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Blogging 101, Day Twenty-Nine: Plan the Next Thirty

Today’s assignment: sketch out an editorial calendar to cover your next 30 days of blogging.

Having an editorial calendar — typically, a list of what posts you’ll publish, with deadlines — doesn’t mean you’re locked in; it’s your blog, and you can blog when you want to. It does mean that you have a foundation, and can add and subtract posts rather than constantly asking, “What should I write about today?”

Today’s assignment: sketch out an editorial calendar to cover your next 30 days of blogging.

For many of us, blogging is a way to express ourselves and interact with others during our free time. The idea of setting deadlines and making plans can put off those of us who do it for the sheer fun, but the great thing about editorial calendars is that they can be as rigorous or elastic as you see fit.

Something as simple as “publish a post every other Tuesday” is a calendar of sorts; making any pact with yourself is a huge step beyond the “whatever, whenever” of having no plan whatsoever. When you mix regular posts (like your new feature) with spontaneous, off-the-cuff material, you create a dynamic, engaging blog.

If you write it, send me a link — I love Korean BBQ.

A calendar also lets you make smart decisions about the mix and the timing of your posts. Busy week? Schedule posts that are shorter or easier to write. More free time? Dive into that essay on the history of Korean BBQ you’ve been meaning to start.

Based on this month, how frequently do you think you can publish? What topics do you want to address, and in what order? Write up an informal outline for yourself, and use it to keep you on track. Consider asking your readers what they’d like to hear more about, and use that feedback to sketch out your editorial notes.

A few guidelines as you think this through:

  • Be realistic. it’s better to schedule two posts a month you know you can publish than a daily post you’ll miss six days out of seven.
  • Budget for interaction. Remember that publishing is only part of blogging — make sure you leave yourself time to engage with the community.
  • Write it down. if it’s only in your head, it’s not really a calendar. Use your phone’s calendar, a note-taking app, or pen and paper. Having written notes helps you stay on track and measure your progress.

If you’ve done each assignment — or even half of them — you’re off to an incredible start as a blogger. Use an editorial calendar to keep your momentum up, and make the next 30 days even better.

Questions about posting frequency? Get feedback in The Commons.

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    1. So true! I have made a commitment to post every week at least once. Tried daily post and it become too taxing for me that almost caused me phobia of blogging.

  1. I love the idea… but.. seems so difficult to do.. I will do it for my blog that is the devotional, as it has the “featured theme” of an idea for daily posts. This will be a great help as it is sometimes difficult to think on the spot about what to write. http://todayicanwithgod.wordpress.com It will be a relief to have each day planned.
    Thank you :)

    1. I am done :D and so very happy as I feel that even though the posts themselves aren’t written yet, I will have a topic daily and a chance to schedule my posts ahead of time for the weekends when it is difficult for me to post.
      Thanks so much Michelle! This assignment has taken a huge weight off of my shoulders!

  2. This seems realistic for me. I made a New Years Resolution to post in my blog twice a week. Sometimes this happens. Sometimes not so much. This will keep me on track.

    1. I’m not sure if you know, but when you are very busy, you can actually schedule posts to come out on a day you specify that you write in advance. On the far right top of your screen as you are writing your post, there is a choice button called “schedule” and you can adjust the date and time. This is great for weeks that you know are busy.

      1. I have seen that button, but I haven’t thought to use it yet. I think the problem is that I’m never not busy and don’t really know when a week is going to be especially busy. Most nights, if I’m not too tired, I can stay up later than my kids and husband and just read and write. But sometimes I just need rest.

    2. I’ve read many comments on all manner of calendars and reminders for writing blogs, I’m especially intrigued by the idea of using a phone calendar. I’ve also gained a few really good ideas on writing maybe one or two drafts in advance.
      I’ve tried to make time, I’ve freed up days and evenings too, I have made time to blog in many different ways… So why oh why? Does something always come up before I get anything done?.
      The only thing I haven’t done is *not* set trying to set time to blog, although it is definitely worth attempting it – a little like reverse psychology! When I arrange time something happens to prevent me from doing as planned!, so tomorrow which is actually Thursday and I will not make any plans with regards writing – According to ‘sods law’ which seems to affect my life quite a lot… I think., yes I won’t be planning anything for the day before Friday blog wise…. Nothing at all ;-) Fantastic if it works! Keep smiling!

