How to Plan Your Written Content in Advance When You Have No Plan in Place

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Consistency is the key to any content management or writing endeavor, yet it can also be the most challenging if you don’t plan before you post. Diving in without enough content to keep you at least a week or two ahead means you are going to struggle with even meeting your weekly content goals. 

With everything else going on in our busy lives, how do you plan your content when you dive in with no plan? 

Here are my tips, from my experience. 

  1. Consider your holidays 
  2. Consider your own schedule.
  3. Practice content recycling 
  4. Don’t be afraid to take a step back 

Forging ahead without a plan means you are going to struggle with consistency.

When I started my own blog, I didn’t have any content planned. None. Zippo. Zilch. I only knew I wanted an outlet to put my work into the ether. So, I jumped right in. Had I hesitated any longer, nothing might have happened. 

I don’t regret it. Starting a blog was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. But there are challenges to not planning, which are harder to overcome once you get going. Consistency being the primary challenge. 

Because, like the old Pringles commercial said, “once you pop, you can’t stop.”  

Since starting the blog, I have had to devote massive amounts of time to producing posts. Writing, editing, finding graphics, uploading, and formatting the posts within WordPress takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re doing it all last minute, it can take all day just for one post. 
Almost a year ago, I started out producing three posts per week—a massive undertaking for anyone to undertake. With no prior planning, producing those three posts every single week was not sustainable long-term. 

Blogging for any business works the same way. If you don’t have enough content to tie you over for a couple of weeks, you are going to run into consistency problems. Because there will come a time when you have posts to do, and you have absolutely no content to post. 

Sometimes just from sheer exhaustion. 

Look at your holidays and start planning for the ones relevant to your business.

This is a simple place to start, whether you are a solopreneur, small business, content marketer, or blogger. 

It also helps your business in some very key areas. 

  • Awareness: Most people are already aware of major holidays. You are merely seizing upon that awareness. 
  • Time Management: Businesses in the B2C market already plan for most major holidays. Simply make planning your content part of your holiday planning. 
  • Diversity: If you are very intentional about your holiday planning, depending on your own audience, you can end up running the full gamut of spirituality, ethnic heritage, and religion. 

Don’t just look at the major holidays either. Look at the smaller, “fun” holidays. A Google search gives you a wealth of crazy holidays to choose from. Pick a few that relate to your business and target audience and go for it! 

Some holidays I target aren’t even on a normal calendar. Since my blog is mostly literary, I plan my posts around birthdays of famous classic writers (like Shakespeare) and cultural holidays (like Burns Night). Or I use an entire month for a specific theme.

For June 2022, for instance, I’m sticking with Utopian Fiction. Why? Well, you’ll have to follow the blog to learn more! 

Consider your business’ schedule and your own before deciding how often to post.

Make sure whatever you plan aligns with your schedule. Whatever you do, don’t let creating content to market your business impede actual money-making activity. And make sure you can handle the extra work creating and writing content requires. 

This means if you can only post once a week, then only post once a week. The key is to make those posts the best you can make them for your target audience. 

Posting to the internet takes a significant amount of time. It takes more time than anyone new to content can expect. Not only do you have to brainstorm, write, and edit, but you also must format in your chosen content management system. 

It’s very, very rarely a “one-and-done.” Make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to get all the pieces together before you post. Even then, you will more than likely have the hidden typo you don’t see until after your post has gone live.  

Considering all the elements that go into just a blog post, don’t be surprised if you can only manage one post a week. There’s no shame in that! A week for one outstanding blog post is better than a post a day with sub-standard posts. 

Whatever you decide, don’t create more work for yourself than you can handle. If you need to take a day off, then take the day off. The content market out there is so competitive, it’s better if you focus on being your best than trying to outstrip the competition. 

Make your content work together so you don’t have to do more work.

Are you posting one thing on your blog, another on LinkedIn, another on Instagram, and yet another on Facebook? Stop! 

Practice content recycling so you aren’t duplicating your efforts. 

For instance, an abbreviated blog post can go on LinkedIn with a link to your full blog post on your website. One of the main points from that post and an accompanying graphic goes to Facebook. Post an infographic based on the blog post or, my favorite, turn the main points into attractive slides for Instagram. 

You can do it either all at once or deploy your now-recycled content on separate days from your key post. There’s a plethora of information from industry giants like SEMrush and HubSpot on this. Even courses in LinkedIn Learning talk about recycling your content. 

