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planning_postsHow many times have you sat at your computer wracking your brain for divine inspiration that will enable your fingers to fly magically over the keyboard, your screen to fill with meaningful dialogue and teachings, and will culminate in a blog post that will attract readers, be stumbled/twitted/dugg voraciously, linked to, commented on and hailed as the best blog post that ever existed? Well, this post possibly isn’t going to give you the actual topic for that blog post, because if it was then I’d be writing it myself, however it will help get you on the path to finding that topic.

What I am aiming to do is help you with that feeling of “What am I going to write about?  This post has to be published today and I still don’t have a topic” type of writers block. I used to have this regularly, as in nearly every single day.

Plan your post topics in advance.

Simple, yes? But how many people do this? I’m not talking about writing your posts in advance, although that’s a great practice to get into, I’m talking about listing down your future topics.

Why? And what happens when that inspiration strikes and you write your award winning post? Where does that fit in? Glad you asked.

Planning your topics in advance helps with:

– Avoiding writers block when you haven’t a clue what to write about

– Saves the mental angst and energy of having to come up with a topic two hours before the post is due to be published. That mental energy is much better directed towards writing content, not topics.

– You can tie your posts in with other marketing and products that you have. For example, writing a series of posts leading up to the launch of a new product or service. The posts drive interest and curiosity about the product – watch your sales rise.

– It save time, both in creating a topic and writing the post.

– You create a strategic plan for the content of your blog which adds value and interest to your posts.  This will increase the quality of your content and help attract and retain visitors to your site.

– If you know your topics in advance, you can mind-map and draft them in odd moments of spare time. I regularly draw mind-maps of posts while sitting in the car waiting for my daughter to finish her dance class.

– And it’s easy. So easy. Try it and see.

How do you plan your topics? Three easy steps, (so easy you’ll wonder why I wrote them out, however I know if I don’t write them out, then someone will email or comment and ask how):

Step 1. Write a list of topics. Write down anything that comes to mind as a potential topic. Brainstorm. Look at comments that have been left on previous posts, emails you’ve been sent, questions you’ve been asked. Go through the list and delete any that won’t work.

Step 2. Take a piece of lined paper, or a Word document, or even a spreadsheet, and write the dates you plan to publish posts down the left hand side. I have posts planned for four to six weeks in advance. Note any holidays, conferences or other activities that could interrupt your writing and posting schedule.

Step 3. The hardest step. Decide what topic you’re going to post on what day and write it in. You can group similar topics together, plan series of topics on a subject, plan topics for product launches and seasonally relevant topics. Remember to include any dates that you plan to use Guest posts.

Now put the list up where you can see it, and start writing. I carry a copy with me in my notebook, so I can refer to it when I have some spare time; you may or may not want to do this.

Have fun planning your topics, and I’d love to hear how you plan and organise your blog posting. Leave a comment and tell us how you do this.