Why Your Blog Needs a Content Plan, and How to Create One

Essentially, there are two ways to launch a WordPress blog. Some people like to prepare a detailed plan of action, while others have no blog one day, and then they have one the next day.

If you’re a rockstar then the second approach might work for you or your customers, but if you’re a normal person then preparing a nice plan sounds like a more decent thing to do.

Every new blog owner realizes that creating content is not actually that easy and that it needs some serious dedication on an everyday basis. When you look at this more carefully, you’ll realize that there’s actually quite a wide range of things you can publish on a WordPress blog, and every single one of them sounds equally as tempting…

However, if you just start publishing things left and right, soon enough you will end up with a blog so chaotic that no one will get a grasp on what’s going on.

Instead, I advise you to follow this short tutorial.

(And of course, feel free to speak up if you have a different idea for a content plan.)

1. Start with core pages

Every blog needs a set of core pages that provide the most fundamental information about the blog and its author/s.

This is something I explained in one of my previous posts so I encourage you to check it out: 11 Essential Pages to Have on a WordPress Blog.

Long story short, a blog without the core pages simply doesn’t look very professional. Some of these pages have become the standard in the blogosphere, and most of the readers will expect to see them on your blog.

2. Fundamental categories and keywords

Every blog should remain consistent. Bloggers who write about everything either get ultra popular (highly unlikely) or go unnoticed (more likely). Therefore, if you want to have any kind of impact, you’ll have to focus on one range of topics.

Here’s where your categories and main keywords come into play. Start by crafting your categories. For example: email marketing, social media marketing, both sound like good categories for an online marketing blog. They are concrete, but not too narrow.

Once you have the categories lined up you can do keyword research. How to actually do keyword research is not the topic here, so let me just say what the final goal is.

It’s to get a set of keywords (can be a large one) that you can pursue on a daily basis – a set of keywords that will be your blog’s primary focus.

Now here’s the best part. Whenever you have an idea for a new piece of content, check it against your categories and keywords. If it doesn’t fit, scrap it.

Don’t try to convince yourself that something will look nice on your blog if it doesn’t fit in its main topic. Such an article can still be used as a guest post, though.

3. Create a list of content types you want to use

Blogs these days are much more than just containers for some written content. Best bloggers do whatever they can to provide as much different types of content to their audience as possible.

Your job is to come up with a list of things/content you’re comfortable creating. For example:

  • Standard posts.
  • Short-advice posts. Where you give one concrete piece of advise using a minimum of words.
  • Comprehensive tutorials on how to do one specific task.
  • Lists of valuable tools, software, articles, links, and so on.
  • A series of posts focusing on one broad topic. Each episode should explain one aspect of the issue.
  • Videos.
  • Podcasts.
  • Shout-out posts – where you mention the work of other people in the niche.
  • Discussion posts – where you ask a question and then take close notice of the discussion taking place in the comments.

Essentially, there are countless types of content you can use, but I’m sure you get the main idea just by looking at the list above.

(Also, feel free to check out my guest post at ProBlogger to get more hints: 52 Types of Blog Posts that Are Proven to Work.)

4. Schedule your content

Once you have the content types picked you can create a publishing schedule. And I don’t mean something that’s written in stone. What I’m actually talking about is something a lot simpler.

The idea is to take your content types and decide how often you want to use each of them.

Here’s an example schedule:

  • Standard posts every 3 days.
  • Short-advice posts once a week.
  • One tutorial per week.
  • One ongoing series, featuring one episode per week.
  • One podcast episode every other week.

It all depends on your resources and the amount of time you want to spend creating content. However, no matter how much time you want to dedicate, having such a plan can surely make your work easier, and help you not to overlook any important piece of content you had in plan.

5. Launch an email newsletter

Every single blogger who launches an email newsletter regrets that they didn’t do it earlier.

The truth is that you can (and should) launch an email newsletter alongside your blog from day one. Email is still the main method of communication online, no matter if we like it or not.

Once you have an email list you can contact your readers notifying them about new content on your blog or any other project you’re running at the moment.

Of course, you need to create a plan for such a newsletter too. In most cases, people try to create their newsletters around a single idea – a single type of content.

The lesson here is this: Include a newsletter in your content plan early on, and set aside some time to work on it every week.

6. Spy on other bloggers

Other bloggers in your niche (and even in different niches) are always great for inspiration on what content you can create.

This works on all levels. You can find inspiration regarding what type of content you can create, and even the exact individual topics. You can also call someone out if you want to, or use their content in any other way (of course, republishing doesn’t work).

Start by subscribing to the top blogs in your niche. From my experience, the best way of managing all your RSS subscriptions is to do it via Google Reader. The tool is really easy to use, straightforward and can deal with a ridiculous amount of subscriptions.

(I, for example, am subscribed to 520 different blogs at the time of writing this, and Google Reader can handle it just fine … I can’t, but that’s another story.)

In the end, the main benefit of having a content plan is that you always know what it is you should publish next. There’s no confusion or anything. You can simply look at your schedule and start working on a new piece of content immediately…

What’s your take on this? Do you use a content plan?

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there are 3 comments added

  1. Wpfix 2nd June 2012

    Yes content plan is very much necessary for a blog

  2. Ayodeji 11th June 2012

    I don't actually use a content plan, but after reading this, I think I must start using it. Thanks for the awesome post.

  3. Pooky 25th July 2012

    I've been advising ohter people to write content plans for an age but must admit I've not written one myself. Your post has made me realise that I really MUST! Thanks for clear coherent advice.

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