Having a content calendar for your food blog is a great way to help keep you on schedule with your content for the year.
Keeping track of your posts and topics can not only help you stay organized, but with the right strategy, you can leverage your content calendar to boost your traffic and create useful, engaging, and inspiring content for your readers.
Things to Consider
How often you want to post
What kind of content you want to post
Recipe complexity (you may not want to plan on posting 4 recipes in a month that are EXTREMELY complex. It could lead to burnout!)
How much time you have available to devote to creating new posts, balancing it out with adjusting old content as needed
Trends (Pinterest, social media, in the culinary space, etc.)
‘Passion’ content (maybe you want to publish meaningful or special recipes that don’t fall into another purpose like SEO or trending recipes)
More About Content Types
Evergreen recipes supply steady traffic, but the holiday season can bring HUGE spikes of page views.
Trends are unpredictable, and while you might want to post a cherished family recipe because you know your audience will genuinely love it, the keywords might be completely saturated and you have a low chance of ranking.
So how do you decide?
You have to weigh the benefits.
What are your traffic goals? If you are hungry for page views and have a high revenue goal, my recommendation would be to post as many evergreen recipes as possible.
If you want to give your readers fresh content during the holidays, you’ll need to include those in your plans.
If you need to balance out all this work with some passion recipes because they give you absolute creative joy, DO IT! 🙌
The great thing about all these different content types is, you can mix it up throughout the year!
I aim to plan at least 3-4 mo out from when I know peak traffic will be. That means holiday content gets created by July (holiday planning can start as early as Sept/Oct for some search engines, like Pinterest.
Post now, video later
Recipe videos can be time consuming if you are filming them yourself. If you are on a tight deadline, consider doing the video at a later point in time. Getting your post published and indexed now will improve your chances of ranking sooner, vs. waiting to add a video to the page.
Consider looking back at old posts and updating the photos, the copy, etc. if you see opportunity for a substantial update. When you’re done, change the publish date from the original date, to the new date. Giving your old content a refresh can act like a “new post” and you may improve your chances to rank on Google. CAVEAT: NEVER change the date if the date information is part of your permalink (hopefully your URLs do not include date information, but if they do, skip this tip)
One of my favorite things to do is recycle recipes or find recipes that can perform double duty. It helps to save so much time and effort from a recipe development standpoint. Identify recipes that have the same ‘base recipe’ and require just a bit of tweaking to turn it into something new. (i.e. ‘Vegan Tacos’ can be turned into ‘Vegan Taco Salad’,… I’ve done this with my ‘Soft Butter Cookies’ and turned them into ‘Italian Butter Cookies’. Same base recipe, with a bit of tweaking, and now you have 2 posts!
Research trends from the previous quarter/year
Pinterest Predicts is a yearly report that is published covering all the trends they see for the future. Their claim to fame is that “80% of their predictions come true”. Take a look at their data for food trends & recipes and see what you can work into your plan!
In 2020, looking at one of their similar trend reports, I came across the Hot Chocolate Bomb trend just as it was exploding. I was able to publish that recipe and create video content in September, before the surge across other blogs. The result? Just that one post generated 387,000 PV for the holidays, making up 37% of my overall traffic. Pinterest Predicts is gold.
Create a theme
12 Days of Christmas Cookies, 1 Week of Salad recipes… whatever it may be, getting in the zone with a similar type of food can be an easy way to tackle a bunch of recipes!
Pepper in some roundup posts
Roundup posts are an easy way to mix up your content and beat creative burnout. Reach out to fellow bloggers and ask their permission to use their content in a roundup!
Once you have some ideas in mind for each post type, write them into your content calendar template with due dates assigned so that you know what needs to be done when.
Avoid publishing seasonal/holiday recipes during the same quarter (i.e. Christmas in Q4); you might have to wait an entire year before you see results.
Success is all in the planning.
Master Your Mindset
It’s easy to get very excited wanting to do a lot in the year ahead - you have big goals! But a word of caution: be sure you are being realistic with your content plan and your availability (rest period included!) It can be better to over plan than under plan, but it can also generate feelings of pressure or failure if you don’t get it all done.
If you fall short and don’t get as much done as you wanted to, it’s OK! Pick yourself back up and do what you can.
Remember: quality over quantity + rest IS productive and needed!
Hopefully this gave you some fresh ideas and motivation to put together a content planner!