This podcast has been planned out through the end of 2015; through episode 146, to be exact. This is a level of content planning that I haven’t done in quite some time.
Thing is, it has been a HUGE time-saver. And that’s the topic for today’s episode of CBB – planning your content in advance.
When you fly by the seat of your pants on your content, it leads to a lot confusion on what to talk about, a lot of pressure on yourself… and it generally turns your blog into a digital slave driver. It isn’t that much fun anymore.
It also happens to be not very effective, either.
The answer is PLANNING.
There are 4 specific reasons to plan your content in advance, which I share in this episode. Plus, I’ll share some more details on exactly how I planned out this podcast so far in advance. Behind the scenes, baby! 😉
Now, that word “blogging” is in the title of the podcast and there is a lot of stereotypes that go along with that word “blogging”. The chief among them is the fact that we are creating a literal poop-ton of content. And yes, that is the technical term… “poop-ton”. I could have said it the other way but I chose not to. This is a family friendly show. But we create a lot of content, right? Especially if you have been listening to this podcast for a while, you have probably realized that I have a sort of non-traditional, non-stereotypical way of approaching blogging. I am the first to tell you that we should not focus too much on creating content! It’s kind of odd, but that is really the game that needs to be played if you want to turn this into an online business. And that is essentially what we are talking about here.
We want to turn blogging into a business, but the truth of the matter is that…
Blogging in and of itself is not a business; it does not make you money.
In order to actually generate revenue doing this we have to have a real business for which the blog promotes it. That is how it works.
And so for that reason, we need to NOT spend so much time creating a poop-ton of content. Gosh, I dunno why I said that word twice; but I have and I hope you got the idea… Lots and lots and lots of content.
The Typical Blogger & The Pressure Being One
Now the stereotype of a blogger is that we are essentially always writing our next blog post. We are always creating our next video. We are always recording our next podcast. And as soon as we have hit the publish button on one post, we are thinking about the next one. And there is this assembly line of content and that is what bloggers are “supposed” to be doing, right?
Here’s the thing, if you are doing this; if you come in to “I want to use blogging to make money” and you see that word “blogging” and you think “Okay, I got to create a lot of content.” Okay? And so that is what you do. You think “I need to build my audience so that I can monetize it and do all these really cool things that David talks about” and so you think you need to go and start creating content every darn day or many times per week. Some sites actually go out there and try to post multiple times per day. More power to them… Whatever; that’s their bag. Definitely not the way I like to do it.
And so if you are doing it that way, you are probably going to find yourself flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to your content. You are going to always feel that pressure of the calendar; that pressure of thinking that Google is sitting there watching you thinking that “Oh, okay are you going to post that next content?” and do you are constantly trying to post your stuff, create new stuff, stay on top of everything so you can post new stuff about it, create multiple forms of content and you are constantly battling the calendar. How many times have you come up on a new week on your calendar and you think to yourself “Ahh, I feel bad because I have not posted to my blog in too long.” Is that the way you want to be feeling? Are we creating our own slave driver with our own blog? Are you flying by the seat of your pants, essentially meaning that you got no plan? You are just basically just pumping crap to your blog because of the calendar, because of the clock; but you don’t really have any real rhyme or reason to it. Are you dancing all over the place when it comes to your topic because you are doing it by the calendar?
Now here is the truth of the matter… if you are doing it that way, you are doing it the way a lot of bloggers are doing it. A lot of bloggers end up repairing this “problem” by just posting like, stuff posting, I guess. That is not the way to do it. I am not saying that content is invaluable. You do need to be posting it. You just need to do it in a strategic way.
Now when you are flying by the seat of your pants and when you have no plan there is a lot of extra mental payload associated with doing that. You feel that ongoing pressure all the time of what your next blog post is going to be about, when you’re going to get it done, when you’re going to publish it; of all the activities that go after that thing is been published. There’s this always that mental pressure sitting on top of you like a rain cloud and that is exactly how blogging can feel like.
No wonder that many people think that blogging is a poor way to make money on the internet. No wonder a lot of business owners out there heard all about blogging but made the decision for themselves that it is not the right fit for them. It is because that they think that they have got to do this; create so much content and it is just a lot of work.
