Smart Online Business Strategy: Tips to Plan and Schedule Website Content

Image of Jon Alford PodcastContent planning.

Sounds like a boring chore and rather intimidating, am I right?

Now, you’ve accepted that writing articles for your website is a great way to educate your readers and demonstrate you know your industry.

It’s an important part of your marketing strategy.

But how do you write every week or every day? Are there any shortcuts or smart strategies to accomplish this? These mental gymnastics can be a major pain!

Finding topics to write about is tough enough but how can you get ahead of the game? Is it worth trying to sketch out a content plan for the year?

Well, in this episode I share some tips on how to map out your content. I also share examples on how you can break it down to lighten the workload of brainstorming hundreds of fresh article ideas for your website.

You’ll also hear my take on using features to help craft some of the content for you so you aren’t sitting there staring at a blank screen. Let’s kick your content creation into high gear.

Click the play button for eleven minutes of content planning tips:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Further listening options:

20 Responses to Smart Online Business Strategy: Tips to Plan and Schedule Website Content
  1. Danny @ Firepole Marketing
    May 23, 2011 | 5:22 pm

    Hey Jon, great podcast!

    I do something similar; we post every two days at Firepole Marketing, so the cycle is MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY, SUNDAY, TUESDAY, THURSDAY, SATURDAY.

    Of that, Fridays are videos, Thursdays are interviews, and Saturdays are Best of the Web. So I have a running editorial calendar going forward, and I plug the holes as ideas come up. I try to keep a runway of a couple of weeks.

    I also wrote a post of all the different strategies that I have for content when I can’t think of anything: http://www.copyblogger.com/create-content-ideas/

    Between the calendar and the list of ideas, I’m usually covered. :)

    • Jon
      May 24, 2011 | 10:31 pm

      Danny,

      Great to know that you have a strategy. I’m not surprised that you had it planned out :) Isn’t it relieving to have some articles ready to go without having to worry about drumming them up the night before? Sometimes it’s appropriate and timely to fire one off last minute. But often it’s less stressful to schedule them in advance.

      Your post at Copyblogger exploded with comments and it is an incredible resource. You put some serious work into that and I thank you.

  2. Deevesh @ Blokube
    May 25, 2011 | 12:15 am

    Jon,

    I’m in the process of scheduling articles/content for Blokube Blog and this podcast gave me a good idea on how to do that. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:01 pm

      Hey Devesh I’m glad to hear you’re working out a schedule for Blokube. Let me know how it works out for you and if you want to brainstorm.

  3. Oliver Tausend
    May 25, 2011 | 4:46 am

    Hi Jon,

    thanks for sharing your insights. I have never had the dreaded “writer’s block” so I am not worried about running out of ideas. However, I have to organize my time as well to get three posts per week out. We also have to plan a decent amount of time for promotion, snydication and networking. With that being said, I definitely can benefit from your advice. Thanks again for sharing it.

    Take care

    Oliver

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:02 pm

      You’re fortunate to always have that spring of ideas to tap into, great for you! Yes, I didn’t go into the other parts of the equation here such as networking and syndication but they are vital components to the big picture.

  4. Jane | Blog SEO
    May 25, 2011 | 10:07 am

    Hi Jon,

    You hit the nail exactly on newbies getting overwhelmed about producing content. Treating the task in chunks, preferably weekly chunks work great. I do posts every other day and I plan and schedule posts at least two weeks ahead. This leaves me without the need to panic about what to write for today :)

    Following a regular schedule helps a lot :)

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:03 pm

      Weekly chunks work for some, sure. Yea the panic button doesn’t get pressed if you give yourself a couple weeks of buffer and the final product is more polished than rushed. Always a good thing.

  5. Jeanine Byers Hoag @ Dressing My Truth
    May 25, 2011 | 12:21 pm

    Hi Jon! I find that having a general schedule works for me when it comes to writing blog posts, and sometimes I do it a month in advance.

