Today we’re looking at a few of the best blogging tools to help you plan your blog content and promotion, not just for a week or month, but for the entire year. There are a few advantages of having an annual plan for your blog and business.
- You’ll really know where you’re going, in terms of which products and services you want to promote, and when. That will give you a much stronger framework when planning content and promotional activities.
- You can be constantly thinking ahead to this time next year. Many of the bloggers running a perfect ’12 Days of Christmas’ promotion, or advertising their holiday themed recipe book, started planning last December, when they were already in the holiday mood, but while they had 12 months to pull everything together.
- You’ll be less stressed, more fired up about your projects, and much more able to work in a happy, flowy way, getting things started (and even finished) way ahead of schedule.
The Best Blogging Tools For Getting Your (Annual) Plan On
These planning tools for bloggers will help you keep everything running smoothly in your blog and business, even when the rest of your life gets bumpy (as it invariably will). Here are just a few of my favorite planning tools that are helping me organize my online business and plan for a stellar 2018.
An Awesome Annual Planner
The simplest, and perhaps most essential, planning tool is an excellent, well-laid out planner or diary. A few of my blog and biz buddies manage to use a digital planner, but I have to have a physical book of some kind to work from, and most people I talk to feel the same.
Whether you go for a traditional planner, a bullet journal, or a dedicated small biz planner, is up to you. Personally, I love The Biz Plan Book, and not just because the creator, Natalie Marie Collins has been kind enough to quote me in a couple of past editions!
This planner describes itself as: The entrepreneur’s creative business planner and workbook that helps you brainstorm your ambitious goals, get mega focused, stay on track, and bring your awe-inspiring passions and dreams to life.
Those are big promises, but based on previous editions, this planner delivers. It’s clear, colourful and nicely laid out. And it’s designed especially for creative entrepreneurs (like bloggers, writers, artists, authors, speakers, coaches and content creators). The layout encourages doodling and creative expression, and helps you think long-term about how to bring all your projects and products together.
The 2018 edition is out now. Get it here.
If this one doesn’t suit you, or you’re looking for something very specific, take a look at this post all about the best planners for 2018, written by the lovely Emily over at My Adaptable Career. There’s something for everyone there.
A Content Calendar
I’ve written a whole post about the importance of creating a content calendar for your blog or business. While you can download (or buy) various blog-specific calendars and planners, any calendar will do, and you can incorporate your content calendar into your general planner with careful color coding. (I’ve done this before with The Biz Plan Book. I just made sure everything that related to my content schedule was in a specific color – purple, if you must know!).
A well-thought out content calendar allows you to plan out the products and services you’ll be offering this year (whether they’re your own creations or part of your affiliate marketing strategy), the sales funnels that lead to your offers, and how your blog and social media content will support your other projects.
All your content goes on your content calendar, from blog posts and content upgrades to newsletters, and Facebook updates. Then you can see at a glance what you need to create and when.
Specific Planners for Important Aspects of Your Business
I’m thinking specifically of a planner that is reserved just for your blog, your biggest project or your main money-making activity. For example, this Affiliate Marketing Planner from Coachglue, that helps you pull together your affiliate marketing strategy for the entire year.
The really good news about this specific planner? It comes with the rights to pass it on. So you can rebrand it, resell it, or use it as an opt-in or content upgrade to build your list. Same with their Blog Content Planner and Passive Income Planner for example. Get the details on all their planners here.
The Busy Blogger’s Success Kit
Yes, I’m just going to throw one of my own products in here, and there’s a very good reason for it! The Busy Blogger’s Success Kit is a digital kit I designed with all the planning tools I felt I needed to make running my blog and business easy, flowy and fun.
The kit includes a blog post planning template, a weekly blog planner, and templates, cheat sheets and checklists to help you run every aspect of your blog based business. You can grab a copy of the kit for half-price when you sign up for my newsletter.
The 12 Week Year
The 12 Week Year is a book (and supplemental online resources) that helps you plan meticulously and pack as much into 12 weeks as most people do in 12 months. Does it work? Only if you do.
I’ve found it’s an amazing resource, and while I can’t claim to have achieved a year’s worth of work in one quarter, it’s made me super productive, even though I don’t use it religiously. Maybe the first quarter of 2018 will be the time I commit to every aspect of the 12 Week Year, and finally pull off a year’s work in 3 months. I’ll keep you posted.
For all your social media planning and scheduling, this is my latest favourite tool (and it’s FREE for the basic version, which is all many people will ever need). RecurPost allows you to create a content library and share your social media content over and over again to all your channels. On the free plan, you can connect three social accounts, add 100 recurring posts and post up to 10 times a day from each account. Sign up here.
If you need more scheduling power, you can upgrade to a paid account. If you need more social scheduling but have a zero-dollar budget (been there!), see if you can combine a few of these free social media scheduling tools. And don’t forget that if you’re on a tight budget you may like my ‘Blog For Free’ All-In-One Guide: Free Tools For Writers, Bloggers and Solopreneurs. It’s available as a Kindle ebook and is currently only 99 cents!
I hope these tools really help you get your plan on for the coming year, and smash every goal you set yourself. Ready to get really clear on your goals as a blogger and solopreneur? I’d love to send you a free workbook and some other goodies to help you run your online business. Just pop your details in the form below.