A content plan is a forward looking diary of all the content you want to publish on your membership site, who’s going to create it and the dates it should be ready.
It should include written articles, podcasts, videos, downloads, ebooks, etc.
Most website owners don’t bother with a plan, but it can have some great advantages:
- It puts you in control, allows you to relax when you’re not working and helps you balance work and play
- It makes running a website less time consuming because you can write batches of articles rather than one at a time
- It is easier to schedule in content from other contributors and always be on top of how the site will be updated every week
- If you are ill you can handover the content plan to another writer to keep the website going. If you don’t have anyone you know who can take over the writing, you can hire a freelancers who can work from your plan
- Planning tends to increase the quality of content because you subconsciously work on upcoming articles before you sit down to write them
- You can plan lots of time off for holidays and family
Most importantly publishers who plan ahead tend to enjoy running their website more than those that don’t.
They feel in control, they can schedule time off and vacations in the sun. Many of the website owners I know are mums, who balance work with raising their family. They find that with a bit of planning it’s the perfect business.
I recommend that you build a rolling three month content plan for your website and aim to always have a week’s content prepared in advance. This will give you flexibility and enable you to take days off whenever you want. Be disciplined and update the plan at the end of every week.
I put together my plans in a simple spreadsheet. Along the top of the spreadsheet I put all the days of the year. In the left hand column I list the content that I want to produce. I then write in the spreadsheet fields the day I plan on creating the content and the day I want to publish it. These are usually different.
The plan should cover all content; articles, audio, video, events, etc.
Some things you can’t list like this, for example news stories, but you can set aside time to read the news and write your commentary.
Using a spreadsheet makes it easy to see a lot of your content plan on one page. However if you don’t know how to create a spreadsheet, buy a normal diary and pencil in the content you are going to create each day.
Your plan shouldn’t be set in stone. As new opportunities and ideas come along re-schedule content and tasks to cater for them.
Create a “Future Book”
A hot tip from a journalist friend of mine is creating a “Future Book”.
This is a diary of events in the future. They could be the announcement day of some new legislation, new product launches, a court case, industry conference, tour dates, visits to your country by a personality, a political event, etc. You should also make notes to yourself about follow up stories. For example if you trialled a product, you could plan an article in six months time to see how people have got on using it over that period.
The items in your Future Book should feed into the content plan and continually help you generate new ideas.
A very important point…….
Once your website is up and running study the website statistics to see which articles are most popular and which are read the least. This will enable you to adapt your future content to meet your reader’s needs and interests. This is a fantastic advantage that internet publishers have over print publishers.