How to batch content writing for your business blog – planning your blog content
Do you feel you spend too much time writing blog posts for your business? Do you struggle to be consistent with your content creation? Does blog writing always end up at the very bottom of your work to-do list? I get it. Unless you’re a writer like me, you didn’t get into business to write. Running a business, especially if you want a strong online presence, is super time-consuming. ‘I don’t have time’ comes up a lot for entrepreneurs. (Let’s not lie, it comes up for me too!). We all know we should make time, but often it’s easier said than done, right? But if you want an active blog, you have two choices. You either outsource your writing to a professional, or you set aside some time to write your own content. So what if I told you I can teach how to spend less time on your content creation? That I can show you, step-by-step, how to batch content writing for your business blog?
If you want to commit to writing content for your business but struggle to find the time and always fall off the consistency wagon, then the advice in this blog post and the ones that follow will help you do the job in less time. I will share with you the exact process I use to write my own content on this blog, on my lifestyle blog for busy mums, Mind your Mamma, and on clients’ websites. By following this process and dedicating a few hours per month to your content creation, you’ll be able to keep up with your business blogging. And you’ll also become more productive, efficient, and effective in your content creation.
Ready to go?
What you will learn
Here’s what you’ll be able to do by the end of this mini-series of blog posts.
1. Learn a practical way to capture and further develop your ideas
Have you ever sat in front of your laptop (and a blank screen) on a Friday afternoon (or whenever), determined to write a blog post and found you had absolutely zero ideas or inspiration? Call it writer’s block, or call it lack of planning or motivation – I know the feeling. And I’ll help you work around it. If you want to become more efficient when you sit down to write, you can. All you really need to do is to put a simple system in place to enable you to know exactly what you’re going to write. I promise you – if you follow these tips you’ll never run out of ideas again.
2. Come up with relevant topic ideas
Do you have lots of ideas for content? If you don’t at the moment, I can guarantee you that if you do what I suggest, you will. But how do you know if your ideas are worth pursuing? How do you know whether your audience will find your content interesting? By the end of this post, you’ll know how to come up with the right topic ideas that are relevant to your ideal audience.
3. Learn a more efficient process to write your blog posts in less time
Follow the steps I’m about to share with you in the next five posts, and you’ll be able to go through your content creation spending less time on it than you currently are. Who wouldn’t want to become more productive, right? It’s possible, and it’s not magic. You can become quicker by batching tasks. Batching allows you to avoid wasting unproductive time by continuously switching tasks and using different skills.
In this post, I’m going to teach you the first step to the batching process – planning your content. But before we can plan, we need something to put in the plan. We need ideas. We need topics. So let’s do that first.
Generating ideas for your business blog content
Make it about your customers!
When I work 1-to-1 with clients who are new to blogging, the question ‘what should I blog about?’ often comes up. When I dig a little deeper, I can always sense a little insecurity and lack of confidence in my clients’ ability to write. (But this is another story for another day.) Unfortunately, a lot of business owners who haven’t yet dipped their toe into the content marketing waters worry they won’t have anything valuable to write about. That their audience won’t find their content interesting.
So I’d like to challenge you here. If you run your own business, I’m assuming it’s because you believe in what you sell. (You wouldn’t bother being in business otherwise, right?). The key is to focus on how your products and services can help your ideal customers and clients.
- Why do people need or want what you sell?
- How can your products or services change your clients’ lives?
If you sell dog accessories, your products are probably irrelevant to people who don’t have pets. But when it comes to the dog-owners out there, your products (and the information to go with them) are relevant and interesting. That is what you need to focus on. So always write with your ideal audience in mind – you’re talking to them and them only. So write about things that are relevant to them.
With that in mind, if you’re just starting out, you should set aside some time for an initial brainstorming session. Pick a quiet time in your week and take yourself away from your normal place of work for a few hours, if it helps. If not, clear your desk, turn off any distractions, and find a pocket of time to focus on this. Grab yourself a hot cuppa, pen and paper (or whatever digital app or device you prefer using), and start asking yourself some intentional questions.
Answer these questions
- What do your existing clients and customers always ask you about? This could be information about your products or services, the process of working with you, ways to do something, or things they want to pick your brain about. Think about all the questions you get asked by your potential or existing clients – either via email, social media, over the phone or in person.
- What problems, needs, wants, and desires do your ideal clients have that you can address and solve through your business? What are they struggling with? Also, what matters to them right now? How can your products and services help them?
- Can you think of some broad topics your business is all about? Think of them as your ‘pillars of content’ or categories. So if you’re a photographer, you may want to group your content under newborn photography, family photography, and special occasion photography, for example.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of questions. If you can think of others, just keep going. I’ll share more tips to help you add ideas in another post. But for now, make sure you set aside an hour or so of your time writing down everything that comes to your mind. No idea is a bad idea at this stage and don’t worry too much about organising the information either. Just capture everything you have.
Create your Ideas Bucket
Now that you’ve spent some time brainstorming ideas, I hope you can see you have plenty! Isn’t it amazing to think that you only really have to do that once? So what I’d like you to do now is to create your Ideas Bucket. I appreciate this isn’t a technical, widely-recognised term.
That’s because I made it up.
So here’s what it is and how it works. Your Ideas Bucket is simply the place where you capture your ideas. It’s where you go when you’re ready to organise your topics and plan your content for the month. I’m not going to be prescriptive about what your Ideas Bucket should look like. I’ll leave you to decide what works for you here, as everyone’s different. Some options you may want to consider are using a dedicated notebook, an app like Evernote, or a tool like Trello or Dropbox. Saying that, a Word or a Google Document will do! Just pick whatever feels right.
