We all know blogging is essential for a successful online business, but pinning down exactly how to plan a blog schedule that will build your business is a rather more elusive concept. In this post I will outline the essential steps every business should take if they was to plan a killer blog schedule that drives signups and sales.
Step #1: Know Your Reader
You may call them your ideal client, your perfect patron, your dream customer, or your perfect protégé. I tend to refer to them as ideal clients (in the case of copywriting clients) and perfect readers (in every other instance-fiction, blogging, mental health etc.). It really doesn’t matter how you refer to them, as long as you know them. Backwards. Inside and out. For your business in general you need to know as much about them as possible, but where your blog is concerned there are a few key things you absolutely must ensure you know:
- What blogs do they already read?
- What news sites do the read?
- Where do they hang out on social media? Narrow this down to ONE MAIN PLATFORM. That is now YOUR main platform! This isn’t about which platform you like best – it’s about where your ideal clients spend the most time.
- What authors/celebrities do they like?
- Who are they following on social media?
Step #2: Find The Points Of Common Interest To Help, Inform & Entertain
The more you know about their common interests the more you can tailor your posts and especially pop culture references and external links, to speak directly to them. Compile a list of common interests that your ideal clients/perfect readers share. These do not have to be business related!
Now, make a second list. This list should contain the topics that fall under your Zone of Genius. Topics in your niche. If you don’t have a clearly defined niche for your business it’s really worth doing that at this stage – the more you niche, the more successful your blog will be.
Take your two lists and do a little brainstorming – how can you relate the common interests shared by your clients to the list of topics you want to discuss as part of your business?
This will get them reading about your business in a way they will enjoy.
A way that doesn’t feel ‘salesy’.
A way that helps them, informs them, or entertains them.
You should end up with a list of TOPICS you will discuss on your blog. YOU NEED AT LEAST TWELVE.
It’s very important to stick to these topics when you plan your blog schedule – it will ensure you create a consistent, quality blog your perfect readers will return to again and again. If you stray from these topics, you will quickly alienate people. This is why it’s so important to niche!
Step #3: Build Your Temple
When I’m designing a blog schedule I use my signature method, The Divine Blogging Design. This method utilises psychological archetypes combined with the previous steps to identify the perfect topics to use in a blog. I use this for my blog schedules, and for my clients – it is how I ensure your blog will run like clockwork and always, always directly speak to your ideal reader.
Part of the method involves constructing a ‘temple’. Each of the twelve archetypes is represented by a goddess, and if there’s one thing a goddess needs it’s a temple.
Each goddess forms a pillar, which together form a temple (a similar idea to Maria Forleo‘s fabulous ‘6 Pillars Of Business’ method). To learn the twelve pillars of The Divine Blogging Design, sign up for The Divine Blogging Challenge. This awesome 7 day challenge will get you started in no time and really help you build your temple!
Once you know the twelve pillars the construction of a temple is simple:
- Use The Divine Blogging Design to identify which topics belong with which goddess.
- Identify your primary pillar, the patron goddess of your temple – this is the goddess that most exemplifies your ideal client/perfect reader (don’t worry, this is all covered in The Divine Blogging Challenge!).
- Identify your secondary goddesses – these are the goddesses that exemplify many of your ideal clients, but not all. I advise people to have three secondary goddesses.
- Construct the inner sanctum – your patron goddess should is at the centre, surrounded by your secondary goddesses. Together they form the inner sanctum.
- The remaining goddesses form the supporting pillars around the outside of your temple.
Where your goddesses (and their corresponding topics) appear in your temple is pivotal to planning your blog schedule.
Step #4: Get Colouring!
If you are a lover of adult colouring books, you will adore this part. Get a big pack of coloured pens (I like Sharpies), and give each of your goddesses a colour. If you can find stickers in twelve different colours, that is A LOT EASIER (especially if you make a mistake)!
Ideally, invest in a wall planner – I have a big A2 18 month planner from WHSmiths which cost £6 and is absolutely perfect, but you could use a calendar. If you prefer working on your computer, download The Divine Blogging Topic Planner Spreadsheet (you can always print it off and stick it on the wall!).
Decide when you are going to blog, then stick to it! People get used to new blog posts coming out at the same time. Whether it’s weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or less frequently, it really doesn’t matter. CONSISTENCY IS KEY.
