Blogging can be a lot of work and I’ll be the first to admit that some weeks (or months!) I’ve barely blogged at all. The reason for these absences usually comes down to one thing: lack of planning. So after trying different systems – both on paper and online, I’ve finally come up with a way that works for me! These days I create an editorial calendar for my blog 2 months ahead of time. This gives me plenty of time to plan and get everything done for a post before the post goes live – no more last minute photoshoots or graphic creation! So today I’m sharing what this process looks like in creating an effective blog editorial calendar.
Narrow down your blog categories
The first step in creating an effective editorial calendar is getting focused on what you’ll be posting on your blog. “Anything and everything” isn’t really a good answer. I recommend my clients they stick with no more than 7 broad categories – ideally less.
Determine post frequency
Once you’ve figured out what you’ll be writing about, you’ll need to decide how often you’ll post.
My main advice here is quality over quantity. Sit down and consider how often you can publish a new post that is valuable and high quality. It’s better to publish one or two posts a week that are crazy high quality than to publish five so-so posts a week.
But won’t less posts hurt my pageviews? Not necessarily. While posting 5 days a week can bring you lots of traffic, it can be hard to keep up that schedule long-term. I only recommend posting 5 days a week to brand new bloggers who are just starting to grow a following.
Once you have a following you can post less frequently and redirect some of your energy into driving traffic to the posts in your archives. This is my current strategy. I usually post 1-2 times a week because I know that’s the schedule that works best for me and my blog. The rest of my “blog time” I spend updating old posts and driving traffic to posts in archives. Since adopting this strategy my pageviews have doubled!
Further Reading – how often should you blog?
Assign broad categories to days
Once you’ve figured how often you’ll be blogging, it’s time to figure how to what and when go together. For my blog it roughly looks like this –
- Tuesday: Blogging or Social Media Tip
- Thursday: Project Reveal or Printable Day
- Friday: Lifestyle or Personal (IF)
Tuesday is my must-blog day. Though confession: sometimes this gets pushed to Wednesday. Regardless, my first post of the week builds my cornerstone content, meaning it solves a problem my ideal reader has.
Why not Monday? A lot of people feel Monday is a must-blog day but I almost never post on a Monday. Why? Because I avoid working over the weekends. This means if I’m a little behind, I’m finishing my post on Monday to publish on Tuesday. Just keepin’ it real haha. I also feel that everyone is posting on Mondays and would rather not compete with every blogger out there on that day.
My second post of the week is either a project reveal or I share a printable. These posts are my more fun posts while still allowing me to connect with my ideal audience.
Last but not least, if I do publish a third post it’s usually a lifestyle or more personal post. I know some bloggers experts might argue to drop this category but I believe that blogging is and should be personal so I opt to keep them.
Brainstorm blog post ideas
The next step in creating an effective editorial calendar is to brainstorm blog posts ideas. Since now you know your categories and how often you will be posting under each one, you know exactly how many of each you’ll need for a given period.
For example, if I’m brainstorming for the next 2 months, I know I need at least 8 ideas for each of my broad categories. Generally I have a general list of blog post idea already saved and at this point all I do is pluck them from this list and then move onto the next step.
While on this step, do not forget about holidays and important events! I keep a year-at-a-glance editorial calendar where I can see all major holidays coming and any big events such as a new family addition, a big trip, or an industry related event. If I’m ever feeling a little short on blog posts idea, looking at holidays and events always gives me more than enough ideas to cover the wholes in my list!
Fill out your blog editorial calendar
This is probably one of my favorite parts – blank planner and plugging away blog posts. I try to plan out at least 1.5-2 months in advance. This allows me to build and follow themes within my editorial calendar and plan ahead.
I usually have my paper planner out and in pencil write out the exact dates I plan on publishing a given post. I say in pencil because I like to allow some flexibility in my calendar for when things came out of the blue. For example, last week I published a post on Pinterest Showcase, a new feature released this month. Since I have a Pinterest course, it makes sense for me to stay on top of Pinterest news so I had to move a couple of posts around to fit that one in.
Additionally, as I work on this step I tend to move things around once or twice. I do this to make sure everything flows together and I’m not skipping around topics too much or presenting related topics backwards.
If paper is not your thing, you can also use online calendars such as CoSchedule or good ol’ Google Calendar.
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From calendar to published post
Last but not least, going from editorial calendar to published post on your blog! This process will look a little different for everyone but here’s how mine goes –
- Finalize editorial calendar
- Outline blog post in Evernote
- Research any portion of the post if I needed
- Finalize outline in Evernote
- Expand outline to full draft
- Edit first draft in Hemingway Editor
- Move post from to WordPress post editor
- Edit post again + add appropriate formatting
- Add graphics and visuals
- Schedule post
I truly believe in coming up with a process that works for you and your blog. The overall arch will look about the same for most bloggers but the details are what makes or breaks a process. I have been blogging for 6 years now and it’s taken me a long time to come up with a process that works for me.
For example, a lot of bloggers will do everything online – their brainstorming, the editorial calendar, the outline, etc. Whereas other bloggers will do all the planning on paper and open up their computers only when it comes time to write the post. I’ve found for me, a hybrid works best. I have to do my blog planning on paper but move onto the computer in the outline portion.
All of this to say – find what works for you and don’t be afraid to experiment and play around until you do. There’s no perfect process!
Need a blog planner? Check out my Level Up! Blog Planner.
It has 25+ pages to help you plan everything related to your blog!