2023 Free Printable Blog Content Strategy & Planner
The 2023 Strategy and Blog Content Planner is the same as last year, but prettier! 🙂 I updated the examples to be more current. And I updated the example in this post – as we walk through how to do the Blog Content Strategy part.
One of the things we will do this year at WPB is update the blog. Our little database of WordPress tutorials needs to be a lot simpler to use. But updating the blog is not a goal. I’m not really that fond of writing. Updating the blog is our strategy. It’s the strategy to get to my goal, of helping those that can’t afford to hire us. That’s just one of our goals this year. But in order to help those bloggers, I need to revamp this blog, including this article.
I hope you’ll hear me when I challenge you to STOP your busy work. Stop cleaning up old posts, stop doing ‘SEO’ on the busy posts, stop the mindless posting on SM. But don’t just stop. Stop and then create goals that mean something to you.
After you have goals and strategies, then ask yourself if that busy work is actually accomplishing something important?
Goals – the targets that you aim for. They are personal to YOU. It doesn’t have to be 100k/mo pageviews. Your goals don’t have to be “five figures”(who else is sick of hearing that?). Figure out what is important to you and quantify it. That is your goal.
After you have goals, figure out the strategies you need to get there.
Below we go through an example from a fictional client and we plan out some strategies and content to help inspire you and demonstrate how to complete the planner.
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Important Pre-requisite to Planning
The first and most important thing about planning your content for the year is discovering your goals. Your REAL goals. And a number of pageviews is not a goal – that is the strategy to get to your goal.
For example, if your goal is $25,000 per month profit, without sponsored posts or merchandise, then you may need to get to 1 million pageviews. Otherwise, sponsored posts, selling classes, writing a book – there are lots of ways to make money other than ad revenue from pageviews.
If you need money and you’re in a saturated niche, pageviews should not be your primary objective!
Step one is to figure out your goals and come up with ways to accomplish them the fastest and easiest way possible. If your plan includes content marketing – which it in all likelihood will – then use this planner to help you.
Plan Your Blog Content to Be Strategic (& easier to write)
Since 2023 will be about personalized service for us at WPB, our content will be more personal than in years past. I have 3 avatars in my head as I write this today – and as we write all our posts. We are writing to YOU – the midlife or better blogger – who is blogging as a business.
Staying consistent in 2023 is my biggest hurdle – as it is every year!! So I’ve used this planner to plan out my goals for the coming year and to map out the content themes that will interest you – my readers.
I put together the beginning pages of the Blog Content Strategy & Planner to help me think through goals, themes and strategies. I go through these worksheets every year and sometimes each quarter when I need to pivot a little.
Let’s go through the worksheets together with an example and you’ll see how easily it comes together.
Blog Content with Strategy
The worksheets start with annual goals, move narrower to quarterly and then you begin forming strategies to accomplish that quarter’s goal. With strategies in place, you can determine the content that you will need. Let’s look at a cooking blog as an example.
Example – Cooking Blog
Let’s say I have the goal of earning $200k, gross, in 2023. So each quarter I need to make $50k on my blog. Assuming $200k is a reasonable goal for me, I’m probably already making $35k per quarter which is $11,667/mo before expenses.
This leaves me with needing an increase of $5,000 per month. Can I get that by increasing traffic and ad revenue that much? Likely not. What is the best way to make $5k per month?
I decide that I’ll start offering sponsored posts. Because I’m already at $11.5k/mo in ad revenue, I know I have some traffic that sponsors will want to pay for. This is a good year to approach sponsors because I’m redoing my kitchen. Goal: approach sponsors for appliances, home depot, etc.
To accomplish $5k/mo and not overwhelm readers with advertisements, I’m going to aim for a few different sponsorships:
- email newsletter sponsorship at $250ea
- social media sponsorship at $350 per SM Pkg
- post advertorial / on diy posts at $900+ product per post.
- my goal is less than 3 sponsored posts per month
- to accommodate this frequency, I will have to post 3x/week
NOTE: sponsors are looking for audience engagement over sheer numbers. Numbers can be purchased (easily).
To integrate sponsored posts into the content, I will need to create a theme that appeals to different sponsors. Let’s plan!