  3. I try to post once a week but it can be difficult cause I tend to get off the computer once my husband is home (I’ve been on it most of the day its his turn, ya know) But when I get an idea and I remember I have the phone app I write out a short draft. Just a couple of sentences to help me remember what I wanted to post. But since I am going to add a feature, or two, the calendar will really help. Cause I love being able to look at a calendar and know what I am doing that day. Plus a little foundation is a good thing.

    1. I am a “list” person. My calendar is a living, ongoing list to me. Including what I am going to post about, is even better as I will start without having to think about it. I have started mine in a writing program that is numbered by days, so all that I have to do is fill in the blanks once I am ready to write it and then post it.

  4. I have more photos that I can write about in a week! So I’ve started interspersing my writing posts (which always includes photos) with a single photo with captions only. The problem I have most with this is that it’s better to load the photo on Twitter and Facebook rather than only the link to the blog. So a photo may get retweeted or liked in those forums but not bring people back to WordPress. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing some essential connections.

    1. My FB pages always post a photo preview, but you are right, Twitter doesn’t. I believe you can create the tweet on Twitter and then add the photo AND the link in by hand, possibly?

      1. Facebook posts go further if the actual photo is posted on Facebook – I’ve tried both ways. Not that anything goes far on Facebook for my blog page. Their new methods have seriously put a dent in how many of my followers can actually see my posts.

        And I do exactly as you suggest with Twitter but get few visits to the blog from that technique. I twitter because I already have a Twitter but I’m not sure it’s worth the extra step at the moment. Twitter works better for me if I direct tweets at specific accounts. It’s time consuming.

        Do you find your Facebook or Twitter bring back enough people to make them worthwhile?

      2. I find that there are a few followers on Twitter that will retweet some of my posts, but I forget to go on it and then I thank them later than I mean to. FB for me has been a better resource as it will gather followers from email, contacts and friends. Also, if you join some local groups, there are days where they will encourage you to visit and like each others pages. This has gained me some audience, although I am not sure how much.

    2. I’ve had similar experiences with posts in general when shared on Facebook. But i’d agree that most pictures I shared from my blog (as in the link) didn’t get as much attention as when I posted directly on Facebook.

  5. Been working on a calendar the past couple weeks while attempting to add more pages and redesign the layout of my blog. Really hoping it pays off given I’ve missed two weeks of posting. Really thankful for this blog page – it’s really helped in getting started as a blogger already! 1 month and 14 posts in and I feel like I’m starting to make sense of the whole process finally :)

  6. Oh god no, tried that before and ended up with a lot of draft posts that I ended up scrapping. I have a muse, she knows when it is appropriate to blog :)

  7. I’m happy to have this tool. It’s like my teacher’s plans for the week/month. I’ll base it on my categories and try for 3 a week.

  8. This will likely be a challenge for me because my brain and my thoughts are so random Lol. I have been trying to post once a day just to get that initial social connection with other bloggers and somehow I have been keeping that up but I’m not sure if a calendar plan would make me feel pressured in to posting because I am a total type A! Has this concept been working well for any one else? How do you use it for you?

    1. I use a writing program that I have a folder labelled “ideas” in. You can do something similar (because we all get random ideas), or you can use your notes section of your phone to just jot down those random thoughts you want to write about later. These can end up being laid out in a calendar format so that you have something to post about every day. I am very “on the spot” when it come to writing, but I have been disciplining myself to reach higher and strive for being better at keeping up.

    2. I use a planner to sketch out blog ideas and then plan topics for each week. Whenever I have so free time I try to write a few posts in advance and schedule them. It’s worked for me and it helps to stay ahead of my posting schedule. I try to have at least three weeks worth of posts (so six posts since I post twice per week) scheduled.

