How to Create an Effective Content Plan for Your Blog – a Step by Step Guide

Blogging woman writing on her laptop
Effective content plan for your blog

Hello and thank you so much for visiting our blog today – we’re smiling 😉

Well, since you’re on this page, I guess you are either blogging or plan to start one in the future. You are then looking for content resources that could help you start and manage a successful blog

You’ve heard severally that content planning is key for a successful blog business. Well, that’s true today as blogging now requires more deliberate actions for growth. 

Unlike what it used to be, blogging was a platform people use as journals (some still do). Creating content was pretty easy (no one had to write long form content). 

No one had to really delve into search engine optimization. 

Bloggers didn’t have to follow certain strategies or plan to get their content everyone. 

Content marketing wasn’t really a thing. 

But that’s not the case today. Content creation and marketing has evolved. In recent years, content marketing has even been argued to be recognized as a necessary department in every company in the US. 

To create meaningful content that attracts traffic, gain readership and sell you ideas, you must have a content plan to follow and stick to. 

Content marketing is a strategic approach aimed at creating valuable content that’s relevant to a particular audience. 

To market your content efficiently, you must have a good content plan in place. This way, every content piece you publish gets the exposure it deserves. 

Why do you need a content plan?

Depending on your industry or type of business, there are several reasons why your blog must have an effective content plan.  Here are 5 vital reasons we advise every blog to design a periodic content plan for their brand. 

  • To create a culture around your business 
  • To better executive and achieve your business objectives 
  • To ease content creation processes 
  • Increase your traffic and better your SEO ratings
  • To have a strategic content game. 

Creating a content plan can act as a pillar to your overall content strategy. One of the best things content planning can do for your company is to kind of build a company culture around your business. 

Content plan helps you know what to publish, when to publish, what format to publish and on what platform to publish.

With effective content your audience would know what you’ll post at different times. Imagine if your readers knew when you’d post ‘how-to’ articles and when you’d be doing a free giveaway to your readers. 

That’ll be crazy, yeah?

Why?

Well, if they know when which type of content will be published, they’ll probably check you out whenever their favorite content is published. 

Moz does this pretty well. 

They set out Fridays for special whiteboard content pieces. What they do is they release special white board tutorials or videos that adds real value to its readers. 

Personally, I love whiteboard videos and so do many marketers out there and since I do, I almost always visit Moz website every Friday to catch up with the latest Whiteboard Friday content. 

The next important reason you should have a content plan is because it will help you execute and achieve your overall business objectives. 

Is your business goal to publish and sell an online course to your email subscribers in 3 months?

Do you plan to hit Google’s page one for that dream keyword?

Maybe you want to add value to people through your blog posts.

A content plan will definitely play a huge role in helping you achieve these goals. 

A proper content plan will tell you what email content to send and at what time. With a content plan, nurturing your email subscribers becomes super easy. 

Talking about easing your work, a content plan will help you ease your content creation processes. A content plan will help you in picking the right keywords to target, the topics to write about and certain marketing strategies to use in promoting each blog post you publish. 

Without a content plan, content marketing becomes scattered thus fails. Your content marketing efforts are only useful with a content plan. 

Every strategy should be laid down. Every step or process you try should be planned and deliberate. Testing and tweaking then becomes easy. 

Next, a content plan will help you increase your traffic and Google ratings. 

About 12 months ago, I put together a quick content plan to research, write, publish and take a blog guide to at least page #3 on Google for a pretty competitive keyword. 

We did our basic research about what content type to publish, how to publish it, questions and discussions to address in the post, and how to market the post. 

4 weeks after publishing, the post was on page #2 on Google for the same target keyword. That same post has attracted over 10,000 visitors today and has been shared hundreds of times. 

A content plan with help you get clear on your goals and would help you attain them. 

To succeed in blogging today, you must deliberately find and try certain strategies to aid your blog’s growth. Your strategies must be intentional. 

You must plan a marketing funnel to be able to get more customers. 

Your content pieces must target and solve pain points to be able to attract and retain readership. 

Your content pieces must have deliberate call to actions (CTAs) to get visitors, subscribing, download or buying your products or services. 

Deliberate content marketing wins; stop publishing and hoping it performs. Create a plan and stick to it. 

Now in this blog guide, I’m going to walk you through 5 steps to creating or designing a kick-ass content plan for your blog in 2020. 

I’m picking a rather different approach to creating a master content plan that works. I’ve tried it several times and it works.

How to Create a (Quick) Marketing Plan for Your Blog

To create a content marketing plan for your blog, there are certain things you must put in place to ensure your plan is a good one which I’ll be revealing to you in this very guide. 

There are 5 basic, actionable steps that I take every single time I want to prepare a kick-ass content plan for a blog, agency or a company. 

I tried to make every step as practical as possible for easy understanding and application. 

  • Pick 3 general major goals for each content piece. 
  • Identify and understand your target readers. 
  • Analyze existing content (if available)
  • Come up with 7 to 10 content ideas 
  • Put down exactly how each content piece would be promoted.  

Step 1: Pick 3 general major goals for each content piece. 

Rather than randomly picking goals for your overall content marketing strategy, I prefer to pick or set specific goals for every content piece I publish. 

