Blog Content Planning For The Year Ahead
This week, the first back to work after the holidays, has all been about blog content planning. Many of my clients are thinking about their business objectives for the year ahead and how their content marketing can support these. Here’s where I come in; looking at what they want to achieve, and most importantly what their customers want to achieve in 2016, and pulling it altogether into a content plan.
I’ve also been writing quite a few ‘New Year Resolutions’ and ‘Predications for 2016’ style posts, which can actually be useful for content planning too. After all if you’re talking about trends or resolutions for the year ahead that your customers should adopt, then these individually can provide great content going forward.
How To Plan Your Blog Content
Planning your blog content is essential if you want to use it in a strategic way; and for those business owners who post blogs on a bit of an ad hoc basis, it can really help make the process easier and more aligned. If you know what you need to write about in advance and it’s aligned with your business objectives or other marketing activities, there’s no excuse for not blogging!
So, here are a few ideas to help you plan your 2016 blog content and ensure that your New Year Resolution to blog regularly gets off to a great start:
Create A Blog Content Calendar: Instead of jotting down a long list of potential blog titles with the aim of working your way through them; set up a blog content calendar first so you can see the big picture. This can be a simple spreadsheet divided into months, perhaps quarters, and the number of blog posts you anticipate publishing. If you have a number of sectors you operate in, or different customer avatars, you might also want to break it down further so you have a representative amount of blogs targeted at each group.
Look At Your Diary: The next step is to look at your diary for the year ahead. What events have you got on, either for your business or your industry as a whole? For example, if you’re planning to launch a new product in July then you’ll want to plan supporting blog posts leading up to and after the event. I’m currently working with a client who’s got a book launch coming up, so currently some of their blog posts specifically relate to the subject of the book, some explore the triggers that might encourage someone to purchase the book and others are about the launch and book itself.
Industry events may also provide a focus for your blog posts and an opportunity to eventsjack even if you’re not attending. If there’s an event or date in the diary that your target audience will be interested in, that is relevant to your business and you have something to say about it – add it to the mix.
Seasonal dates may also relevant. If you sell products for the summer months you’ll want to build up some content about things that might initiate a sale. For B2B organisations the financial year may be a factor in your customers’ buying decisions, for example they may be looking for ways to invest new budgets in April, or to spend existing ones in February and March.
Trends and themes: As mentioned above there may be key themes and trends that your business addresses in some way that everyone is talking about in 2016. When researching the tech sector for an IT client I found that the main trend for this year is cyber security. As my client provides a cyber security aspect to their business offering, it makes sense to explore this further and adopt it as an overall theme for the blog for next 12 months. As you can imagine there are all sorts of different angles we can explore within this theme that relate to specific areas of their business and also their clients’ requirements.
Business objectives and other marketing campaigns: Your blog is the ideal place to support your business objectives and marketing activities. If you plan to expand into new markets this year, it makes sense to ensure your blog contains plenty of relevant content for this new market in advance. Or if you’re planning an email campaign targeted at a particular sector, your blog should support this with relevant sector specific content that can either form part of the email campaign, or at least ensure that when email recipients visit your website they find content targeted at them.
Ask your customers: A great way to start the New Year and your content planning is with a survey. Not only can you ask your customers exactly what are the key topics, challenges and issues that they want to hear about, but you can also glean some interesting business insights that you can share in your blog. Ask some pertinent industry or lifestyle related questions and you could have a wealth of interesting data that can support your business objectives.
Your business vision and mission statement: Don’t forget that your blog can be a clear differentiator giving your organisation a voice. If you want to be known for something, if you want to convey your business vision, ethos and culture – use your blog. Don’t just focus on those generic subjects that everyone is blogging about, stick your neck out a bit and say ‘this is what we think’, ‘this is where we’re going’, ‘are you coming too?’
Having identified those core subjects and themes that you will be blogging about over the next year, the next step is to brainstorm some blog titles. There are plenty of online tools that can help with this, but just simply searching your keywords / topics will generate plenty of ideas.
Happy New Year and heres to a successful year of blogging!
If you would like to discuss your blog content plan for the year ahead please get in touch for a chat.