In a word, yes. I’m all for having a content plan – as a pro copywriter, I have to be. If all of my clients had a lackadaisical last minute approach to their content, I’d be camping out in stress city.
(For everything you need to know about planning your content, download a free copy of The Content Calendar Coursemap)
Mapping out the launches, events and upcoming themes you have in mind can help guide the content you create and keep it relevant, focused and manageable (for both you and your readers).
At the same time, flexibility is key to the creative process. If something major happens in your life, in your business, or in the world, you might want to write about it. And that’s ok.
Your content plan should be malleable – you’re allowed to shift things around if you want to.
So if it’s so flexible, what’s the point in having one?
- It will help you become more consistent with your content creation, and build trust with your audience
- It will give you the chance to promote your product launches gradually, without a last second frenzy
- It will help you map out your affiliate marketing, so your audience doesn’t feel spammed
- It will give you a little guidance, whenever you’re feeling stuck
- It will capture all those ideas that pop up at strange times
- It will prep you for the time you’re ready to outsource all this shiz
I’ve experimented with many a system in the past.
- I’ve created a dated list in Evernote, with each month in a different note (but found it difficult to shuffle my ideas around from month to month)
- I’ve used the WP Editorial calendar plug-in (it had a nice clean interface but I every time you pop an idea in there it creates a blank post for you – I like to brainstorm really far in advance, so I ended up overwhelmed by so many blank blog posts)
- I’ve used a physical calendar (but I found I was lacking in space for all my ideas – I have large handwriting!)
- I’ve used a post-it system inspired by Traci Bautista (I actually loved this one, but my post-its were kind of crappy and kept losing their sticky)
- I’ve used a paper diary (found it really difficult to see the big picture when I could only view one week at a time)
- I’ve used a bullet journal (the monthly aspect held me back, plus I kept leaving my notebook at home – not great for content creation on the go)
After reviewing all my options, I realised that I was just looking for a simple system, that would sync across all my devices, and would allow me to view the whole year at a glance.
Sounds good, right? The answer was a bog-standard spreadsheet – it does everything I need, with no unnecessary frills.
The same rule applies when it comes to planning your individual written pieces. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in full flow and rattling out a batch of blog posts without even thinking about it. At other times, you’ll really struggle to get going – those are the moments when you should build yourself a little blueprint before sitting down for a writing session.