Last year, I really became intentional about planning out my blog posts and I tried to develop a flow for what I wanted my brand to represent. I also made a point to work through my thoughts before writing because I did not want to just hit publish to have something on my page that day. As a result, I realized that with my commitments both personally and professionally, I could not continue posting 5 days a week and made a decision to cut back to 3 days a week. In this post on how to create an editorial calendar, I am going to share my tips on how to stay focused and on top of your work.
Notebook for Ideas
I have an obsession with notebooks but found I was just hoarding them instead of finding a good use for them. So, I started keeping a notebook and a pencil in my purse and work bag dedicated to my blog. Here is where I jot down ideas, next steps, contact information, and notes from planning meetings. It has really helped me organize my thoughts so much better.
P.S. When I have moved on from a section, I paperclip it off to make new pages or next steps easy to identify.
Desk Blog Planner
This can look a couple of ways. I have used a note pad with Monday-Friday lists, check boxes for the writing process, and check boxes for social media channel shares. I have created my own on my Rifle Paper Co desk calendar. I have used a things to do list and created my own as well. I am not sure I love one method more than another, but since I am trying to eliminate clutter, I think the less note pads I have on my desk the better. There is a great free printable here for weekly blog planning.
Each year, I print 12 blank monthly calendars to keep in the notebook where I house my contracts, tax forms, and any other relevant information. I used to write in pen and color coordinate with my months in my planner, but I found that to be difficult if topics changed or if I ended up not blogging that day. So, I use pencil, and I plan out my posts. I have some posts planned through the year just because of the series that I started last year. I already have my Thanksgiving and Christmas meal posts scheduled, mainly so I would not forget what I served and can add to it this year. Then, I filled in based off of what I had coming up in my personal life, trips planned, and holidays. I’ll show you more below.
I switched to WordPress about a year and a half ago. Thanks to Karly, I found a calendar plug-in for my website, and as I work through my yearly calendar, I plug in the titles for the posts to my calendar. This has been really helpful for two reasons. Since I have all my post titles in for the month or two, I can see where I have blank spaces in my editorial calendar. This is helpful if I am away from home and am responding to emails, but do not have my printed calendars with me. Also, since I have the posts already set up, I can work a little bit in the post as ideas arrive. Recently, a lot of my posts have already been written, they have just needed the photos added.
As for content, I have tried to get on a more consistent schedule so you know what to expect coming here. For the first blog post of the new month, there is an Instagram recap. During the middle of the month, there is a coffee talk post. These two series were popular posts of mine consistently throughout 2017, so I decided to stick with them for 2018.
Because I have cut back on posting days, I realized that I did not have as much editorial space for single outfits. I found that using one post for multiple outfits (5 Outfits for Thanksgiving), was better for my SEO and also for my editorial space. It was also easier for me to not have to find 300 words about how much I love one pair of shoes. DG and I have trips planned each month, so there will be one travel guide a month and potentially one hotel experience a month. Recipes were something readers requested, so at this point, there will be one recipe post planned per month. Then, that leaves space for whatever I decide I want to share that month.
Using these strategies have helped me feel less overwhelmed by blogging. It may seem like a lot to keep up with, but like a lot of things in my life, I have found that frontloading the work and establishing a shell, it makes it so much easier for me in the long run. I hope that you find some tips here that will work for you, as well!
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