If you haven’t made a plan for January yet, you’re in luck. In today’s episode I’ll walk you through a quick and easy process for making a plan for your blog in January. In 60 minutes or less you’ll have a basic plan of action for yourself for the new year. This method can be used anytime when you need a plan for the month ahead!
This is really an approach you can use anytime you are feeling behind, overwhelmed or maybe you are not a great planner by nature. I love a good plan or system and even if I don’t always follow the plan exactly, it is so helpful to have something to go off.
You can expand this process to fit the time you have to plan. I would highly encourage you to use this plan as part of an upcoming CEO day where you are maybe getting out of your house and going to a coffee shop, maybe taking yourself to lunch… something that is out of your normal routine and AWAY from distractions. That means closing out of your project management tools, your Slack groups, and especially your email!
Step 1: Reflection (5-10 Minutes)
Whenever I am working on a big picture plan for my business, I always start by reflecting back. This is SO important for getting yourself in the right mindset for what you’re going to be working on.
Do a quick brain dump answering the questions:
- What is working well right now?
- What needs to be adjusted?
- What do I want to let go of?
Answering these questions is going to shape your upcoming plan.
Step 2: Capacity Review (5 Minutes)
Quickly consider and review your capacity. Are you constantly falling behind on how many posts you are publishing? Are you the bottleneck (meaning others are waiting on you frequently) in your process for your team?
Consider how much time you have in the upcoming month and what’s realistic for how much content you can publish. Think about how often you can work on the different parts of the process: how many times per week you can work on recipe development or how many photoshoot days you can have in a week.
When planning your photoshoot days, it’s important to also know how many recipes you can do during that time. When I am shooting by myself, I will only do 1-2 recipes max. But when my assistant comes over, we can sometimes shoot up to 6 blog posts in a day.
Step 3: Content Calendar Review (5 Minutes)
What do you already have completed on your content calendar? It could be posts you are ahead on or posts that are easy to pull from another post. (Example of apple spice cupcakes + cinnamon frosting)
⏱️ Pause and review:
At this point you should have these things figured out:
- What you want to adjust in January.
- How many blog posts you can create based on your capacity.
- How many and which blog posts are completed already.
Step 4: Plan Your Blog Posts (15-20 minutes)
Now that you know how many posts you can do and how many are already done, you can start mapping out your posts for the month. Typically you’ll have a set posting schedule, like Sunday, Wednesday and Friday for example, which will make it easy to map this out.
Print out a calendar or open up a digital calendar to plan this out. We use Airtable for this part of our process which syncs up with Asana where our blog post tasks live.
You may not be able to get through ALL of the tasks in this 15-20 minute time period especially if you haven’t planned keywords and post ideas in the past. But if you are pulling from a bank of ideas/posts to redo, this can definitely be achieved in this time frame!
- Choose your blog post topics to fill in your content calendar.
- Find keywords for each post.
- Block off your photoshoot or recipe development days (knowing how many recipes you can do per day). (Tip: for recipe development, it can be helpful to have a recurring day that you do this. For me it’s Wednesdays that I try to focus on a recipe that’s upcoming. Even though I am constantly recipe testing, this is the day I’ll use to work on a specific upcoming recipe.)
- Create and assign any tasks for team members.
Step 5: Marketing Focus (20 minutes)
You can definitely come back to this topic in another sitting if you run out of time with planning your blog posts. But it’s helpful to also think about what your marketing focus is for the month (I’ll do another episode all about this at some point soon!).
When I say marketing focus, I’m not meaning you can’t be posting on social media and sending emails to your list. But what is your focus. Where do you want to spend a little extra time and strategy? Thinking about this ahead of time and making a plan for it will help you to not waste your time being in all the places. Once you have a focus area, you can let the other areas be more on auto pilot.
Think through what goals or projects you want to focus on, map that out and create the tasks for you and/or your team.
Set a weekly CEO date to review your plan and make sure you are on track! Planning is GREAT but if you don’t follow through and/or adjust the plan as needed, it could be a waste of time planning in the first place. So setting that weekly CEO date with yourself to review is key 🔑.
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