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Are you ready to quickly fill your blogging content calendar? Here’s the process I use…
In order to maximize the hours in a day, I’ve worked hard to streamline many areas of life. We have an annual meal plan, an annual chore chart, and each of my kids have a day.
But, during my streamlining, I never really took the time to create processes for my business. And that meant many areas were taking me MUCH longer than they should.
So I started to look for ways to streamline business tasks. My first attempt was to get better at quickly finding great blog post ideas.
I have plenty of post ideas. In fact, I have a dozen notes on my phone right now full of ideas, partial outlines, and more.
But, not all of my ideas are great.
Not all of them are what my audience is looking for.
And if I’m ever going to grow this blog, I’ve got to deliver the right content. That means providing helpful information that my readers are looking for.
To try to make this process simplified, I decided to do it once a quarter. That means every four weeks I sit down and plan out my content for the upcoming quarter.
By batching this task, I only have to do it four times a year. And when I walk away, I have up to 16 blog post ideas I can run with.
Here’s the four-step process I use to get my content calendar full.
1. Research Keywords on Pinterest
I’m learning I really stink at coming up with keywords.
I typically write my post, and then try to figure out a keyword. I should be doing this the other way around – knowing what keyword I’m going to use, and then write my post around that.
But, keyword researching has always seemed tedious. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing.
Until I heard about searching for keywords on Pinterest.
It’s crazy! I used to think Pinterest was just another social media platform. But, I was totally wrong. Pinterest is a search engine, like Google. It’s just a visual one.
To research keywords on Pinterest, you need to use the search bar. It’s up at the top. Then, you just start typing. I almost always have a basic idea of what I want to write about.
If you’re completely stuck, start with this post to help you decide what to write about.
One of the posts I plan on writing is about time management. So, I typed “Time Management” into the search bar. Here’s what popped up:
These are all phrases people are searching for on Pinterest. They’d all make great long-tail keywords for a blog post! Of these, one of them fits most clearly onto the niche of my blog. Can you guess which one it is?
If you guessed “Time management for moms,” you’re right! So one of my upcoming blog posts will be centered around the keyword time management for moms.
Once I realized how simple it was to do keyword research on Pinterest, it was easy to knock out enough for sixteen posts. It took me twelve minutes to do the research, pick keywords, and make a list in Word.
It’s an amazing feeling to have actual keywords to use instead of just vague ideas!
Note: This is just keywords for the main topic/headline idea. I use other SEO tools to help me narrow down my keywords for writing the actual post, but that’s part of my blog drafting process.
2. Find Your Angle
A list of keywords is nice, but it’s not everything you need to make great blog posts. You’ve got to look at each keyword you’re going to use, and figure out what you’re going to cover.
There are several angles you can attack a topic from. Some topics work well as a “How to” guide. Others are more of a step-by-step tutorial. Or a roundup of several ideas.
Let’s say you have a blog post idea about tools. You could:
- Write in-depth reviews of tools you love
- Compare and contrast multiple tools
- Provide a list of the top ten tools you use
- Explain how you use a variety of tools to save time
- Show why the ROI on certain tools makes it worth the investment
- Talk about why you use tools in the first place
There are so many ways to incorporate your keyword into your blog post. So, for each post idea, you’ve got to find your angle. In an effort to work quickly, I moved from making my list of ideas to finding angles. That way my brain was already thinking about angles.
It took me about ten minutes to decide on an angle for each of my ideas. I just jot them down side by side.
3. Write Your Headline
Now that you know the angle of your blog post, and what you’re writing about, you can write a headline. I love using the Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule when I’m drafting headlines. I try for scores of 70 and above (these are green in the results screen.)
Here’s a snapshot of the headlines I was throwing around for this post. As you can see, it took me a while to get in the green. I’m still working on my headline skills!
Note: In the latest WordPress Update, there’s a built in headline score. Check it out if you haven’t yet!
You might want to break coming up with headlines out into another task to batch. It just depends on how much time you have to devote to this task.
I typically do this separately, since once I get in headline mode it’s easier to stay there. But, it can take some time to get your brain thinking about power words, emotional words, and all the other nuances of blog post headlines.
Sometimes, I don’t always know exactly how a blog post will turn out. This is typically true of list style posts. I may think I’m going to have five steps, but as I start writing I realize I actually have six.
So, remember you can change some of the details along the way. You aren’t stuck with this list of headlines forever and ever. The good news about making minor changes like that is you don’t have to start completely over.
4. Update Your Content Calendar
Now that you know what you’re going to be blogging about, take the time to put it in writing, on a calendar.
You don’t have to have a fancy content calendar, though there are some great plugins that let you do that.
One of my clients uses a Google calendar. Another uses an Asana board.
And me? I just use a basic Word document with a table. I have five columns:
- Post topic
- Possible Headline
By keeping it in Word, it’s simple for me to update if I get a great guest post pitched. I can also open it on my phone if I’m trying to work on blog posts while on the road.
When I start assigning topics to dates in my content calendar, I note:
- Important Dates
- Timely topics (like seasonal content)
This helps me to plug in the best ideas on the best day. If you can hit a timely topic at the appropriate time, your blog post is more likely to take off.
By putting them in Word this way, I can also see quickly which posts need to go together. I can see if it makes more sense to publish one before another.
Enjoy Your Full Content Calendar!
Once you’ve got your content calendar full, you’re ready to draft blog posts.
If you follow these steps, you’ll quickly end up with a list of blog posts for an entire quarter. You can even scale it beyond that and get your ideas for a year.
It’s incredible! I’ve never been working four months ahead in my blog before implementing procedures…
Do you use Pinterest to generate blog post ideas? Are you going to try batching like I am? I’d love to hear your best tips for getting ahead as a blogger.
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Lisa Tanner loves helping busy moms find time to grow their own business. As a homeschooling mom to nine, she knows a thing or two about balancing diapers and deadlines.
Arfa Nazeer | Epife Blog says
Lisa, I really like the second step where we have to find the angle of a certain blog post idea and generate more ideas around a specific topic.
Dianne Dickson says
Considering that I’m working on my editorial calendar, this post is brilliant and timely for me lol! Great tips! I hadn’t considered utilizing Pinterest like that.. I’m on it!
Yay Dianne, I’m so glad you found it useful.
Chelas Reinmiller says
Wow, I had never heard of Headline Analyzer! Hellllo, new tool! Thanks for sharing, Lisa!
You’re welcome Chelas! It’s definitely made my headlines stronger.
Ashlie Cashin says
Im going to try out the headline analyzer, thank you!
It’s been a game changer for me Ashlie, hope you enjoy it!
This is perfect! Going to have to pin this so I can come back to it when I’m stuck on topic ideas 🙂
So glad you found the information useful Jordyn! Thanks for pinning!
Nicol Valentin says
Oh cool! I like the idea of using pinterest for ideas. I’m kinda visual. 🙂
Me too Nicol! I think it makes the research phase more fun…
Jen Bodenmuller says
Ahh! Thank you so much for this post! I’m still new to blogging and this was full of helpful information!
You’re welcome Jen! Thanks for reading.
Wow! Amazing tips in here. Thanks a lot☺
You’re welcome, glad you found them useful!
This is great information. Keywords and SEO has always confused me, but this made it seem simple! Thank you!
You’re welcome, I’m glad it helped clear up some confusion. I was also confused by those terms for the longest time!