So maybe that is a little bit of an exaggeration but at the same time, as my life has been insane and crazed, a calendar has kept me sane, consistent, and definitely been a part of how this blog continues to grow. I have tried many things. I’ve bought templates. I’ve used my own personal planner. I tried going digital. This is what works best for me and I honestly think it will work for many of you too. Why? Because I have told a few bloggy friends about it and they too have adapted it and love it as well. Also, it’s not ingenious so I’m also probably not the only person who does it this way.
First, let’s talk about why a blogger needs an editorial calendar then I’ll show you show you what I do and why this works best for me and for some other folks. In no particular order:
This blog has that. Yes, it’s true. I have sponsors that I want to take care of and make sure there is space for them. I must show my sponsors love or I shouldn’t have sponsors. Right? This also helps me to make sure the sponsors get the most out of their experience here and at the same time, maintain the integrity of blog. I want it all to feel very organic. Meanwhile, if there is ever sponsored content (and I hope you know I say no more than I say yes; it has to fit this blog and me), that also needs to be scheduled in. Both of these responsibilities often have due dates that I want to follow. Which bring me to:
2. Link Ups
Who has ever been reading their daily blogs and come to a link up they knew about but somehow in the midst of, you know, daily real real life, forgot about it? Me. All the time. I can avoid that with this calendar system. (For the record, I still miss link ups that I want to join because I forget dates so clearly I need a calendar.)
3. Ideas + Content
Do you struggle to come up with content? You won’t when you see how this editorial calendar system works.
4. Growing the Blog + Big Picture
I have the whole month in front of me. The way the color coding system works I can tell if I have two sponsored posts in one week (ick!) and move things around. I can also keep track of what features do well.
5. Flexibility + Organization
-a calendar of some sort (I have found something that lays completely flat is what I personally like best)
-post-its to fit your calendar, multi colored (I find the tabs ones fit my calendar best but seriously to each her own)
That is it.
So this is how you start from scratch.
1. Designate a color to a feature or a topic. All of my sponsors (my daisy, rosie, and peony lovers) are one color. Anything food related is another. Lately, any time I write about violence against women I use another color. This is not just for organizational’s sake. This is so at a glance I can see…Am I posting three times a week about food? The thing is, it helps you stay on target for what your blog is (more on this coming up later in this series). If this was a recipe blog or a cooking blog that would be great, but I post on a variety of topics so that wouldn’t be wise.
2.Write down blog ideas on post-its (if starting from scratch) and place them on the side of the calendar | If this is your second month doing this, start with the ideas you didn’t use from last month, moving those to the side of the calendar for the next month. Don’t forget any responsibilities you have. I like to write those down first.
3. Place your responsibilities first. This is just my preference. I don’t want them to fall through the cracks and there are certain days I prefer to post on. So you’ll see that I place my yellowish greenish post-its first. This may seem as if I am beholden to those posts. It actually is the opposite. It frees me up to see all the possibilities.
4. Place post-its with link ups you want to join that month.
5. Go to town with the rest of your ideas.
Here is the great part. I always have post-its left over. They just don’t fit for whatever reason. I leave those on the side for the next month. Meanwhile, sometimes throughout the month, there may be a day I don’t adhere to the calendar which is 100% completely fine. For example, on this day: I needed to be real. Which is so beyond fine. It’s actually great. Because the post that was “scheduled” that day simply moves to next month’s possibilities. No ideas are going to fall through the cracks of your brain. Or maybe my brain is the only one with crack.
Maybe you hear about a link up later in the month. Great! Create a post-it and play around the with scheduling, moving the post-its. The possibilities are endless.
Someday I may be more inspired to write about something that isn’t on the calendar or is on the calendar on another day. I’m not rigid. I go with my gut and post about what I am inspired about. I take that post-it that I didn’t use and switch it out with something for the month or I put it on the side with my ideas, knowing I will get to it.
I love the post-its because I found myself scratching a lot of things out and erasing things whenever I wrote directly on a calendar and that was just annoying. I couldn’t keep things straight. I lost ideas in those brain crevices I mentioned earlier. Now I don’t. When I am planning the month, I usually have too many ideas and often have to make choices. And then I would say probably at least 5 times throughout the month I post on something I never planned on or made a post-it for.
When you’ve placed your post-its at the beginning of the month, you (I) am aware things will change but at least I have a big picture of what the idea will look like and that’s important when it comes to the mission of your blog and growing your readership. And, also? It honestly just makes me feel like I am on target for myself and why I have this blog.
What works for you? I’d love to hear your ideas or if you’ll give this a try…I’d love to hear that too!