Updated: Jan 3
Last week, we discussed starting your small business blog and generating that all important organic search engine traffic.
This week I'm going to deep dive into the production techniques I use here at We Build Stores and give you some insight into the blog preparation process, content schedule and generating blog post ideas.
So last week, we prepped you up with a once per week blogging schedule. That's a good goal for a small business owner because no matter how good your intentions, life (and running a business) get in the way of all the best-laid plans.
Here are my best tips for planning out your blog content schedule.
Creating Your Blog content Schedule
If you have decided on a once per week blogging schedule, then get ready to produce 52 blog posts per year.
Wow, 52 blog posts a year. Gulp!
That seems like a lot. And it is. But let's not get bogged down with the details of blog frequency because what's important here is that you're going to do this and blog quality will trump blog quantity every time.
The first thing you need to do is develop your blog editorial calendar, which essentially means laying out all your blog topics for the year ahead at a high level and developing a blog content strategy.
You can go as granular as quarterly or even monthly, but I recommend yearly as an excellent place to start, so we'll go with that for now. We'll walk through how to create your editorial calendar in a Trello Calendar later on but for now, let's dive into blog topic planning.
What Makes a Blog Great?
Four elements make a blog great: variety, research, consistency and promotion. Whilst variety is the spice of life it makes sense to have your blog topics follow on from each other week after week to keep your customer focused and engaged.
Your blog topics can be broken into four quarters, making it easy to plan a blog content strategy over the entire year. Here's what I mean:
Quarter one (January - March): This will be our focus for the next twelve weeks, where we'll give a high level overview of the strategies for accomplishing certain outcomes like improving SEO performance or increasing revenue (or blog traffic). You can replace my goals with your content aims. This blog topic can be very granular and get into many tactics.
To begin with, define a topic for each month like this:
January - Starting a blog
February - Starting a social media campaign
March - Focus on getting more business from local SEO
Once you have your global topic for each month, break it down into a weekly post.
Week One - Starting your small business blog
Week Two - How to plan content for your blog
Week Three - How to write compelling blog copy
Week Four - Specific blog post writing tips
In this way you introduce a new reader to your topic and then educate them weekly on the process of achieving it. It's a logical linear progression.
Week One - Start a social media strategy
Week Two - Social media content ideas
Week Three - Social media production values
Week Four - Tips for increasing social media engagement.
Now we start getting into more specific details:
Week One - Using LinkedIn as a lead geberator
Week Two - Designing the perfect Facebook page
Week Three - A guide to Google My business
Week Four - Wrap up the first quarter with a summary of everything learned.
Building a blog is all about creating high-quality content that does not necessarily have a direct ROI but helps build awareness and authority for your brand.
Once you've defined your blog calendar you need to promote the content you write by either guest blogging on other authority sites, submitting your blog posts to directories or promoting your content with Google Adwords.
You could also try finding an influencer who would like to create a joint venture with you (JV) to share with their audience in written form or during an interview. When paired with high-quality blog content, this promotion strategy can go a long way in driving blog traffic, email sign-ups and product sales over time.
Your Seasonal Content Calendar
Once you've created monthly blog topic buckets, it's time to move on to the final step of blog content strategy planning, which is creating a blog editorial calendar. A blog editorial calendar is simply laying out blog topics for each week over one year, but I like to turn that into something much more visual.
Trello Calendar Board - Blog Topic Planning
So now that you know all about blog topic planning and how versatile blog posts can be (there are blog posts that are perfect for blog promotion, blog traffic, brand awareness and more), let's take a look at how to plan blog topics using Trello.
I use Trello as my blog editorial calendar so that these steps will be specific to Trello, but you should be able to adapt them based on what types of platforms or calendars you prefer.
Create a board called "blog content planning."
On the first row, create your first list for January blogs or whichever month you are starting your blog campaign.
For each blog topic list, go back to your list of blog post ideas from above and start creating individual cards with blog post titles that fit into each month.
For example, if one of our blog posts lists is about blog traffic, we can have blog post cards titled blog promotion strategies, blog content promotion strategies or blog traffic tips.
Once you've done this for your blog topic lists, drag-and-drop each blog card under its respective blog topic list on your Trello board.
Using Trello is a great way to visually see what topics you plan to cover for each quarter and show all of the ideas you could potentially cover in blog posts at some point down the line.
With Trello, it's easy to reorder these blog postcards as needed as the categories are essentially just labels, so you can easily reorder them and make sure they make sense for blog promotion, brand awareness etc.
Every blog postcard will change over time as you add blog ideas, complete blog post topics, and blog promotions expire, so you can go back to your Trello board at any time and edit blog cards.
If you want to take it one step further, I recommend creating blog labels under each blog topic list.
Although this is a simple process overall, once you get into it, you'll see that blog content planning is a great way to plan blog posts for the entire year, so your blog never has any dry spells.
Blog Production Tools
Here are the essential blog production tools you need to create an awesome blog!
Grammarly Writing Assistant is a tool that helps with all writing tasks. Grammarly analyses text for grammatical errors and stylistic mistakes and provides the user with suggested edits and revisions throughout the process.
The Grammarly Writing Assistant is perfect for blogging, as writing in the third person perspective can be tricky at times.
Grammarly also provides word choice suggestions, so it's perfect for opening up sentences with action verbs to give them more of a dynamic feel.
If you don't use Grammarly in the blog post during the editing process, you can still apply it to your text after publishing. Also, Grammarly has a plagiarism checker to make sure content is original.
The Grammarly premium features include an extended thesaurus and the ability to export documents in different file types.
Grammarly can plug into word processors, websites, and even Microsoft Office!
The Jasper Writing Assistant is an efficient way to overcome writer's block and make blog production easy and fast. Using Jasper artificial intelligence (AI), writers can focus on creative content without worrying about the planning or editing stages; Jasper can do all the topic title research and make suggestions for blog content which is a huge time saver.
Writers have complete control over their content with Jasper because it uses AI to ensure that each piece of content produced reflects the client's voice, tone, and brand identity.
Meet deadlines with ease using Jasper writing assistant!
Surfer Seo is an SEO tool that compares and analyses 500 different factors of your page's content against the top 10 ranking SERPs.
Using data to show you what is missing takes the guesswork out of on-page SEO optimisation. It has three key features to help you optimise your content-
SERP (search engine position results) Analyser
Surfer SEO will analyse 500 different factors across the top 10 results and then compare those with your webpage, giving you reliable, data-driven information on what's working right now for your specific keyword.
Surfer currently analyses ranking factors like:
Number of headings
Number of Images
Partial Keyword Density
Meta Tags Structure
Optimising for keywords is a lot of work, but with Surferseo, you can discover the optimal keyword density. It also finds correlations between position in SERP and 500+ factors before generating an attack plan to make yourself as relevant as possible within your niche or industry.
You can also learn what other words should be included on pages so that they rank higher than competitors' websites do!
The page audit tool gives you detailed information on:
Missing Common Backlinks
Number of words
Number of Elements
Time to First Byte
Load time (ms)
Surfer SEO also allows you to optimise your existing content with its SERP Analyser tool.
So that's your blog content planning schedule sorted out and all the tools you need to make it a raging success! Time to get writing!
Would you like help creating your business blog? Contact us