When I first started blogging, I laughed at the idea of scheduling my posts in advance. To me, the thing I loved most about blogging was the random spur of the moment writing. Now, though, I love the stability of having a content calendar and at least a week’s worth of posts scheduled in advance.
If you’re serious about growing your blog, nailing down your content calendar is a MUST! Here are a few tips I’ve learned about making your blogging content calendar work for you. Plus I’ve included a fun printable worksheet that will help you along the way!
Step One// Brainstorm your ideas.
People have asked me how I come up with new post ideas to write about on the blog. My answer is mind-mapping.
You might have learned about mind mapping in your high school English classes but in case you’re not familiar with the term, a mind map is a visual diagram that helps you connect related topics to each other and to a central idea. I like to think of my content mind map as a tree with different branches and off-shoots that represent the categories and topics I write about on my blog.
On your worksheet, use the center circle to fill in the name of your blog or business. Add the categories you write about as branches around that center circle. For me, marriage, military life, and motherhood are the topics I write about most often. You can write about as many categories as you like, but I’d say, three is a good start.
Once you’ve written down your blog categories, add in the topics that immediately come to mind for each category. By now, your creative juices should be starting to flow. Take advantage of that and write down any post ideas that spring from the topics you’ve written.
Follow these steps for every category you want to include on your blog and you’ve got yourself a mind-map.
*Tip: If you’re still having trouble coming up with ideas with the mindmap, try choosing a theme for each month.
For example, on my blog, January was a month of intentions so there are several posts about setting goals in your personal life and marriage. Not every post has to correlate with your theme, of course, but it’s a good way to keep your content cohesive and relevant to your readers.
Step Two // List your specific post ideas.
Once you’ve mind mapped, it’s time to list out your post ideas. I’ve included a handy Post Ideas Worksheet so you can keep track of your blog posts and organize them by category.
If you’re anything like me, you probably think of blog post topics throughout your daily life too. I use the Notes app (and recently the Voice Memo app) on my phone to jot down any post ideas that come to me when I’m not at my desk. Then, once a week or so, I go through my notes and add the post ideas to my master list.
Step Three // Create a posting schedule that works for you and stay consistent.
Now that you have a list of ideas, ask yourself one question. How many informative and high-quality posts can I write each week?
One of the most common mistakes we bloggers seem to make is focusing solely on quantity. Yes, some bloggers can churn out amazing content every single day for every single week from now till eternity, but for most of us, posting content five days a week is the perfect recipe for blogger burnout.
*Tip: Remember, the quality of your posts matters so much more than the quantity.
These days, posting 2 to 3 times a week works perfectly for me. This schedule gives me the time I need to really focus on creating better content for my readers. My articles now are at least 1000 words and often include freebies and printables (like this post does).
Once you’ve decided on your posting schedule, try to be as consistent as possible. Along with high-quality content, consistency is key to keeping readers interested in your blog.
Step Four // Fill out your content calendar
*Tip: Add posts that have a specific deadline first.
As you saw on my mind-map worksheet, I like to remind myself of the posts I publish every month. Some are published on specific dates and some aren’t but I always add my series-type of posts to my content calendar first.
*Tip: Color code your categories.
You can do this with post-it notes, colored pens, or pretty much anything that will help you differentiate your blog topics at a glance. I like to do this because it allows me to quickly evaluate the content on my blog. If there are too many posts in the same color for a particular month, I know I need to start brainstorming other topics and spacing out blog posts with similar content.
I’ve loved what these content calendar tips have done for my blog and I think you will too. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter and download your own Content Calendar Worksheets to help you create a content calendar that is right for you. I promise it’s not nearly as daunting as it seems!!
How do you currently organize your editorial calendar?
Do you agree with the ‘quality over quantity’ motto for blogging or do you prefer posting about anything and everything?