Maybe it’s because we were looking forward to seeing the end of 2020. But whatever the reason, you need to get organized quickly for next year.
And that means planning a content calendar for your blog.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to block every detail of each post. You should revisit your content schedule several times a year to make sure your blog is still on track. But this is a great time of year to start.
Planning for success
Have you ever had trouble finding a topic to write about? As the minutes go by, the pressure builds up, and when you finally do think of one you need to hurry to meet the deadline.
Having a content calendar relieves the pressure because you will always know what to write about. And planning your posts offers the opportunity to take your readers on a journey.
It also helps you to become a more consistent blogger. When you can’t think of anything to write about, you may be tempted to give up and say to yourself, “I’ll try again next time.” But when you’re working with a plan, you’re more likely to stick to it – especially if you’re working on a series of posts that complement each other.
The first step is to review the content that you created last year. Was there a post that went particularly well? You can use Google Analytics to find out which posts had the most views and tools like BuzzSumo to see which posts had the most shares. You can also search a little deeper and find the content that got the most comments.
Did any of the topics you wrote about generate a lot of traffic, shares, and comments? On the other hand, was there a topic that was not very successful? This can help you plan what to write (and what not to write about) in the next 12 months.
Was there a topic that seemed to get more and more popular as the year went on? In that case, it may be a growing trend that you should focus on.
Did your shorter posts do better than the longest or vice versa? Was there a specific title that did better than others? What about your images?
Can you remember how you felt when you wrote these posts? Were they relatively easy to write or did you struggle to finish them? Were there certain times or days when writing posts seemed easier or more difficult? Did you have any more difficulties, like finding time to write?
Don’t spend all day on it. Take about a minute to answer one question and then move on to the next. But I hope you see some trends that can help you create new opportunities with your blog, or at least make better use of your time.
There is no right or incorrect way to do this. It is the case with what works best for you. But here are any questions you may require to answer along the way.
Is there an emerging trend that you would like to focus on?
When reviewing last year’s content, did you identify any emerging trends in your niche? If so, you can consider exploring them in more detail and sharing what you’ve learned with your readers.
This does not mean that you need to talk about it in every post you write. But you may want to return to it regularly. You may even want to create a series where your posts complement each other and take the reader on a journey.
You may even be ready to create a product based on the knowledge in your posts that you can sell on your blog.
Is there any kind of post you would like to write regularly?
Whether it’s because they did well last year or because you just enjoyed writing to them, you may want to post a specific type of post regularly.
It can be a list post, an editorial post, a summary post, or anything else. You can even give it a name like Story Sunday or Tutorial Tuesday to link it to a specific day of the week.
How often would you like to post?
How often did you post last year? Was it once a month, already a week, some times a week, or every day? And how did you follow this schedule? Was it a fight or did you take everything at your own pace?
Now is the time to choose how often you think comfortable posting. It doesn’t make sense to put three posts a week in your content calendar if you’re having trouble keeping up with it. It is much better that you create a schedule that you are comfortable with.
Is there any medium you would like to start using?
If you are thinking of trying another medium – podcasting, Facebook Live, YouTube – you should make time on your calendar for them.
This can involve learning about the medium, researching equipment you might need, learning the tools and, of course, creating the actual content.
Not only will you be ready when the time comes to produce, but having it on your calendar means you are more likely to take the leap and do it.
Is it time to mix something up a bit?
If you have been blogging for some time, it may have reached a point where it is becoming a little monotonous. It seems like you are doing the same thing day after day and start to wonder if your readers are as bored with your blog as you are.
If that sounds similar to you, then it’s time to mix things up.
Many bloggers do this by creating certain topics or types of posts for certain types of days. Mondays can be for list postings. On Tuesdays, you can ask your community a question.
Wednesdays can be when you write a comment. You can share your opinion about something on Thursday. And on Friday you can write a tutorial to give your readers something to do over the weekend.
And depending on your blog, you can also change the subject from time to time to confuse things. Just be careful, as mixing things up can be confusing for your readers.
When are you going to take a break?
If the past year has taught us anything, it is how important it is to take care of our health – physical, mental, and emotional. This means that you should set aside time on your calendar to take a well-deserved break.
Of course, this leads to an obvious question: what happens to your blog while you take that break?
You may want:
create extra content in advance and program it to be published while you’re away
create some of the best posts showing some of the content you’ve already published.
Or you may simply have a gap in your content calendar where nothing new is published.
Is it time to get more visual?
This is also a good time to think about your approach to visual content. It’s time to change the look of your blog – a new header, new avatars for your social media channels, or perhaps a new source to display all of your content.
Fortunately, we now have tools like Canva that can make updating your visual content a breeze. Even doing something simple, like changing the background color of your images and icons, can give your blog a whole new look.
Can you redirect any of your current content?
Just because you covered a topic on a blog, it doesn’t mean it’s over.
If you provided a lot of data in one of your posts, why not provide that information again, turning it into an infographic? If you wrote an editorial article that received a lot of comments when it was first published, you could use it as the basis for a Facebook Live.
Do you want a new tool to build your content calendar?
What have you done working to create your content calendar? A calendar app? A spreadsheet? Paper and pen? Switching to a new tool can not only make the task easier but also give you a renewed sense of energy.