I’m still blogging about blogging. Here’s another way of beating blogger’s block – the content calendar. This is simply a diarised list (written on the spreadsheet or table of your choice depending on how much you like playing with formats) that lays out what you are going to blog about and when.
I’ve just compiled a 12-month blog calendar for a client. 52 blog topics, sorted. OK, they all need writing now, but at least that awful, blank, constipated feeling of “eek, nothing to write about” is no longer a problem. This is a rather extreme example: a year’s worth of blogs is a pretty long list. However, a blog plan a few weeks long is definitely doable; and here are a few tips on putting together a simple schedule.
Some businesses have a natural advantage when it comes to forward planning. If you are writing about a hotel or restaurant, the year has a lovely, easy rhythm that you can follow. OK, it’s a bit tight for Valentine’s Day now; but there’s Mother’s Day and Easter coming up, and probably lots of lovely days out coming up in your local area as spring (allegedly) creeps closer. Christmas and New Year have all sorts of splendid potential topics you can hang a blog post from. Food producers also operate seasonally, making a calendar nice and predictable (in a good way).
Even if your business doesn’t initially seem to lend itself to easy planning, have another think. Building and related trades for example can always relate to the Good Old British weather – good time of year to check for leaks etc – and really use their blogs to encourage trade in quieter periods. My manifestation dots (glass) clients can blog about solar glare in the summer months and keeping the heat in during the colder periods. Or vice versa, if you need your customers to book well in advance.
Check out what’s going on locally. Various “What’s On in Cornwall” websites gave me some nice ideas for content which can be planned in for the next few months. Festivals, shows, markets, launches can all be related back to local businesses in all sorts of ways.
If your business is multi-faceted, you can share your blog posts between all the different areas by planning ahead. A bar can diarise its blog posts to be food; wine; parties; coffees; cocktails; beers; any other offers, and then start again. Retailers can take a different product to focus on each time, and perhaps rotate them by department.
And importantly, stray off the path a bit with your blog. If you’re writing for a wedding venue, your posts may become a bit repetitive if you write about receptions every week. Do a piece on unusual musical offers for parties, on alternative wedding cakes, on the best bubble-blowing entertainers for younger guests. Refer back to your business, but enjoy running with a fun, lively topic. Breaking down your offer into smaller topics gives you a blog calendar that stretches easily into months’ worth of posts.
But of course, leave yourself a bit of flexibility. You don’t have to stick to your calendar too vigorously – it’s a plan, not a school timetable. Nobody’s going to give you detention for a last-minute change of topic. Sometimes, something in the news is irresistible to your subject, and you have to go with it. I’m a bit sick of Fifty Shades of Tenuous Articles this week, but hey, let’s keep things zeitgeisty. If you can tie in (ho ho ho) your cauliflower-growing business with the latest bonkbuster, then good luck to you. If there’s an item in the news to do with anything wordy, I will happily deviate (careful now) from my planned blog post for that week, choosing to write about what’s current.
It’s definitely worth a try – and if it proves awkward to stick to a calendar, at the very least you have a list of future topics. And hey, you can even colour-code them. Ooooooooh!