Without content, you have no blog am I right? And yet the number one struggle I see from the midlife bloggers in my Facebook group is writing blog posts. Second, is making money. Honestly, the two are very closely related. And seriously, if you are struggling to make an income from your blog, I contend that your mental focus has been on the dollars and not where it should be, the content. Learning how to create a content calendar is the key to your success.
It all starts with discipline. I have to admit, I am as guilty as any other blogger at putting creating content last on my list of priorities when it should be first. If you have ever said to yourself, “I gotta write a post this week.”, you know what I’m talking about.
Imagine the freedom and the time you would have to work on other things like creating opt-ins, sending emails and launching a product if your posts were scheduled out for the next three to six months?
Unfortunately, most bloggers will never be able to schedule out blog posts in advance because they see the blog writing process as one complete task. It’s draining to go from idea to content to graphics to publish. You are so thrilled when it is done but it makes the motivation to do another one non existent. Listen, no one sits down to write a book and completes the whole thing in one go.
Breaking up the process into smaller bite size chunks is ideal. It gives you the satisfaction that you are moving in the right direction and relieves the pressure of getting it all done at once.
If you don’t have any other strategy in place for your blog, this is the one that you need to implement. It will help you get organized and make you feel uber accomplished.
How To Time Block To Create Blog Content
- Set aside one hour every week, preferably on a Monday morning. Write it in your planner, schedule it on your phone, do whatever works for you.
- Turn off all notifications on your laptop and put your phone either on vibrate or in another room.
- Focus on the task and do not let yourself get distracted.
- Set an alarm for one hour.
- When the alarm goes off. Stop working.
Now I know what you are thinking…”What if I am really in the zone?”. Stop anyway. Truly, as the weeks go by, your concentration and ability to focus will improve as well as being able to get into the “zone” faster. This process will make you work smarter and more efficiently. If you let yourself go over the time, you will start to dread this time block. It is so much easier to plan and execute if you know it will be done in an hour. Heck, that’s like watching one program on Netflix. It’s nothing! And you bloggers out there that still work full-time—no excuses! You can find an hour if you make it a priority.
Ok, so now that you have your time block set aside, let’s build a strategy…
How To Create Blog Content In Your Time Block
Week #1 – Brainstorm Blog Post Ideas
This is what I like to call the “brain dump”. The focus is to come up with blog post topics. The pressure is off the writing. Don’t sensor yourself. Grab a blank piece of paper or your journal and get writing.
If you have a lot of categories on your blog, you may find it easier to have one sheet per category. Sometimes, I may only concentrate on creating post ideas for one category. Whatever way helps the ideas flow for you is the way to go.
Where to find ideas if you are stuck:
- magazines in your niche
- old posts that are doing well (can you expand on any points)
- comments on your blog (have people left you questions you could answer)
Week 2 – Create Your Schedule And Begin Outlining The Bones Of Your Post
- Look over all of the post ideas of your brain dump in week #1.
- Decide which posts are winners.
- Write each idea on a different post-it note. I like to use different colour post-its so that I can see if I am covering all of my categories over a month. Use a wall calendar or journal and arrange the post-its according to your posting schedule. i.e. once a week, twice a week, etc.
It should look something like this:
4. Write each post idea on a separate sheet of paper. Keep the sheets in the order you will be posting.
5. Under each post idea, list and complete the following:
- working title
- SEO keywords
- Pinterest keywords and hashtags
- image ideas (what will the images be of to re-enforce the post)
- possible internal links you may use
- external links to use
- what is the central idea of the post
- what do you want the reader to learn
- what will you use to enforce your ideas (bullet points, facts, statistics, personal stories, infographics)
- what conclusion do you want the reader to come to
Week 3 – Develop Your Ideas Into Posts
It is now time to write your posts. If you have done a good job the previous week in creating the outlines of the posts, the writing part should be easy.
Note: Depending on how fast you write and how many times a week you would like to post, you may have to schedule more time blocks during the week for this task.
Week 4 – Upload Your Posts To Your Blog And Create Your Graphics
This is where you pull it all together. If you haven’t written your posts on the WordPress dashboard, upload them now.
- re-read and edit.
- make sure the post looks good visually
- create and add your graphics
- make sure you get the green light from Yoast SEO
- schedule the post
I know your first instinct may be to rush through the above steps but please don’t. If following this new way of creating a content calendar for your blog means that you will have a whole month without any new posts on your blog then so be it. It is far better to produce well thought out and well written content than to just throw up posts because it has been awhile since you have published.
And the longer the post, the better. Give your readers so much information that they can’t help but love you and look forward to your future posts. I would much rather see bloggers producing one epic post a month then stick to some silly posting schedule that has them pushing out content that no one wants because they read somewhere that they should be posting 3 times a week.
When you take the time to write fewer but longer posts, you may find that you loose some traffic in the beginning. That’s ok because the payoff will come. Remember, it takes time for Google and Pinterest to start showing your posts. But when they pick up on your awesome content, you will be rewarded big time. The posts that consistently fall in the top five read everyday for my blog were all written over a year ago. And here is the bonus: I get those pageviews with no social media promotion by me at all!
The thing that really makes me upset is those posts that claim you can write a post in an hour. Technically, that is true. But what good is it if it doesn’t bring you any long lasting traffic without you constantly having to share it to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest?
So forget the quick fix. It’s an illusion. Learn how to create a content calendar for your blog and you WILL make your blog successful.