A few months ago, I did a post on how I organise my blog (and my life), talking about WordPress Editorial Calendar, Microsoft One Note, and the various notebooks and planners I use to try to keep everything on track.
Since then, though, things have been a little different. I upgraded to Windows 10… and somehow lost everything that had been stored in Microsoft OneNote – whoops! I gradually stopped using WordPress Editorial Calendar, too: because it was tucked away in the admin panel of WordPress, I just kept forgetting it existed, and reaching for my 2015 diary instead, which ended up so crammed full of blog stuff AND life stuff that it made me feel disorganised just looking at it – which kinda defeats the point, really, doesn’t it?
Despite that, it was pretty obvious to me that I’m the kind of person who likes to get things down on paper, rather than pixels, so last month I ordered myself a shiny new Blog Content Planner, in a bid to get my blog back on track, and reclaim my day planner for all the non-blog-related stuff I have to keep track of it. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s working for me so far, so today I thought I do a post which is partly a review, and partly just me rambling on about how I organise and plan the content for my blog: because if there’s one thing I love to talk about, it’s organising stuff. Seriously.
Here’s the planner itself, which is fairly customisable: you can choose to have it in paperback or hardback, matte cover or shiny cover, and your own choice of wording on the cover. (I mean, obviously. I don’t think they’d sell many if they all had ‘Forever Amber’ on the cover, would they? )
My first mistake was choosing the matte cover than the shiny one: I’m not really sure what my logic was there, but while it looked fantastic out of the box, it’s already started to pick up a few fingerprints and other marks and I have a feeling it’ll be starting to look a bit grubby by the end of the year. Lesson learned!
My second mistake (I think) was choosing The Bloggers’ Planner rather than The Day Planner: they’re both aimed at bloggers, and are both pretty similar (and there’s also one called The Content Planner, just to add to the confusion), so I went back and forth on which one to get, and ended up really confusing myself, to be honest. In the end, the one I have places a lot of emphasis on the planning of individual posts, rather the scheduling of content as a whole, and I think the latter option would’ve been better for me. Not a huge deal, but another lesson learned!
Anyway, the planner is, unsurprisingly, divided into months, and each month starts with an inspirational quote (but of course!), and an editorial calendar:
This is the section I use most often: basically, any time I have an idea for a blog post, I pencil it into the next available slot in the editorial calendar then, once the post is written and scheduled, I erase the pencil and write it in with ink, using a different colour for each of the main categories on the blog. The pencil entries work for me because they’re not set in stone (er, ink, rather), so at the point I write something in pencil, it’s still just an idea: I’m not committing myself to publishing the post on that day – or AT ALL, if I change my mind – but putting into the editorial calendar, rather than adding it to a list, or making a note on my phone, makes me less likely to forget about it, and more likely to actually get round to writing it. (And, of course, if I do change my mind, I can just erase it, and either pencil it in on another day, or ditch it entirely.) By doing this, I’ll normally have posts planned for at least a couple of weeks in advance, which also means I avoid that, “OMG, I have nothing to post tomorrow!” panic at 2am – I just have to check my editorial calendar and get to work. Or that’s the theory, anyway.
The coloured ink, meanwhile, is… well, it’s mostly just me being a bit anal, really. The original idea was so that I could see at a glance what kind of topics I’d covered that week/month, and make sure I wasn’t writing too many of the same types of post. That’s actually easier said than done with the type of blog I have, though: I tend to go through phases where I’m more into one subject than another, and I prefer to write about the things I’m actually interested in at the time, rather than forcing myself to come up with a post on a specific topic. So the different ink colours don’t really work, is what I’m saying, but I can’t seem to make myself stop it, so let’s just move on from that, shall we?
The next section in the planner contains areas where you can plan out specific blog posts. This is probably the least useful section for me, because I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise to any of you to learn that I don’t really sit down and meticulously plan out individual posts. I plan when I’ll publish them, sure, but when it comes to actually writing them, I just… write them. I don’t do a plan first, and I don’t really need to check a bunch of boxes to remind myself to include stuff, which is why I’d probably have been better off with the Day Planner, which misses out this section, than this one.
With that said, I do use the section to keep track of any sponsored posts or other commitments I have to complete posts by a certain date. Sometimes I can get a bit overwhelmed trying to keep track of that kind of stuff, so when I book in a sponsored post, or receive an item to feature, I write it into this section, so I can refer back to it and make sure I’m on track with everything.
Next up, we have a standard day planner, which I mostly use to remind me what I’m supposed to be doing each day (blog-wise, that is: I use my regular diary for life events), and to write down a daily ‘To Do’ list. I also use it to schedule my social media for the week: my daily posts are published on social media automatically, but I use Buffer to promote older content, which I select manually. I use lilac ink to write down which post is being promoted each day, just so I don’t repeat the same thing too often. And also because it’s pretty, let’s not kid ourselves here.
(The section I write the day’s social media post in is actually entitled ‘Today’s Menu’, so obviously this planner wasn’t designed with me in mind, because LOLZ.)
There’s a couple of other pages for each month: one for you record your “hauls” (Er, no thanks) and another for stats (Oh, go on then…). Oddly, the ‘hauls’ get almost an entire page, with the stats area occupying a tiny area at the bottom of it, which seems the wrong way around to me (and perhaps gives an insight into what people THINK blogging involves, as opposed to what it ACTUALLY involves…): I’d much rather obsessively track my blog stats that record everything I bought, but each to their own, I guess.
Aaand that’s how I plan my blog content: for now, anyway. Because I can’t get enough of organisation tips, if you’re a blogger, please feel free to tell me how you plan your content and stay organized: I promise not to copy you too much…