biz ladiesLife & Business

Biz Ladies: Six Months’ Worth of Blog Content in Just Two Steps

by Stephanie

Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from previous Biz Ladies contributor Mariah Danielsen. Mariah is an award-winning graphic designer and marketer who discovered that she could build a business around what she loves: weddings, stationery and DIY projects. She is the owner of Oh, What Love and the co-creator of The Create+Connect Project, a program that helps creative entrepreneurs turn their passion into profit. Today she offers some insight into how you can create a bulk of content for your blog. Thanks, Mariah, for this encouraging post! — Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump . . .

If you own a small business, especially a creative business, you most likely know that blogging is a great way to get your name out there; it helps potential customers get to know you, provides wonderful and free content for your readers that a website alone cannot and helps with search engine optimization.

But knowing all of these things doesn’t get the blog posts written.

If you’re like me, you either have a bunch of ideas at once and want to post six times in a day, or you have dry spells where you don’t have anything to write about for weeks. But for a successful blog, consistency is key.

Taking time to think of ideas for blog posts and writing each one are two of the hardest things about having a blog. Today I’m going to show you how you can generate six months (or more) of blog content with just two steps, and I’ll show you how to stick to a schedule so your posts are consistent for your readers.

Step 1: What to Write About

What are you going to write about on your blog? Sit down and start generating ideas for what you want to talk about to your readers. Use this worksheet.

What do you love to talk about when it comes to your job? What do you find easy to talk about?

Use your interests and knowledge to start your list. As a wedding blogger, I love to talk about fun decorations, unique details that brides can use in their weddings, wedding themes and wedding songs. Each of these topics is something I can easily talk about, and it provides great free content for brides.

What questions do people ask you all the time?

Do you have readers emailing you questions? Do your friends and family ask you questions about your job? Try turning any questions you get from the people around you into blog posts. Or if you don’t get lots of questions, think of questions that someone might have about your business and use those as post topics, too. DesignLoveFest and Hey Gorgeous do a great job with this.

Write all your topic ideas down on the worksheet, and don’t filter any of them out during this brainstorming process. There will be some you’ll want to talk about more than others; nevertheless, keep them all on the list. Shoot for a list of 30 to 50 post ideas.

Then read through all the topics and cross out any ideas that you don’t think you really want to write about, but try to leave at least 26 topics on your list.

If you can’t think of 26 good ones, don’t worry. Just keep adding to the list as they come to you.

Step 2: Schedule Them on a Calendar

Now that you have a list of topics, you’ll want to decide how often to post on your blog. If you’ve got 26 good topics to talk about, you could post once per week for six months or once every other week for an entire year. It’s up to you; go with what you feel comfortable with. You can always increase the number of times you post down the road.

After you decide how often to post, you need to get these post topics scheduled on a calendar. I’ve created a fun little calendar template for you to use, or Google calendar is another great option.

This part is very important because if you schedule them, you’ll always know what you’re supposed to write about on the day you’ve chosen to write your posts.

So, if you’re planning on posting every Monday, start writing topics on your calendar for each Monday. Don’t worry about writing the post right then and there; at least you’ll know what you’re going to be writing about when Monday rolls around.

There are your two steps to generating six months’ worth of blog content. See, it isn’t that hard, is it?

Repeat this process every six months, and you’ll always know what to write about!

What are your tips and tricks for writing blog posts or sticking to a blogging schedule? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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  • A big part of the editorial calendar is developing the personas that you are writing for. Once you know who you are writing for you can refine the voice of your blog, having a consistent voice is crucial for building your community.

  • Yes, Stephanie, some kind of written schedule is a MUST to keep on track and make time management a reality.

    You offer some great tips on what to blog about but I find the big challenge to be on sticking to when to blog.

    I regularly fall behind in blogging – though I try to make up for it by posting on micro-blogging sites like Twitter and LinkedIn.

    I designed a spreadsheet as to what topics to blog about, but keeping to a specific timetable is the tough part. I am now making it a “first thing” on my to-do list so it doesn’t fall behind.

  • As a garden designer and rare plant plant nursery owner, I get excited about and feel the need to write about what is happening in the garden right at that exact moment in time. It often begins by walking around the gardens and seeing what plants or plant combinations look incredible, and then try to get a good image of it with my camera.
    Sharing passionately about what is happening at the moment is appreciated and a worthy read by like minded gardeners, who are a looking for something to be inspired by.

  • Thanks for these tips! I find that consistency has been my biggest difficulty. I’m going to schedule things from now on. I’ve recently decided to stick to specific posting “days” to help me, where I might write about my artwork on one day of the week and fashion on another. That formula also helps me brainstorm topics because I have specific “headings” to restrain me.