Why You Should Pre-Plan Your Content
So let us give you a different way of thinking about it. The podcast episode title here is “Why You Should Plan Your Content Well In Advance.” And that is exactly what you should be doing. Here is the truth of the matter… When you pre-plan your content it removes a lot of that mental payload. It removes a lot of the guess work from this whole thing. That whole pressure that you feel with “What am I going to write about?” When you have already determined that, you sat down and you pre-planned your calendar and you know exactly what you are going to write about.
So at that point, it is all about execution. You can plan it accordingly. It drastically speeds up the production of content for your blog because half the battle of creating content is thinking it up, to begin with; thinking of the topics. But if you get that out of the way and you get all the decision making out of the way, then it is just the matter of banging it out. That part is generally easier. And if you still don’t find that part easy, just do more of it, you will get better at it. Trust me. But it drastically speeds up the production of the content that you need to fuel your marketing when you have it pre-planned.
It also allows you to batch things together. This is a really big one for me. Batching basically means that you do similar types of tasks together in one time period. So for example, the very morning that I am recording this podcast that you are listening to me right now, I am actually recording 4 of these episodes back to back. Now, I am recording a ton of them in advance here because as you are listening to this show I am actually going to be out of town; probably sort of close to getting back home, actually but I am not going to be ready to produce my next episode yet.
So this is recorded well in advance but I am doing it by batching it. And I can bang out four episodes of this podcast so much quicker if I record them at the same time rather than me like… you know this is a Wednesday and Saturday podcast. Wednesday and Saturday is when these episodes come out. If I came like Tuesday and I say “Oh crap, I don’t have my episode done for tomorrow” that would put a lot of undue pressure on me. It’s the same thing for Saturday. If I arrive on Thursday or Friday, and say “Man I really got that episode done for Saturday” this podcast would seem a lot of work to me I probably would not be keeping up with it.
The fact that I can be as regular as I am about it is because I batch it together. And I also pre-plan it; I am going to mention that in a bit, but batching is important. If you can get in to that writer’s mode and bang out 3 or 4 blog posts all in one sitting, you are probably going to have better quality blog posts because you kind of get into that rhythm while you are doing it but that means that you are putting those blog posts into the cue on at the calendar and you don’t have to worry about writing content for some time.
I do this all the time with the written portion of the Blog Marketing Academy. I will create content for 3 or 4 weeks in advance. And sure, it takes some time; I will actually have a day dedicated just to creating content. Typically for me, that is a Monday. And I will sit down and I will just do nothing but bang out content for the blog. And that could be podcast episode, that can be written blog post; if I have any videos to do I’ll record them. And that stuff that I will do in one work day and I am putting things on the calendar out there for later; I could never do that if I didn’t sit down and plan the content; know what I am going to be talking about. Okay?
It also allows you to prep content that serves your marketing goals. That is huge! This is supposed to be content marketing, not just blogging for the sake of itself. We are doing it so that we can grow our business. Now, your content is going to grow your business a lot more effectively if the free content jives; it goes in conjunction with the stuff that you are doing for money. Because then, your free stuff is promoting your paid stuff. It makes perfect sense. So if you are looking down the calendar and you know that in 3 or 4 weeks you are going to be doing some kind of a promotional campaign for one of your products or what have you, plan some content to go out around that same time that promotes it. Okay? But you can’t do that if you are not looking ahead. If you are only looking one level ahead all the time it is really hard to grow the business; really hard to have your content do what it is supposed to do which is grow our business.