    But I also remain open to inspiration because inevitably, if I plan in too much detail, I find myself writing posts entirely different from the ones I had intended. Right now, I have a blog post series I keep putting off because I don’t need it yet.

    But I agree that it is always good to have some blog posts in reserve.

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:05 pm

      Keeping open to inspiration is always good. There’s nothing wrong with rescheduling an article if something strikes you today that you feel compelled to share immediately. It’s just that having the back-up content in the queue is such a burden lifted from our daily task load. Good to know that you keep scheduling ahead as a tool in your kit.

  6. Catarina
    May 25, 2011 | 1:31 pm

    Jon, interesting in sights. Started my career in journalism so I have never had “writer’s block”.

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:06 pm

      You’re fortunate to not have the issues with writer’s block. It snags the best of us but more power to ya if you have your own production flow hammered out.

  7. Jayne Kopp
    May 25, 2011 | 1:35 pm

    HI Jon, great suggestions for those who suffer from writers block. I have many times, but thankfully I have actually started to plan posts out a little at a time. Perhaps not quite to the degree you have suggested, but you certainly have put the fire under me to do a better job.

    Thanks so much for your time.

    Jayne

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:10 pm

      You’re welcome. There’s no harm in taking a peek down the road a ways more than you normally would. It’s okay to ditch a post here or there and substitute it with something more spontaneous and relevant. It’s just that having the fall back content is a stress reducer and keeps your topics (day to day, week to week) from being disjointed.

  8. Dr. Bob Clarke
    May 25, 2011 | 7:45 pm

    Fantastic podcast, Jon. I am such a fan of breaking things up into manageable chunks, and you’ve obviously mastered this in your content creation.

    I love the idea of creating specialization within your blogging schedule — one day being written content, one with videos, perhaps a third being podcasts. You could break this down even further — perhaps your videos will always be an educational teaching platform, your podcasts more storytelling in nature (your past experiences)…. something like that.

    I’m definitely going to give this some thought and come up with something more structured.

    Thanks for the great tips, Jon!

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:12 pm

      Thanks so much, Bob. You summed it up well here and definitely let me know if you come up with a new schedule that makes you happy. It’s easy if you look ahead or take a birds-eye view of things. Otherwise it’s too easy to keep grinding away at producing content but simply spinning your wheels.

  9. Janet @ The Natural Networker
    May 27, 2011 | 5:11 pm

    Jon, aloha. You are getting to be quite the master at these podcasts. Congratulations.

    Like you, Jon, I believe it is much easier to do things if you chunk them down. When people look at all the content that needs to be created on a continuing basis, it can be paralyzing.

    Not only do I have a plan for what I intend to write, I also am constantly making notes as new ideas, phrases or even words to expand upon come to me.

    Also, I do think it makes sense to have certain types of post of certain days; it makes the planning process so much easier.

    Best wishes for a fabulous Memorial Day weekend. Aloha. Janet

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:14 pm

      Janet – thanks for the vote of confidence :)

      Paralyzing is definitely the word. It’s hard to know what to do next week when you are in a routine of producing content to go live for the very next morning. It sounds like you and me both are note takers! Thank you and I hope that you enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend as well.

  10. Hi Jon,

    This is one of my biggest problems, scheduling posts.

    I usually end up writing content at the last minute or not getting it written at all.

    Your advice will really help me overcome this problem.

    Thanks for sharing Jon and have a great day!

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:16 pm

      It’s not always easy. Especially when you consider what Oliver said about still needing to make time to syndicate it and network. BUT, if you find your flow then ride it out and jam out a few posts instead of that one. The themes for your months and features for certain days of the week can remove the tedious “square one” starting position for every article.

      Best wishes and drop me a line if you want to chat more about this, Ian.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Trackback URL http://www.jonalford.com/smart-online-business-strategy-tips-to-plan-content-marketing/trackback