Most people think that writing a blog is a one step process. However, there are several steps that good writers take to make sure their content is killer. The process leading up to the final product is both time consuming and methodical. Every writer (and business owner) should devote time to planning their content before moving into the writing process.
Planning blog content is the key to writing a successful post. In order to do this, you must first understand what a blog is, including how it differs from other forms of copy. You will next need to understand what content planning really is.
What is Content Planning?
Content planning is the behind the scenes process that involves researching and brainstorming your blog.
It’s the equivalent to directing a play performed in the theatre. When you’re directing, you want to make sure the show looks good, so you spend countless hours with your actors rehearsing so everything goes smoothly in the big performance.
The director of a show wants to ensure the play is a hit so they can grow their theatre. The same goes for planning blog content.
Planning content before writing the actual blog piece ensures that the writing process will go smoothly. It also guarantees that the final article will be accurate and the best it can be, which will only benefit your online presence. The better you look, the more potential customers you’ll draw and blog traffic will increase.
Why is Content Planning Important for a Blog?
Blogs are becoming one of the most utilized forms of social media on the market for companies. SocialMediaExaminer.com published a study which shows that users found company blogging more effective than any other type of social media.
In order to best utilize your company blog, you must first plan its content.
Planning is essential to creating and maintaining an effective blog. A lack of preparation can lead to a deficiency in quality, quantity, and usefulness.
When a company has a blog, they need to establish a good reputation from the start in order to be taken seriously. This is why planning content ahead of time is so essential to blogging.
You need to establish both a long and short-term plan. A long-term plan will focus on content and goal within a 6 to 7-month span while the short term will focus on fine tuning individual articles. Each will serve a different purpose, but both are equally important.
How Does Content Planning Contribute to a Blog’s Success?
Blogging is a relatively new platform for marketing when compared to more traditional marketing strategies. Over the past few years, this form of communication has become increasingly successful. People share and comment on posts, which makes them very accessible to the general public. The more your company plans the content for the blog, the more effective the message will be, and the more your post will be shared.
A well-organized content plan is invaluable to a company that wishes to market themselves heavily in an accessible and interactive manner.
Tips Anyone Can Use for Planning Killer Blog Content
Killer blog content doesn’t happen by accident. It starts with preparation, and there are many elements to consider when beginning to plan. How do you get started? With these eight handy tips, of course!
#1: Know Your Audience
When you are writing content, it is crucial to understand whom you are writing for. Your audience controls what you create, as well has how you will format it.
You can (and should) do research as to what audience is right for your company’s blog. Once you know your audience, you’ll possess the primary tool for effective content planning.
It is helpful to keep a spreadsheet of whom your target audience is with effective and corresponding keywords to include in each blog post. That way, you are able to understand whom you’re writing to and how to attract their attention.
You need to know your audience in order to sell your brand/service.
#2: Create a Storyboard
Storyboarding is a way to encourage creativity. It doesn’t have to be a physical board, but it helps the planning process along if you have a brainstorming session already written down.
Keeping a storyboard going is essential to producing creative content. In order to ensure your writing is not always about the same topics, keep a storyboard of what you want to write about and compare it to what you’ve already written. The board could have an overarching theme which applies for every blog post, or it could change weekly (depending on the company’s needs).
Storyboarding is a nice way to stay organized, focused, and on track for an exciting blog season.
#3: Create a Content Calendar
Staying organized through the planning process is crucial to your blog’s success. If you or your writers are unorganized, miscommunications, false research, repetitive content, and many more harmful factors can occur.
You can choose from several different content calendar styles which will allow your company to better develop their content. It’s a good idea to have these calendars in a central location so everyone in the company knows what is going on.
Each company is different, just like each content planning process is unique. The common goal is to stay focused and have a visible plan. Your work will ultimately reflect this effort in the final product.
#4: Link, Link, and Link Some More!
One of the major factors in determining your blog’s success revolves around linking.
During the content planning process, you should be looking for websites that you can link to. Not only will this increase your readership, but it will also show that you and your company do their research.
Linking is also very important in terms of linking to other social media. Social media like LinkedIn and Facebook are huge, and you need to plan on linking to them in some way.
Especially plan to include a link to share your blogs on major social media sites. This will allow people to repost and share your content, which will ultimately result in more traffic and greater exposure.
#5: Utilize Keywords
During the planning process, it is essential to compile a list of keywords for your blog content. Using keywords increases search engine optimization, which allows more people to find your posts.
It helps to keep keywords in a spreadsheet, corresponding to potential topics for your blog posts. That way, you not only stay organized, but also have easy access to those keywords when writing.
A simple way to see what keywords are most effective in blog posts is to utilize online tools, such as Google Trends. This source will allow you to see what is trending online, which can help increase the accuracy of your keyword choices.
#6: Know Your Numbers
Being able to identify areas in which you are struggling and areas in which you are already in good shape, is vital to having a successful blog. It is important to know how many readers you already have, what their demographics are, and how much revenue they bring in for your company.
During the planning process, be sure to look at these numbers. Tracking conversion helps determine how to better your blog over time to grow continually. You need to know how many people are bouncing off of your blog, and how many are turning into customers.
#7: Have a Planning Session
Part of content planning is communicating with your team. Having writers who are reliable is just as important as having content that is relatable. Therefore, you should have a planning session.
During this session, sit down with your company’s team and plan the content as a group. Keeping others accountable is vital to the overall success of your company, so it is essential that it carries over to content creation.
The planning session can be as detailed as you want. It could be online, in person, or via some other method of communication. The essential part is that you talk with your team about what content you want to see the blog producing, and how you intend to follow through. You can ensure maximum productivity through effective communication.
#8: Research Your Topics
There is one aspect of planning great blog content that is often overlooked: Research.
The foremost goal of every successful blog is to establish the brand or business behind it as an authority. Spouting opinion won’t accomplish this, but in-depth research will. You need to become an expert on the topic at hand in order to create the best content.
Basic research is a very important part of the planning process, but it can rapidly become a time consumer if not kept in check. Think about sharing research findings in a shared document among your company blog writers to keep everyone on the same page and fact-check one another.
Killer blog content doesn’t happen by accident. It requires planning, which demands forward thinking. Prepping content for your blog can be time consuming and tedious, but it’s worth every drop of sweat.
Need help with content planning? We now offer this service with our blog packages.
Additional Contributor: Larissa Barkley