Creating recycled content is still time-consuming but a lot less time-consuming than if you’re starting from scratch on every single item. Not to mention that you can ensure consistency in voice, style, and message across all your platforms. 

And consistency is our primary goal here. 

Photo by Yannick Pulver on Unsplash

Don’t be afraid to take a step back to plan, even if that means delaying a post.

Planning days are tough for anyone to schedule and stick to if it’s just you and you’re just starting out. So, if you need to stop posting for a very short while to better plan what you’re going to do, it’s worth doing. 

Having content ready to go before its due will only help your own peace of mind. Not to mention it will help you grow in whatever field you are pursuing, be that marketing, consumer goods, or writing. 

I have sometimes put off posting until I had more time to edit and consider what I was writing. It ends up being a lot better, especially if I’ve had trouble writing it in the first place. 

 

Going forward, consider an editorial calendar and stick to it as much as you can. 

The hardest part of creating an editorial or content calendar is the actual planning involved. Basically, you are deciding what topics to cover, what days you are going to post on, and what is going to go into each post. This can include text, graphics, links, specials for your products and services, or product launches.

If you’re just starting out, I advise you to use the tools at your disposal until you have established consistency. Software like Constant Contact and Hootsuite takes some of the effort out of the way, but you can even use Microsoft Excel to plan your content. Post-It notes on a bulletin board, a Day-Timer, or a sketchbook from the craft store also work. 

My favorite method is a simple 11×17 sheet of paper. One sheet folds so you have sixteen blocks arranged in rows of 4. There are many ways you can arrange your content within those 16 blocks. Best of all, there’s space to make notes. 

Whatever you end up using, make sure it’s something you can use, access, and stick to long term without a lot of fuss and bother.  

When all else fails, hire some outside help.

Of course, if you’ve already attempted all these things, and are still lost, then it’s perhaps time to hire a little help A freelance content writer can help to ease some of the planning burden and help you divide the workload into something more manageable. 

Best of all, if you end up working with one long-term, you will have a dedicated cheerleader for you and your business for years to come! 

Tired of planning on your own? Book a call with me!

How to Plan Your Written Content in Advance When You Have No Plan in Place

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is patrick-perkins-etrpjvb0km0-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Consistency is the key to any content management or writing endeavor, yet it can also be the most challenging if you don’t plan before you post. Diving in without enough content to keep you at least a week or two ahead means you are going to struggle with even meeting your weekly content goals. 

With everything else going on in our busy lives, how do you plan your content when you dive in with no plan? 

Here are my tips, from my experience. 

  1. Consider your holidays 
  2. Consider your own schedule.
  3. Practice content recycling 
  4. Don’t be afraid to take a step back 

Forging ahead without a plan means you are going to struggle with consistency.

When I started my own blog, I didn’t have any content planned. None. Zippo. Zilch. I only knew I wanted an outlet to put my work into the ether. So, I jumped right in. Had I hesitated any longer, nothing might have happened. 

I don’t regret it. Starting a blog was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. But there are challenges to not planning, which are harder to overcome once you get going. Consistency being the primary challenge. 

Because, like the old Pringles commercial said, “once you pop, you can’t stop.”  

Since starting the blog, I have had to devote massive amounts of time to producing posts. Writing, editing, finding graphics, uploading, and formatting the posts within WordPress takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re doing it all last minute, it can take all day just for one post. 
Almost a year ago, I started out producing three posts per week—a massive undertaking for anyone to undertake. With no prior planning, producing those three posts every single week was not sustainable long-term. 

Blogging for any business works the same way. If you don’t have enough content to tie you over for a couple of weeks, you are going to run into consistency problems. Because there will come a time when you have posts to do, and you have absolutely no content to post. 

Sometimes just from sheer exhaustion. 

Look at your holidays and start planning for the ones relevant to your business.

This is a simple place to start, whether you are a solopreneur, small business, content marketer, or blogger. 

It also helps your business in some very key areas. 

  • Awareness: Most people are already aware of major holidays. You are merely seizing upon that awareness. 
  • Time Management: Businesses in the B2C market already plan for most major holidays. Simply make planning your content part of your holiday planning. 
  • Diversity: If you are very intentional about your holiday planning, depending on your own audience, you can end up running the full gamut of spirituality, ethnic heritage, and religion. 

