Creating consistently is key to building an audience – that is a fact. With consistency you learn the habits that you need to create content regularly, you continue to improve how you deliver that content, and creating regularly is better for your SEO. It’s essential.
In the years that I’ve been blogging, it’s something that has helped me grow little blog more than I ever would have expected, and it’s one of the most difficult parts of content creation.
Creating enough content to last you a year can seem daunting – a year is a very long time – but it is way more doable than it first appears. I’ve outlined a process here that can help you do just that.
I initially wrote this to help fellow bloggers, but I quickly realized that this kind of stuff could apply to any content creator. Whether you’re starting a blog, podcast or YouTube channel, these steps should help you plan out your next year of content.
1. Establish Your Goals
This is the most important step because it’s going to inform the rest of the process. Something you do as a hobby is going to require a different sort of dedication and planning than something you want to monetize or use to help grow your business. Are you trying to promote a product? A course? A service? Or do you just want to share something you love?
Be honest with yourself about what you hope to achieve by creating all of this content. This can include things like budget if that is something you need to consider. What results do you want your content to create?
2. Be Realistic About Your Commitment
Don’t try to post five times a week when realistically you’ll only be able to manage one. Even if you manage to hit that goal at the beginning, eventually you’re going to burn out and that schedule will be hard to keep up with. And you want to be consistent – you want your followers to know how often they can expect to hear from you.
Consistency is good for them, but it’s also good for you – if this is something you want to do long term, you need to develop good habits and get used to producing content and meeting deadlines regularly.
When in doubt, be modest in your commitment. You can always add more to your plate when you feel comfortable.
3. Calculate the Number of Posts
Now that you know how much you’re willing to commit, it’s simple math. Take the number of posts per week and multiply it by 52. This is the total number of ideas you’ll need to come up with to create a year’s worth of content.
I also recommend that you divide that number by twelve to get an idea of how much you’ll be posting per month. Two posts a week might sound feasible, but when framed as eight per month, is it still something you can still commit to? Even during busy months? During the holidays?
If the number scares you, then it might be a good idea to go back to step 2.
4. Choose Your Content Pillars
What do you want to be known for? How do you want people to find you? Your content pillars are essential for not only telling your readers what you talk about but also for letting Google know what kind of content you create. And if Google knows, the easier it will be for people to find you.
Choose 3-5 topics that you would like to talk about regularly, and make sure you could create a lot of content for each of them. Choose topics you know a lot about, or are really passionate about. These are going to be the topics that you revisit regularly and are going to become the foundation of your platform – your content pillars. While it’s always okay to dip into other topic pools, your content pillars should be the foundation of what you create, and the ones you routinely return to.
5. Brainstorm Your Ideas
Open up a note on your computer or get a piece of paper and list your content pillars across the top. Underneath each, I want you to start brainstorming.
Fill that column with as many content ideas as you can. Reread it, and see where you could expand on those ideas. Reread it again to see if there are interesting approaches you take for these ideas. See if there are any connections you can draw between your content pillars. I want you to really exhaust yourself with this list.
Once you’re done, check out other content creators in your niche and see what they create. I don’t want you to copy them, but can you add something to the conversation? Can you bring your own spin to an idea? See what inspires you and get to brainstorming again.
After that, search your content pillars on Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Reddit – see what is popular and what others are posting in similar niches. Again, don’t copy, but let other content creators inspire you. Keep adding to that list.
By the end of this intensive brainstorming session, you should have loads of potential content ideas. Now it’s time to sift for the gold. Cross off any ideas that have been done to death or are very surface level. Cross off anything that you don’t feel qualified to do just yet. Cross off any that don’t fit with your brand values or posts that will draw you further from your goals. What should be left at the end is the best of the best – the best content ideas that you can come up with at this stage.
Now you’re ready to start planning a year’s worth of content.
6. Group them Together
Pull out your calendar and start plugging in your content ideas. There are a few ways you can approach this.
In step four, I asked you to calculate the number of posts per month. Now take a look at your content pillars. Divide the number of posts per month by the number of content pillars you have, and then go back through your brainstormed list of ideas and draw that number of post ideas from each content pillar.
For example, if you plan to post six times a month and you have three content pillars, six divided by three is two, so you would choose two ideas from each content pillar.
The reason for this is twofold – the first is that you, the content creator, are less likely to get burned out if you vary your content a little. Secondly, you don’t want to neglect any of your content pillars – the longer you create content, the more of an expectation your audience will have of you. With a bit of math, you can be sure that you are hitting each of your content pillars every month.
You can also take it a step farther and group these ideas around a broader topic or theme, that way each piece of content builds on the last. Keep the seasonality of your topics in mind as you fill out your calendar. Some ideas will be more naturally suited to certain times of the year.
Finally, keep in mind the presentation of your content, and keep it varied. Unless you’re a YouTube channel called “Top Tens”, you’re probably not going to want to post only Top 10 videos and other variations of the listicle. Don’t have a month full of How-Tos, and then another month without any. Change up the posts, or see if you can convert an idea into something else to stretch your creative muscles, and keep your content from becoming too one-note.
Keep dropping those ideas into the calendar and rearranging them until you are happy with what you’ve got. Once you’re finished, pat yourself on the back! You’ve just planned out your next year of content!
This is just the first step – the next undertaking will be actually creating the content, but I always find that part so much easier when I know what the heck I’m doing.
If you need help getting your content creation organized, I’ve just released a Content Creator Dashboard for Notion! It has templates for almost any platform, a social media planner and more to help you hit your goals and take the stress out of content creation. As with all of my templates, it’s based on some of the ideas I’ve developed from my own Notion workspace, and refined into something that I think is really useful.
This is my first paid template, but I wanted to keep it affordable, as I think it’s pretty newbie-friendly, and I know budgets are tight when you’re just starting out. I’ve been working on this template for weeks now, and I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out!
The link is below if you want to check it out!
What part of content creation is the most daunting for you? How far in advance do you like to plan your content, if at all? How do you brainstorm your ideas? Tell me all about it in the comments below!