If you want to get organised before developing content for your business blog, or in readiness for a freelance copywriter to populate your blog on your behalf, you need to create a Content Plan. Here’s how.
You may have heard the term Content Plan before and wondered exactly what it entails. It really isn’t anything complicated or difficult, it is simply a list of topics you want to cover in your business blog and an idea of when you want to cover them. These plans can be used for scheduling material for other social media channels as well, but this does get a little more complicated because of the speed of change, trending topics, and the need for reactive posts in the wider social ether. So, for now, we will remain focused on creating a plan for your business blog.
First things first, what shall I write about?
I would suggest as a first step, making a list of topics you want to talk about on your blog. Some ideas that you could include, or that may inspire you:
- Advice for your audience – do not be afraid to give advice you offer clients away for free. It will never be the same as them buying your product or service, and it’s likely to encourage them to contact you when they need help.
- Benefits of services or products you offer – for example, if you offer yoga classes you might talk about the benefits of group work and the importance of a sense of community, or you might focus on the physical health benefits of the different asanas you teach. If you sell home improvement products meanwhile, you might talk about the benefits of having a conservatory with a solid roof rather than glass, or the security options available on composite doors.
- New launch – are you launching a new product, class, or service? If so, use your blog to build suspense for it and promote it. Create the desire before you launch the solution.
- Step by step guides – think of something you offer, or even something related to your offering and create a step-by-step guide for it. For example, for home improvement companies selling windows, you might offer a step-by-step guide to the best way to keep windows clean. If you are a dog behaviourist on the other hand, you might offer a step-by-step guide to training a dog to walk nicely on the lead.
- National Events – you can do an internet search to find a list of national or international ‘days or events and if they’re pertinent to your industry or your business, this could be something else to blog about.
- Answer questions – what are some of the questions customers ask you on a regular basis? Or a client asked you something recently that you took for granted as something everyone already knew? Chances are if one person has asked you something, more people will want to know the answer. Proactively answering questions on your blog is a wonderful way to ensure your content is useful.
- Add a personal touch – do not feel like you have to keep a business blog completely related to your products or service. You could use it to introduce members of your team as well? Or maybe you have taken part in a personal fitness challenge for charity recently? You could also allow people to get to know you better by posting ‘behind the scenes’ entries about what you’ve been up to that week, or your interests outside of work. People buy from people, so a personal touch in business never harms.
Once you have your list of topics, draw up a table in Excel or your chosen platform, with months or weeks listed down the left-hand side. You can also use a hardcopy or online calendar but be careful not to lose sight of your blog post plan amongst everything else that may be on the same calendar platform. It needs to be easy to read at a glance.
Timing is everything
The timeline you include in your planning will depend on how many blog posts you feel it is realistic to produce for your business, whether that be one a month, two a week, or something in the middle. Fill out your timeline for the next 3-6 months, again depending on frequency. If you are aiming for two blogs a week, planning three months ahead is probably enough. But if you are only doing one blog a month, for example, aim to plan six or even twelve months ahead. Now go through your list of topics and populate your plan. Some posts may be time relevant – for example if they relate to an event or product launch – while others can be posted anytime.
A well-balanced blog
Once you have populated your plan, you need to look over it, to make sure it is well-balanced. You want to make sure that you don’t have three behind-the-scenes posts back-to-back, or you haven’t put all your more technical articles upfront and left all the softer issues for later. Try and make sure for example you have one technical advice blog post, followed by a step-by-step guide, followed by a more personal entry, followed by an introduction to a product or service. It is not easy to achieve this when you hit creative mode and start writing, so planning is important.
Once you have created your Content Plan, you can start writing, or hand it over to a freelance copywriter to start writing on your behalf. Be aware that the plan needs to be flexible. Things change, new things come up, product launches get delayed, your clients ask new questions that you think would be useful to share sooner rather than later. Whatever changes arise, try and keep your plan up to date, or ask your copywriter to update it regularly for you. It is such a useful tool to have in your armory for a quick glance at topics you have covered, topics you have yet to cover, gaps in the content you’re providing your audience, and how well you are progressing your blog in general.
Get cracking with your Content Plan today and you will be well on your way to a well-balanced, well-populated business blog in no time!