Blog content planning is essential for getting more of your faith-filled content ranking in search results. AND it will significantly help you stay focused on your target audience and writing more of what they need and want!
Here are some tips to help you map out the content on your Christian blog for the entire year!
Seriously! Stop taking the week-to-week approach and create a blueprint for your blog and social media to grow! A little planning, in the beginning, will provide amazing results later on!
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Why is Blog Content Planning Important?
Blog planning is so vital for the overall growth of your Christian blog! As with most things, flying by the seat of your pants rarely produces the results that you are hoping for, and running a blog is no different.
By planning out your blog content in advance, you'll spend less time thinking of what to write each week and more time cultivating a relationship with your readers. You'll also have a map for creating the right type of content to meet their needs (stuff they are actually searching for).
Plan and Organize Your Blog Content
Before we jump into planning the actual blog post topics for the year, it is important that you have a good blog structure in place. This means that you've researched your target audience and have decided on 3-5 general categories of content that you will focus your writing on.
Most newer Christian bloggers just sort of write about whatever God puts on their hear without translating it into something people are actually searching for online (Google, Yahoo, etc).
In order for you to reach your audience naturally, you must satisfy their search queries.
How to Plan Blog Content
Blog content planning involves several steps to enable you to map out all of the content that you'll publish for the entire year BEFORE the year even begins. These are the basic steps that I go through to map out my plan for the coming year.
Decide on a Publishing Schedule
Before you start mapping out the content you'll be publishing, it is important that you establish a publishing schedule. While there isn't a standard for how many blog posts you need to publish each month, keep in mind that the more you publish, the more traffic you will see.
Most Christian bloggers publish one per week as a general rule. Some will publish more often. Whichever schedule you decide to go with, BE CONSISTENT! Choose a day of the week to be your regular publishing date and make a point to always publish on that day.
It is also OK, on occasion, to publish more often, but always publish your regular content on your planned schedule.
The most important thing to keep in mind when deciding on your blog content publishing schedule is to create a schedule that works for you and the time you have to write quality content. Don't create a publishing schedule to publish twice per week if you work full-time out of the home and have 3 teenagers playing sports. While you may be super-mom and can manage a bunch of stuff, the quality of your work will show.
While it is important to publish regularly, quality trumps quantity every time so create a schedule that makes sense for you and your time.
Create a Pillar (Cornerstone) Post for Each Category
When you first launched your Christian blog, chances are that you simply just started writing. One great way to begin building SEO for your site and to help you with content planning is to create what I like to call “base posts” for each of your categories. This is similar to pillar content or cornerstone content – but I think my term makes more sense and helps you understand how to put it into action.
Need a refresher on using categories correctly?
What is a base post? Simple – it is a list post for each of your categories.
Let's say you have categories for FAITH, PARENTING, and MARRIAGE. Some great base posts might look like these:
- FAITH – 8 Ways to Spend Time in the Word (When You're a Busy Mom of Toddlers)
- PARENTING – 5 Creative Ways to Study the Bible with Your Toddler
- MARRIAGE – 16 Characteristics of a Godly Marriage
These could be published in January, then you can write additional posts for each of the numbered things for each one. For example, if one of the ways to spend more time in the word was to color in your bible “creative Bible journaling” during the kids' nap time, you could later write a full post about getting started with creative Bible journaling. Make sense?
You don't necessarily have to write a post for every single one of your “ways” for each base post, but these give you content ideas that you can create internal links for and gives you some automatic ideas to fill in your content plan later in the year.
Create Monthly Content Themes
One simple way to get started with blog planning is to assign themes to each of the 12 months of the year. Not just one, but multiple theme words. For example, in January, we often think of things like goals, weight loss, planning, all things new, etc.
Make sure the theme words you select can be written about to your particular audience. For example, if your Christian blog is mostly a selection of devotionals or posts to help others learn the Bible, “weight loss” probably isn't a theme word that makes sense. But “spiritual goals” would be.
I would select 3 or more theme words for each month so you can have more variety with the posts you publish each month.
