28 May Plan Your Next Year of Blog Content In 8 Simple Steps
As a practice owner, planning content for your blog can be quite an overwhelming and annoying process. After all you’re a practitioner, not a copywriter! Sometimes it’s a huge stretch just deciding what you are going to post on a weekly basis – most of us would have experienced this getting quite daunting after some time. The thing about doing this weekly is that it can get hard to provide consistent value for your audience.
The best thing you can do is come up with a long-term strategy, so you can ensure that you have got all your bases covered.
This includes your goals, tone of voice and even topics that you are going to post about.
Most people feel overwhelmed (at the least) when they hear the notion of planning a year’s worth of content. Don’t worry; there’s a method to this madness…
The good things about having such a strategy is that not only will you get organised, but you will also have a well laid out plan on how to engage and grow your audience of current and prospective patients.
As you keep using this content plan, there’s room for you to reevaluate and make changes to it, so as to make it more suitable towards helping you achieve your practice’s goals.
Step 1: Set Goals
You need to clearly establish what your objectives are right from the start. Set SMART goals.
These are goals that are:
- Time Sensitive
Try and understand more about each goal so that you can comprehensively grasp what they are about. This will prevent you from undermining yourself when you are starting out. If your goals seem to be just random and they cannot be measured, then you need to change them. SMART goals are specific, will guide you towards a certain direction and you will be able to measure your performance. You will also be able to achieve your objectives within a reasonable period of time.
A good example of a SMART goal is aiming to increase your Facebook page likes by 20% or maybe even increase your rebooking rate by up to 60%. Whatever your objectives are, just make sure that they pass the S.M.A.R.T filter test.
Step 2: Identify Your Audience
You need to identify who you are speaking to if you want to communicate with them effectively.
This requires that you come up with a persona of your audience. Think about the types of patients you regularly see and try to establish who they really are.
For instance, what are their hobbies or interests?
Go ahead and create fictional characters, which are a representation of different groups of people who will come across your posts.
This will help you keep your audience in mind when you are writing your blog.
This increases your chances of being able to effectively reach them and address their key concerns.
For example, you can create such a persona:
Job Title: Electrician
Hobbies: Plays social football, family, pets
Needs: How to manage working an active job and playing football while looking after his body and still having time for the family.
Once you have created such a persona, then it’s easy to keep this person in mind when you are writing your blog post.
You will be able to engage this person and come up with effective calls to actions that will keep them engaged and interested in what your practice provides.
Step 3: Brainstorm Posts
The main aim of your blog is to showcase your authority in your field and your unique style and expertise.
In order to demonstrate these features, then you need to develop content that showcases this.
Here is how to do it:
- Keep a record of the kind of questions that your patients ask you on a regular basis. Remember that you are not writing for your peers in the same industry but you are writing for your patients. You need to address their concerns no matter how simple they seem to be. Check your email and social media pages to see the kind of questions that get asked a lot.
- Have a designated folder where you can store the questions that your patients ask you. It can be a folder on your computer or email or even a physical folder on your desk. It doesn’t really matter which option you go for, as long as you have a regular place where all the questions asked can be stored and you can retrieve this information later on.
- Do due diligence and find out what people in your industry are talking about. You can find these conversations in online forums, social media and even blogs. Actively search online to find relevant sites where these conversations are taking place and then bookmark these sites as well as your competitors. This will help you address the key concerns of people in your industry.
- Actively self-promote your practice and outcomes your clients are achieving with your services. After all, that’s why you are blogging. Don’t feel shy to do this. The best way to approach this is to come up with potential questions that clients might ask and then show how your services can meet these needs or concerns.
- Give your prospective patients a glimpse of what’s going on behind the scenes. Only choose things that you think your audience might be interested in or they might find fun. Make them want to be a part of it!
The more thorough your questions are the better. You can even break down a question into a series of posts. For instance, you can answer a question on how to treat running injuries into four blog posts posted on a weekly basis and address different strategies that someone can use.
Step 4: Create a Content Calendar
Come up with a calendar on what you intend to post. The simpler the calendar is the better.
In order to have everyone on board and on the same page, you can even create the calendar on a Google spreadsheet and share it with the rest of your team members. Each member can then contribute to the calendar as they see fit.
You can create a monthly calendar. This calendar should have various columns and rows. You can have the following details in the columns:
- Day of the week
- Media (images, videos, links)
- Title of the blog and its link
- Content that will be used to post it on social media
- Other information
Your calendar doesn’t have to be strictly like this. You can find what works best for you and your practice, but the key concept remains the same.
Just make sure the format that you choose to use remains consistent on a month to month basis, so you can eliminate distractions and keep everyone focused on the main goals.
This is a great way to help you overcome writer’s block. In addition, you will be able to keep track of what you have done in the past, what you are doing at present and what you could potentially do in the future. This can be a great way to prompt you to think creatively outside the box.
Step 5: Be Committed
Once you decide what to do, you need to stay committed to it. Stick to the content schedule that you have drawn up. A good way of ensuring that this happens is by choosing topics that you know you will be greatly interested to work on.
The calendar helps to bring together your plans and your reality. As long as it’s on the calendar, it should get done.
Decide that you are going to deliver and make it happen!
If you fail to post and your brand fades away into the background, then people will forget about you or never know you existed to begin with!
If they come to your page and find that the last you did anything new was a long time ago, then they will likely not come back.
Step 6: Promote Your Content
It’s not just enough to post on your blog; you have to promote your posts once they go live.
Come up with a consistent strategy on how you are going to promote these posts so that you can attract a consistent audience.
One of the best ways to get started when you are new to this is to make use of social media to promote your posts – Facebook, Instagram etc.
Since each social media platform is unique, you need to take a unique approach that will work for the specific platform that you are on.
In order to stay consistent and track your promotions on social media, your social media posts should be included in your content calendar as well.
In addition, have a budget for promoting your posts on social media.
Step 7: Start Your Own Mini “Content Team”
Coming up with great blog posts all the time can be an overwhelming venture for one person to do alone.
That’s why it’s a great opportunity to get other members of your team on board!
You might find some of them are better at it than you!
Set it as a task for your practitioners is cancellation times or if they have a gap in their diary, not only will it bring fresh ideas to the table but also lighten the load!
Step 8: Implement, Learn, and Grow
Once you have the set a solid foundation, then the rest of the stuff becomes very easy. Work on your blog, post ideas and set aside time in your diary to specifically work on your posts. Go the extra mile to inform others not to disturb you when you are working and turn off any distractions or notifications.
We call this a ‘business sprint’! If you follow a consistent schedule on a regular basis on when to work on your posts, then you are more likely to stick to it.
As your brand grows, you will end up brainstorming new ideas and concepts to make your posts more engaging and exciting.
You will also make use of new platforms to engage your audience. For instance, you can set up an email marketing campaign, where each time you post, an alert is sent to your reader’s inbox or you can pay for social media promotions for each of your posts.
At the end of the day it’s having a content calendar will help you to keep your eyes on your goals and improve your efficiency. Say “No!” to coming up with blog posts at the last minute and writing just for the sake of writing.
Avoid such mistakes by making use of a content calendar. Publish on a regular basis and watch each piece of content get you closer towards your bigger goals.