How to Plan Your Posts in Advance

Plan your posts in advance. Up to year ahead. I see hundreds of questions relating to “ what do I write about on my blog”.  Apart from the obvious MAKE IT INTERESTING FOR READERS,  there are many advantages to planning far into the future

plan your posts in advance

Plan Your Posts 1:

Brainstorming and Keyword Research

In just a few sessions, you can identify which topics under your niche will attract the readers and if you’re doing affiliate marketing as I advise, stand the best chance of making sales especially in that important first phase of blog making.

When you spend time doing this research, make lots of notes, copy the links onto an excel sheet at the very least, don’t make the mistake of thinking you will remember the sites and content.

As a beginner, you will most probably be able to write a 1000 to 2000 word article once or maybe twice a week, so it is doubly important to have the list of planned posts, with their metadata ready and waiting to be written.

It is likely that, to get to a point where the organic traffic to your site is sufficient to earn anything, it’s going to take at least 6 months to a year. So do not wait until you have time to write, to wonder what to write about!  Make a plan and transfer it to your calendar – get organised.

Plan Your Posts 2: Planning Site Navigation

Once you have a list of posts to write, organise your site’s Navigation. The structure of the Main Menu on your website, is what tells Google what it’s all about. Google is a computer program and understands organised data a lot easier than just textual information, which has to be interpreted.  Group all the posts into Groups. Others refer to them as SILOs, Clusters, Categories. Be ruthlessly LOGICAL about where each post goes.

Try to organise 7 to 10 Groups. The way the mind works, 7 is the optimum number of categories you can keep focused on. Note I have not counted the sites must-have pages like contact, privacy, terms of business….. etc.

One key thing that emerges when you organise things this way is obvious internal links. You can then build these into the pages and gain that big SEO advantage.

                LIST OF POSTS TO WRITE  ====>  WEBSITE NAVIGATION

Plan Your Posts 3: Writing the Posts

Take the idea and keyword list, pick one, make a post on it. When starting to compose your blog, you will have to decide at what point to try to monetise it. Some jump in straight away with the first affiliate product idea that they think of. I would be more cautious. Give, rather than appear to want to take immediately.

It IS ok to start towards what should be one of your major goals though – building a list. This will eventually become your main bread-and-butter income, so it merits a LOT of consideration. Perhaps a Free Course, not huge, not mega detailed, but available ONLY to your signed up members. To do this you will need some Email Sending Infrastructure. I use Mailchimp, but there are many Autoresponders available, some like Mailchimp, have free starter plans.

Email Marketing is such an important part of Internet Marketing that I have a separate EMAIL MARKETING section on the blog JUST for this.

Monetisation

How you organise things on your blog will depend to some degree on how you intend to monetise it. I outline my own method (main one) below:

My favourite money-generating method is this: Pinterest pins linking to my Blog Posts with Affiliate promotions plus an email signup to generate an email list. In the background, if your blog is suitable, apply to Google Adsense and there will be some income building up slowly, in line with your traffic.

If like me you chose to go with Pinterest to promote your posts, as it fits the demographic of my ideal audience, then you can go first to Pinterest to start our Brainstorming and Keyword Research.

Using Pinterest to start traffic to my blog
Flow of visitors from Pinterest to Blog Post and on to Email-List and Offers

 

Creating a Valuable  List of Ideas & Keywords

There are many methods of starting this, my own favourites are Competitor Keywords and Seed Keywords. Try both methods and add the best keywords to your list.

Competitor Keywords Method: Scan your top competitors sites for their Keywords using Google Keyword Tool or Ubersuggest

Seed Keyword Method: Using Keywords that your Brainstorming session came up with, again use Google and Ubersuggest to get a seed list of keywords.

Now go to Pinterest and start typing in the search box, remember Pinterest is a search engine

As with Google, the Pinterest search bar will start to auto-complete, giving massive clues about topics with heavy searches and therefore big followings. Unlike Google the search terms are more general and less long-tail.  Don’t forget you can search boards, pins and pinners. It would be worth your time to create a ‘future post’ list from the pins and boards found

Also, the pins on pinterest boards are pinned in order of popularity, so the pins at the top are going to be the ones with most views and so are the subjects and sub-topics to write posts on.

Example: My search to find ideas for this blog 

As an example I entered the keyword “blogging plan” in Pinterest, Google and Ubersuggest and in no particular order I got the following list of keywords, very few of which had any search volume. I also use “Answer the Public” to rephrase my keywords, which dramatically helps sometimes!

 Initial Keyword List

1 year plan
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Sometimes, as with this initial search,  nothing much will turn up with suitable subject matter and its then time then to turn to other sources:

Good blog Content Sources

Quora 

This is the biggest Q and A site on the net. There are few questions that have not been asked or answered at some time.  It’s a great source of inspiration and if you’re just starting and have no existing audience to ask, Quora will provide lots of questions that you can blog about.

Competing Websites:

Your direct competitors will have content lists, which you can scan. It is always worth taking a look at their content, to see if it is worthwhile to “Skyscraper”, in other words, to write bigger, more detailed content on the subjects you find. Ensure that it ranks well, has a good number of searches per month as shown in Ubersuggest or Google Keyword planner, otherwise you may be wasting time writing something of no benefit. Again I would make a note of traffic volume on your research excel sheet.

Medium.com

This is a platform used by many bloggers, not having their own sites. (personally I would always advise blogging on WordPress and paying for hosting, it is not expensive and your content cannot be pulled down or accounts banned, unlike on sites owned by others like FB, Wix,  Medium et al.

The advantage of posting on Medium of course is the huge traffic it gets. Medium is full of high-quality posts. Studying these can reveal many topics within niches you will explore that are on-target or related to your own, so again, take a note and add to your to-do-posts, or ‘future post’ list.

HARO 

Help A Reporter Out is a popular site where you can offer your expertise or experience to reporters writing about various subjects. The site can not only work to create links back to your site but also work for you to find ideas to create posts

BuzzSumo:

a great social media monitoring  site to see what’s HOT in your niche. And see WHERE your audience is ‘hanging out’. This is a very important factor since you may be missing the target if you post on sites other than the main ones. This site has a free (10 searches per month) package, which is ok to start with and to see if it’s useful for you.

Keyword Sheeter

You can run this list through Keyword Sheeter, you can add filters within the search to add or exclude words, this does a reasonable job of filtering out the nonsense to leave the best list which you can manually edit. Although KS doesn’t give you any stats, it is good to generate a seed list.

Doing Yet More Research to find the Gold

Sometimes Articles can be a source of topics, so have a look in PLRPLR.com and other free content PLR sites, true most PLR is old and poorly written, but it is sometimes worth a quick look.

Ezine Articles

This is an old site, not used so much these days, but there are actually some good articles on there

Google Trends

This is very useful to explore topics that are very popular and discover whether it is trending up, down or is consistent (flat).

Lastly try Hubspot’s topic generator 

You have to sign up for the Hubspot newsletter email, but it is worth it,  the results are usually a solid list of topics – Generator

When it comes to writing the posts on your list, you can use a calendar, but scheduling posts that way has a certain air of “deadline”  about it. I prefer to look at trends, news articles and popular blogs in my niche and try to pick something from my future post list that fits in.

For new blogs with little content on them yet, there is one other consideration to take into account when choosing what to write first.  Ranking  ability will be very low at  first, so aim to write something with low competition and fairly low traffic. I go into this in more detail in How to Write a Blog Post