Why should you have an Ideas Bucket?
Once you start this process, I promise you that you’ll see a shift happening. You’ll notice several moments in your day when ideas for content will come to you out of seemingly nowhere. When you’re driving, having a shower, brushing your teeth, walking the children to school, going for a jog, etc. When inspiration strikes, you want to be ready to capture your ideas.
Say goodbye to writer’s block
Your Ideas Bucket is the antidote to that ‘writer’s block’ you experienced every time you sat at the laptop, ready to write a blog post but not sure what to write about. From now on, when you sit down, you’re going to have plenty of ideas to choose from. Granted that not all of them will be great. You’ll end up binning some. And that’s fine. You may even find that several of your ideas end up being combined into one big, comprehensive piece of content. And that’s to be expected too. But as long as you follow these tips, you’ll come up with the right types of ideas, the ones that resonate with your potential customers and clients. And with a lot of them.
So when you sit down ready to write, your mind won’t go blank. Because you’ll have a whole bunch of valid ideas in front of you.
Fine-tune your ideas
Now you’ve created a system to capture your ideas – your Ideas Bucket – and you’re building the healthy habit of adding to it regularly, it’s time to learn how to refine and organise your ideas. This is something I suggest you allocate an hour or so to at the beginning of each month. Ultimately, your aim is to plan your content for the next four weeks. In one sitting!
By following the next three steps, you’ll have a clear idea of what you’re going to be writing about each month. So here’s what you should do before you can come up with your monthly content plan.
1. Do some market research
You’re sitting in front of your Ideas Bucket, and you’re looking at some great ideas. Hopefully, a lot of these topics come from real questions your clients have asked you. They represent real concerns, objections, or struggles they might have or experience. But at the end of the day, this is your view of the world. Remember what we said about keeping your ideal audience at the forefront of what you do? It’s time to validate your ideas. See what matters. See what ‘sticks’.
Here are some of the things you can do.
- If you have a social media following or an email list, ask your audience what they’re struggling with. What do they feel they need help with the most right now.
- Do you know anyone in real life who could be your ideal client? Offer to take them for a coffee to ask them a few questions.
- If the above aren’t options, you may need to get a bit more creative. Think about where you can find some of your ideal clients, get in touch with them and start a conversation. Get some feedback. Could they be in Facebook groups? On LinkedIn?
2. Align your ideas with your business calendar
Now you’ve thought about your clients, it’s time to think about you and your business.
- What do you have planned in your business in the next month?
- What are you trying to sell?
- Can some of the ideas you’ve had help you get more eyes on your offers? Drive more sales?
Then these are the ideas you should go after first.
So, for example, if you’re promoting a local cooking workshop, you may want to create content around that. There’s no point in sharing useful content about baking just yet if your workshop is all about teaching your clients how to cook quick family meals. What content can you share this month that may help you inform and educate your ideal clients about the topics of your workshop? Is there anything you could cover that may help you convince someone who’s still on the fence about buying to snap up a place? Prioritise creating content around the products and services you sell or that you’re planning to start selling.
3. Do some keyword research
You may have come up with the best content ideas. You’re sitting on topics that you know your audience is going to love. But once you’ve written and published this content, how will people find it? This is where you need to be a bit strategic and consider writing content that is sought-after. What are your ideal customers actually searching for online? What are the actual terms they’re typing into Google?
This is the point in the process where you need to combine your ideas, coupled with the insight you’ve gathered from and about your audience, with some keyword research. Doing this gives you the best chances of being found by a ‘cold’ audience that hasn’t heard about you or from you before. Targeting the right search terms (or keywords) allows you to drive traffic to your website. And over time this means that your products and services will start to sell themselves.
If you don’t already know how to do keyword research, the topic deserves its own separate post. But for now, just make sure you allocate some time to this activity when planning out your content.
Create your monthly content plan
Now you have all the information you need – and remember it’s taken you about an hour to do this – all you have to do is to pick four ideas (one per week) that you’ll develop into fully-fledged blog posts. Trust me, doing this planning in advance will save you tons of time. And it can pretty much make all the difference between you going ahead and writing those posts and not doing it at all! So schedule some time in for the next steps of the process, and in the next post, I’ll guide you through the outlining process.
If you follow this process, over time, you’ll be able to create a library of valuable, relevant content on your website. Your content will help you attract new prospective customers and clients while you focus on running your business and serving your existing clients. And while you work hard, your content will also work hard for you.
And the best part of it all? That you can do this by dedicating just a few hours a month to your content creation!
Would you like my help?
Now that I’ve written it all up, I can appreciate this can look like a rather lengthy process! You may also argue that it’s easy for me to say you’ll be able to complete some of these steps very quickly. After all, I do have years of experience doing this. At the time of writing this, I’ve published over 300 pieces of online content (blog posts and articles). And while anyone will tell you that quality definitely matters more than quantity, all this writing under my belt means I’ve learnt how to do it efficiently and consistently. Which is why I’m able to break this well-oiled process down into steps that I can teach you and support you with.
If this feels a tad too overwhelming, and you’d like some personalised help with this process or any of the topics I’ve covered, check out my teaching packages. You may love my 90-minute Blogging for Business Kickstarter session!