One of the main questions that I get all the time is how I come up with fresh ideas for my blog and how I maintain a schedule that works with my busy life. This question is common for all bloggers because everyone is busy! Today I wanted to dive into how I come up with ideas for blog posts, how I organize them, and how I create a manageable editorial calendar that can work for anyone!
Having an editorial calendar as a blogger is a huge help when it comes to staying organized! When I first started blogging back in 2014, I would just write posts whenever I felt like it, with literally no plan. I quickly felt unorganized, overwhelmed, and like I couldn’t maintain the work load of running a blog. It wasn’t until I started getting organized, planning out content, and managing an actual editorial calendar that I started to be able to keep up with my blogging schedule. I was also able to produce even better content because I was able to schedule my time much more efficiently.
First, lets talk about how to come up with ideas for blog posts and keep an organized list for safe keeping. Coming up with new content for bloggers is one of the biggest challenges we all face as we run our websites. It’s a constant struggle to stay original and be able to create pin-worthy content all while keeping up with our schedules. When brainstorming content, use these simple tips for staying organized:
- Carry around a notebook in your purse to jot down ideas you have while you’re out and about
- Look at the different topics you write about on your blog and see what you could possible add to those categories. Do some research on the topic by reading books, articles, and browsing Pinterest for ideas. Write these ideas down!
- Keep a running note on your phone of ideas that you think of. I’ve discovered that I find a ton of inspiration when I’m out running errands. I use Evernote on my phone to keep track of ideas that I can easily access on my computer later.
- Keep a file box filled with any paper materials that you find that inspire you. Keep these in organized tabs that you can access later
- Create secret Pinterest boards of ideas you come across while looking at all the beautiful pins you come across.
- Keep a running list on an organized chart of blog post ideas in certain categories. You can pull from this list when you are short of ideas on your blog!
Now that you’ve got a bunch of organized ideas, let’s talk about putting them into your editorial calendar! First, let’s talk about what an editorial calendar actual is. Simply put, it’s the schedule of content that you’ve set for yourself throughout the day, week, month and year. This calendar can include just the blog posts you plan on publishing that day, or it can be as detailed as planning out every social media post, blog post, promotion, email list to write, etc. Really it’s up to you and what you think you need! I personally plan out everything from social posts, to my blog tasks for that day. This helps me to stay organized and remember the tasks that I need to do that day. Your editorial calendar is totally customizable, so make it your own!
There are different methods to creating and maintaining an editorial calendar, and it’s totally your preference to which method you choose. In this post, I’ll list all the different methods to managing your editorial calendar, which programs are great to use and what I recommend to make it as easy as possible for you!
Different Ways to Manage Your Editorial Calendar:
- Written Calendar- This is one of the known classic methods for creating your blogging schedule. This is what I currently use because I’m a paper and pen kind of gal, and it works great! With this method, I love to write down all my tasks for the day in my planner, and keep another sheet that’s scheduled out hour by hour so I know which activity to focus on during different parts of the day. This helps me see the big picture of what’s coming up during the week and how I need to schedule them day by day. I currently use the Kate Spade desk planner (it sits flat on my desk, which I love!) and this amazing free handout from Just a Girl and Her Blog to schedule my day.
- Using awesome blog planning programs like Coschedule. When I discovered Coschedule, I was obsessed! This fun tool integrates right with your WordPress and allows you to schedule all of your social media posts in one place as well as organize your notes in Evernote, and organize your blog posts. This powerful tool helps me keep track of when my posts are due to go live, and I can also access all my blog post ideas to create drafts right from one handy place! I highly recommend using it to organize your life on the computer!
- White Board Calendar: This is a great way to see the big picture of which blog posts you have going live! I currently have two small white boards that I use to write down the blog posts I have going live in the next two weeks, as well as any sponsored content deadlines I need to meet. This helps me keep my big events on the forefront of my mind and helps me to see what my next couple of weeks look like at a glance.
- Google Calendar or Apple Calendar: Both of these calendar programs are great for scheduling your blog posts and other content. The great thing about these is that you can easily share the calendar with other members of your team and you can access it through multiple devices! By using a calendar like this, you always have access to your schedule!
- Creating drafts in your blogging platform of future posts and scheduling the time they go live: This is an easy way for you to keep your blog posts organized right where all your blog posts live! By creating scheduled drafts in advance, you are able to see which blog posts you have coming up and start writing them. You can also add little notes within your drafts while you plan so when you sit down to write your post, you can remember everything that needs to go into your draft.
I know that talking about scheduling and creating your blog post calendar can be intimidating…but just remember to start slow and experiment! What I do to stay organized isn’t going to be the same for everyone, so it’s important to find what works best for you individually. Try out these different methods that I’ve mentioned for a couple of weeks and see if it makes your life easier, or causes you stress. Eliminate the methods that seem like a waste of time and keep the ones that help you be productive! Find the system that works for you and stick with it; your blog will thank you! Remember to not compare yourself to other bloggers. Do what you can with your schedule, and really think about what you have time for. Once you find your editorial calendar schedule that works for you, you’re content will be created with ease and your blog will improve!
I hope you enjoyed this information packed post! Let me know in the comments how you like to schedule your blog posts and what works for you! I’d love to hear your feedback and ideas!