What's the old adage? "Do as I say, not as I do..." because I'm a classic example right now of why it's so important to plan your blogs!!
I've been so caught up in some awesome client projects that I've neglected my own website, but more importantly I've neglected you and your wordy needs. Over the next couple of weeks I'm focusing my content on blogging and serving you tonnes of blog related tips!
For my lack of communication and content, I can only apologise and make it up to you with blogs and insta posts that are jam-packed with useful info and ideas to help you grow your business!
So here we go, gratis from this word witch to you: how to plan your blogs.
Why you need to plan your blogs
Let me guess, you're sat there thinking, "hey, Siobhan, this is great and all, but I don't need to plan my blogs. I just write when I'm inspired." Well here's the thing: random blogging doesn't work. For a blog to be worth the effort, you need to post well-thought out, useful and comprehensive content that both your audience and Google want and appreciate.
As I mentioned above how I've failed to serve my readers in my own situation, if you don't plan, you're unlikely to commit to writing a blog in the first place.
Where and how do you get started though?
List your ideas
First things first, you've got to make a list or a mind map of blogs you want to write. At this stage, you don't have to be realistic with your abilities or your the amount of time you have. It's all about getting super creative and thinking about what will serve your audience.
When I do this for clients, I always start with the different areas of their business and consider what their readers might want to know about each one. For example, florists might want to share themes or seasonal ideas; coaches might write about their offerings, but also look at their client pain points and why they need a coach in different situations.
Sharing tips and ideas is always a great way to engage readers, who are keen to up-skill and learn the ways of the expert (that's you!). Be generous with your content. It pays dividends. They'll think, "wowzers, imagine how great she'll be when I pay her!"
Write out a strategy
Now you’ve got some ideas written down for super useful and engaging content, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to beat the blogs in battle…because you’ve got goals to smash. What are your goals? Maybe you’re launching a new range of prints, so your blogs need to focus on those; or perhaps you’re creating a 6 week coaching programme and you want to be as helpful as possible to warm up your potential clients…
Then you’ve got to start thinking about the big picture for your content. Will you be posting weekly blogs? Bi-weekly? Monthly? Will you theme your months or spread out the tips and intersperse them with stories and updates?
A great way to think about your content is how Lucy Sheridan puts it – in a cake! If memory serves me well, I think Lucy cuts her cake into 4 slices. Which she labels: connection, community, positioning and problem solving (don’t quote me, I’m saying these loosely, beaut; my memory ain’t all it used to be, unless it’s a Boyzone lyric circa 1996…).
So why not take a look at your own blog list and see if you can sort them into “slices”. And then decide when and how you’re going to publish them.
Plan it all out
“Well, duh, Siobhan!” Yep. I know. I sound like a basic bitch. But hold up. Now you’ve got a strategy, you need a plan. That’s the tactics for how you’re going to execute the strategy. I'm a campaigner, not just a writer. I've stood for parliament. and that required a plan. You can't just campaign willy-nilly! You need a plan.
So you’ve got to actually dedicate time. Put “blog writing” in your diary. Set a time each week to batch blog posts and start pulling together the pieces you want to write.
Whether I’m doing this for me or my clients, I tend to create a skeleton, with a title and subheadings for each blog so I can get the creative juices flowing and make notes about what I need to research.
Break each post down
Since I started writing blogs 5 years ago (first for fun, and then for clients, and then to grow my own business…) I’ve always broken posts down into manageable chunks. I'm easily overwhelmed. Possibly I work this way because this is just how I’ve always done my writing. It’s how I got through GCSEs, A levels, 3 years of university and then my PGCE, and it’s definitely how I managed to get a first in my dissertation (oooohhh yeh!).
So it works. Trust me!
For each post I go through the same 9 step process:
Sketch out the skeleton framework
Do the research
Add some flesh to the bones – listing ideas under each subheading
Write the draft
Edit the writing
Optimise the blog
If you follow these steps, you’ll be onto a winner!
Write it up
The final stage of planning your blog is actually writing the damn thing. You’ve got your subheadings, you’ve done your research, so you know what you’re writing. Turn off notifications on your phone and laptop. Put on some calming music. Light a candle if you must. Now you’ve just got to sprinkle some of your magic and industry expertise into the blog! And voila! Jobs a good ‘un.
So there you have it…
My word witch tips on how to plan your blogs like a pro. However, my final tip is this: Do not give yourself a hard time if blogging slips off your radar for a few weeks or months. The world won’t stop. Just get back in the saddle when you’re ready.
If you need a helping hand, you might want to check this out.