Hi everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic holiday break! I know I did. It was super lazy, filled with tons of HGTV watching and pajama days. It just feels right that my kick off post for 2016 is in the vein of getting organized. I don't really consider myself to be super organized but there are a few things I HAVE to have in order in order to function, especially in terms of business. Today I'm going to share with you how to make a blog editorial calendar. For you non-bloggers, this post shows a few more detailed shots of my favorite monthly calendar planner. Or just come back on Wednesday when I'll have a really fun, simple fashion DIY. For my blogger friends, I'm going to share with you how I plan out my content which helps to keep me focused and not feeling frazzled. Read on!
First off, what I'm sharing is not mind-blowing. This is the way that works for me and is easy for me to keep on track. If you aren't a paper calendar type of gal, this method (for the most part) would work on Google calendars or any other editorial calendar type plug-in.
•To get started, you need to write out a list of what topics and categories you want to cover on the blog. I talk about a lot of different things and I change them up every once in a while. Some of you may focus one niche and have different angles that you touch on. Make this work for you.
•Once I have a handle on the types of content I want to share I decide how many days a week I can post. Of course it would be super awesome if I could do 5 days, but per my family schedule, 3 days works best. I try to keep it consistent but I don't beat myself up if I don't make it. I work for myself and I have a great boss. :)
•On a blank calendar (here are cute blank calendar pages you can use), I start filling in the days of the week that I will post on regularly with the topics that I will aim to post about each month. I have a commitment to Netflix (proud #StreamTeam member) so I know that I will talk about them once a month, so I filled that in first. Otherwise, I don't even think about sponsored posts at this point. That will come later.
•These topics are all very broad and I can create all kinds of content within each of them. This not only helps me to make sure that I am sharing the types of content I love to post about, but gives me the freedom to get creative with how I'm sharing. For example, I know each month I'd like to share a recipe. But it could be a recipe from someone else that I've tried and I'm telling you how I liked it, I could create a custom recipe, I could do a recipe round-up of decadent salted caramel desserts (because those will never go away and people love them), or I can do a meal plan type of post. This Blue Sky planner is my favorite way to stay organized. The fact that it is leopard only makes me love it more. I had actually just purchased my 2016 planner from their site before they released the designer styles and then they reached out and asked if I wanted this one and I was like, duh. Head to my monthly calendar post if you haven't read it yet. Yes there are other planners out there so use what you like. This is my ride or die, right here. And no, this post isn't sponsored but I truly love it. Most of my planning is done on the two-page monthly calendar pages. Using my topic calendar from above, I begin to fill in post ideas or topics in the planner. I write everything in pencil and I have a method to how I organize each box. Let's look at the 7th, shall we?
•I write the post idea at the top of the box. Once I have it scheduled and ready to go, I mark it with an X. When I look at my week or month ahead, I know what my work load looks like and this makes it easier to plan my shoot days and prioritize. I use this calendar for regular old life as well. Because it all works together.
•At the bottom of the day box, I write in any appointments that I have. While I am not a Boy Scout, I still need to know about the meeting to get dinner situated. And that PTA meeting will push back my work time for the day which may affect my terrible natural lighting situation so I may not want to plan that day for shooting. Jump ahead to the 14th (please).
•The middle of the box is where I write things that are due for other blogs or sites that I write for. I need to see it in terms of where it falls on the calendar otherwise it will fall through the cracks. If I have sponsored social media posts, those are written in the middle of the box as well. This is also where I would note a birthday (and may jot a reminder a week ahead so that I remember to send out a card – she tells herself to make a better habit of actually doing that. It's really a great idea if I do say so myself…)
Easy, right? Now, for any specific post that I do, I flip over to the page for that day in the more detailed part of the planner. This box has a lot more room for me to add important info. This is where I jot down keyword info for SEO. I usually will note how much I'm getting paid for it if it is a sponsored post. I'll note if I sent the invoice and note the invoice number. If there is a special hashtag, I may put that here too. I can note specific shot ideas I have.
If it is not a sponsored post, and I am doing a roundup, I'll start jotting down the things I want to talk about. Or if it is a playlist, I'll note the songs I want to be sure that I don't forget about. This is why a paper calendar works best for me. To be able to keep track of all this info in one place is awesome. I keep my planner right next to my computer which allows me to have all this info handy and not have to get up and go look for something. You know what happens when you stop your roll. You end up eating a bag of chips and reorganizing your socks.
A quick note about scheduling sponsored posts. Many sponsored posts come with a hard post date, some come with a window of when they want it to be posted, while others let you decide. When a post opportunity comes in, I take in all the info and then glance back to my post topic calendar. I try to see if the content for that campaign fits easily in to one of the categories that I usually write about. This helps me to decide if the post is a good fit for the blog or not. It also ensures that my readers will be getting content that they would expect to find on the site. If it does and there is room to move the date around, I plug it in under the topic where it makes the most sense. I can always also add it as an additional post on a 4th day of posting for a week, or I can go completely off schedule and just bump whatever needs to be pumped to accommodate the client's date needs.
Something I need to get a little better at is looking ahead to holidays and events where I need to get content created and posted ahead of time. Once you have your topics laid out, think about what is coming up in the months ahead. For example, Valentine's Day. Those posts should go up in January so that you can get as much play out of them as possible. I mean, you want to get it on Pinterest and start promoting it so that it can gain traction, but you also want to give the people what they are looking for, when they are looking for it. Posting the week of Valentine's Day is fine, but you only have a few days of promotion and then it's done until next year. If you start in January, you can share it, reshare, and share again. It just gives you more opportunities to have your work seen, which is the goal after all, right?
This is how I make a blog editorial calendar. I hope you were able to pick up some tips! This will literally take you five minutes to set up and then you are off and running.
What questions do you have for me? How do you keep track of your editorial calendar? Do you want to build a snowman? Sorry, it just seemed like the right next line.
All images via Dez and Tam! They are amazing, aren't they!