Creating weekly content for your blog is something that not everyone warns you about when you’re playing with the idea of becoming a blogger. Instead, you spend HOURS thinking of the best name for your blog, the nicest colors for your brand, the images you’ll use, the look and feel of your site, and maybe – only maybe – what your first post is going to be about.
Yep. We all tend to think that that very first blog post has to be perfect. That is going to be the key to success for your blog. So you spend hours or days writing, proofreading, and searching for the perfect images until you are happy with the result. And then, you hit Publish. Your blog is live, that masterpiece of blog post you just wrote is out there for the world to see. And you can go and wait for the bills to start flooding in while you’re having fun with your friends. Oh, no, wait. It doesn’t work like that. 🤪
In fact, having a blog without publishing content regularly doesn’t make much sense. You could go with a static website instead! Now, there’s nothing wrong with having just a website, but you should make sure that you know what the goal of your whole online presence will be before creating it. 😉 Check out this post on whether you need a blog for your business.
Is it possible to publish content on autopilot?
I wouldn’t say that creating content on autopilot is a thing, BUT I do think that it is possible to work in advance, schedule your content and let it get published on autopilot, yes! Before launching my blog I had written 10 posts, 6 of which went out from the very beginning. I scheduled the other 4 to get published weekly so that I could focus on other things besides writing. At least for a couple of weeks. And that is what I still do – or try to do, for it doesn’t always work, especially if I have many freelance gigs going on!
Batching is what works best for me, as I can focus on other things once I know that my blog posts are ready. When I have too much going on and I can’t find enough time to batchwriting (is that even a word?!) at least I make sure that I have a content plan in place. In that way, whenever I find time for my next post, I know exactly what I’m going to write about!
So let’s plan our content for the next 3 months, shall we? We’ll calculate 1 blog post per week, which means that we need 12-14 posts… but let’s make it 15 posts, just in case, OK?
Steps to create a content plan for bloggers
Step 1. Block out 1 hour to work without interruptions.
Look for a place where you can work focused, make yourself a coffee or what gets you going, and get ready to brainstorm. If you need to go out to your favorite coffee shop, please do! I’ll be waiting. 😉
Step 2. Write down your blog categories, aka the topics you usually write about.
At this very early stage, I suggest you use a piece of paper to avoid any temptations, like checking your email or social media. After that, you can also get fancy with online tools. Feel free to download this content brainstorming sheet if you find it useful!
Try to come up with 3-5 categories. Mine are these:
- Time management / Productivity
- Blogging / Content Creation
- Freelancing / Work-Life Balance
- Start Freelancing
- Digital Nomading / Travel & Work
Step 3. Start writing down anything that comes to mind related to each category.
Have your blog readers in mind. What may they struggle with? Do you have a solution for them? An answer to a question they may have? How can you help them?
Don’t stop to think of the perfect blog post title. Just note all ideas down, without overthinking! A couple of words, bullet points, or a brief sentence would do.
Right now, your goal is to figure out what you’re going to write about. You’ll have time to work on your titles later on when you’re actually writing your posts!
Have a look at my brainstorming process – where I actually got the idea to write this post you’re reading right now:
4. Analyze, reorder and split your first category.
Look at the post ideas you’ve noted down, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there any post that could get too long? Like, say you have a healthy food blog and one of your categories is dinners. If you’ve written “healthy dinners” as a possible blog post, just think about it: That would make a hell of a post, right? So what about splitting it into several kinds of healthy dinners, making a blog post out of each one of them? I bet you can think of at least three healthy dinners! There, you get 3 posts for the price of one!
- You could go even further and make a special series out of those posts? If we continue with our food blog example, you could plan to write a post about healthy dinners in general – Why you love them, why your readers should try them, how to plan the perfect dinner, how to prepare it, … – and make sure to add the links to the other posts! That is not only great for your SEO ranking but also really useful to your readers!
Now, if you’re thinking that writing a series is a lot of work, it actually isn’t. Let me tell you why: When you work on several posts related to the same topic, your focus will most likely increase. I would even say that you should try and write as many of those posts as possible on the same day or week. At least, try to write the first draft for each of them. And, listen, you don’t have to tell anyone that you’re publishing a series! You could even schedule the posts to go out in weekly or monthly intervals as separate pieces!
Just have a piece of paper by your side in case ideas for other complementary posts start popping up in your head. And I’m sure that they’ll come up! So, our first 3 series posts + (1 intro post) = 4 posts!