I feel, it’s easier and makes it better to track your content marketing progress for each post you publish. 

Rather than saying your goal is “to get more traffic”, I prefer to go with “every post published should reach at least 1000 views”. 

Rather than saying our goal is to “increase engagements”, I prefer to use “every post published should have at least 20 comments from different readers”. 

Get the idea?

It’s easier to track the latter in both cases than the first goals. For example, it’s easier to know if a blog post has reached 1000 visitors and 20 comments than knowing if you’ve increased engagements on your website. 

To track your content marketing progress all you need to do is simply check for these stats which don’t take more than 3 clicks. 

Knowing the traffic to each blog post is simple; just log into your WordPress dashboard and it’s there. Finding the number of comments per post is even easier. 

With this, you can easily set specific goals for every blog post you publish. Tracking your progress becomes super easy afterwards. Here’s an example:

Every blog post published must;

  • Reach at least 2000 people within the first month.  
  • Attract 100 shares within the first week. 
  • Hit at least page 5 for a targeted keyword. 
  • Attract 20 comments within a month. 
  • And help at least one reader genuinely solve a pain point. 

Step 2: Identify and understand your target readers.

After picking 3 to 5 specific goals for your content pieces, the next thing I do is to identify and understand your target readers. 

Setting content goals without knowing who your target readers are is pointless. 

To be able to attain your specific content goals, you must know who your target reader is. You must understand what they do, what they look for and basically how they think. 

This will give you a better understanding of how to approach your content marketing strategy. 

The better you know your readers and what they want, the better and easier you attain your content goals. If I know what pain points my readers face, my content pieces will focus on solving them thus making the return visitors thus more traffic. 

Knowing your target readers would allow you create a more targeted content plan for a defined audience. Your content strategy is incomplete without a defined target audience. 

Go on Quora, ask and find questions related to your industry. Know what your target audience is always looking for. 

Make use of keyword research tools. Check and monitor trends. Following industry influencers and checking what they do is a huge plus. 

Step 3: Analyze existing content (if available)

Yes, this is an optional step because some might not have any previously published content already so if you’re one who already has content pieces published, this is a vital step. 

Basically this step helps you better understand the types of blog posts that work. I mean it’ll help you better understand what your audience wants to be seeing. 

Your existing content arsenal should better help you understand the best content to publish next. 

Using your analytics, you could figure out what topic to write on, what topic strikes the most comments, shares and traffic?

In my case, when I ran a quick content audit for my blog about a year ago, I noticed my readers loved 3 content types;

  • Long how to posts
  • Expert roundup posts and;
  • Long list posts. 

Long how to posts generally climbed faster than other articles on Google. I’m pretty sure it’s the very reason report says 1750 words is the ideal blog length for SEO. 

Expert roundups are generally catchy, attract huge readership and are trendy. I’ve published a couple expert roundup guides and have done relatively better than most blog posts in terms of shares, comments and traffic. 

An example is my very first blog post which did over 1000 social shares within 7 days of publishing with no domain authority, traffic or influence.

Step 4: Come up with 7 to 10 content ideas

After analyzing your content pieces and doing a proper blog content audit, it’s pretty easy to come up with blog posts ideas your readers will absolutely love, connect with and appreciate. 

Blogging basically is finding what a defined audience wants and giving it to them periodically in an organized manner. 

When you know the best content types that perform well, it’s easy to write more top performing content pieces. 

For example, here at Uniclix, we noticed our readers are interested in Twitter marketing articles as they tend to attract more traffic, shares, engagements. It could also be that, that’s your specialty hence you write better when it comes to certain topics. 

For example we’ve written several blog posts on how to grow and increase Twitter followers quickly because it’s proven to always attract a large readership and engagements. 

Here are 2 content pieces on increasing twitter followers:

How to Get 100 Twitter Followers in 24 Hours [2019 Secret Hacks Revealed]

How to Get 5,000 Free Twitter Followers: 12 Experts Reveal Secrets

Go through social networks, post comments, online communities like Quora to discover what your audience is looking on. This is pretty simple and you’re just a search away from finding organic content ideas. 

Head over to Quora and run a quick search of your industry, niche or topic. 

quora questions

Quora will give you a list of questions asked that are related to the industry or topic. 

how to make money online quora

Pull out 7 to 10 content ideas and put down a quick content outline for each piece. This way, you have enough content ideas for the next 30 to 90 days.

Final Step: Put down exactly how each content piece would be promoted.

This is probably the most important yet the most ignored step in content planning. Most bloggers today, forget to put down a written content marketing plan for each blog post they publish. 

The best way is to plan out a marketing strategy for each post when planning the post outline; at least, that’s the best way I like to do it. 

When planning for a content piece, I like to have a layed down marketing plan I’ll use for that particular post. 

For instance, if I’m writing a long how-to blog post, I’ll put down;

  • How many outbound links the article will have. 
  • How many influencers I’ll reach out to. 
  • How many similar-content shares I’ll email. 
  • Facebook ads budget for that post (if available) and maybe;
  • Which online directories and communities I’ll promote the post. 

When you have a visual plan like this, it becomes really easy to write great content pieces and hit your content marketing goals in 2020. 

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