Sometimes I hear new bloggers saying they don’t know what to write about. I remember when I first began blogging I would look at the blank page and my mind would go blank to match it. Not very useful, is it?
Now that I have been blogging for a few years I have learnt a few tips and tricks to help me keep my blog updated regularly.
The best thing I can recommend is an Editorial Calendar. Sounds professional, doesn’t it? An editorial calendar is basically a pre-planned series of posts and it makes blogging SO much easier.
This is a basic one that I recently did for a site.
The calendar is simple but it shows me what I have planned to do and when.
Let’s take a closer look.
The business was new as was the blog, so we were starting with a clean slate. I listed the main areas of the business I was writing about which helped me focus when brainstorming for topics.
The first thing I did was to schedule a ‘pillar post’ on each of the main topics. These are the ones that are highlighted. A pillar post is a content which forms a key post for your whole blog. They are often longer, more detailed and high in content. As a new blog, these posts are lighter, but had the blog been established for a while I would have gone into great detail in these posts.
Once you have your pillar posts decided you can then find related ideas to post about. For example, the ‘Parties – Themes’ pillar leant itself to smaller posts about individual themes. The ‘Decorating’ pillar could be about party decorations, cake decorations, gift wrapping or decorating the kids! You see how the ideas follow on?
With each post I also want to think about where it is leading me. What do I want to achieve with it? Should it take people to the site and directly to a product? Am I hoping to encourage signups to the newsletter? Do we have an alliance or an affiliate relationship that I need to support?
A couple of strategies that you might like to use are ‘list posts’ and ‘controversial posts’.
A list post is exactly what it sounds like – a list of points. It could be “The Top 10 Gadgets for Writers”. The beauty of these is that they are short, informative, very useful to readers and scannable. (Yes, remember that word?) These are very popular and therefore likely to be shared on Twitter, Facebook and so on.
Controversial posts don’t really have to be all that controversial but what they do is to stir up opinions. Problogger actually calls these ‘opinion posts’. You are after a reaction. Discussion is great and will certainly bring your blog to the notice of others. Don’t go too over the top here because you might bring more reaction that you want. Be prepared for positive and negative comments as people debate your position. Don’t worry about the negative comments. You are getting what you want –a response. As for handling those comments, simply acknowledge them and tell them that they have a valid point of view.
An editorial calendar is a really important blogging tool. It doesn’t take as long as it looks to put together a simple calendar for 3 months. Do it 4 times a year and you have topics set for the whole year. No, you don’t have to stick to it if something else comes up but you will never again be stuck without an idea.
Don’t be scared of blank pages any more!
In fact, if you’d like a free editorial calendar template to work with, download your copy here.
“I have spent the morning using your schedule to draft my next four months of blog and newsletter posts – so thanks! Been stuck on that for a long time. Your format is simple and it works.” Tammy T.