  • Very helpful. I often get overwhelmed with the thought of what to write and then when. Often I don’t end up writing consistently at all, but as with most things a little planning and organization goes a long way. Thank you for the tips!

  • how do you define what your readers want to read? My most popular posts are not always the ones with the most comments. I have tons of blog post ideas, but they are all so random. Some design, some personal..Learning the balance is so tricky!

  • Oh PERFECT timing! I made myself an editorial calendar yesterday, and fifteen minutes ago I noticed that a) I’d left my calendar on the floor, b) said floor was directly beneath an open window, and c) it was raining so hard drops actually bounced off my paper. Thanks for a super-cute Ver 2.0, Mariah!

  • This is all excellent, and I appreciate the addition of the worksheets. I made my own sheet a few months ago to inspire me, but I’m using yours too. BIG DEAL for me though is timing. I know exactly what I want to blog about and how to do it, but with two kids under two and no one to give breaks, even on weekends, my biggest hurtle to greatness is actualling getting to write the posts themselves. But it all serves to motivate. I like the challenge.

    Keep up the great posts. though I don’t yet have a business, I’m really enjoying these!

  • Thanks for the organization tips. I tend to write ideas down in random places, and making a list in one place would be really helpful for planning or writing when I have down time. On your cute worksheet you say, “don’t disculde any ideas”. I am wondering what that means.

  • I had consistency issues for the last 3 years with my previous blog until I started fresh with Pearls & Scissors. Now I post 6 times per week. I’ve found that for me it’s easier to have themed weekdays (like magazine sections), so mondays are for refashion, sundays are personal posts and so on. This way I’ll know what type of content I need and I can choose my weekend projects according to what type of posts I need content for the next week.

    I also started using an idea book. Just a small notebook that’s always in my purse, and whenever I have a minute or two, I jot down ideas for projects and posts. This way I’m always adding to my list and I don’t lose any ideas I might have during the day. I think most of us have loads of ideas, but the problem is that we forget before we can take action. So writing them down right then and there is key.

    And what has really helped me out this past few very busy weeks has been a back-up plan. I have a list of post ideas that I can whip up when I don’t have any original content to post (like wish-lists, round-ups, favorite blogs, awesome links, inspirational quotes, etc). This way, not having a project ready is not an excuse to not blog.

  • I just recently started a project called #icandoit365 where I encourage artists in the handmade community to try blogging everyday for one year. I am posting all kinds of tips to help make this a reality: http://bitly.com/PQfRNU

    It’s amazing how many artists there are who don’t have blogging as a part of their business plan.

  • this was really interesting and helpful. i might add what i like to do that sometimes helps me a lot… i theme my weeks. for instance, i post 4 days a week min and each week might have something (whether it stands out or not) that connects the entire weeks posts.

  • This is SO helpful. I want to blog and I need to blog to help with promotion. I like writing and I have a lot of random ideas – but somehow I can never seem to think of a topic when I sit down to write.

    Thank you for this! Now I’m excited to sit down and draw up a list of topics.

  • Great post and thanks for the calendar! I usually have a ton of blog post ideas, but have trouble keeping them organized and following through with them. I think if I outline the main post ideas and schedule them on the calendar, I’ll be able to fill in here and there with other shorter, less involved posts.

  • Thanks for the tips! I’ve noticed that having weekly series works. For instance on Tuesdays I write about Twitter. It forces me to write at least those weekly series every week and thus have consistently new blog posts selected days.

  • For an ‘end of summer’ post, this is perfect. Thanks for all of the blogging advice: yes, it’s time to sit down and get organized. Then I can follow through with your suggestion to do some brain storming and schedule up my blogs for the the next few months using your super cute calendar!

  • Thanks. Writing consistent blog posts has been on my lengthy to-do list for a while. I have made the list of potential posts but have not made the time to actually write them. Putting it on the calendar is so basic… yet I had not done so yet. I am going to do it right now. Once again, thanks for the motivation.

  • I’ve been using Evernote. I open a new note for each topic I want to write about, and then drag the notes into a folder for the week when I want to use that topic. I draft the topics in Evernote, and then paste into WordPress when I’m ready to publish. It’s easy to keep track of links throughout the week this way.

    Good tips on how to generate a lot of content ideas at once. Thanks!

  • This could be a situation where a journalism intern student could help you by writing some advance blog posts and schedule the publising pace.

  • this is so helpful, even to a new blogger like me! i haven’t yet perfected the art of writing a blog post, much less a schedule. but this gives me confidence that i can do it, so thank you!

  • I know I am super late to this party, but someone just linked to this article from somewhere else and the timing of it was perfect for me. With that said I think the link for the worksheet is broken or missing now since this was written so long ago. Any chance the file is floating around somewhere out there and someone could send it to me?? Pretty please :D