Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Better Your Own Blog: Editorial Calendar

This weekend was super busy. I helped with planning a major Coast Guard spouse event and it took place on Sunday. There were around 80 people in attendance and it was a huge success! It also left me way more exhausted than I could have predicted. As a result, I'm bringing you the next installment of "Better Your Own Blog" a day later than I had planned. I'm really excited about this week's topic though and I think you'll enjoy it as well! (Plus, there's a free printable at the end!)
 
 
A few months ago, I started using an editorial calendar and it has been one of the best things for my blog! I've shared it with a couple different people through private conversations but I thought it was finally time to share my method with everyone else. So far, I have found this method to be efficient and flexible which is perfect for me.
 
I start by creating a table in MS Word to use as a calendar for the month. (If you're not a pro at this, I've included a free October calendar at the end of this post. I even made it cute for October!) At the bottom of my calendar, I include free space titled "post ideas."
 
Next, I include blank space at the bottom of my calendar titled "post ideas." This section is really important to the success of the system. This is your brainstorming and workspace so that you can keep the calendar itself relatively neat. (You could also use the back of the calendar if you needed more space.) I like doing mine on the computer because it means I can keep it neat by deleting things instead of crossing them out. I recommend using pencil if you fill out the calendar by hand. (See the example below - remember you can get the printable for free at the end of the post!)
 
 
After I have my calendar set up, I decide how many days I'm going to commit to blogging. For Hodge Podge Moments, I aim for Sunday-Friday. Saturday is my unplugged day. For The Coastie Couple, I aim for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This lets me know how many posts I'll need to plan for in the month.
 
Next, I mark any big holidays, events, or life moments that have occurred in that month. These are often a great starting point for a post idea. For example, my birthday is October 24th - you can bet there will be something birthday related around that date. I find it very helpful to use holidays and events to my advantage. It's also great to know these in advance so you can plan for guest posts or scheduling during busy times.
 
If you link up regularly or have a series on your blog, go ahead and write those in. For me, Mondays are "Better Your Own Blog," Fridays are "Plate for One," and Sundays are now "Bloggy Brunch." I fill these in first because the general topic is the same every week. The specific topic may change, but the overall topic is the same.
 
The last step is to start filling in other days with the ideas you have for blogging. Remember all of those great places to get ideas that I mentioned last week? Make sure you write those ideas down when they come to you so that you can add them onto your editorial calendar easily! Use the bottom of the calendar to keep adding ideas. Miss a day of blogging or a new idea comes up that fits perfectly? It's important to remember not to get boxed in by your editorial calendar. It's your calendar and your blog - you can change and adjust it at any time. (That's why I said to use pencil!) This week, I switched my Monday post over to Tuesday which means today's original post will go to the "post ideas" section to use later this month or even next month. Always write down your ideas to use later!
 
Are you ready for the free printable? Click here to get it!
 
What's your current method of planning for future posts? Do you think an editorial calendar could work for you? 
 
 

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