Question: How do you come up with daily content? Can you share some tips with us?
I’ve never struggled with the idea of finding content. I can find all the content and I can write about all the things, my issue is finding the RIGHT things to blog about. You know, that whole quality over quantity thing! A lot of the time I find myself paring things down, asking myself if something can stand alone as a post, and making sure my content aligns with my brand. But on the other side of “all the things brain” is writers block. It is the “I have no idea what I should blog about but I need to blog about something.” Both sides of this can not only be exhausting, but can also negatively impact your blog.
So how do you find the right content to blog about? And how do you plan it? And then how do you make sure you do it? That’s what we are going to be talking about today!
Let’s start at the beginning. To know what content we need to (want to) create, we need to know the story of our blog & our brand and the rules for what we write about. What do we want to share? How do we want people to feel when they read our blog? What do we want to be known for? A mission statement helps solve these deeper questions so that we can create the categories for our blog.
—> Don’t have a mission statement for your blog? Click here and do that!!
Go back to your mission statement and blog direction and make categories of blog posts that will fit underneath your blog direction. From now on every blog post will need to fit into one of these categories so keep that in mind (it will help your ideas stay on brand and also help you continue coming up with great content – I promise!) I recommend keeping it between 5-10 categories.
If you have too many categories your readers will not know what you are going to talk about or may not even be able to connect with your brand. For example Lifestyle blog on Knitting, Reading, Style, Recipes, Random Posts, My dog, People, Nature, Travel, Photography, Things I’ve learned, Lists I Make, Passions, Decor, My house, etc…. Where are all these posts going? How do they all tie together? What are you able to offer your readers? ( Head back to Creating a Mission Statement if you find yourself here.)
If you have too few, you are not dividing up enough. For example, a photography blog with only one category – photography. How about instead you break that into several topics: Lifestyle Photography, Tips & Tricks, Weddings, Gear, Inspiration, etc
Having categories doesn’t make your brand stronger or your blog more organized but utilizing them well does! You’ll be able to keep readers on your website longer and also be inspired to constantly promote new and helpful content.
SET A SCHEDULE
Now that you know your “rules” for blog content, make a schedule for blogging. Do you want to post 5 days a week (M-F) or 3 days (M, W, F) or two days (T, TH), or once a week (on Fridays)? It really doesn’t matter what you choose, just choose something! This will help keep you accountable to posting. “Well, I post every Friday, I need to get that post ready this week or I’ll get off schedule.” Of course there is grace with this, but it is good to have a schedule to keep you accountable! My schedule is M, T, Th,F – 4 days a week! It allows me to share the things I want to and also allows me time to catch up on other work related things.
Going further into this,
Monday – Sponsored post or Free Choice
Tuesday – Style
Thursday – Sponsored post or Free Choice
Friday – Ask Elizabeth.
There are two of my blog categories that get posts every week – Ask Elizabeth & Style. I do this because these are some of my most popular posts and I want to make sure that I continue making room for them. I also make sure to split up my sponsored posts so that there are never more than two in a week (or in a row.) This is important for me because I value the balance between paid and unpaid posts.
If you have categories you want to write about weekly or bi-weekly, write it down! In my Google Calendar I have an event every Tuesday under my blog posts calendar that says “Style.” I know every Tuesday I need a Style post to put there.
The next step is to fill in that schedule with post ideas at least a week out (if not a month out!) I love Google Calendar because I can also move things around and place things later in the month if need to. But when it comes to crunch time, I love having ideas and plans already in my calendar because I know the plan. When you write an idea down, make sure to also write the category that it fits in so that you make sure to stay on brand and on mission. Because every post MUST fit and if it doesn’t, then don’t write about it! Ex. Old Navy Dress (Style – W), Pinterest Tips (Ask Elizabeth – F), Places we ate in Wichita (Travel – Th)
STAY ON BRAND
There are so many great ideas out there and so many things you may want to blog about but blogging about all the things will not do you any favors. It is so important to stick to your mission and stick to your categories. Make sure that every post you are about to click publish on has a home. This one for example is going straight into my “Blog Tips” category as well as “Ask Elizabeth” (that way you can check out all the other posts I’ve shared on the topic if you are eager to learn more 😉 ) It is an easy way to keep you on brand and focused.
If you have a really great idea for a post but it has no home, try to figure out how it can be changed to have a home. For example, a photography blog wants to share a recipe but they don’t know how that fits. They can either a) not post it b) Turn it into a “How to Shoot Food Photography” post that will nestle under tips & tricks or c) They can just create a Food Photography Category if they want to frequently share food photography posts.
It is okay if over time you need to change your categories and refine your brand. Don’t feel stuck, instead feel empowered to dream, share, and create organized content that your readers can enjoy and you can continue producing!
Now this is the part of my answer that I think is the heart of the question – staying inspired!
WRITE DOWN IDEAS: Have a list with you at all times (either a paper planner or an app on your phone) so that you can write down blog ideas at all times! Sitting down to write a blog post is always when writer’s block sets in. Think of ideas in class or during a conversation with friends and write it down (5 reasons to do your homework even if it doesn’t get graded.) You don’t need to write a whole post or even have an outline – Just write down ideas as they come to you! You’ll have a list of ideas in no time – not all of them will work and some will sit there for months before you write about them but it is good to have something to draw from!
CREATE A LIST OF “WHEN I NEED THEM” POSTS: In addition to your idea list, have a list of post ideas to draw from to fill in blank dates. Ideas that can be on this ongoing list can be:
– 5 Things you don’t know about me
– Round -Up of your favorite Style, DIY, or Recipe Posts
– A letter to your younger self
– A Moment you are Proud of
– Advice about something you are passionate/ knowledgeable about
DON’T PRESSURE YOURSELF TO POST: If it is 11 o’clock at night and your eyes are burning as you try to edit pictures and type out something legible so that you can have a post to go live in the morning, just go to bed. It is okay if you miss a day. Burn out happens when you feel pressured to always be pushing out content at the last minute but are never proud of the work you produce. Wait to click post until it is something you are proud about and give yourself a break.
BE INSPIRED: Let yourself be inspired by the world around you. Do a photo shoot just for fun, paint with watercolors, read a book, go on a walk, visit a new coffee shop. Keep you brain active by doing creative fun things that may or may not end up on your blog. The end goal shouldn’t always be content creation. If you focus too much on creating perfect content, you’ll hit burn out quickly. Take a little bit of the pressure off to let yourself experiment and create!
So this is how I continue creating content for this blog (seven years in!!) I hope this helps you as you create content for your blog too! If you have any further questions or tips for how you create content, please share them in the comments below!
Having a hard time figuring out categories for your blog? Look at your google analytics to see your most popular posts. Those are the ones your readers love the most. Knowing what those are will help you create new content that fits the same categories as the well loved posts!
Finding yourself stuck on Images for content? Take a bunch of photos to have on hand for posts like this by creating your own stock photography. You can also just purchase stock photos for posts when you need them (we love Elah Tree Stock Photo!) OR you can work with a photographer to take a bunch of images for you to use in posts. I use a lot of photos from photographer sessions in “how to” posts like this one!
Do you have any questions you have been wanting to ask?! Click on the button below to submit your question and it may be the next “Ask Elizabeth” question featured next Friday!