Do you know you're blogging about this week? What about next week? Or next month? Create a content calendar and get your blog organized.
I should preface this saying I have always been a planner. I get extreme satisfaction from crossing tasks off of my to-do list, I color code everything, and sometimes I plan planning. Basically, having a plan is my jam. You could call me hardcore type-A.
When I first started my blog, I knew I needed to have a plan in place. I was balancing searching for a job, moving into a new apartment, newlywed life, and growing my blog and social from nothing. I began in my Lilly Pulitzer planner, moved onto Google Sheets, played around in Trello, then finally settled on Google Calendar. Most of us start off blogging with all the ideas in the world, a goal to blog consistently, stay on top of everything, but then one day our mind goes blank or we are constantly trying to stay on top of everything. If that's where you're at or you're trying to avoid that, this post is for YOU!
Honestly, I can't believe it took me so long to get my life organized solely in Google Calendar. Ever since I can remember I had my physical planner plus the iCalendar that synced across my phone and laptop. Once I started blogging and freelancing, I knew I needed everything in one place. I couldn't be checking a million places to keep track of projects, errands, appointments, and trips. Admittedly, it took me a while to fully transition to Google Calendar, but now that I have, I am consistently staying on track and planning ahead.
Currently, I am using both Google Calendar and Trello to keep my life in order. Would you be interested in seeing how I use Trello to keep track of projects and plan for the future? Be sure to let me know what questions you have and what you want to see more of in the comments section.
What's a content calendar?
In short, a blogger content calendar (also called an editorial calendar) is a place for you to plan out your future blog and social posts. You can make it as basic or as complex as you wish, it's yours!! I decided to include ready to publish blog posts, tentative blog posts, Instagram posts, blog duties, and a few others.
Why do I need one?
I'll give you three reasons!
- To keep yourself accountable: One of the biggest struggles bloggers have is remaining consistent. Consistency is key!
- So you aren't always playing catch up: It's the greatest feeling when you know you have weeks or even months of content planned out and ready to go. It lets you focus on new projects, really engage with your audience, and most importantly – not get burnt out!
- It's a visual representation of your blog: You'll be able to see what type of content you're pushing out, plan around holidays, and easily see if you have room for sponsored work.
Okay, how do I create one?
Like I mentioned above, I use Google Calendar for my content calendar. This is what works for me, I recommend setting up your content calendar in Google Cal then adjusting it to fit your needs. This is a super basic tutorial and perfect for getting started. Think of this as a beginner's guide! Google Cal has so many functions beyond these few tips, so once you get your content calendar set up, go explore.
Determine your posting schedule
I plan for two blog posts to go live each week and three Instagram posts to publish. You probably have your own system for what you do once you click publish on a blog post, so rather than fill up your calendar with more tasks, I just write the name of the blog post going live that day. That lets me know that I need to promote via email and social. For Instagram, I'll plan out the caption and hashtags, that way I can simply pull the text from my content calendar and post the photo. If you need to adjust your posting schedule, simply rearrange your calendar – easy!
Identify holidays and events
As a food blogger, I like to keep up with fun food holidays. More importantly, this calendar helps me plan content around seasons. Think pumpkin spice everything for fall or breakfast casseroles for Christmas! Fashion blogger? NYFW. Mom blogger? Back to school.
Since I add various tasks and reminders in my content calendar, it helps me to color code everything! I can easily see what blog posts are ready to go and which I still need to draft. Additionally, I can also spot which days I need to follow up with brands, run errands, etc.
To do this: Go to Settings > Add Calendar > New Calendar! From there you can choose which color you want and start adding your content.
Fill in with your content
Add ready to publish blog posts, ideas, reminders, duties, and anything else blog related. I also add my personal appointments and travel in here, but that's up to you what all you want to add.
Use the description box
This is technically optional because I go back and forth on using this and Trello. It's really personal preference. I love using the description box for drafting Instagram posts. Or when I'm on the go and inspiration strikes, I can simply open up a new tentative blog post and quickly jot down my ideas in the extra space.
Update your content calendar
Make sure to check back to your calendar, cross off tasks/reminders, or delete published posts. Always be planning ahead. If you find that publishing one blog post a week works best for you, simply adjust the calendar to work for your life. On the other hand, if you're ready to post three times a week, make the adjustments and see where you can fill in certain content.
I have my content calendar bookmarked so the first thing I do every day is open up my calendar and email, then get to work. Am I the only one totally excited and geeking out over here? Please let me know if you have any questions and if this tutorial was helpful!