Isn’t it wonderful that anyone can write these days? No aspiring writer has to hope that their thoughts will be considered worthwhile enough to be published. Anyone can create a WordPress account and tap out their musings in their little space on the Internet for others to read.
I have always wanted to be an author. I wrote countless stories as a child, teen and adult, longing for them, one day to fill the fresh, crisp pages of a book. I set my dream aside as I got older, pretty certain that my thoughts would never be considered good enough nor that I would ever be able to finish a novel. And then, I came across blogging. My dream was reignited and came to pass in a way quite different to what I imagined. Suddenly anyone, at the tap of a button, could enter my imagination or read the messy, honest inner workings of my mind. I had found my passion and my outlet.
But even a passion, however easily it may come at times, also requires a hard slog. Writers block happens to the best of us. At some point the cursor flashes, taunting us as we try to come up with something coherent to say.
This year, I’ve decided to actually make an effort to plan ahead rather than, at the end of a busy week, scrounging around in my mind, trying to come up with something to write about. When I asked for help, I was surprised that many of you wanted to know what other mommy bloggers said.
So, combined with my notes, here are some tips.
Possibly the best place to start is with your readers. You can do all the planning you want, but without readers, you are just processing your thoughts on a microscopic place on the internet. If that’s all you want to do, great! But if you want readers, you could do what I did. I started by asking my followers on Instagram what they enjoyed and what they wanted to see more of. Because I don’t get the best responses when I ask general questions, I gave them options and all they had to do was tap the response. Here are the questions I asked. (I asked these specifically to my Instagram followers)
- Do you prefer microblogging or posts on the blog?
- What category are you the most interested in? (I then listed the things I write about…marriage, motherhood, my life, homemaking)
- Are you more interested in posts on the grid or stories?
- Do you read my blog or just follow me on Instagram?
- Do you want more of…? (Recipes, life hacks, beauty, lifestyle…etc)
- Do you want more quotes or more Bible verses?
- When do you check Instagram? (When you wake up, morning, afternoon, evening)
- Do you like…? (Pretty pictures, honest posts, my daily life)
- Have you visited my website?
- Is it appealing? (Needs work/Yes)
- Is my website easy to navigate? (Yes/Not Really)
- What content have you enjoyed the most?
You can obviously tailor make these questions to suit you. And I’d love to hear any others you think should be added to this list.
Blog Post Planner
A few months ago, I went in search of things to help me get organised and really struggled to find something. I came across a gem, which is especially helpful to amateurs like me trying to find their feet! It was free (I love free stuff!) and quite exhaustive. I didn’t use all of it but some of the pages where exceptionally helpful especially when you are lists person like me! BUUUUTT, I just see the link is no longer available. So here is a link where you can choose a planner that suits you!
I watched a webinar a few months ago that suggested that you finds words to describe what you want your readers to feel when they visit your blog. Think up 5 words. Mine are “encouraged,” “motivated,” “supported,” “helped,” and “informed.”
This year, quite by accident, I found some fun days to “celebrate”. There are days for caramel popcorn, days for jumping in puddles and even a day for no housework! These gave me nice ideas for blog posts and Instagram pictures for the whole year. I put them into a calendar and was amazed at how many there were!
After looking at the fun days and also taking a look through important dates such as wedding anniversaries and birthdays, I had enough to fill a page with ideas for posts. I looked a holidays such as Easter, Christmas and Mother’s/Father’s Day and also decided to write some blog posts on those. Jot down anything that springs to mind!
I wrote down things that I wanted to do on my social media accounts each week so that I didn’t just waste the free time I have each day trying to think what to do regarding my blog. Sit down and work out when you want to write your blog posts, when you want to publish your blog posts, who you can tag, what accounts you love that you can share with your followers and so forth. Then your time will be used productively and you will know where to start when you sit down.
Planning Blog Posts
I have found it so helpful to brainstorm before writing. I get some direction of where I’m going and don’t randomly type my thoughts down without a structure. Things I include (I got this from the blog planner) are the category it falls in, keywords, tags, reader problem, reader solution, main idea and external and internal links.
Think about any brands you’d like to collaborate with and jot them down. Tag brands you use regularly in your posts. Put some ideas down for giveaways throughout the year.
Make an effort to respond to the people who comment on your posts. Engage with those you follow and those who follow you. Take ten minutes each day to connect with others.
Notes From Other Bloggers
@mama_to_the_power_of_4 suggests taking one day a month to draft a few posts or select a few photos she wants to use. She gives them a skeleton and then on the day, she’ll add the body of the text.
@mommyingabout plans her grid on Instagram to follow a pattern. For example, word, promo, lifestyle. She prays about her posts and lets the Lord lead her. She also stresses the importance of forming relationships with brands and not just expecting free hand outs.
@lionheart_mama also asks the Lord to lead her and show her what to share. She also shares things that she is going through.
I hope this gives you some good ideas to improve your blog or even start your blog! Let me know in a comment how you plan ahead or what your takeaway is from this post. Here’s to all of us who find joy tapping the keys of a keyboard!
Photo Credit: CottonbroTags: annual plan, blog, blog pots, blogger, brainstorm, brands, calendar, collab, collaborations, daily plan, engagement, ideas, Instagram, mom blogger, mommy blogger, niche, plan, planning, readers, social media, tags, weekly plan, write, writer, yearly plan