Do you use a content planner? Today, regardless of the kind of writing you do, a planner can help you to stay sane, and avoid missing deadlines.
Essentially, a planner helps you to avoid procrastination and get things done. That’s essential for solo entrepreneurs.
When thinking about how to develop plans, think of what you need to create. You may not need a planner.
Do you require a content planner?
You do if you’re creating content consistently for yourself and others. Inspiration ebbs and flows, so if you rely on inspiration alone, you’ll create little.
Perhaps you require a calendar for a blog, or a publishing schedule for your self-publishing business.
A strategy or roadmap gets you where you want to go. Over the years, I’ve planned in many ways. I’ve tried complex systems, which all sounded perfect, but which killed any flicker of creativity I possessed.
I ended up using various digital calendars, such as Things, TickTick, and Trello, mostly because I could use these tools anywhere. Apps alone don’t work for me, so I combine them with paper; I require visuals, such as images and mind maps.
Let’s look at some easy tips which can help you to plan.
1. Paper or digital? Try both
If you choose digital, ClickUp has a collection of free content calendar templates you could find useful. The Notion and Trello apps also offer templates.
That said, I’ve found most digital templates unhelpful; my digital go-to is free Google Sheets. Your mileage may vary, of course, especially if you’re writing for clients; they’ll have their systems.
Many companies publish useful paper planners. Ask friends for recommendations. I use plain paper notebooks, usually in the A5 size, combined with a couple of whiteboards.
When you’ve made your choice, there’s a vital consideration—your goals.
2. What will your content achieve? Set a goal
Today, regardless of what kind of content you’re developing, you need to consider keywords. So, once you’ve decided on a goal, create a collection of keywords to help.
Start by collecting keywords manually. There are two reasons to use your brain, rather than an app. One is that tools collate historical data. The other is that your content has a specific audience, which determines keyword relevancy.
You can get deep into the weeds with keywords; it’s possible to spend far too much time on them. Be judicious, remember that while planning is useful, creation is paramount.
Speaking of your audience—your readers—consider using the ASK process.
3. Write for readers with the ASK process
The simpler you keep your plans, the better.
ASK is simple. In Writing Tips: Easier Writing With ASK (Angle, Story, Keeper), we looked at the process’s simple elements:
A: the angle. An opinion, a slant, a point of view.
S: the story. A hero; with a goal. Conflict.
K: the keeper. The point; the reader’s takeaway.
Keep ASK in mind for all content, especially for book-length material. Currently, I’m writing a series of books for a ghostwriting client; ASK keeps me on track.
Remember to review your content planner regularly
Try scheduling a regular review. Friday afternoons works for me. A friend reviews her self-publishing planner on the first day of each month.
Enjoy your planning. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.