At the end of last year, I did something I’ve never done before for my blog.
As you know, I’ve been blogging for a number of years now but I do have a confession to make. My blog planning typically sucks. Unfortunately, my content too often reflects that fact.
I post erratically and sometimes miss long periods of time even though I harp on the merits of consistent content creation.
So, I felt like I needed to start taking my own advice. For the first time ever I sat down and actually planned out an entire year of content! Yes!!
How I Planned My Year of Blogging
You might think that planning your content for an entire year is wayyyy too much work. But I have good news. It actually isn’t!
You just need to make sure you have a method to the madness. Here is what you should do.
1. Start by creating monthly themes for your blog
By having a particular topic for each month you can more easily focus your efforts and hone in on content ideas.
Open a new Google Sheet and write down your ideas for monthly themes. Then name this tab “Monthly Themes”. Here is what mine looks like for 2017.
2. Create a new tab in the Google Sheet and name it “Blog Posts”
Having separate tabs will help you keep things organized a bit better.
3. Create columns for the following categories
Now that you have a new tab, you need to set it up for your entire year of blogging content. Create the following columns working left to right across the top of your Google Sheet.
- Week Of
- Blog Post Topic
- Content Giveaway
4. Populate the “Week Of” column with the weeks of the year.
Here is a shortcut. Enter the first two week dates (January 1, 2017 and January 8, 2017) and then highlight both cells. Hold the Shift key and drag the highlighter down so the cells auto-populate with the next value in the series.
5. Now go week by week and come up with blog post ideas for each week of the month under the given theme
Since you have the monthly theme already identified, coming up with blog post ideas is MUCH easier. Here are my draft blog post ideas for the coming year.
6. Finally, come up with some ideas for content particular giveaways
This technique of offering relevant content upgrades per individual blog posts really helps grow your email list. Identifying those special content offers during the planning phase makes it much easier to align them to your content and create them quicker. I went through and created a monthly giveaway that matched each given theme.
Before you know it, your entire year will be planned out and you will feel so much better having a framework in place. I know I did.
I’ve always captured blog post ideas in Evernote but they were never organized to this level and aligned to a larger year-long strategy.
Speaking of strategy, if you are looking at releasing courses or paid products during the course of the year, you can easily align the launches of your products with your planned content. Add another column to the far right of the sheet and place your course targets in the appropriate weeks. Then you can start to craft blog posts leading up to the launch and match the course topic to get your readers ready to buy.
As you can see in my draft 2017 plan, I have a couple of courses I’m looking at launching and I’ve tried to create content that will go along with the value of the course.
The Best Part of Planning for an Entire Year of Blogging
The best part of the whole thing is that things may change, which is perfectly fine. This is just a rough plan of how you could post content during the year. You can adjust and modify as you go. The big benefit is that you have a baseline established and you’re all set with steady content ideas throughout the year.
As I’ve started batching some of my posts for the year, I’ve already changed quite a few of these blog post topics.
Give it a try and see if it helps your blogging efforts this year.
If you want to see the video of how this is done, check out the quick tutorial below.