I don’t know about you, but I find keeping up with content to be one of the hardest (if not the hardest) things of owning a business. It’s not as simple as just sitting down and writing a blog post when you feel like it. I mean, you can do that - but you’ll end up wasting a lot of time if you don’t have things planned out. What’s the topic? When should it be scheduled? Are you linking to a specific product or service? How’s it going to be marketed? Do you need to create pins? Etc, etc, etc. Doing that on a whim isn’t exactly productive. In fact, I find it almost necessary to have things planned out in advance if you want to be successful with a blog (or your choice of content, such as youtube videos, etc.).
I used to be wildly unsuccessful with content. I’d sit down and plan a month of content out, but then when it came to do the next, I’d be too busy and before I knew it, that month went by, then another, and suddenly 6 months would go by and I’d only have published one piece of content.
Those months where I took the time to plan in advance, I was so productive! Content going out every week, images created, pins scheduled, etc. I knew that if I could find a system to keep up with things monthly, I could keep on pushing content out. So, I created a content calendar and set a time to sit down each month to plan out the month ahead (sometimes 3 months ahead if I was really on top of things!). Let’s dig into the system I use!
*Full disclosure: You may have realized that I do NOT pump out content like I used to. That is not due to planning. Things really changed for me after I had my first baby and I decided to only work 2 days/week, so I could spend the rest of the time with her. I promise this planning method still works!*
Create a (monthly) content process
You want to be prepared when you sit down to plan content each month. Spend a bit of time upfront creating a process and you’ll thank yourself later. To get started, think about what needs to be done for each piece of content and write it all down. Turn that list into a checklist, so you can easily mark things off each month. Your process might look something like this (or not at all! Remember, this is your process!) -
Brainstorm a list of things you want to write about
Narrow down ideas and choose topics
Create titles for all chosen topics
Assign a publish date to each piece of content
The following tasks are for each individual piece of content:
Figure out what the CTA will be
Is there a freebie that goes with that blog article? FIgure that out now.
Determine all important tasks and assign a date to them.
Remember, this will look different depending on your process. I do this monthly, but you can also create a process for 3 months, 6 months, a year, etc. It’s up to you! Let’s dig into each step of the process a bit more.
Brainstorm ideas, then finalize
Before I started properly planning, I used to set aside time to write a blog post randomly. And the biggest challenge was that I had no idea what I was going to write about. So, I’d give myself about an hour to do it all before I had to start back up with client work, and I’d basically get nowhere in that hour. Why? Because I had no plan! I expected to be able to come up with a topic, write the post, create images, publish and market the post all within that hour. Not happening. Probably even more challenging if you’re creating video content!
Instead, it’s best to come up with your topics ahead of time. Sit down at the beginning of each month (or the period of planning) and take some time to brainstorm. What is your audience looking for? What are you an expert on? What do you want to write about? Brainstorm a bunch of ideas and when you’re ready, start forming your ideas into posts and titles. Finalize what you need for the month and then sit back and relax. Trust me, you just made your life a whole lot easier.
Create a monthly content calendar
This is probably the most important step, so don’t skip it! If you don’t create a content calendar, it’s too easy to let things slip away. You get busy with client work, a new project comes up, you want to work on something else, etc, etc. Content is important and is going to help you grow your business so schedule it in. Decide on the day you’re going to write the post, market it and publish.
Write it down, create a digital calendar, use a template, or even just put it in your phone. Make it official so it gets done!
If you’re looking for a helpful content calendar to use, check out mine here. It has everything you need to effectively plan your content for an entire year.
Break things down by post
Now it’s time to break things down for each individual post. You want to formulate a title, some keywords, a CTA (call-to-action) if you’re using one, and any freebies or offers that you’ll be advertising in your content. You can choose to do this at the start of each month or when it’s time to sit down and write your post - it’s totally up to you! I choose to do it at the start of each month, because I like to be prepared when it’s time to create.
At this step, it’s also important to figure out each task associated with the piece of content you’re creating. This might look like the following:
Proofread and publish
Create social media posts
Schedule social media posts
Be sure to assign dates to these specific items as well - you may choose to do them the same day as your content creation or perhaps put other time aside to get them done.
You now have a clear plan for your content. You’re going to be so surprised at how productive you are! It’s time to start creating and sharing your content with your audience. And remember, always plan out your content at least a month in advance - it’s easy to fall off the wayside but if you stay consistent with your planning, you’ll stay consistent with your content.