I’m a planning junkie. I love organizing things, laying things out, and making simple yet effective plans for my blogging and writing projects. It’s satisfying to take something overwhelming and make it approachable. (The hardest part, in my opinion, is actually getting started once I’m done!) Blogging can be overwhelming, but you know what? You can come up with an entire year’s worth of blog post ideas in one day. Let’s see how.
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First, make sure your blog is up and running and ready to publish posts. If you haven’t made it that far yet, then check out this post to help you start your blog. When you’ve chosen your blog name, set it up, and clarified your purpose, you can get started.
Get the right supplies.
As an organizing junkie, this is key for me. I don’t always do well with just a notepad and a pen. Though most ideas might start there, actually planning and executing them takes more. I like to start with the essentials: a nice pen, a good planner, and a blank Word document. I go through planners like crazy, but the one that has changed the way I work is my Happy Planner™ by me & my big ideas. I love that it divides each day up into thirds for the morning, afternoon, and evening so I can prioritize my tasks. It also provides plenty of space for taking notes and customizing in pretty, creative ways. (I guess I’m a sucker for that. *Shrug*)
Of course, if you work best with a pen and notepad, then that’s all you need! Just keep it simple and stress-free.
Write 5-10 words that describe your blog, books, or niche.
Everything creative I do comes back to writing, so I knew that was key for me. Writing books is my priority, but I also wanted to blog along the way for three reasons:
1. To practice self-discipline by posting regularly
2. To connect with and help other writers by sharing what I learn as an author
3. To connect with potential readers of women’s fiction
I know this is obvious, but think about why you’re blogging. If it helps, set a timer for five minutes and just GO. Scribble or type every word you can think of that relates to who you are, what you write, and why you write.
Write 5-10 goals for your blog.
When those first five minutes are up, get a fresh sheet of paper ready to go. Now set the timer for five minutes again. This time write down your GOALS for your blog: Do you want to grow your readership for your books? Do you want to connect with other novelists, poets, or creative writers? Do you want to attract clients for your resume writing business? Do you want to replace your income, boost your spending money, provide encouragement and value to others, or simply blog just for the fun of it?
When that’s finished, look at your words and your goals side by side. What overlaps? What are some common variables? This is where you’ll really hone in on the topics you’ll cover (i.e. your focus, or niche) so you can come up with relevant blog post ideas. This will also help you decide how often to post. If it’s mainly a hobby, you can totally get away with posting once or twice a month. If you plan to use your blog to grow a freelance business, however, you’ll need to post more frequently. Either way, aim to provide valuable content to your ideal reader.
Make your categorized list.
Organizing nerds like me love the word “categorized.” It just sounds so neat and precise. (I think I like it so much because it’s the complete opposite of my mind, but anyway.)
This is where you can list the main topics or categories you’ll cover on your blog. Here are the ones I gathered from my own brainstorming session:
Organization for Writers
Finance for Writers
Book Reviews & Author Interviews
Once I chose the general topics above, I listed them out in a blank Word document titled “Post Ideas by Category.” Under each one, I just went for it. Without overthinking, I listed every single blog post idea I could think of off the top of my head. For example, under “Writing Inspiration” I quickly listed things like writing through discouragement, dealing with rejection, inspiring writing quotes, and handling writer’s block. I did this for each category until I couldn’t think of anything else.
When you do this, you’ll notice that some categories fill up more quickly than others. For instance, I had a much easier time coming up with ideas for “Organization for Writers” than I did for “Editing.” When you finish, look at the categories you filled up compared to the ones that only have three or four ideas. This will help you narrow your niche even more.
If you’re struggling to come up with anything, check out this post on generating blog post ideas using Google’s keyword planner.
By the time I’d finished my quick brainstorming session, I had over fifty blog post ideas — that’s at least one for every week of the year. And it only took me about twenty minutes. You may have more or less. Even if you write down a bunch of crappy ideas, it’s still better to have the option to cross them off your list than to have no ideas at all.
You know how a professional photographer will take hundreds, maybe even thousands of pictures while only a select few make the cut? This is no different. You’re creative, and you have great ideas going on up there. So get them all down on paper and see where they lead.
Do you plan your posts or wing it as you go? Let me know in the comments, and join the Ladies in Read on Pinterest for more great writing, editing, and publishing tips!