How to create a simple content calendar to help you blog consistently
“I try to blog consistently but struggle to keep up the momentum.”
If this is you, you’re not alone – it’s a dilemma I’ve heard many-a-time from small businesses, and I’ve been there myself.
It usually starts off with the best of intentions (a bit like New Year’s resolutions) – “I’m going to blog every week,” you say to yourself. But blogging takes commitment which isn’t easy when you’ve got a million and one other things to do, especially if it’s just you or a small team.
Within weeks the routine has slipped, and before you know it you’re four months down the line with one blog to show for it. Oh, bugger. So much for those resolutions.
The longer you leave it, the easier it is to let it escape from your to-do list.
But we’re not blogging just for the fun of it – let’s remember why we’re blogging in the first place…
To build relationships with customers by providing them with helpful and relevant content…with the long-term aim of making sales.
If you’re not blogging, you’re missing a trick to stay in front of your audience.
But to see the benefits, you’ve got to do it consistently – building relationships takes time.
So how exactly do you blog consistently?
Cue inspirational quote –
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Benjamin Franklin.
By making a plan…
Planning ahead results in purposeful content and removes the barrier of what you’re going to write about. So when you sit down to write, that’s what you actually do.
Of course, you still need to carve out the time to write the content – there’s no escaping that one, unless you hire a content writer… psst! 😉
How to create a simple content calendar to get you blogging consistently
If you look for content calendars (also known as editorial calendars) online, you’ll find lots of free templates – emphasis on lots. There are some great ones out there…but they can be very detailed and, if you’re new to blogging, it can be overwhelming. It’s better to start simple and build from there.
The below outlines how to create a basic content calendar to get you started.
“If you don’t start somewhere, you’ll never get anywhere” – Bob Marley.
Strategy comes first (read about the difference between a content strategy and a content calendar). Before you can create your calendar, you need to know things like:
- The goal of your content. All content should have a purpose…
- Who your audience is. Check out the Make My Persona tool by Hubspot to help you understand your ideal customers
- How much time you can commit to writing. Will you blog once a month, once a week, or more? Tip – it’s better to be realistic, otherwise it’ll demotivate you. Try to build up a picture of how many blog posts you can feasibly write during the next 12 months
Prioritise. Which products/services are you going to push in the next 12 months? And which months are the best time to promote them? You’ll probably want to create more content for your priority products/services…(this will be led by your business and marketing goals).
Create an Excel (other programs are available!) spreadsheet and put the months of the year along the top – ideally for the next 12 months, but you can always start with three or six if that’s more realistic to begin with.
Decide on the types of posts you’re going to write (here are 10.5 blog ideas to get you started). Put these in the left column (you can add to these as time goes on).
By this point you know how many posts you can realistically write in 12 months, the number of times you’re going to blog per service, and roughly in which months. Make a note of this on your calendar as a reminder.
Now you can start populating the calendar, using the types of posts as a prompt. For example:
- Awareness days you can tie to your products/services
- Upcoming events that relate to your industry
- Helpful content you can create for your audience – a series of how-to guide around your services, for example
- FAQs – turning common questions into blog posts
You’ll (hopefully) find that your calendar will begin to fill with a (realistic) plan of content, covering your core businesses services, as well as other, related content.
Content calendar tips
- Block out time to generate content ideas so your calendar is always topped up – your calendar is a working document, so keep adding ideas and adapting as you go
- Use multiple tabs in your spreadsheet – for example, one for the content calendar itself, one for content ideas, one listing your main goals, etc.
- When coming up with content ideas, think about it from a user point of view. What would your audience type into the search engine to find your product/service? Use those words (keywords) in your blogs
When you’ve mastered the art of consistency, you can develop your calendar. Over time, you can start to include metrics, like how many times people viewed your post. Metrics like this will help you shape future content so it’s tailored to your audience.
But first, you’ve got to get started…
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started” – Sally Berger.
If you need help with blogging consistently, please get in touch. Based in Nottingham, I work with clients in the Nottinghamshire, the East Midlands and beyond!