January is the time where we all set resolutions, buy planners and promise to take up new hobbies. But it is also the ideal time to plan out your blog. It is easy to get ahead of yourself and start making grand plans that then seem overwhelming, or are just not achievable.
Maybe you have taken a break from blogging and want to take the opportunity to relaunch. Or perhaps last year you had a plan that wasn’t sustainable and you ran out of steam as the year went on. Did you create a blogging schedule that was too frequent and you just didn’t have enough time to complete everything?
If any of these ring true, take this opportunity to start fresh and plan a year in blogging that works for you.
Back To Basics
Before you begin to actually make plans, this is a great opportunity to reaffirm why you blog, who you are blogging for and what overarching goals you are aiming towards. These are the foundations of your blog.
- What’s Your Why?
Why do you blog? Is it to help, to advise, to share your experiences or to drive sales? Your why should be what informs the decisions you make and how you go about planning your content.
- Who Are You Blogging For?
Why do people come to your blog? What is it that they want to know? People read blogs when they find value in the content. And to create content that provides value, you need to know what it is people want! If you are unsure, look at Facebook groups for your niche; what questions are people asking, and what topics come up time and time again.
What are the main goals that you want to achieve with your blog this year? Is it to grow your email list, increase traffic, grow revenue from ads or affiliates? Try to be specific with figures and deadlines, even if you aren’t sure just yet how you can achieve them. How many more people do you want on your email list? How much would you like your ad revenue to be?
- Time To Be Honest
What time do you have available? How many hours per month do you have dedicated to creating content? Be honest and realistic here. If you only have time to write after the kids have gone to bed, how many hours of actual writing time do you get? Create a blogging schedule that works for you, whether that is weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
Use your answers to these 4 questions as a framework to guide your content. When it comes to deciding what to create, check how your ideas fit in with these blog foundations. If you think you have a great idea, but it doesn’t align with why you blog, isn’t what your customers want, won’t help you get nearer to your goals or is too time consuming, it might not be the right idea after all.
Now you have set out the foundations, you can look at planning!
Planning Out Your Year
01. Get All The Ideas Out
Grab a piece of paper or open a blank document. It’s a good idea to keep this list easily accessible so you can add to it and refer back throughout the year. Write down anything that comes to mind. Try not to censor what comes up, or edit your thoughts. These are just ideas, which can be a mix of topics, themes, post ideas. You aren’t necessarily trying to come up with fully formed blog post titles. Keep going until you really, really can’t think of anything else.
02.The Big Stuff
Then look at the year ahead as a whole. You can do this monthly, quarterly or however else you choose to break up your year. Are there big events that you want to cover? These may be national holidays, cultural celebrations, festivals, anniversaries, product launches or annual events. Make a note of these on your calendar.
Go back to your brainstorm of ideas. Do any of these tie in with these big things plotted on your calendar? Great, add them in.
- Filling In The Gaps
Keeping in mind the time you actually have available to create posts, start to fill in the rest of your plan. Keep this flexible, especially towards the end of the year. We never know what is going to happen, so setting a rigid schedule and trying to stick to it, just creates frustration.
Edit down the rest of the ideas, looking at how they can help your readers, how they fit in with your why, and how they help you work towards your goals.
- Break It Down
Once you have a loose plan, focus on the next month or quarter and start to break it down further. Create a basic outline of each post and work out what else you might need, such as images or videos. Depending on what your blog niche is, there may be extra things to plan for, such as buying materials for a DIY project or ingredients for a recipe post. Note these in your plan.
Set a schedule for breaking down the next chunk of time (for example every month or quarter) that works with your plan.
Starting with the overall picture and working backwards, breaking things down into manageable steps is key to having a blog plan that you will actually stick to.
Some other resources that might help you:
If you are if you are a Lyrical Host Member head over to our Resource Library and take a look at our Create a Blogging Schedule PDF guide, complete with templates!
Also Lyrical Host Members can join our Facebook community to share ideas, plans or just for some accountability.
Let us know your blog planning tips in the comments