Content Strategy Worksheet
We’re using inbound marketing – when people come to us. We wont be interrupting people during dinner with a phone call. (remember those? Ewww)
Strategies used for attracting an engaged audience: hyper-targeted content, social media outreach, social media paid campaigns, guest blogging, podcast guest’ing, public speaking, fb group, pinterest strategies, regular emails, Search Engine Optimization.
In our example, we would continue with the content marketing, and then engage 1 on 1 with the prospective businesses (the ones we want to work with) online. (see this post for a template for contacting prospective sponsors)
Unique Selling Points / Benefits
In this section of the blog content planner, you need to identify the thing that makes you different. Of all the food bloggers out there, why would a reader be drawn to YOU, in particular? Who do you identify with? Who is your niche? And how are you different from others?
Your USP is marketing speak for authenticity. With personal brands, authenticity and integrity are absolutely essential. Authenticity is far more than a buzz word! There may be 100 different recipes for mac and cheese. But there is only one YOU – empathizing with other moms who can’t get their kids to eat anything but mac and cheese.
There is only one YOU who makes those moms feel heard. You are uniquely qualified to bring some spark into another person’s life. Don’t let fear get in the way of being your authentic self! We need real people online!
Once you understand how you’re different, and you have goals in mind, now you can dig into what I call, “Content Themes”.
Blog Content Themes
In this section of our Blog Content Strategy, we identify the content themes that we cover. These themes will be common with lots of other blogs. HOW you cover these themes is part of your USP. That is what makes you unique. But the themes themselves, aren’t necessarily unique.
For example, our food blogger is vegan. And she will cover winter ‘comfort foods’ at this time of year, along with all the other food bloggers. But she will cover it with her own authenticity – her beliefs around food and its sustainability, her beliefs around shopping, prices, processed foods and other topics that make her light up.
Calendar & Planning Content
Using the actual calendar is helpful at this point. Record the major events, holidays or silly things you want to celebrate in your content.
ie: Hamburger Day, Dentist Day, along with Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.
Now you should have prepared:
- your goals,
- your strategies,
- your USP,
- your holidays and special days
With all this pre-work done, coming up with the ideas for each month is a cinch.
Content Ideas for Quarter 1 2023
I do my content planning by the month. I only publish 4 posts a month but most bloggers will publish far more than that. So add up the number of posts you need, divide that by the number of Content Themes you identified.
In our example, the Food Blogger will have these themes this quarter:
- Comfort Food
- Date Night at Home
- Recycling and Composting in the Winter
- Organic Food Dyes (think pink on V-Day and green on St. Patrick’s Day)
Let’s say that our food blogger posts 3x per week so we need 12 posts per month. We have 4 content themes, so we need 3 posts in each content theme.
Now you record those themes in the Monthly Post Generator. And the number of posts for the month in each theme. Our food blogger posts 3 times a week = 12 posts / 4 themes = 3 ideas in each box. Now you have an ‘idea’ for each post for the month.
My Content Themes for Jan – March look like this (Keep in mind I only need 12 posts during that time).
Growth before 10k
- encouragement to keep going; knowing if you’re doing it correctly
- how to grow past friends & family
- starting off strong with SEO basics
Gain an Audience
- Top of Funnel content pieces
- how to exchange audiences & examples
- HARO & offline growth sources
Content Tips & SEO
- creating video when its hard/ beginner’s tips
- fun holidays during boring months
- establishing ROI of social media
MOFU (middle of the funnel)
- selling things through email
- psychology of planning
- effective & unique call to actions
Isn’t it more doable when you break it down?
At this point most of us start using digital tools to research and save links and photos. Or to do our outlines, drafts and writing. But in case you don’t I’ve attached a post ‘scratch pad’.
TIME SAVING TIP
While you plan out your content, you’ll also have the opportunity to get all your images and quotes done.
While creating content themes (see above 4 boxes), add micro themes that you’ll use each week on social media. It should all relate and flow well together. Everyone should be funneled from social media into your blog.
When you’re creating your post image, also create 1 for IG & Facebook. Create landscape for FB & Twitter. Create square version for IG feed. Create portrait versions for IG Stories & Pinterest. And write out your social media captions if you need to. It’s so much faster if your brain is already on the topic to do it then.
When I started using strategic content, I doubled my email sign-ups!
Be strategic my friends! It works! 🙂
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