Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Planning and Organizing Blog Content

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I don’t typically blog about blogging very much, but I’ve had several requests from readers to share how I plan my blog content.  Y’all know I love a good planning/organizing post, so I wasn’t going to turn that one down! 

Putting it simply, I use two tools to organize my blog content:

1. An Excel spreadsheet with different worksheets by category for all of my ideas
2. An Emily Ley Mini Notebook that holds my actual content calendar for the year 

The Excel Spreadsheet

The spreadsheet is stored on my laptop in my “Blog” folder and it is titled “Post Ideas.”  Simple, right? 

The spreadsheet is divided into 9 worksheets, and each worksheet is for a different category.  The categories are as follows:

Recurring
Yearly
Soon
Projects
Fashion
Recipes
Kids
Organizing
Miscellaneous

Now to elaborate on each of the categories!

Recurring

This worksheet is for the posts that I do every single week and every single month of the year.  For example:

Weekly:
Our Weekend – every Monday
Five on Friday – every Friday

Monthly:
Monthly Goals – first Friday of every month
What I Wore – first Wednesday of every month
What’s Up Wednesday – last Wednesday of every month (although I’ve kind of fallen off the wagon with those lately)

I just like to keep a list of these somewhere because it makes planning my actual content calendar a breeze!  I like to be able to see all of them in a list and not have to actually remember them all off the top of my head.  Lists make everything better!  And easier!  ;o)

Yearly

This worksheet is for the posts that I do once a year every year.  This worksheet is divided into months January – December, and under each month, I have all of the posts listed that I do every year during that month.  For example:

January:
New Year’s Goals – How I Did the Previous Year
New Year’s Goals for the Year Ahead

February:
Valentine’s Day Home Tour
Olivia’s Birthday Interview
Olivia’s Birthday Letter

March:
Lindsay’s Sweet World Anniversary
Easter Home Tour
My Birthday Wish List

April:
My birthday post – “37 Things for Age 37 (I use the appropriate age for that year)

May:
Summer Bucket List

June:
Fourth of July Home Tour 

July:
Jacob’s Birthday Interview
Jacob’s Birthday Letter

August:
Summer Bucket List – What We Accomplished

September:
Fall Bucket List
Fall Home Tour

October:
National Infant Loss Awareness Day

November:
Black Friday Gift Guide
Fall Bucket List – What We Accomplished
Christmas Bucket List
Fall Family Pictures

December:
My Christmas Wish List
Christmas Home Tour
Our Annual Christmas Card
Christmas Bucket List – What We Accomplished (sometimes this posts in January)
An Ode to 2019 (the year in review)

Soon

This worksheet is for ideas that I want to put on the blog soon, but I haven’t yet started on them or worked them into my content calendar.  These are typically posts that I know I could crank out with ease because I’m feeling inspired.  A few examples of ideas on this worksheet are:

The Ultimate Guide to Planning Blog Content (this post – ha!)
Home Office Refresh
Olivia’s Big Girl Bedroom Reveal

Projects

This worksheet is for different project ideas that I have for around our home that would also be good to turn into a blog post… read Pinterest-worthy projects!  A couple of examples that used to be on this worksheet that are now done are as follows:


Fashion

This worksheet is for all of my fashion post ideas.  A couple of examples that used to be on this worksheet that are now done are as follows:


Recipes

This one is pretty straightforward… this is for all of the recipes that I want to put on the blog.  I do have this worksheet divided into five categories:

Main Dishes
One Dish Meals
Apps & Sides
Desserts
Drinks

A couple of examples that used to be on this worksheet that are now done are as follows:


Kids

This worksheet is for all blog posts that are kid related.  A couple of examples that used to be on this worksheet that are now done are as follows:


Organizing

This worksheet is for all blog posts that I want to do about organizing.  A couple of examples that used to be on this worksheet that are now done are as follows:


Miscellaneous

These are for all ideas that don’t fit into any of those other categories.  Things like:


So that’s my spreadsheet of ideas.  And let me say that I have oodles and oodles of them.  I think I have enough ideas right now to blog for the next five years.  Haha.  As much as I would love to share a peek at the spreadsheet with you, I'm not ready to share all of my ideas for future posts, so that's why I mostly shared past ideas with you.  :o)

Now for the information on the content calendar itself and how I actual do the planning.

The Content Calendar

For my content calendar, I keep a Mini Notebook in my Emily Ley Simplified Planner and I have it divided into three categories, the last category being my Blog Content Calendar.  Every December, I go to 24calendar.com to get some free blank calendars for the upcoming year.  I copy each calendar for the upcoming year, paste them in a Word Doc, resize them to fit my mini notebook, and then I cut them out and tape them into the notebook with washi tape.  It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not at all… overall I would say it takes about 20 minutes.  The only reason I use this method is because I like to keep my blog content calendar inside my Simplified Planner and I haven’t been able to find any calendars that are the right size that I like.  Plus this is free!  You could easily use a pocket calendar or any other kind of monthly calendar if you wanted.  Just do whatever makes the most sense for you!




So now that you have a spreadsheet brimming with ideas and a blank calendar, it’s time to plan!  I typically sit down at the end of each year to loosely plan the year ahead. 

