The only thing harder than blogging is blogging without a plan. During my first couple of years of casually blogging, my goals were really hindered by consistency. I was working a full-time corporate job and squeezing in my posts as regularly as could until I couldn’t. There would always come a point where life would get in the way or I’d run out of creative “gas.” I’m not saying these moments don’t happen anymore – they absolutely do – but I have less of them because I plan better. Planning also makes it easier to navigate when these moments do arise.
At the beginning of this year, I revamped how I plan my blog and organize my work. Having a solid planning workflow has allowed me to be more consistent and expand my capabilities. I have been able to truly launch my YouTube channel and consistently post to social media. As a result of better content planning, I have exceeded my 2020 readership by almost 30% in just the first six months of 2021. I’ve gained my first 100 YouTube subscribers (and growing by the day) and received my first paid blogging opportunities!
Here is a quick behind-the-scenes look at how I organize all the components of Mack the Maverick, annually to weekly.
Annual Content Strategy
My blog planning process is very similar to the four-step process I use for everything else. At the beginning of the year, I define my general goals, including my posting schedule and themes. Having a general framework of my goals and ideas really comes in handy when I’m getting into the specifics of my quarterly and monthly planning.
Quarterly Content Plan
A few prior to the end of each quarter, I plan the next quarter. I start with a brain dump of ideas and themes. My brain is constantly running, so I do have to refine my list to the few topics I can manage within each month. I use my quarterly planning sheets to list each month’s blog articles and the dates I intend to publish them. Much like the annual sheet, this is somewhat rough and subject to change, but I at least have three months of semi-specifc content ideas I don’t have to rack my brain about.
Monthly Content Plan
My monthly content plan is where I refine my goals and make them actionable. Once I know what I’m writing, I can dig into the details of each month. My blog posts generally set the tone for my social media posts, YouTube content, and newsletters. I use my monthly content planning sheet to lay out writing deadlines for this blog, filming deadlines for YouTube, and what I intend to post each day on social media. While I could use my spreadsheet like a true printable, I usually opt to type then print so I can easily make adjustments as I plan.
Monthly Content Planning Calendar
After refining my goals, it is time to record them. I like to record my monthly content plan in my paper planner. This may seem overkill to some, but adding the publication dates for my content pieces to the monthly calendar spread gives me a great visual idea of what my online universe looks like for the month. If I need details, I can always go back to my spreadsheet, but if I just need a high-level look, I can just glance at the calendar.
I also use the sidebar to record goals. For example, I try to share at least one planner spread every week on social media. I have started designating a theme for each month in my catch-all planner and deciding what my spreads will be at the beginning of the month. I record this in my sidebar. This step saves me so much time and stress by giving me one less thing to think about each week.
Weekly Content Planning
I plan for each week at the end of the previous one. I divide my planner into working categories (or in this case, I let Plum Paper do it for me). Using the monthly content plan, I go in and record and/or adjust any of the deadlines I gave myself at the beginning of the month. I finalize my social media plan and add any other important items, like travel days and expenses.
I still have lots of growing to do here in the Mack the Maverick universe, but I plan to succeed.