A Content Plan Makes Blogging Easier

It’s January 3rd, 2011 –> Have you setup a blog for your small business yet? For those of you who are unfamiliar with the numerous benefits to having a strong small business blog, please feel free to click the tag “Content Marketing” below to get access to an archive of blog marketing articles from Catalyst. This post is geared towards those small business owners who want to get more out of their small business blog.

Many small business owners find the time commitment and level of effort of maintaining a consistent blog presence to be a little overwhelming at times. For those of you who are struggling to keep your blog content fresh, relevant to your audience, and valuable to your customers & prospects, this article should help you build a more effective blog, while reducing the time and energy you spend on each article. How can that be done? Simple. Create a Quarterly Blog Content Plan for your small business blog.

3 Steps to Creating an Actionable Blog Content Plan

Blog PlanningDoes it take you longer than 10 – 15 minutes to come up with a topic to write about for your next blog article? Do you find that when you do finally start writing that you tend to drift down multiple paths, causing you to spend more time than necessary writing blog articles? Perhaps you are creative in your blog content ideas and efficient in your approach to writing each article, but maybe you are finding it difficult to understand how each blog article is working to achieve your organizational goals? If any of these descriptions are familiar to you then you’re not getting the most out of your small business blog.

Creating a successful small business blog takes creativity, effort, but most importantly it takes proper planning. Once you’ve created your Online Marketing Plan, you can then start crafting your Blog Content Plan (assuming that blogging is part of your overall online marketing strategy). Each quarter you should sit down to come up with a Blog Content Plan for your small business. A Blog Content Plan is a list of blog topics that you want to write about on your small business blog during the upcoming quarter. Here are the three main steps to creating an actionable Blog Content Plan:

  1. Develop a list of Blog Topics: Write down a 1 sentence description for each blog topic that you’d like to write about during the quarter. How do you know how many topics to come up with each quarter? Simply go back to the Blog Tactic in your Online Marketing Plan to see how many articles you want to write each month, then multiply that number by 3 (3 months in each quarter). You should already have an idea as to what type of content you need to produce for your small business. It should be listed in the Description section of your Online Marketing Plan.
  2. Set a Goal for Each Blog Topic: By setting a goal for each article (ie. Educate customers & prospects on the latest industry trend OR Explain the benefits of my small business e-Newsletter) you will be able to focus in on what you want to write about and accomplish. This eliminates the extra time that you spend drifting to far away from your blog topic while you’re writing your blog article. Also, by having a Goal setup, you can then measure your results to determine if your blog efforts are paying off.
  3. Include a Call-to-Action for each Blog Topic: As long as you’re providing valuable content to your audience on a consistent basis, then you should feel OK about asking for things in return from your readers. Now, that doesn’t mean that for every blog article you write that you should be asking for a donation OR driving people to sign-up for something. Be smart about your call-to-action. For some articles, your call-to-action may simply be for readers to click a link within your current article to read one of your archived articles. Don’t be overly promotional, but definitely include a call-to-action for each blog topic within your Blog Content Plan.

One important point to note is that just because you have a Blog Content Plan for the quarter doesn’t mean that topics cannot be added throughout the quarter. The key is to have a plan so that when you sit down to write an article you can be efficient with your time. With that said, if you become inspired or come up with a great idea for a new article, you should feel free to write about that topic and save the topics listed on your Blog Content Plan for another day.

Benefits to Creating a Blog Content Plan

There are a number of benefits to creating a Blog Content Plan for your small business blog. The biggest benefits that most small business owners will see by having a Blog Content Plan are:

  • Reduced time spent coming up with new blog topics each time you want to write a new article
  • Reduced time spent writing articles
  • Creation of more effective, relevant, and valuable content
  • Always something to write about
  • Ability to measure results
  • More actionable blog articles

Get Started Writing Your Blog Content Plan

Now that you know just how valuable having a Blog Content Plan can be for your small business blog, and being that it’s the beginning of a new year, hopefully you will take an hour this weekend to create a Blog Content Plan. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll see better results from your blogging efforts, while at the same time reducing the time you spend to create each new blog article.

Have you already created a Blog Content Plan for your small business blog? Please share any results that you’ve seen from your planning efforts with our readers by leaving a comment below.

3 Comments

  1. Ryan:

    Excellent guide. I established my blog as an awareness/networking tool, but in 2011 I plan to start closing some posts by soliciting the readers’ insights to generate a thread of conversation. I also am beginning to realize it is a good practice to set up a posting sequence, by doing so you can always reference back to earlier posts to drive home a point about a topic you are passionate about. You have done it consistently with Foursquare.

    Jimmy

  2. Jim -

    I really appreciate the feedback! You’re correct in that I’ve tried to create a foursquare stream of articles here on the Catalyst site. I definitely think it helps drive traffic through the site. I can’t wait to hear how it works for you this year!

    Thanks again,

    @RyanTaft (Twitter)

  3. I liked this article quite a bit. What I enjoyed most was that the writing obviously comes from someone with a deep understanding of the field, much like being led by an experienced guide. I’ll look forward to more material like this in the near future.

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