So in bullet points, here again are the 4 really big reasons for having pre-planned content…
- Removes the guess work
- Speeds up production
- Allows you to batch things together
- Allows you to create content that actually serves your marketing goals
The Way This Works For Me
Now an example of that that I will bring up; and I might have mentioned it in the past, is this podcast – Coffee Break Blogging. Now I have talked about before how when I first started podcasting it really was quite irregular. It didn’t really have an ongoing pattern to it and it was because I went into it without a plan. Now when I re-launched it as Coffee Break Blogging, I went into it with a plan. And it was surely thereafter that I actually went out in my RV, because my family and I, we have an RV and I sometimes use it for business purposes… I took off by myself; no wife and kids, which was great, nice and quiet… A different kind of environment so that it allows me to really focus on planning type of stuff rather than feeling like I need to get something done… And I planned out the entire the Coffee Break Blogging podcast through the end of 2015. And at the time, we were talking about close to 100 episodes that I pre-planned. And as I sit right now, I am now recording Episode 105 and I can tell you right now that I pretty much know what I am going to be doing all the way through Episode 146.
Now that removes a lot of mental payload associated with delivering this podcast. A lot! It makes it so much easier. When I need to produce a podcast episode I simply look at the next one in my line up here, I go “Okay, that is what I am going to be talking about” I will then bang out a few bullet points, I don’t typically plan all the content of each episode in advance; it is more of the topics. So I bang out a few bullet points there and then I hit the record button and go for it. And that is the typical production of this podcast. This episode was planned months ago. It is as far as I knew that I was going to be talking about “Planning Your Content In Advance”.
Now before I hit the record button, I put a few bullet points together to kind of give me something to keep me on target while I am talking about it. And then I hit the record button and here we are together. So that is kind of how that works. So it is a really prime example of the benefits of planning out your content in advance. It has worked really well for me on my podcast. I do it with my written content as well, not to the same degree. I am not pre-planned out till the end of the year when it comes to the blog but I do stay weeks ahead, typically. So it really does help and I would highly recommend that you give it a whirl.
One thing that I would recommend that you do here, because it really does help with your mindset as you are doing this, is to go somewhere different; some unique environment when you are actually planning out your content. Don’t do it at your main computer if you can do it this way because what happens is you end up getting distracted by social networks or you feel compelled to do something else. And what I would rather you do is just take off your “worker bee hat” and really just put on your executive hat and be looking at this from the big picture and plan out your content. If you can go to a coffee shop and do it; that would be great. If you happen to have an RV like I do, that’s awesome! There’s nothing like doing that around a campfire! 😉
Now you could do the same thing that I just talked about for your written, for your videos, for your emails to your email list; even your social media updates. All these stuff can be planned out in advance and it is just a matter of how far you want to take it.
When it comes to social media, you are probably not going to plan that thing out multi-months in advance because it is a lot more of an instantaneous platform. But you can certainly plan out the next week and like, maybe on Monday you set up your social media stuff for that week and then just forget about it. There are certainly things that you can do if you pre-plan the stuff.
Your primary tool for doing this is what is called an editorial calendar. And you probably have heard this; we talked about this before, I have also talked about it at the blogmarketingacademy.com. But I am going to talk about it with you guys, my CBB listeners, on the next episode of the show. We are actually going to talk more in depth about the editorial calendar and how to produce one. So that will be in the next episode of Coffee Break Blogging, Episode 106.
Now a related note to this, I want to tell you a little bit about a course that I have created called “The Content Marketing Clinic” and this course is only available right now to Blog Monetization Lab Members. Now the reason I bring this up is because what we are planning here with our editorial calendar is our content. And we want that content to be as effective as possible. And there are certain components that go into creating that is going to have real legs; it is actually going to serve our marketing purposes.
And it is all of that stuff that I talk about inside the Content Marketing Clinic. It is a full course on how to create very compelling and effective content; content that actually converts. And some of the stuff that we are going to talk about in there is stuff like the editorial calendar, it is going to be included there as well but there’s a lot more nifty-gritty on how to actually create this various forms of content and how to make content that actually moves our audience to action. And we need to have that stuff in place so that we can properly plan it. And so that is the Content Marketing Clinic, it is a course that is right now only available inside the Blog Monetization Lab.
Lastly, I would like to remind you, and a request of course, that you run over to iTunes and post a review and star rating of the show. If you are finding this valuable; if you have been following along with me for a while and you still have not posted a review, please take a minute and make this happen. It does not take very long, it would really help me quite a bit.
So with that being said, I will see you in Episode 106 where we are going to talk about the editorial calendar. See you then! 😉