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How to Develop a Niche Blog Content Plan

Posted By Darren Rowse 1st of March 2009 Writing Content 0 Comments

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.

Time Management

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.

Good Habits

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.

Tweak

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?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I love your idea about having backup posts. I always have trouble with that because I always want to publish all my posts immediately. I think I might start saving some now.

    Thanks,
    Nate

  2. Great post Jonathan!

    I knew that I couldn’t write 5 days a week on my blog so the 1st thing I did was to ask myself, how much time did I have to post. When I found that out, I made a schedule and even put my schedule in my ABOUT page for readers to see. I really thing that helps.

    I also try to have at least 2 weeks’ worth of posts and a backup when I’m super busy.

  3. I really like where you said “Your niche blog should be an ever changing, ever growing organism” so true!

  4. Looks like the tips would work perfectly if you are already a Full Time blogger. If not, then I think its hard to follow these tips. Time is always my enemy. -_-

    Thanks for the tips! ^_^

  5. I agree with you with the “Choose the days of the week you want to post”. I always see my traffics are low during weekend like Saturday and Sunday. Between, I don’t realize Monday and Friday has any effect for me. But I will try your way. Thanks for sharing Jonathan Thomas!

    Regards,
    Lee

  6. Great information, and I can’t stress enough how posting on a daily basis is detrimental to building readers in a quick and effective way.

  7. Excellent post, Jonathan. I just started a blog a month ago, and I write new post everyday including Saturday and Sunday. Now I have seen good traffic although it still can’t compete with established sites.

  8. Well I am also believer in regular update so that whenever visitors will come he must get something new to read and see. Thats why I always provide them such content.

    Its not like just add a great article and than sleep. Its ok great articles will give you some good traffic for few days but what after that. Its like earning million and than stop working.

    But yeah one thing which I learnt from you is scheduling and I think this one is really beneficial … as I saw someone is showing Friday as their free T shirt day and people just go there to see new T Shirt … lollzz

  9. I was glad to read this and learn that I am doing some things correctly, even if it wasn’t intentional. My blog is fairly general, but I’m about to launch a niche blog, and your idea of a content plan will be very helpful.

  10. I thank you so much for writing this post. Since I started my niche blog – informing the folks in Knoxville, TN how to save money by couponing and the other great deals in town – I am seeing that a blogging plan is the only way to serve my audience. I started this blog just a month ago, but am starting to build a little traffic now and with a write up in the local paper and a TV interview scheduled…I better get plan together. And you have provided a great outline for what I need to do. Thanks
    -Coupon Katie

  11. I agree, posting regularly with nice and informative content can build loyal readership..

  12. The idea that posting frequently is the best thing ever seems to be rife these days, even here at the great Problogger.

    The reason that posting often on a new blog builds traffic quickly is because it builds content quickly. The “net” to catch search engines gets bigger by the day. ( yes, I know all about crawl rates too)

    You can get the same effect by posting high quality articles twice a month, for example. Just make sure that you do better keyword research and rank for big searches with fantastic linkable articles that nobody can ignore.

    I can tell you that I have never unsubscribed from an RSS feed because I got bored waiting for a post from a great blogger like Slighty Shady SEO.

    By contrast, I have dumped many RSS feeds in the trash that have constantly pinged by Reader with useless regurgitation of stuff I didn’t care about the first time round. Signal to Noise ratios, guys.

    The idea of posting every day suggests that you have something great to say every day – I don’t think even Brian Clark has that!

    When it comes to content schedules, I would suggest that you work out how often you can create a killer article and work backward from that.

    Rob

  13. This article covered some aspects of blog publishing, not frequently covered. I had debated with myself, whether a late night posting or a morning post would be better. The assumption being that the late night post would be ready and waiting for readers in the morning. As you suggested, results were better with posts, freshly published in the morning.