** If you need to brush up on SEO, be sure to read how to pick the right keywords!
Focus on Your Categories
Now that you have your theme words for each month, it is time to take a look at the categories you have set up on your blog.
Use the Category worksheet to begin thinking of blog post topics for each category that aligns with your theme words for that month. You don't have to use every single theme word that you've listed, but try to write 1-2 topic ideas into each box. REMEMBER – these topics must speak to your particular target audience!
Be sure to include ideas from your base posts for each category (tailored to a monthly theme idea)! This will ensure your blog content planning includes plenty of posts that easily link together (for SEO purposes).
Add in Some Product Posts
Blog content planning means actually planning out the products you intend to promote using affiliate links.
If you monetize your Christian blog, it is important to include content such as product posts and gift guides into your monthly publishing plan.
Most bloggers only publish these types of posts as a holiday shopping season approaches but this isn't enough time to get them indexed with search engines (meaning that no one will read them except on the day they are published and possibly from a few Pinterest pins).
If you want those posts to actually earn money, they need to be ranking in search results well before people go searching for that type of content. Instead of waiting until November to knock out a bunch of holiday gift guides, spread them out throughout the entire year.
Begin by creating a list of product post ideas and gift guide post ideas that make sense for your target audience.
What is a product post? These are specific types of products that your target audience is most likely searching Google for. Instead of focusing on product reviews, simply write a post for the things they regularly search for. Things like Bibles for teen girls, non-toxic toys for infants, bible studies for college students, etc. These are things that your audience might be searching for online in order to get ideas or check reviews and pricing.
Offer Guest Posting Opportunities
A great way to keep the content publishing on your site without completely overwhelming yourself is to offer guest posting opportunities.
It is important to understand, however, that guest posts only benefit your site if they are written with SEO in mind. You can read about how to formulate a solid guest post strategy to understand how to make it work for you.
When offering guest posting opportunities, seek out submissions from other Christian bloggers in your niche. For example, if you are a Christian parenting blogger, find other parenting bloggers (Christian or not) so the SEO juice flows for both sites.
Put it all together!
Now that you've created all of the ideas for blog posts for the year, you need to write them down and stick to your plan!
If you need a bit more help in mapping this whole process out, I created the in-depth Countdown to Conversions Planner specifically for Christian bloggers.
This toolkit includes individual workbooks/worksheets for:
- Planning monthly blog posts
- Planning for updating older blog posts each month
- Planning for money content (blog posts in which the search query is something people are searching to buy)
- Planning out what products you might create during the year
- Planning out your optins for the year
- Planning out your emails for the entire year
This is literally everything you need to map out all of your blog posts for the entire year!
Don't Forget About Social Media
Everything so far has been about planning out your blog posts. But if you are trying to build an audience on social media platforms, you want to ensure you have a plan for that as well.
Social media isn't just about sharing your blog posts! In order to build engagement, you need to be (somewhat) continually active on it. This can sometimes become a huge time-suck that produces little return on that time investment.
I'll be honest here – I am NOT very proficient on social media! Thank goodness, my dear friend and Christian social media guru, Jessie Synan, is!
She created this amazing resource called Social Media Content Creation for Christian Writers & Bloggers which will show you how to EASILY create and schedule your social media for an entire month – in just a couple of hours!
This E-book comes includes an (over the shoulder) video of Jessie planning and scheduling her own content so you can see EXACTLY how easy it really is. It also includes a workbook for promoting new blog posts on Facebook (and Instagram)!
- 7 Ways to Use Instagram as a Christian Blogger
- 4 Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Christian Blog
Have a Blog Content Strategy for Growth
Planning your blog content and your social media will make your life so much easier. Instead of worrying about what to write about each week, you'll already have a blueprint in place to guide you.
Planning blog content also helps you
- stay focused on your target audience
- includes a blueprint for monetizing (without trying to monetize)
- gives you more time to spend creating great options for building your email list
- gives you more time to create your own products
- spend less time stressing over promoting your blog!