Last week I posted a picture of my editorial calendar, and it prompted a chat between me and Whitney about how to organize your blog posts. It occurred to me that I never really shared how I organize my blog posts with you guys, so let’s do it!
First, a little background: I read a lot about blogging, so of course I’d heard about the advantages of keeping an editorial calendar a long time ago. But for some reason, I just couldn’t swing it. Finally, sometime in the last few months I found a routine that really worked for me. Here are my tips for keeping an editorial calendar.
Print it out. This just depends on the person I guess, but for me, printing out my editorial calendar has helped immensely. I had it set up in Google Calendar forever and rarely used it effectively. I still use Google Calendar, and fill in as many days as I can before the month starts, but then I print it at the beginning of the month. This allows me to keep it in front of me at my computer at all times, and there’s just a tactile functionality that comes with using a physical piece of paper.
Look at the big picture. Don’t just focus on what you’re going to write about tomorrow, or in the next five days- think bigger. It’s really important to identify the themes that you write about, and come up with some sort of structure to when you post about them. It keeps things consistent for your readers and gives you a routine to fall back on. For example, last fall I was posting a lot of recipes, and I almost always posted them on Thursdays. Now my themes are even more loose, but I know that Channeling posts go on Tuesdays, Tips for Better Blogging goes on Thursday and on Fridays I post Starred this Week. I don’t do all of those every week, which leaves me with some flexibility, but I still have a structure set in place, which gives me a deadline as I’m working on those posts.
Keep it loose. It’s okay to have days where you don’t know what you’re going to blog about. That’s when the spontaneous stuff can happen. And it’s even okay to intentionally leave days empty.
It’s not going to solve all your problems. This isn’t going to provide motivation or make sure that you get everything done on time. There are plenty of days where I intend to blog about something and it just doesn’t get done. Like yesterday, for example. That’s okay, this still has value.
Do you keep an editorial calendar? Do you have any other tricks to keeping your posts organized? I’d love to hear them!
And while you’re at it, check out this post that Lisa wrote about creating an editorial calendar.
Eliza St.Clair says
I just love your better blogging posts. I was really good at planning posts out over the summer, but with studying for the GRE + moving I just really lost the extra time. I’m planning on getting back in the swing of things + have already started brainstorming for December! xoxo, eliza
Yay, I’m glad! Don’t worry, you can always get back on the wagon! :)
Betsy Transatlantically says
I keep my editorial calendar in Evernote, which I have on my laptop, my iPhone, and my work computer – it syncs up automatically, so I have it where ever I am, which is great for when inspiration strikes! It’s also a great central way to bookmark links and ideas and themes and phrases that I’m still working on. ( I was not compensated for this comment… haha!)
Also, I assign every theme a color in Evernote, so I can see that I haven’t done a purple post in a while (that’s recipes) and so, on a day when I’m uninspired by anything else or need help focusing, I can pull something cooking-related out of my arsenal. I do try to stick with my weekly series (#WW and style on Fridays) but I usually let that focus my content so it’s not just “first I did this and then I did this” over and over again.
But I really need to be better about leaving blank spaces for spontaneity, as you are! Yargh.
I use Evernote, but after reading this I think I need to go look for a tutorial or something. I don’t use most of those capabilities, and it sounds like I’m missing out!
Lisa // Elembee says
Thanks for sharing my link! I plan out topics for every day, but half the time I change my mind depending on what I’m feeling when I actually sit down to do the post. It’s nice to have ideas for backup though! That’s why I use Google calendar instead, I can just drag and idea to the next open day if I don’t feel like discussing it that day.
That’s definitely true- I love how Google Calendar works. I’ve just tried to get over my calendar being too neat and I wind up drawing arrows all over the place.
Lisa // Elembee says
Sometimes you just need pen + paper to really get your ideas out!
Another thing I forgot to mention — I used to keep running lists of topics in Evernote, which I still do to some extent, but now, when I get an idea, I just add it to the next open space in my calendar, then rearrange later. It’s been working out really well! By the time a new month rolls around, all I really have to do is rearrange, fill in any blank spots, and make sure that the topics that are there are still things I want to talk about.
I think printing out a physical editorial calendar is a great idea! I use the editorial calendar plug-in for WordPress and it works wonders. I love that I can drag and drop and change everything so easily! As soon as an idea comes to my head, I just enter it in there and save it as a “draft”- that way I never forget about it!
I’ve heard of that plugin, but I’ve never tried it myself! It sounds awesome, though! I’m a big fan of making drafts early, too- I feel like the longer that I’m working on a post, the better it is.
