The Importance of Having a Content Plan

the importance of having a content plan

I’ve had several blogs over the years which I would add to when I thought of something to write about, sometimes this would be several times a day and other times 3 or 4 months would pass by before I published anything.  In that time I would have ideas but they would come and go, especially if I wasn’t near a computer at the time.  Often I would think about my blog and have the fullest of intentions of adding to it but then sit at the desk, the little cursor on-screen blinking away and not have an iota of what to write.  And in time ALL of my previous blogs failed – I failed to write posts in a timely manner, I rushed what I was writing and didn’t really think about my words or topic carefully, I missed opportunities to link to interesting articles or previous posts, photos were rushed or non-existent and the general quality of the post was poor overall.

Now though, I have approached this blog differently.  Before I even signed up and created MyColourfulLifeUK, I started to write down ideas for this blog, I talked about it with friends and family and generated a few ideas of what they found interesting in the subject fields I enjoyed.  And so started the beginnings of a content plan.

A content plan is so important as a blogger as it gives you a framework with which to create blog posts and help you with what you are going to write about on a day-to-day basis.  Having a content plan is like driving somewhere you have never been before but with well written directions.

Here are 7 things that having a content plan has helped me with

  • Knowing what I am going to write about

Having a plan has helped me no end.  I always have an idea of what I am going to be writing about and now I don’t waste half of my time sitting and staring at a blank screen.  What I didn’t bank on was that having a plan actually encourages me to write and I am always excited to sit down and draft up a blog post now.

  • Helps me to prepare content (Including links and images)

Having the knowledge of what I want to write about allows me to thoroughly prepare, from researching topics, making notes, finding useful links, taking photos, writing the post and editing it.  If you know then you can prepare.

  • Helps me to generate new post ideas

Whenever I sit and look through my content plan I seem to be able to come up with new ideas to write about, and in researching topics I will often find something else that piques my interest and opens up a whole new set of thoughts about posts I can create further down the line.  Now I have a content plan I never seem to be short of ideas!

  • Provides well thought out posts for your readers

My English A Level lecturer always said he could spot an essay that had been hastily written and I didn’t really believe him back then, but now, after reading lots of different blogs on all sorts of different topics I know exactly what he means.  When you have a content plan there are not many posts you will write in a rush which in turn means that your posts will be well thought out, the points raised will be clear and there will be a good flow to the words and pace.  Rushed posts often meander off track, words are clumsily thrown together and even the reading pace feels rushed.

  • Helps me to stick within the theme of my blog

I’m a lifestyle blogger which means that I can over a lot of different subjects and still be within the theme of my blog overall but if you have a niche blog, I had one covering art when in university, it could be really easy to stray from that overall theme.  I know that it’s your blog and you can pretty much write what you want, but if you have a niche theme then it’s worth sticking to it, trust me, your readers will thank you!

  • Helps me to build a schedule for my posts

Once I have a list of content that I want to write about I then open Excel and use a calendar that I created to schedule my content, colour code each topic and start placing the topics against dates to publish.  This helps me to see what to write and when as well as not having too many posts on the same topic being crowded together.

  • Keeps readers interested and gains return visitors and followers

All of the above points lead to this – keeping readers engaged with your writing, gaining repeat visitors and, hopefully, gaining followers who will keep coming back to read the content that bought them to your blog in the first place.

I hope you find this useful.  What are your thoughts on having a content plan?

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Why I Need a Blog Planner

You may have noticed from my post “Preparing for 2019” that I have 2 planners set aside for my blog, in this post I will explaining more about them and why I need them in my life.

First up is my Gemma Correll Ohh Deer project book planner.

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As the pages are undated and marked out with sections for “Day/Month”, “Notes”, “To Do/Done” and a “Doodles” section this planner lends itself beautifully to being my content and ideas book.  I use the “Day/Month” section to write in a title for my post along with a rough date for the post which helps me to keep track of ideas for posts.  Sometimes this may be the only thing I fill in if I’m in a bit of a hurry or think of something to write about when I’m in the middle of doing something else. I use the “Notes” section to write a bit about what I want to post including ideas and any other information that I want to include.  The “To Do/Done” section I fill in after I have written out my ideas for the post, it will include things that I need to do in order to get the post actually written and will include a list of things like “take photos of x, y, z…. Upload photos, links for materials, write post, publish…” I can tick off tasks as they are done and helps me to stay on track with the post and not get to overwhelmed with what needs doing or missing off things and overlooking them.  This planner for me is the most important tool for my blog as it’s where the ideas are generated and kept, and while I may not use the ideas for a while I will always have ideas ready for posts in the future.

The second planner I have for my blog is the Bright Side 2019 diary.

With its handy monthly overview page and its week on a page format it will be easy for me to schedule posts and check off when they are published.  I can carry this around in my bag at all times so if I think of a post that I’d like to write I can pencil it in and write a short synopsis of the idea in the week to view section.  I can refer to it if I want to write a post and I’m away from home, my blog content and ideas planner and my computer.  I have the WordPress app on my phone and am able to post blogs wherever and whenever I choose so this diary will be super helpful to me in 2019!  I can’t wait to start using it!

The other blog planner I have is a basic excel spreadsheet on my laptop which I have set up with a calendar that runs from sept 18 all the way through to the end of december 19 and I am currently using that to track which posts should go where and to space out posts that have a similar content so that my blog doesn’t get overloaded with too many posts on a similar topic.  I transfer all the blog idea titles from my content and ideas planner to the spreadsheet and break them down into different themes by highlighting the titles with different colours for different things, like all food orientated posts I colour green.  I then look at the list and decide on the placement of them in the calendar spreadsheet.  Once I have these posts in an order I’m happy with I will then transfer them over to the Bright Side diary so I have quick and easy access to all the scheduled content ideas.

In all, I need my blog planners to help me with generating ideas for posts, coming up with content, keeping on top of the to do list and not forgetting anything, and to help me see where I am with my schedule.  Maybe running 3 different planners for one blog seems too much but they all perform different tasks and help me in managing my blog and content.

How do you manage your blog schedule and content?  Do you use planners?