Don’t just look at the major holidays either. Look at the smaller, “fun” holidays. A Google search gives you a wealth of crazy holidays to choose from. Pick a few that relate to your business and target audience and go for it! 

Some holidays I target aren’t even on a normal calendar. Since my blog is mostly literary, I plan my posts around birthdays of famous classic writers (like Shakespeare) and cultural holidays (like Burns Night). Or I use an entire month for a specific theme.

For June 2022, for instance, I’m sticking with Utopian Fiction. Why? Well, you’ll have to follow the blog to learn more! 

Consider your business’ schedule and your own before deciding how often to post.

Make sure whatever you plan aligns with your schedule. Whatever you do, don’t let creating content to market your business impede actual money-making activity. And make sure you can handle the extra work creating and writing content requires. 

This means if you can only post once a week, then only post once a week. The key is to make those posts the best you can make them for your target audience. 

Posting to the internet takes a significant amount of time. It takes more time than anyone new to content can expect. Not only do you have to brainstorm, write, and edit, but you also must format in your chosen content management system. 

It’s very, very rarely a “one-and-done.” Make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to get all the pieces together before you post. Even then, you will more than likely have the hidden typo you don’t see until after your post has gone live.  

Considering all the elements that go into just a blog post, don’t be surprised if you can only manage one post a week. There’s no shame in that! A week for one outstanding blog post is better than a post a day with sub-standard posts. 

Whatever you decide, don’t create more work for yourself than you can handle. If you need to take a day off, then take the day off. The content market out there is so competitive, it’s better if you focus on being your best than trying to outstrip the competition. 

Make your content work together so you don’t have to do more work.

Are you posting one thing on your blog, another on LinkedIn, another on Instagram, and yet another on Facebook? Stop! 

Practice content recycling so you aren’t duplicating your efforts. 

For instance, an abbreviated blog post can go on LinkedIn with a link to your full blog post on your website. One of the main points from that post and an accompanying graphic goes to Facebook. Post an infographic based on the blog post or, my favorite, turn the main points into attractive slides for Instagram. 

You can do it either all at once or deploy your now-recycled content on separate days from your key post. There’s a plethora of information from industry giants like SEMrush and HubSpot on this. Even courses in LinkedIn Learning talk about recycling your content. 

Creating recycled content is still time-consuming but a lot less time-consuming than if you’re starting from scratch on every single item. Not to mention that you can ensure consistency in voice, style, and message across all your platforms. 

And consistency is our primary goal here. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is yannick-pulver-hopx_jpvtrm-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Yannick Pulver on Unsplash

Don’t be afraid to take a step back to plan, even if that means delaying a post.

Planning days are tough for anyone to schedule and stick to if it’s just you and you’re just starting out. So, if you need to stop posting for a very short while to better plan what you’re going to do, it’s worth doing. 

Having content ready to go before its due will only help your own peace of mind. Not to mention it will help you grow in whatever field you are pursuing, be that marketing, consumer goods, or writing. 

I have sometimes put off posting until I had more time to edit and consider what I was writing. It ends up being a lot better, especially if I’ve had trouble writing it in the first place. 

 

Going forward, consider an editorial calendar and stick to it as much as you can. 

The hardest part of creating an editorial or content calendar is the actual planning involved. Basically, you are deciding what topics to cover, what days you are going to post on, and what is going to go into each post. This can include text, graphics, links, specials for your products and services, or product launches.

If you’re just starting out, I advise you to use the tools at your disposal until you have established consistency. Software like Constant Contact and Hootsuite takes some of the effort out of the way, but you can even use Microsoft Excel to plan your content. Post-It notes on a bulletin board, a Day-Timer, or a sketchbook from the craft store also work. 

My favorite method is a simple 11×17 sheet of paper. One sheet folds so you have sixteen blocks arranged in rows of 4. There are many ways you can arrange your content within those 16 blocks. Best of all, there’s space to make notes. 

Whatever you end up using, make sure it’s something you can use, access, and stick to long term without a lot of fuss and bother.  

When all else fails, hire some outside help.

Of course, if you’ve already attempted all these things, and are still lost, then it’s perhaps time to hire a little help A freelance content writer can help to ease some of the planning burden and help you divide the workload into something more manageable. 

Best of all, if you end up working with one long-term, you will have a dedicated cheerleader for you and your business for years to come! 

Tired of planning on your own? Book a call with me!

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