Yep, you read that right. I have ALL of my blog posts planned out for the year of 2016! My friends think I’m a bit crazy, and maybe I am, but I feel a million times better knowing the direction I want to take and the content I want to create this year. And it was surprisingly easy to do!
I know, as bloggers, we sometimes get in a rut trying to think of content we want to produce. That’s totally normal and is even something I ran into when planning out my year. But you can easily overcome that!
So, you know that I planned out the year, now you’re wondering how I did it! Good, I’m glad you’re intrigued. I put together 5 tips and tricks that I did while planning, and how you can do the same!
Know your Schedule & Niche
Part one of this step is to evaluate (on average) how many times you post a month / week. What does your schedule look like? I post new content twice a week (not including my link party on Sundays), so that’s about 8 – 9 new posts a month. Now, what content to create for those 8 – 9 slots?
The 2nd part of this step is to understand what niche you’re in. This is crucial in planning out posts. Whether you want to just plan the week, the month, or the year like I did, knowing your niche and what type of content you’re going to create is soooo important.
For me, I really want to focus this year on more DIY tutorials, so I know I want to include 3 – 4 of those types of posts a month, dependent on the month. I share my monthly favorites every last Thursday of the month, so I know I’ll have that post every month. I like to experiment in the kitchen, so I like to have at least 1 recipe post a month.
Being an interior designer, I really want to include more design related posts this year, so I’m going to try to have 1 of those posts every other month or so. I love beauty and fashion and want to do more posts like that this year, so I want to have 1 post like that a month. I enjoy dabbling in graphic design and giving my readers free printables, so I plan on doing a post like that every other month or so. Finally, I want to share my progress as a homeowner and the projects I complete, so those posts will fill in any blank spots.
So I know what type of content I want to create, now I need to focus in on what the exact posts will be.
For step 2, look at the upcoming year in your calendar and see what’s going on. What holidays are happening when? Do you have any family or community events to go to? Are you participating in any blog events? These are the things that I planned my posts around and really made it easy to lay everything out.
Step 3 may be a bit obvious, but it is soooo important. I have numerous folders in my phone, iPAD, computer, etc. filled with ideas. Anytime inspiration struck, I wrote it down. Anytime I saw a picture of something that inspired me, I saved it. If you’re mind is completely blank, there are TONS of blog prompts out there to give you loads of ideas.
Appreciate your Audience
You may know what content you want to create, but step 4 is about discovering what type of content your readers want to see. A couple weeks ago I created a reader survey to realize just that. It’s a great tool that will help you get a ton of feedback. Another way to gain feedback is social interaction. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the blogging community is AWESOME! Make friends with other bloggers in your niche and ask their advice. I know my circle of blogging buddies have helped me out more than once!
Try New Things
Step 5 might not be for everyone, but it really helped me when I was planning the year. I mentioned in step 1 what type of content I want to create, and some of those aren’t in my normal repertoire; like beauty and fashion posts. While those types of posts aren’t typical for this blog, it’s a category that I love and am truly interested in and want to explore further.
Say you are strictly a food blogger, but love interior design. Throw in a couple posts about decorating your kitchen or how to style a tablescape. It’s still somewhat in your specific niche, but will allow you to begin exploring other categories and reaching an entirely different audience. Start slow and go from there. :)
So, there you have it. My 5 steps for planning blog posts. Now, I have to be completely honest (because we’re besties), while I have the entire year planned, nothing is set in stone. Posts may get switched around due to life happenings or they may change entirely due to something else I want to share with you. While these 5 steps helped me immensely, and while they will hopefully help you, please don’t feel that you have to stick with what you plan out. Go with the flow and you’ll be just fine.