Why not wing it?
It's important to learn the basics of content planning if you want to keep your posts consistent, and in order to plan your content properly, you need to get organized and think things through ahead of time. If your post topics are all over the place and you're rushing to come up with new ideas and create posts at the last minute, you won’t produce content that your readers will consider valuable, so you probably won’t have many readers.
Today I will show you how to plan your blog content at least one month in advance by creating and implementing an editorial calendar in 5 easy steps.
1. Categorize and Color Code
Select a calendar that works well for you (printable or digital) then categorize the items you’ll be regularly adding to your calendar.
First, write out your categories on an index card and decide on a color to code for each. Then label each accordingly, save your list for future reference. (Grab some funky highlighters!)
2. Fill in What You Already Know
Then take a look at the month ahead and jot down any holidays, vacations or events, you will need to create content around. This month for example we know includes St. Patrick’s Day along with the start of Spring so perhaps you would like to run a St. Patty's Day sale or a Spring Giveaway. Or perhaps you are planning on launching a new product in June, so you may want to include a teaser promo in this month’s calendar, and then one every week until launch. Think of what would appeal to your audience.
Write it down:
Fill in important dates already planned (vacation/travel, birthdays, appointments)
Block off time before and after to catch up
3. Add Blog Post Topics
Even if you don't have your topic nailed down, jot down your ideas based on the frequency you plan to publish. Add a reminder to write the blog post ahead of time and another reminder to publish, followed by another to promote.
Every Tuesday: Write blog post
Every Thursday: Publish blog post
Every Thursday and Friday: Promote blog post (share on social media etc.)
4. Add Social Media
Schedule posting date and time of your corresponding social media posts. Be sure to schedule your posts based on optimal times per channel if you can.
Schedule blog post intro (to go along with a published blog post)
Schedule upcoming product launch teaser promo (a hint about the upcoming giveaway)
Schedule announcement (when the giveaway is announced)
Schedule reminders (when the giveaway will end)
5. Add Newsletter
For the purposes of general planning, you don’t need to create the newsletter to plan to send it out but do decide on a schedule to send your newsletter out and add a reminder to your calendar. I would suggest adding a date to start the newsletter prior to the date you actually plan to send.
Give yourself enough time to write, edit and proof:
When planning ahead, it's important not to get too hung up on the details as the practice of content planning will help you gain a sense of clarity and direction. It helps you maintain balance and allows you to feel confident because you have a plan. If you need to make changes, go ahead! Simply look over your months ahead often, jot down ideas and most importantly don't stress!
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