  9. Ugh! Gonna try this but I must confess, I am constantly missing appointments in real life because though I have a nice calendar, (cute with puppies and all!) hanging in my kitchen, I never look at it! I need another calendar (to consult) that reminds me to look at my calendar! Maybe an editorial calendar will be different. But probably not — Some of us thrive on disorganization.

    1. We use the term calendar pretty loosely here. A calendar might be to post twice or three times a month, as the mood strikes. Sometimes there is amazingness to be found in the impromptu idea.

    2. You can set reminders on your phone or even email calendar (such as gmail). You can even set time each week to work on your blog and pre-write some posts. I find that’s what works best for me, writing ahead of time and having post ideas written in my weekly planner.

  10. So my goal is to post every Tuesday. I have also started two features, Wednesday Words of Wisdom and a monthly failed query post. I am wondering if anyone has suggestions on how to visually let my readers know what’s coming. I don’t want to add a navigation page, so what are some other alternatives? You can take a look at what I’ve got going so far at http://www.charleneoldham.com.
    Thanks!

    1. You could make an image widget stating when you upload your posts and place it on the side, so when readers log on its visible.

  11. It is sort of difficult to make an editorial calender for a style/fashion blog as you do not know what you will wear because of the weather. Every fashion blogger does regular “how to dos”. Thus, it is also not very unique. Yes, I do have a plan for that. I also try to have a science theme every other week and an Alaska thing every other week. However, they are sort of whenever, i.e. I do not have picked a day for them. I see that the Alaska ones, how-to-dos seem to get slightly more hits. The science ones I am not sure. I would highly appreciate to hear what someone who is not so big into fashion likes about my blog. Any feedback would be appreciated http://www.highlatitudestyle.com

  12. Sorry just an after thought. Should we do a series or feature always on the same day? I mean like a Science Friday, How-to Tuesday, Feature of the Month sort of thing?

    1. You can do the series on any day and at any frequency that suits your blog. As a fashion blogger, one idea is that you might schedule new posts in a series to coincide with new looks that arrive with each season. So now, you might have a few posts coming up as a “countdown to Summer” (or Winter in the Southern Hemisphere) to share looks and ideas for people as the weather changes.

    1. You can write your posts when you have time and then schedule them (as you are in your post-writing page, there is a button to the top-right with the date that you can change and then hit “schedule”). This can make your posts more regular if you know that you will not be able to post on several days.

    2. I agree with Easter, scheduling posts is a great way to keep yourself ahead. I also like to keep a list of ideas or prompts that interest me so that I can refer to it whenever I need inspiration.

    3. Really enjoyed this review. First off – it was a pleasure reading a post by someone on the internet who takes joy in ‘liking’ something – instead of tearing it apart. Your enjoyment and passion really come through.

  13. I’ll have to do that. While I do post every Wednesday and Friday I need to get better about remembering my creative writing post on Friday. Especially as things get hectic. Interaction should be almost everyday though, but maybe not the days I have to post.

    1. I’m trying to post my blog ideas twice a week and then in between respond to daily posts etc, whenever I feel like it.

    1. I think that it is an awesome idea and I look forward to seeing your challenges.
      Will you be posting the topics ahead of time at all or only on the day of? (I have a difficult time finding time to write on the weekends.)

      1. I will be posting them at midnight (the day of) at 00:00 June 1 the first challenge will be posted. That way you have the whole day to do them. If you can’t do every single one, that is fine, the point is 1.) to get to know each other 2.) meet other people in the blog community and 3.) challenge yourself!

        This is my first time doing a challenge, so this will be a challenge for me and I will be learning what works and what doesn’t work for me. I am very excited!

      1. Thank you. It took me a while to figure out what works best for me. I’m guessing you are referring to my post that involved a picture of my planner?

    2. You’re incredible, hosting a blog challenge already! You go, gurl!!!!!!!!! I’m challenged already, just trying to catch up with our Blogging 101 challenge, so not sure whether to join or not. Please note that I’m very impressed with your exuberance! :)

      1. Thank you. I hope you do join in. The more you blog and post, the more material you have for followers! I know quality is better over quantity, but I think its important to push oneself.

