Does this sound familiar?
You have a great idea for your blog and immediately write a draft for a new post. And that draft sits, untouched, on your desk or in your notebook for days, weeks, maybe even months. You actually forget that you even wrote it at all, until one day you stumble across it while looking for something else. And then you think ‘Oh, I should finish this and post it!’ But then one of your kids/ husband/ coworker/dog interrupts you and before you know it, you’re tackling the next thing on your daily to-do list.
That used to be the story of my blogging life. Between my full time job at a local non-profit, raising my four kids and keeping up with my freelance work, my blog- which I LOVED —was at the bottom of my priority list, just above shaving my legs and just below getting my roots colored. I had dreams of making my blog into something awesome and beautiful and helpful, but there was never enough time.
When I decided to get serious about blogging I knew that I had to post content on a consistent basis. And that every piece of content I created needed to be valuable to my audience. It had to educate, motivate, or entertain them in some way. Along with consistency, I also had to stop the very bad habit of posting fluffy filler pieces as a way to make my blog look current. I was not above slapping up a couple of pretty photos with a quick note, that may or may not relate to my blog topic. Not surprisingly, after a year and a half of blogging my first blog had only a handful of readers and zero revenue.
Being a single mom of four kids, I’ve learned to be highly organized- otherwise life quickly devolves into total chaos. I manage multiple schedules both at home and in my day job, where I manage the communication program for several large grant initiatives. I also write a monthly article for The Balance (formerly About.com) and am in charge of promoting all my work on social media. I’m excellent at managing all the different parts of my life. I have no problem meeting deadlines for other people and I am never late on work projects or freelance assignments. So why was blogging so hard?
I needed to figure out a system that would keep me accountable to myself. I needed an editorial calendar that was flexible enough to encourage my creativity, but structured enough that I stayed focused and timely.
Part of the problem with my first blog was that I didn’t really like writing recipes or DIY articles. When I thought about other possible blog topics, I discovered I could talk endlessly about the powers of digital media & blogging for business. That’s when I decided to change the focus of my blog from lifestyle to teaching creative business women about the powers of digital media.
As the idea for The Barefoot Office Mom began to take shape, I knew I needed a more business/project management approach for creating content. I was writing content regularly, but stil felt totally overwhelmed. I knew there had to be a better way to write for my blog. Enter the 12 Months of Beautiful Blog Content Work Plan. I took one of the grant management tools I use in my day job – a strategic work plan – and adapted it for my blog – creating 12 months of blog content in less than hour!
This method chunked down information into smaller, actionable pieces, making me feel more in control of my new business. Suddenly I was working regularly on tasks that all fit together in a way that made sense to me and my readers. I watched my business grow steadily rather than in sporadically.
I broke up my editorial calendar into four quarters, assigning each quarter a specific theme. From there I broke down each quarter into three months, assigning each month a specific topic that went with the quarterly theme.
For example, for the first quarter of 2017 (January, February, March) my theme is How to Use a Blog to Grow Your Creative Business.
My three monthly topics to support this theme include:
Next I broke down each monthly topic into four focus areas (one for each week):
Once I did this for all four quarters, I ended up with a 12 month plan full of strategic, focused and relevant content for my blog. The whole exercise took me less than a hour to complete!
Once I had a list of topics and focus areas, I brainstormed ideas of how I would share the content with my audience. Blog content is more than written posts – it can be videos, photo galleries, checklists, round-ups, guest posts, favorite’s list, even funny memes, etc…Remember – content should motivate, educate, inform or entertain your audience.
Some content ideas worked well for a long form written post, like How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business. Others were ideal for video, like How to use Canva to Create a Brand Kit. I also made a plan to reach out to bloggers in my industry and ask them to do a guest post or for permission to share one of their posts on my site. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel – if someone has already covered a topic within your niche and you like the way they did it, ask them to share their resource with you. It’s a win-win – they get extra exposure and you save oodles of time to work on something else.
I’m excited to share my 12 Months of Beautiful Blog Content Work Plan and Calendar with you, for FREE! Along with the easy-to-follow workbook full of content ideas and examples, I’ve included a yearly editorial calendar for you to plan out your own 12 Months of Blog Content and build a solid framework for future resources like free printable worksheets, ebooks and ecourses.
Why wait? Get started organizing your blog content today and watch your business grow!