The main posts on The Write Copy Girl are published at 9am every Tuesday. Book reviews are published 9am on a Sunday. Guest posts, tutorials etc. at 9am on a Thursday. These are fixed points in time. They do not change.
Consider the following:
- How frequently can you realistically blog? Remember, you have to stick to this, so if once a week is a pipe dream, don’t aim for it!
- Look back at the research you did in step one and the blogs a lot of your perfect readers are already following – how frequent are they? Aim for this, but remember, you don’t have to do it all at once!
- What day will you post on? Look at your research – what days work for the people your perfect readers follow?
Download The Divine Blogging Design Planner and fill it in.
Remember, you’re not WRITING all of these posts right now, you’re simply PLANNING THEM.
- Divide your posts into THREE BLOCKS, with one post from each block running in a repeating pattern.
- The first block is dedicated to your patron goddess. Mark every third post with her colour. On The Divine Blogging Planner patron goddess posts are PURPLE.
- The second block is dedicated to your secondary goddesses. Posts in this block will alternate between your secondary goddesses in a repeating pattern. On The Divine Blogging Planner each secondary goddess is a DIFFERENT SHADES OF BLUE.
- The final block is for your supporting goddesses. Repeat the process you used for your secondary goddess posts, rotating through as all your remaining goddesses (if you have three secondary goddesses, you will have eight supporting goddesses). On The Divine Blogging Planner supporting goddesses are GREEN, LIME GREEN, YELLOW, ORANGE, RED, DARK RED, GREY, AND BLACK.
Step #5: Assign Your Topics
If you only have one topic per goddess, this part is really simple as each colour will correspond to ONE topic.
If you have more than one topic for some goddesses, number each topic and write the numbers on your plan, rotating them as you did when adding the colours.
I strongly advise you to download and fill in The Divine Blogging Planner – the colour coding (which is the tricky bit) is done for you. You will be left with an easy list of posts to follow, including date, goddess, and topic, for every week.
You can either use the spreadsheet on its own, or transfer them to a wall planner like I do.
I also advise you to sign up for The Divine Blogging Challenge which will take you through each of these steps with video tutorials, making the whole thing a piece of exceedingly delicious (and very helpful) cake!
Step #6: Subjects & Titles
Once you have your completed plan, count how many posts you need for each topic. Take some time brainstorming specific subjects for each post. Once you’ve settled on them fill in the subject for each post. You can fill in specific titles, but I find it best to keep a separate, dated list of title ideas so you can easily change them if you want.
Step #7: Create Optins And Content Upgrades
This part of the process is something you can start to plan now, but it is really an ongoing, long-term process.
Ultimately you want an optin freebie that is directly relevant to every topic you have. There will be a LOT of crossover here – you don’t need a different optin for every topic! Look at the topics that have common threads. Design your optins for these common threads, not the individual topics.
If you have planned your pillars correctly this should be very easy, and you will end up with a list of 2-5 ideas for optins.
You don’t have to create them all at once!
One should be very closely tied to your patron goddess, and thus will relate to at least 1/3 of your posts – start with this one!
When you have the time/resources, you can add others.
Once you’re in the writing groove and you have settled into your new schedule monitor your posts. Make a note of which are the most popular, and which continue to be popular over time. These are your evergreen posts, and you should aim to add content upgrades to all of them.
For example, this post has a planner you can download and fill in to help you nail this method – that’s a content upgrade!
Content upgrades are time consuming and requires a lot of work and patience. It doesn’t happen overnight!
Why The Divine Blogging Design Works
For a blogging schedule that drives signups and sales you must connect viscerally with ideal clients every week, giving them amazing content that they really need, and link the best of that content to a signups that provide them with more amazing content they need.
The tricky part is figuring out what that magic content is for your business, and your ideal clients.
The Divine Blogging Design works because it gets inside your perfect reader’s head. It gives you content tailored specifically for them week in, week out. Not only that it takes into account the various personalities you will have within your tribe, and ensures you are catering to ALL OF THEM. It ensures your content is fresh and interesting, avoiding the pitfalls of ‘samey’ posts that regurgitate the same stuff over and over again. And at the same time, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every week. You will have a foolproof blueprint to follow that tells you exactly what to write about, and how to pitch it.
What more could you ask for?
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