  14. Michele says: 03/01/2009 at 2:59 am

    We are newbies here but we certainly do enjoy your blog. We have 30 years of experience in the cleaning services business focusing on window cleaning, and have written a book on the how-to’s of getting into and working a successful window cleaning business. We’re in our 10th printing but wonder if blogging could help us sell more of our books. The daily blogging would be relatively easy since we have so many experiences, stories abound. I guess our best shot would be to give it a try.

  15. Really helpful advice, thank you. I like what you said about being flexible with your topic to stay relevant; it’s too easy to feel trapped by your topic and afraid of abandoning your niche. It’s quite possible your real niche is the people you’re writing to, if you’re being transparent with them, and they might welcome an occasional small shift in topic.

  16. Jonathan…

    I already follow the ‘Always be Ahead’ by scheduling my posts well in advance, sometimes two weeks ahead for important posts.

    Thanks for sharing other tricks too.

    Pothi.

  17. I find it essential to keep a list of post topics and always be thinking of new post ideas. I tend to think of a lot of great ideas when i go to sleep at night and my mind is more relaxed, which is great, but also sucks cause I keep getting up to go get my note pad!

  18. I think your thoughts are excellent and to the point. I’m going to develop my weekly content schedule based on your advice. Nicely done.

  19. Darren, I wanted to say that you have posted some very really great information on problogger. You’ve inspired me to take blogging to the next level.

    Regards,

    Firstborn

  20. This answers the question I’ve been dithering about: how often to post. I’ve resisted every day because I get overwhelmed/bored when others have a new post up every day. I realize that’s because they are doing features, rather than interspersing with small posts. Thanks for the advice…

  21. Darren I really enjoyed this post.The them day idea sounds like a great Idea.I think if I mingle that w/some small posts it would help my niche a lot.Thanks!

    Sparky

  22. Good advice. I’m quite far ahead with my posts. I have enough content to last till May. :-)

  23. There are a lot of really useful information in this post, especially the “themed” days. Thanks for your ideas on interspersing news and feature posts. It’s a concept I’ll have to consider and work on.

  24. Wow. This might be some of the best advice I’ve ever read. You’ve given my blog vision, and I am looking forward to see how this strategy ends up playing out. I have a vision now.

    Thanks!

  25. I just wanted to say, thank you for all of you advice and articles. they are helping me understand more and more about blogging. Thank you and God Bless you!

  26. Just wanted to drop you a line and say that I’ve subscribed to your feeds for about a year now and love the content. I also just bought your book – great resource!

  27. I’m a ‘newbie’, as I often see others write, but rarely have much to say on your site as I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing and I don’t want to just say, “Thanks for the great post,” yet I do want to contribute. Your information is very helpful and is steadily pulling me along. I just learned what ‘twitter’ means, for heaven’s sake! My grandfather would have been quite confused to hear that I was “twittering on my blackberry”! Long story longer, I was feeling like an idiot with all of this and THEN, I found a website with lots of blogging in my field (my ‘niche’)–education–and now I’m happy! Yippee! I can actually make intelligent comments. But I’m not giving up on you, so don’t worry. I’ll keep checking in and learning, slowly but surely, and applying it to what I’m attempting to do on my site.

  28. Thanks for the tips. I will certainly follow…

  29. This is a great idea! I especially like the idea of scheduling certain days for special topics. Also, the drafted posts is a wonderful plan for those weeks when life gets too busy.

  30. Hey now, that really was some of the best info and advice I’ve read about improving ones blog. I just started in the blog world and not quite sure how to go about bringing people to the site. This is really gonna help me with knowing when to post. Thanks a million.

  31. We post daily 365 days a year on Atlanta Real Estate Forum. Great content makes us Atlanta’s #1 real estate news blog. We have a plan and an editorial calendar.

    Great tips for new niche bloggers. Keep up the good work!

  32. This is one of those, bookmark and take a print out posts. Awesome advice.

    I have myself started a new blog recently and have trouble being regular on it and can absolutely relate to and use all the advice in this post.

