Creating Your Own Blog: Planning What You’ll Write

Ian Lurie

In step 1, we walked through how to get started: Setting up your blog, and building a list of sites to watch for story ideas.

Now it’s time to figure out what you’re going to write. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Create a blog planner: Create a note, a whiteboard space, a page in your notebook, a textfile, whatever you like, as a place to write down blogging ideas.
  2. Every day, spend 5 minutes reviewing the blog beat you created in step 1. If a headline or summary grabs your attention, review the article, star it in Google Reader, and write down any article ideas you got after reading the entry. Write the ideas in your blog planner.
  3. Block out 30 minutes a week, preferably at the start of the week, as your blog planning session. Review the notes you’ve taken to date, and the starred items in Google Reader. Write down any new ideas that occur to you. Then rank all of the ideas in your planner from 1-5, with 1 being the highest, 5 being the lowest.
  4. Schedule 5 blog entries for the week. Start with your #1 ideas and work your way down.
Schedule Blog Posts

A quick snippet from my blog planner.

New idea occur to you mid-week? Want to write about it right now? Great! Go ahead and do it. This planning system isn’t a ceiling – it’s a floor. You can always write more/different stuff.

When I suggest reviewing other blogs, I’m not suggesting you rip them off. Think of your blog beat as an ongoing conversation. You should post a follow-up to someone else’s story if you have something to add. Here’s an example: Earlier today, I read a post from Steve Rubel about editorial calendars in the social sphere. I got excited about it, and wrote a reply with my ideas as to how we could make the concept even better. And I provided a clear link back to his post. That keeps the conversation going.

Of course, if you come up with an idea on your own, you should write about that, too. Nothing wrong with starting a new conversation.

And, if you’re still stumped, try my bloggage-clearing solution.

And Again, Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I am borrowing lots of great ideas from Bob Walsh’s book and blog, Clearblogging, and from Brian Clark’s Copy Blogger. You should read ’em.

Ian Lurie
Founder

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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