University, I had the tidiest, cleanest house imaginable because I was utterly incapable of studying (doing something difficult) when there was anything, important or unimportant, nagging me. I can however study and write with a cluttered and messy desk, which doesn’t make any sense. But that’s the point; the process of procrastination or creativity rarely makes any sense.
When you write and how you write is entirely up to you. It’s more important to be aware of yourself and what works for you. If you need to do certain things before you can write – do them, no matter how ridiculous they seem to the logical part of your brain. Not doing them means not doing the difficult thing when you’re finished doing the ridiculous!
The important thing is that your editorial calendar has set the expectation and because you’re professional you’re going to show up and regularly write.
Sometimes, this is easier said than done so it’s worth remembering why you’re bothering to blog in the first place;
In Promises, Resolutions and Goal Setting we talked about goals, and your blog is no different.
Your blog’s purpose is to:
Showcase your expertise, build trust and provide a platform for your unique voice and approach.
Through your blog you aim to achieve:
Increased engagement (comments)
Your Goals are:
Convert readers to Customers
So that’s why you blog. That’s your incentive.
8. Now, Take Action!
You’ve read this far so don’t let your intentions fester. Remember, here’s all you need to plan your blog for the forthcoming year.
• Brainstorm your topics
• Capture your topics
• Choose your 12 Topics
• Commit to weekly blog posts using your 12, serialised, topics
• Commit to writing about these topics once you’ve satisfied your procrastination paradise
• Honour your calendar and achieve your goal
Take some time to help yourself. Set up the systems that will ensure you publish like a pro. If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch, and we’d be delighted to give you a hand.