    I never realised why posting everyday or with a schedule was so important but a lot of things you’ve written make perfect sense.

  33. @Rob: Putting relevant content online goes without saying … I agree (and that is what this post says) that putting regular, interesting and relevant content is the key and not just posting any junk everyday.

  34. Really its 100% percent true that when we start a blog, 1000 of creative ideas bubbles in our mind. It not possible to implement all these ideas due to lack of finance, time and energy. Therefore we have to seriously focus on content planning.

  35. Thank you very much for this post. I think one of the hardest things for a beginner blogger is getting ideas and your thoughts together to know what to blog about. Sitting in front of a blank screen trying to come up with a post for the day is no fun. These are some great tips.

  36. Great post, and perfect timing too, as I’m making final preparation for new blog in a huge niche :)

  37. Keeping the backup article for the times when you have writers block or just cannot find time is a great practice , I think alot of new bloggers neglect this.

  38. @thepsychsheet.com. Excellent post with several great tips. I especially liked the use of feature and short posts. I’ve struggled a bit to post as often as I feel I should because I’m always working on a feature post. Occasionally I’ll run something short, but I like the idea of incorporating a short post on a regular basis.

  39. I think posting should be consistent, That’s the key to being successful over a long period of time.

  40. I decided to post every day and after a few weeks, comments and traffic crashed and burned. Is there a period of time that someone should wait out this strategy?

    George

  41. Thanks for all your kind comments about my post! I hope it was a help to you all and your blogging efforts.

  42. Very helpful post! I have recently started keeping “backup” blog posts and half-finished blog posts for a time when I simply have run out of ideas, or don’t have too much time but want to post. It’s really a great way to keep writing consistently.

    However, I don’t completely agree that you have to write a LOT to develop a readership. I sometimes unfollow blogs that flood my google reader with way too many articles per day, and that I simply cannot process on a regular basis. I tend to value blogs that provide detailed and good information on a less frequent basis (a few times a week).

  43. Thanks so much for posting this!

    I could not agree more. As the author of a blog targeted at helping people plan and build affordable housing (by using recycled materials, and stuff like shipping containers), my “niche” was small enough that I thought about “giving it up” on a regular basis.

    Once I started actually “planning content, and posting on a regular basis,” my blog blossomed!

    I’ve just had “the best week and the best month” that I’ve ever had! And the “high” from that only encourages me to do more!

    “Concept Plans” don’t just help your blog, they help YOU, as an author! Nothing says “atta boy!” like increased readership!

    You rock!

  44. What you can tell me about my content plan? One word every day where i invite readers to comment about the words.

  45. This is great information!! I really hadn’t thought to put a schedule together!! This idea gives me a focus- That I need to schedule certain days for the posts. I like the theme ideas! I was just thinking of doing a theme for my podcasts-that I post – so that would work great!!

    I didn’t think about better days to post!! Now I will!

  46. Excellent post. I am so overwhelmed trying to get my site up, get my articles out, posting to my blog everyday to keep it fresh- I’m not getting anything else done to further my business besides this.

    I will take your advice to heart- get all my blogs together for the week or maybe 2 weeks and just schedule them that frees up some of my time during each day.

    Thanks again- and if you have any advice- please share. Anything to make what I’m doing right now easier.

  47. Thanks for the post…definitely one that I will continue to come back to.

    I do struggle between the idea of posting every day of the week, as opposed to posting higher quality posts less often. On the other hand, I do think that creating a content schedule is a great way to keep content fresh without diluting it.

    Nothing makes me second guess a subscription to someone’s blog more, than when they post every day of the week but only to link to another blogger that actually spent the time to write something of value.

  48. With time constraints in a busy world it is so hard to stay focused but it essential to develop your plan and stick to it .Persistence and proper planning will net traffic.

  49. I believe that you have to deliver great contentand at least twice a week.
    I’m thinking about a blog for my wedding site a blog dedicated to professional.

  50. Some good tips to use – thanks

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