How to create your introductory post – or roundup post
No blog post series is complete without a roundup post, but it is actually much easier to create than you would think! Consider it an “intro” post to your series.
- A small hack: I usually publish – and even write – my introductory posts at the very end, after the other posts are out! In this way, I just need to think of a small intro, make a list with the other posts linking to them, and write a nice ending!
- I could write my intro post first, but then I would have to come back and add all links to the other posts once they’re published. This is something that I would only do if I write a post series, where I already let my readers know that I am going to be writing about xyz, and build some hype about it! Check out this series I wrote some time ago about online marketing for beginners. This is something I started writing in the “right” order, that is, the intro first, and then the rest. With each new post, I’d link and update the previous post with the new URL, so that all links were interlinked.
- This blog post on excuses to start freelancing, on the other hand, is a roundup post that I wrote several months after writing several blog posts about different excuses commonly used to not start freelancing. You’ll find the links to the different pieces at the beginning of the roundup post.
What if I don’t come up with enough ideas for a blog post series?
Now, maybe you couldn’t find the way to make 3 posts + intro out of all ideas that you had in the first place! So what can you do?
- Pick 2 blog post ideas out of your brainstorming session.
- Search for 1 old post that could need a revamp and add it to your editorial calendar. Make sure not to duplicate it – Google doesn’t like it. Instead, you can either create a new piece focusing on another aspect as the original post, or just change its images, update the content and republish it. Use the new images for social media as well. And no, don’t wonder whether someone will notice that you used the same post again, ’cause they won’t!
- Hop over to Pinterest Trends or Answer the public and find out what people are searching for on the Internet! Plan at least 1 post.
And that would also make 4 posts!
5. Discard or save for later
As you would do with your Amazon basket when you realize now is not the right time to purchase, discard any posts that don’t make much sense, or save for later those that could be interesting, but not right now. Just add them to your wish list. 😅 That would be the case for seasonal posts, or what happened to me right at the COVID outbreak: I had planned e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g to move to Australia for 6 months, and I was ready to shift my blog focus to digital nomading, but I had to cancel all my plans, both private and blog-wise! So, when I’m finally able to move to my dream destination, my content plan is still there, and I’m sure that I’ll have to adapt it, but the core content is already planned!
6. Repeat the process with each one of your other categories
Now that you’ve learned how to split, save and discard your posts, repeat the same process with your other categories. And that would make… 4 posts x 3-5 categories = 12-20 posts!!
If you only have 3 categories and don’t have enough posts yet, you’ll have to be more creative and think of one more blog post per category. How? Here are several ideas:
- Think what your readers might object to your favorite topic, and make a post out of your “answer.”
- Make a list of all the tools that you use related to your blog, and share it with your readers.
- Tell your readers why you started your blog in the first place, or why you chose that specific subject you’re writing about.
- Is there any social media post that you got great feedback from? Why don’t you turn it into a blog post?
And if nothing else works… Repeat your brainstorming session another day. You already have 12 posts planned, so you can feel proud of yourself!
7. Add your newly planned blog posts to your editorial calendar
Once you have it all, make sure you assign a publishing date to your new posts, and add everything to your editorial calendar, whether it is a physical planner or an online tool like Trello, Asana, or Airtable. When scheduling your posts, choose one of the following tactics:
- Alternate among categories so that your blog portrays a mixed offer of topics.
- Bundle all similar posts into a series, and publish them consecutively.
8. Block out content writing sessions in your planner
Make sure you also plan WHEN the actual writing will take place! If you’re a batching-kind-of girl like me, writing everything in advance and schedule for later could be a good option for you! This step is essential, so make sure you don’t leave it out!
Let’s recap how easy content planning can be:
- Block at least one hour just to brainstorm your content plan for the next 3 months.
- Write down your blog categories, either on paper or using an online tool like Trello.
- Write down 3-5 ideas for each category.
- Check whether there’s any post in the first category that has the potential to get too stuffed. Could they become different blog posts, or even build a special series?
- Consider creating a roundup post for that special series.
- Discard or save for later the blog posts that don’t make much sense right now.
- Repeat with all other categories.
- Add the publishing dates for your new blog posts to your editorial calendar, whether it is a physical planner or an online tool.
- Make sure to block out content sessions in your planner.
And voilà! You have planned your content for the next 3 months! It wasn’t that hard, was it? Do you have any other strategies for content planning that you would like to share? If so, please leave a comment below!
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