Hello everyone! Today I wanted to share how I blog plan and generally stay organized blogging-wise with you for BirthMay!
This is my third annual BirthMay! What is BirthMay, you ask? Well I blog every day in May because it’s my birth month! I started BirthMay in 2017 and did it again in 2018 so I knew I had to do it again this year.
Why did I want to share how I blog plan? You’re so inquisitive today! Well I wanted to for a few reasons but the main one is that I’ve been blogging for going on four years and, naturally, I’ve learned a bit in that time! However, I feel like I’ve barely shared any of that knowledge! Now granted, I’m not sure if you even want my knowledge necessarily. But I’m going to share what works best for me to blog plan in case it helps you out!
Now the first thing I do every month is create my calendar for the next month. I plan one month ahead for a few reasons. One, I like to make sure I have my plan in place so if I’m inspired or if I have some extra time on my hands I know what I can and should work on. Two, I normally plan my life out months ahead of time so I generally know what I can write about already. My blog is a lifestyle blog, specifically my lifestyle, so I feel like this time frame is perfect. I don’t write out posts too far ahead of time because I feel like by the time my post goes live whatever I said might not be relevant anymore. While it was at one point, I like my blog to be current to my life at the time of publishing so that’s why this works for me. Maybe it’s different for you!
As you can see, I use Microsoft Excel to create my calendar. I picked from a template so it already calculates the dates based on two things. First is the current year, as the formula will automatically use today’s years. Then there is a drop down where you select the month and that’s how the dates are determined! I chose to do a full calendar because even though I only blog twice a week, I like to see the entire thing.
I always start with the same four posts automatically. One is my “If We Were Having Coffee” which is always the first post of the month. Then the last three posts, in order, are my “Lively” post, my “Favorites” post, and my “Life” post. That usually leaves me with room for 4-5 more posts that month.
On the side of the calendar, where all the extra cells are, I have a few ideas for upcoming posts. I cropped them out as they are potential spoilers! But if you’ve been here long enough you might be able to guess what kind of posts are on there. I have a list of my “seasonal” posts there so that I kind of remind myself of them such as goals check ins, bucket lists, empties, etc. I also have a few other things like if I know a holiday is in that month I’ll try to think of at least one idea for that holiday and so on. If I have ideas and I’m not at my computer I make sure to write them on paper or on a note in my phone to then put them here too.
So enough about ideas because I’m sure we all have lists upon lists of ideas everywhere. Next is how I use my calendar to track my posts. Before the month starts all squares are white. However, once the month starts I turn anything that is not done or started red so I know I haven’t worked on them at all. Once I start writing the post but haven’t finished writing it or haven’t taken photos yet I turn it yellow. On the rare occasion I have photos but haven’t written the post yet (very rare) I turn it orange. And once it’s fully finished and scheduled the cell with the post title is turned green.
Recently I’ve also started tallying up my posts based on their category so I can try to better spread out my topics among the categories I want to focus on. Personally, I don’t pay attention to which ones get the most likes/clicks/etc. I only focus on what I feel like I want to write about so that’s how I determined my categories. One of them for me is “blog” which is why this post came about – sharing how I blog and what I’ve learned throughout my time blogging.
Now, there are a ton of more things I could do to plan for my blog or to organize it but I personally like this a lot more. I know you can save drafts as well and I used to do that for awhile but it was too messy for me personally to have tons of drafts I wasn’t actively working on.
Having a calendar on Excel definitely works the best for me! I’ve tried paper calendars before such as small calendars, a full planner, desk calendars, etc. Ultimately those just didn’t work for me because I also am flexible with my plan. If I have a post planned but don’t feel like writing it at that time I find something else I like more. Eventually it just got too messy for me on paper so I switched to an electronic method and love it so much more. Plus I love color coordinating based on the status of the post! I’ve considered color coordinating the text instead of the fill but, well, that’s just crazy talk (or is it…?).
So that’s how I blog plan! Let me know your preferred method. How do you stay organized?
Thanks for reading!
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