Great post Kate! I have an editorial calendar in Google calendar, and it works great for me! I also try to record all of my posts in a spreadsheet, so I have an idea as to what I’ve done in the past and what ideas I’ve come up with for the future. It helps a lot :)
I’m relatively new blogger and I find myself struggling with consistence and creating a schedule – hence what led me to this Greta post lol. I find it interesting and smart that you keep a running list of past blog posts. Would you be willing to share how you set up the spreadsheet? Do you just keep track of the date and title of the post? Would greatly appreciate any further details :)
I loved our chat! It really helped me. This week has been very busy with work, but starting next week I’ll be posting regularly again! Thanks again for all of your help :)
It took me awhile to finally settle on a system that works. I use Google Calendar religiously. I used to plan very far in advance, but that never worked. So now I just try to plan for the next week. I would love to use paper, but moving ideas from day to day would mean crossing things off and I’m OCD about that lol.
Sandy Cooper says
I tried doing an editorial calendar last year on my outlook Calendar and it totally messed me up. I didn’t like working with that digital prompt–it kept popping up like an appointment I was missing! I agree that paper works better for me with things like that.
Generally, I keep a Word Document with all my running post ideas and then a piece of paper with what I want to do with my blog week-by-week. I sit down and dump all my thoughts into Word as the ideas hit me, completely unedited, along with any links or picture ideas I may have. Then, when I sit down to write the actual post, I cut and paste it into a new document, where I complete the post and edit.
I have a month-by-month list of goals I want to accomplish with my blog for the entire year (themes, series ideas, guest-post goals, etc) that keeps me on track. But I don’t really decide what I’m writing for the week until the previous week. I just find it’s more fresh and current for me not to plan too far ahead.
But, granted, it’s taken me years to find this rhythm. I’ve floundered a lot over the years.
Thanks for sharing this Sandy! I definitely think the process of brainstorming and editing is an important one that is easy to skip. Thanks for the reminder! I just put a notebook next to my bed last night for any inspiration that strikes before I go to sleep, so we’ll see if that helps! :)
Lauren | Seventeenth & Irving says
I love the idea of printing it out. I am so digital, but I think part of my problem is if it’s just not right in front of me, I get too busy and don’t do it. Like last week. I ended up neglecting my blog when I knew this time of the year would be busy for us. If I would just plan ahead, I might have had guest posts lined up. Even after a year of solid blogging, it’s still a big struggle for me. I love your tips, and I’ve really enjoyed reading all the tips in the comments too. I WILL conquer this!
I totally agree! I struggle with planning ahead like that as well. You’ll get it!
Your making me feel better about my current struggles with finding a system and consistency :)
I’m a print-it-out girl too. I have a little desktop calendar on the computer, but I work so much better if I jot down notes for posts, schedule out the week, and just in general have everything on paper. Of course, I generally transfer it all to the computer in one way or another, but I like plain old paper better.
Yeah, I do that little back-and-forth between paper and the computer myself. It’s tempting to just put it directly on the computer, but now that I’ve printed it out it makes a huge difference!
Can you have your calender in google and then print it out from there? I’ve never used google calender. This is something I am trying to figure out with my blog right now. I am horrible at planning without it.
Yeah, definitely! I just update my calendar as I go and then at the beginning of each month I print it out. I think it looks pretty nice when you print it, too!
I haven’t been consistent with using a calendar, but I think printing a hardcopy to keep in daily site would help. I just don’t know where I would keep it! Our “family office” is a repurposed dining room, centrally located, with no wall space because it’s open all around, except for the one wall that is all bookshelves. Where to you keep your printed calendar posted?
I completely agree about tactile calendars and planners! I need mine in print before I make any real use of them. Thanks for sharing!
Rae Quigley says
I had never even HEARD of an editorial calendar until a few months ago. I used to just blog (or do anything, really) on the fly. The problem with that is I would sometimes go days or even weeks without posting at all. Now that I’ve been involved in more blog tours and had more going on I’ve finally decided to start a calendar. I was just putting blog deadlines in my taasky app but it was so easy to just get rid of the notification and forget about it all together. I can’t guarantee I’ll be consistent in using a calendar, but I’m hoping that it will become a regular part of my routine :)
Great tips! Thanks for sharing! I’m new to blogging and don’t use a calendar yet, but I definitely need to because I always have so many ideas swirling around in my head and I just keep writing them on post-its that I need to keep track of. The calendar is a better way to go!
Thank you for this wonderful advice. I am just starting my blog and I think an editorial calendar will be perfect for me!
I think just the term “editorial calendar” scared me off for so long. Which is ironic because I’m an organizational freak. I’ve finally decided to try one out, and printing it out was the first thought that crossed my mind. I’m definitely a paper person. I like the structure idea that gives deadlines, and I plan on working in at least one or two monthly things, and maybe something weekly in the future.
Thank you for sharing! I love this, and it really inspires me to get more organized with my blogging!