Content is key. You know it, I know it. So often bloggers fly by the seat of their pants where written content is concerned. In the rush to handle other aspects of the business, bloggers sometimes let the deliberate planning of well-thought out content go by the wayside, instead focusing on whatever is trending, whatever is on your mind, whatever sounds like a good choice to write. Creating a content plan – a written roadmap for the content you expect to develop over the next few days, weeks and months – has quite a few advantages.
So, what’s in a content plan? Everything. Use a spreadsheet to track blog topics (tags / categories), titles, contributors, interviewees, sources, blog ideas, submission dates for editing, actual date the content posted to the site, projected timeline of ideas and themes, links used, books and products referenced, media utilized (videos, images, mp3s, etc.). Ideally your content plan should help you to locate most anything of relevance that would distinguish one blog post from another.
Content plans can be a big help in staying on top of things as you find more and more efficient ways to manage more and more content. Here are 16 great things about content planning:
1. Organization. Content planning helps keep you and your team organized.
2. Planning your content helps you write more succinctly which is a huge time saver.
3. Content planning gives you and your team a jumpstart on researching and subconsciously thinking about the topics you’ll cover.
4. You can guard against redundancy when you use a content calendar.
5. You can more easily track scheduled changes to the site when you have a plan already in place.
6. The vision for the blog moves from your head to a physical and/or digital calendar making it wholly executable in your absence.
7. Project managers live by calendars and plans. With your content plan on a spreadsheet, you can hire one!
8. Planning your content will inevitably result in a marked improvement in the quality of the content you provide.
9. You can better control the flow of information and stick to themes.
10. Every bit of information you want to present gets an official delivery date.
11. Content planning is more conducive to idea sharing. Get great ideas for posts by looking at what you have written and identifying any information gaps.
12. Citing and sourcing becomes a bit easier when you have a spreadsheet detailing what you’ve posted, the media you used and a link to your sources.
13. Content planning helps you to identify niches. After a while, you will find that you write more frequently on certain aspects of your field of expertise. This will help you to pinpoint your niche.
14. You never have to get behind again.
16. Never lose a good idea for a post again.
So, do YOU plan your content? Leave a comment below!