How far ahead should I plan blog content?

planning-blog-content-largeAre you proactive or reactive? Do you create content as you get ideas, or plan your content out days or weeks in advance? I asked a group of bloggers for their insight about how they plan and write content on their blogs.

I plan out 1-2 months in advance and I like to be 10 blog posts ahead.

I try to plan stories in advance, but lately these days I end up writing when both the mood strikes me and I have the time. Consulting makes up the overwhelming bulk of my income, so my clients have to come first. I do really enjoy sharing things that make me happy or am excited about, so I can’t bring myself to stop blogging completely.

I would love to say I plan far in advance  but I don’t. I have a running list of ideas and I pick a few each week to blog about. Since I write a lifestyle blog I try to balance my posts between interviews, event recaps, and style tips. Really the only method to my madness is be flexible. I don’t want to be so focused on what I want to write about and then forget to consider the feedback. Because it’s more important to me to deliver the kind of content my followers find most helpful.

I tend to organize my post ideas for the month then schedule out photo shoots and interviews. I try to plan at least a week in advance, and if I find I’m rushing or getting off track I give myself a break. People can tell when you’re half-assing your content and what’s the point of doing that? When it comes to my blog, I want to put out the very best I’m capable of doing. I’m active on social media every single day, so I’m always spreading the curd word – I just want to keep my blog the highest quality possible.

I have an editorial calendar and write my posts out the day before. I then schedule them for the next day at 5 am so that they are consistent and my readers know when to expect a new post. Sometimes I will have sponsored things due on certain dates, but mainly I choose topics from a running document of ideas that I have going on.

I generally plan my content calendar a quarter (three months) at a time. Not every detail is planned, but I know what topics I’ll be covering on which days for the next three months or so.

Details, such as who will contribute a guest post next month or who will be my guest on Better Freelancing (my video interview series), aren’t always finalized. But more often than not, I have my next 3-4 episodes of Better Freelancing pre-recorded.

When it comes down to actually writing the content, creating images, and getting everything scheduled, I do that the week before. The same goes for my email broadcasts and social media posts — I’ve prepared and scheduled them in AWeber and Hootsuite a week ahead of time.

It’s a good idea to have an end goal in terms of what we’re trying to accomplish. If not, and if we simply make up our content on the fly each week, what we end up publishing often ends up being a scatterbrained mess that serves no greater purpose. Our content should tell a story, and it should be part of a bigger picture… at least as often as possible.

Failing to plan means scrambling at the last minute to throw together a half-assed post that isn’t likely to benefit or speak to much of anyone.

– Brent Jones, brentjonesonline.com

I plan for the month or two depending on projects. I write about a week ahead!

We should prep further in advance but we tend to do 2 posts a week on Monday and Friday, with a tentative plan month by month. We write and photograph 2 days to 24 hours out.

I like to have things planned out a week or two in advance, but I’m typically tweaking and editing posts up until the night before I post them!

I mostly write the day before or at most the week of. Lol. I know some that write months in advance but I go by what strikes me.

I usually plan it a few weeks in advance but usually don’t write it until the night before. Some of it because my posts are very, “this is me today” and part of it is just not being able to eat food as fast as I need to be eating it!

On a recent ProBlogger podcast, Darren Rowse shared a useful strategy to answer the question, “How far ahead should I plan blog content?”

He recommended publishing content weeks before an event to ensure that your post gets indexed by Google and has time to show up on the search engine results page when people are actually searching for information about it. His example was a post about American Idol winner predictions that got a lot of heavy traffic on the last episode!

As for me? It’s a bit of a mix for both of my blogs: The Blogsmith and Chicago Cheap Ass.

I use this National Day Calendar to try and keep on top of social media holidays, and create content relating to them whenever possible. Doing this helps my content reach more people, by piggybacking on popular topics that generate a lot of buzz.

Besides that, I use the WordPress Editorial Calendar, a free plugin that allows you to place draft posts on a calendar to plan your content accordingly.

For the most part, I write content on a whim – there’s no rhyme or reason to how I plan it.

If you have problems with organization and planning, I highly recommend you check out the post I wrote about how to organize your blog workflow. Sometimes that’s half the battle of publishing content!

Time to turn the tables.

How far ahead do you plan blog content? We’d love to hear about your process in the comments!

Profile photo of Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, The Blogsmith and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

5 Responses to How far ahead should I plan blog content?

  1. Thanks for sharing, that’s an interesting read. As a content manager I’ve been struggling to find the most appropriate and effective content planning strategy for quite a long time and tried most of methods described in the article such as planning content a month ahead, etc. But I mainly create tech related content and IT world is so dynamic and volatile that what’s hot and topical today is no longer that trending the day after tomorrow, and since search engine optimization and social media marketing are intrinsic elements of content generation, curation and publishing, I can’t ignore them and plan anything upfront. So, I normally search buzzsumo or similar tools for trending and most shared topics pertaining to the areas of my blog readers’ interests and try to catch up with my own blog post. As such, I normally plan my blogs on a weekly basis and keep monitoring WWW for popular topics during a week not to lag behind with my blog. Also, once I bump into an emerging term or a new buzzword not many people are yet aware of, I can easily change my content priorities and make sure I have this new term covered in my blog. And then, when everyone starts using it and creating search queries around it, my blog appears in top search results.

    It was just my 2 cents 😉

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