During the L&R 2012 blog party, I posted about how wonderful and magical having an editorial calendar for my blog is.
MAGIC I say….
But, then someone pointed out that I didn’t actually tell you HOW I maintain my editorial calendar. <sarcasm> I’m a genius. </sarcasm>
So, here’s just a small glimpse at my blog-planning….. Using next month as an example….
I start with a month-at-a-glance calendar printed out.
I like to have the physical piece of paper in front of me. Even if that means printing out new calendars and re-doing some of the work if I want to change things around…. My brain just SEES things better on physical paper than on the computer.
This particular calendar is printed from the mail program we use at my day job, but you can find at-a-glance monthly calendars anywhere. I’ll probably use this calendar (seen here) once I leave this job. I like being able to print out a month whenever I want and multiple times if necessary.
Write out your KNOWN monthly/weekly features that you will be doing no matter what else happens in your month (within reason).
Every month on the first I post a “_______ is for...” list of what I have roughly planned for the month.
Every other Tuesday I post “a little of this a little of that” random, personal, bulleted list of a post.
Thursdays are always dark here at L&R. …
So the first thing I do is fill in all of those so I can see how full this month is at just a glance….
I fill in the promo posts for known, scheduled events.
In this case, 30 Days of Lists starts March 1, 2012 …. So I have planned in 3 posts about the registration and leading into that project that I’m part of. Tentatively….
Or, for example, if I knew I would have a guest post go out somewhere that I wanted to post about. Or, if I were going to be at a craft show and wanted to post about it.
These are the posts that do NOT show up every month or every week, but that you know in advance are specific-date-related.
I fill in the promotional-type posts for my products and services. For example, when I was leading up to opening Onward and Upward registration I posted about similar topics to help warm you all up to the idea of Onward and Upward.
I keep a master list for the year of the new products/services/classes I want to release – and plan a portion of my blog posts around that.
In this case, I have a new ecourse tentatively coming out mid to late March so this post (on Feb 20) would be the first lead-in post for the product. Depending on how close I am to the schedule launch date I may plan more or less lead-in posts during the month.
I check out how many days I have left to post in the month. I have committed to posting 6 days each week at Lemon and Raspberry, so after all of the features and promotional posts, in February I just have to come up with 7 blog posts from scratch.
This can be something timely and at-the-last-minute like about my weekend, follow-up to a recent post, or about a recently finished project. Or these posts can just be some good pillar content like Fill-in-the-blank wall art, What constitutes blogging success? or long work vs hard work.
Just 7 for the whole month.
There are several different ways you can keep track of your blog ideas – but what I do is just keep the post ideas as draft posts in my blogging software, and as I’m filling out my calendar for the month I just scan through the draft posts for ideas that catch my eye or would be appropriate for this week/month.
Each month is different, of course. If I didn’t have 30 Days of Lists coming up that would be 3 more blog posts to come up with. But, in general I don’t usually have more than 12 posts for the whole month that aren’t part of a regular feature.
This is why I say it makes blogging SO MUCH easier if you are working from an editorial calendar. Even if it’s tentative. Even if it’s just a rough structure and you move things around all the time.That’s actually why I like to use easily-printable calendars. I change my plan ALL THE TIME. But I still have a solid structure to begin with.
Just having a place to start from and a direction to stumble toward can make your blogging far less stressful and that much more enjoyable…..
Some recent posts from other bloggers about planning:
- Love, Elycia: Productivity: My blog planner
- Wild Olive: Planning out blog posts
- A Beautiful Mess: The planning process and why I love it (not blogging specific)
Do you maintain an editorial calendar for your blog? Any tips to share?
My Better Blog Content Workbook includes an entire chapter on keeping an editorial calendar. That’s how important it is to building a strong blog and building solid content that your readers want to come back to again and again. Check out more blogging resources in the archives or the Better Blog Content Workbook for more.