Jonathan Thomas is a blogger and social media marketer that runs several successful niche blogs such as: Anglotopia – The world’s largest Anglophile blog. You can connect with him on Twitter: @jonathanwthomas
The best way to build traffic for a new niche blog is to have lots of content and to post it regularly. Many new bloggers don’t realize this and are often disappointed with their traffic when they start out. They write a post or two a week and the traffic just isn’t increasing. It’s demotivating and makes you question whether or not you should waste your time niche blogging.
To help generate steady traffic and attract loyal readers, you need to have a content schedule. This could mean blogging five or seven days a week or it could mean just posting on the same two days of the week. Your readers want to know when to expect new stuff from you. So, why is it good for your niche blog to have a content plan and how should you develop it?
Why do you need a Content Plan?
Having a content schedule helps build loyal readership. If you write about specific things on specific days, readers will know when to come back. Readers will also take you more seriously if you have a methodical plan behind the blog, that is they know it’s not just the aimless ramblings of a procrastinator. It will help foster community and turn your blog into a favorite amongst your audience. A content plan keeps people coming back for more, especially with Niche Blogs.
A content plan also helps you manage your time. When starting a blog, you’re often awash with tons of ideas for posts. So many, that you quickly get burnt out as the drudgery or writing about the same things sets in. If you organize your blog into content categories, you can spend your time focusing on several targeted ideas a week, as opposed to hundreds. This will fill your blog with relevant content to your niche, increasing the likelihood that people will find you via the search engines.
A content plan also helps to create good blogging habits. To maintain a successful niche blog community, you need to regularly update your blog (and not just with blog posts), respond to comments and overall monitor the site. You’ll create a production state of mind – meaning that you’ll get in the habit of writing a post a day, or even writing them all in one day and scheduling them to post. This will make the creation process much easier to begin and end.
Establishes Niche Authority
If you’re regularly writing about particular subjects, the sheer amount of content that this creates will establish your authority in your niche subject. Who are you going to trust more? The blog with a few sparse posts written at odd times, with very little information? Or the blog that is filled with relevant content to the subject your interested in that ‘s updated in a methodical fashion?
Helps with Ideas for posts
Often, as you write in a more regimented, methodical fashion, you’ll come up with even more ideas for relevant posts. Then, you’ll find yourself altering your own content plan to fit in new and interesting ideas.
How to Develop Your Content Plan
The first step in developing your niche blog content plan is to sit and think long and hard about what you want your blog to be. Do you want to be a rockstar in your niche? Or do you want to be part of the scenery? Or do you just want a creative outlet?
If you want your niche blog to take over the world, then you need to post every day (and maybe more than once a day).
If you want to a part of a larger niche community, post 2 to 3 times a week.
If you just want a creative outlet, then post once or twice a week, depending on how the mood moves you but be sure to make sure it’s the same days.
What are Others Doing?
Research is so important when building your blog. Hopefully, you found people blogging about the same things as you. What are they doing? Do they have a schedule? What do they regularly write about? What are they doing wrong? And then ask the most important question a niche blogger faces:
How can you do it better?
Think About your Niche
Think long and hard about what interests you so much about your niche subject. What would you like to read about? Compare to your competition. Find some way to differentiate yourself while still focusing on the subjects that interest you the most. If you lack passion for any of your posts, it will show in your writing and will turn off readers.
Then think about how you can express your interest the most effective way. Think about the types of posts you’d like to write. That can be lists, interviews, reviews, features, videos, etc. Keep those in mind when it comes time to layout your content schedule.
Features and Small Posts
There are two types of posts that are relevant to niche blogs, features and small posts. Features are long posts (like this one) that focus on a subject and develop it fully (essay like, lists, interviews, etc). A small post is much shorter and focused on something that can be digested quickly (a video, photo slideshow, 2-3 paragraph post, etc).
You need to ask yourself what your feature to small post ratio will be. You will probably get burnt out if you post a long feature every day. Similarly, you niche blog may get stale if you only write quick short posts and don’t give your readers something MORE. Features are also more likely to gain attention on social media sites than a short post.
So, how many feature posts can you write for a week? How many short posts? It’s been my experience that one or two features is plenty for the week while 3 to 4 small posts will keep things interesting.
Always be Ahead
The most important aspect of developing a content schedule is to always be ahead of yourself. If your posts aren’t time sensitive, then schedule them out a week or two in advance. This will ensure that if anything comes up, you have a post going out no matter what.
Have a Backup
It’s not a bad idea to have a well full of articles that haven’t been published in your back pocket to use when you have nothing else to write about. It could be a longer feature you’re waiting for the right time to post or an idea your still wrapping your head around. Having these types of posts will help you when you’ve hit Blogging Burnout and can’t bear writing for a couple days.
Choose the days of the week you want to post
When planning your content schedule, keep in mind that there are blogging cycles during the week. There are days when your traffic will be down, such as Monday or Friday. People are getting back into the week on Mondays and people are exiting the week on Fridays. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days of the week to have big, content rich posts go out.
On some of my blogs, I use Friday as a link roundup day. I write about cool links that I found that don’t warrant their own post, but are worth sharing. On Monday, I usually put out a video or quick tip. Something light. Save the meat for the middle of the week when more people are paying attention.
Choose themed days
Some people might think it’s lame to picked themed days, but it’s a very effective way for people to remember your niche blog. For example, on Niche Blogger Today I have Theme Tuesday, WordPress Wednesday, Technical Thursday, SEO Sunday, etc. It immediately lets people know what the column is about and gets them interested. I also recommend creating separate categories for each of these themed days, that way someone can find your themed posts all in one place when they are browsing your site. It’s not a bad idea to create category links for your themed days in your blog sidebar.
When should you schedule posts to post?
I’ve already talked about choosing the right days to post but what time of the day is it best to post? A general rule of thumb is to set your scheduled posts to go out mid-morning. People often are looking for something to read after they’ve settled at their desks with their cups of coffee. Also, by posting in the morning you’re more likely to get somewhere on social media sites because your content will be in front of people’s eyeballs for most of the day.
Always Double Check
Many bloggers don’t think of it, but they should be subscribed to their own blog feed. That way they will know if their scheduled post has gone up at the right time as well as making sure it’s formatted correctly. It’s also a great way to spot errors that can be fixed before your post hits critical mass. Also visit your own blog. Make sure the posts display correctly, respond to comments and interact with your readers. Engagement will keep them coming back.
If something in your content schedule isn’t working, then by all means don’t be afraid to change your plan. If your regular posts on the mating habits of feral cats are not bringing in the traffic you expected, shift the topic into another category. Your niche blog should be an ever changing, ever growing organism that can change as quickly as it needs to in order to stay relevant.
What Strategies have Worked for You in Developing a Content Plan?