First, I cross out all days that I know I will not post… for example, certain holidays, Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer when I’m off with the kids, and a few random days throughout the rest of the year (usually a Tuesday or Thursday here and there) just to give myself little breaks. 

Second, I fill in all of the content from the “Recurring” Excel worksheet.  These are the posts that I do every week and every month like my weekend posts, Five on Friday posts, and Monthly Goals posts.

Third, I fill in all of the content from the “Yearly” Excel worksheet.  These are the posts that I do once a year every year during a specific time of the year. 

Fourth, I fill in all of the content from the “Soon” Excel worksheet.  These are the posts that I want to do soon. 

Finally, I try to fill in all of the gaps for the first two months of the year using the ideas from my Excel Spreadsheet.  That way I know exactly how much time I have to plan for each post for the next two months – completing projects, photography for the post, copy writing, editing, etc. – and I can go ahead and incorporate those tasks into my Simplified Planner. 

At that point, planning is done until February when I sit down once more to plan March and April.  And then in April I sit down to plan May and June.  And so on.

Here's a peek at January and February of this year:



Now, I will say this – life happens and THINGS CHANGE!  My content is always, always changing so I only use pencil when writing in my content calendar because plenty of erasing does happen!

Once posts are completed and scheduled in Blogger, I cross the date off in pink highlighter on my content calendar.  That way I can see what’s done at a glance.

Sometimes I work well in advance when I know I have a vacation coming up or summer break.  When working ahead, I just go ahead and write down the idea on the appropriate date and then once I have the post completed and scheduled, I cross off the date in pink highlighter to let me know that’s done.  For example, this July I’m going to recap Jacob’s third birthday since I didn’t blog back then.  I chose a day during his birth month (July) to post that.  It’s already completed and scheduled in Blogger so it is already crossed off on my content calendar.  Done!

So there you go!  Easy peasy!  Having the Excel spreadsheet and the physical content calendar is the perfect combination for me!  How do you plan your content?


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*Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I What I Wore, Pumps & Push Ups for Oh, Hey Girl! Link-Up, The Mummy ChroniclesTucker UpShopping My Closet for Style Me Wednesday, Classy Yet Trendy for Trendy Wednesday Link-Up, The Blended Blog and Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.





24 comments:

  1. I love this. I just use my monthly calendar in my life planner. At the beginning of the year (or in my planner case-July) I go ahead and write in what I know I will blog each day. (Weekend recap, Friday Favorites, Goals, Prime Purchases, etc). This system seems to work. Then I keep a running tab of ideas in the blank pages of my planner.

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  2. You are so organized! I also use a monthly calendar to see what's coming up. I bet this post will go big on Pinterest!

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  3. WOW! Can I just hire you to come plan my posts!? Haha! You might have to bring some content along with you! Great post and thanks for sharing all your great tips!

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  4. I love the idea of a spreadsheet. It always helps me to write things out but I also love the idea of having it all organized on the computer.Sierra Beautifully Candid

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  5. The spreadsheet is a great tool! I love listing out similar categories to keep ideas straight. I do tend to go with the flow though too when different post ideas arise. Love the simplified planner though!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

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    1. Yes, the categories were a must after my list got too long! It was hard to find anything before I categorized them!

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  6. Now I know one reason your blog does so well - you have so many great ideas! I plan one month at a time on my blog. Sometimes more like 2 weeks at a time, because I fill in things we've been up to that I want to blog about. But I really need a list of things to use when we're not up to anything! You are so inspiring!

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  7. Every.single.time. Yup every single time you do one of these posts my heart is so happy and I get a new zest for things! I have been doing the excel spreadsheet and the calendar like you. But I like all your categories.

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  8. You are so organized - it's inspiring seriously! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  9. Great tips! I have learned to write my blog content in pencil in my calendar because it seems like something always changes but I love to plan a month at a time too!

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  10. The calendar view of things is key for me...although like you said, it is always changing and sometimes life happens! I do love the idea of having a spreadsheet broken into different categories. Right now I just have a running list and this would be so much better!

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  11. You are my organizational spirit animal!

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  12. You are so organized and I love it! I haven't touched my blog in YEARS (nor do I really have a desire to blog again), but if I was a blogger, this would absolutely be a tool I would use! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

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  13. Great tips! I used my planner and a notebook when I was blogging regularly. I'm excited to get back into it now that I'm forced to sit still for hours while the baby nurses...haha!

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  14. I do just about the same thing; except I use a full size wall calendar. I had an extra calendar this year and used it to write in all my recurring blog posts.. once I did that I found I didn't need a ton of new blogging ideas... but as I think of them I do have a list and I too cross them off once the post is written and scheduled. I like to work at least one week in advance.

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    1. I love the idea of using a wall calendar. I actually thought about doing that so I could just have something right in front of me at all times! I may end up doing that eventually!

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  15. I love posts like this! It's always fascinating to see how other people do things. I religiously use my calendar on my mac computer and am constantly moving around post topics. It's a lifesaver. I don't know how I ever had content to blog about before I kept all of my ideas organized this way! Glad you have a system that works so well for you. <3

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  16. I found this so interesting! Love that you've created your own calendar notebook--I really need to develop a planning system....once my life calms down ha!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

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  17. #organizergoals Holy moly...if I was half as organized as you I might not be so looney.

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  18. OMG! This is amazing and just what I needed. Thanks for making me excited about updating my blog.

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