You’d never believe I was a Girl Guide. I’ve always been horrendous at planning anything, preferring to fly by the seat of my pants and see what happens. But, you know what? When I started writing lists and plans, I realised things began to happen. The way I write a blog post these days has changed so much from when I first set up my business eight years ago. Gone are the days of looking at a blinking cursor on a white screen as I pick my nails and stare off into space absentmindedly. Gone are the days of taking days to write one post where I can now bash out four or five in one day. I’m not saying that to show off, but this is what planning has done for me! And gone are the days of wondering what to write about or throwing awesome blog posts out into the abyss never to be seen! Planning your posts out will do so much more than just keeping you organised and will help you massively if this is something you struggle with. Here’s how to plan out your next blog post.
#1: Have a list of ideas (a swipe file)
I was a great one for having lots of ideas at inopportune moments. But when I sat down to write something, I would look at my screen and my mind would go blank. What could I possibly write about?
Having a list of ideas tucked away is like pulling the hidden ace from out of your sleeve. It removes that need to THINK of an idea. Instead, you simply write. So, get yourself a place to stash your ideas, a place to collate all the amazing and wonderful things you see around the internet that make you think, “Ooh, I could write something about that!”
And make time to add to your swipe file too. Read blog posts, watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, save links galore!
#2: Have a blogging strategy
Coming up with a blogging strategy was like a little lightbulb flicking on in my brain. Once I got the concept, it all got so much easier. And that only happened earlier this year folks! Before that, I’d been blogging blindly. Now, it’s with PURPOSE.
The best way to build a blogging strategy is to look at your list of goals for the year (you made goals, right?!). If you’ve broken those goals down into quarters and months, look at what your next monthly goals are and figure out which topics you can write about that will line up with those goals.
So, for example, I had a goal one month to push my blog subscription service. So that particular month, I wrote a bunch of blog posts all about blogging. Make sense? Get the goals and build the strategy.
It’s also a good idea to know how many blog posts you need to write for the coming month and when you’re going to write them. You can carve out sections of time in your schedule or go all crazy-ass like me and get them done in a day!
#3: Start with a plan
It seems silly saying ‘start with a plan’ when we’re at step three already. But once you’ve built the foundations of planning for your blog posts, the next thing is to plan.
I’m a fan of a bullet point list and headings, I have to say. Then I expand on each bullet point as I write, because the structure is pretty much already there, bar a little jiggling about if it needs it.
#4: Break each post down into small tasks
Here’s another revelation I only picked up on this year. If a task seems too big and overwhelming to accomplish, break it down into even smaller tasks! I do this with every one of my blog posts and I suspect that’s the reason I’m able to write five of them in a day. If I had to face five posts with no way of knowing how to tackle them, I’d fall at the first fence!
My task list for each blog post looks something like this:
- Research post
- Plan post
- Write first draft
- Edit post
- Run through Hemingway
- Run through Grammarly
- Source images
- Upload post to website
- Optimise on Yoast
I’ll work on each task for each post in sequence. I’ll start by doing all the research for every post, then plan each post in turn and so on. Handy hint, turn off notifications on your phone and switch off your emails while you work. You’ll stay much more focused this way! Another useful technique is to set a timer for each stage. That might seem impossible at first, but you’ll be surprised how much your writing speeds up the more you do this!
#5: Finally, write!
In all honesty, if you get the planning stages on point, then the writing will come very easily after because you’ve taken all the thinking out of it. Now you’re just letting the words flow!
Still not convinced writing your own blog posts is the way to go? Then we should have a chat. Getting me to blog for you will take away all that stressful thinking about it and give you plenty of time to get back to doing what you love!