        I really hope you join in!

  14. When I first started blogging, I had sooo much to say and posted every day. That wasn’t the best plan, and I burned through lots of ideas. This suggestion is a great one for me…even if it’s just sketching out a very rough plan of attack! Thanks!

  15. I already have a tentative schedule outlined for the next month for my blog. It is open enough to allow for my schedule to have hiccups and changes and still allow me structure. :)

  16. I currently have a random posting goal of once a week but I am trying to also introduce a regular feature to my blog as well. A calendar for the next 30 days would make it very easy to get my content out there and make my sporadic posting a habit. How long does it take to make a habit again?

  17. Hi bloggers,

    I am putting down a plan. I want to be realistic with it. According to my next thirty days calender I will be doing two essay researched posts a week.
    From yesterday I have decided to engage with by blogging friends and followers on a new note. So I will be posting a picture of fresh food or an inspirational text image to keep everyone motivated to stay fresh. This is my plan and I want to stick with it.

    My today’s post is – http://eatallfresh.me/2014/05/13/nightbeverage/
    Yesterday’s inspiration post is – http://eatallfresh.me/2014/05/13/itsyourlife/

    Let me know what all my blogging buddies think of the idea. Any recommendations? – You know I am good listener.

    Regards,

    EAT ALL FRESH :)
    http://eatallfresh.me/

  18. Until I hit the end of the school year, I’ve set a goal to keep to post 3 times a week. Mondays about My Reading Life. Tuesdays for Slices of Life and Fridays for quick writes or additional slices. I’m hoping to make that 5 times a week this summer, if my kids let me!

    http://butlerbin2013.wordpress.com

  19. I sort of have a head start with this assignment. The ideas come at me all day and I can be forgetful, so I invested in a little notebook that I try to carry with me wherever I go. Once an idea or topic comes, I jot it down for later. Sitting down and writing up everything is where the challenge comes for me. :(

    1. Maybe you could set aside a few minutes before bed, or after dinner to work on your ideas and write them down. If you make it part of your daily routine you’ll find it might be easier to stick to it. Good luck!

  20. I have got most of the posts i would like to do written down on scap paper.. i think i should set out a calender for this ..starting today!!! :)

  21. Great thoughts! One thing that helps me is I start thinking about what I want to blog about several days before I actual write it. This gives me a bit of a head-start and enables me to post regularly (which, for me, means every 2-3 days).

  22. I think scheduling posts is a very good idea. When I started blogging, I had a goal to post once a week, on a Sunday, after I painted my weekly painting. That seemed to work fine. Now, I’m able to add to my posts and post a Thirty-Dollar Thursday every week as well. Starting out slow keeps you from being discouraged. You can add to your schedule later. If I know which days I’m posting, I can plan out the posts, get all the images together so that when I’m posting it goes much smoother.

  23. My posts rely entirely on something happening in my day, in the village or in my life. I have so many drafts on my computer it’s ridiculous but none of them grab me enough to publish.

    Keep at that drawing board.

    1. I also have odds and ends of things in my computer, in my handwritten journals, and in various tablets. I even have written things on my kindle. But like, you not all of them grab me as something worth publishing. That probably just means I need to work at them a little more so they become more polished! Need to keep plugging away.

  24. Oh wow i just did this and now i have enough material for the next 3 – 4 weeks. i try to post 5 days a week as i am unsure if posting on the weekend would end up generating traffic. I am a new blogger here (nearly 1 week old) so any advice is apprieciated xx

  25. Okay, I worked on my editorial calendar for the rest of May and all of June but we shall see how well I really do this!! I planned for Mondays to respond to a weekly prompt challenge, Wednesdays to post either a poem, story or article, then share a favorite scripture for my Friday Verse Journal, and post Sunday Drive Roundup article about other interesting blogs I find out there. Sounds a bit ambitious but I think I need to keep putting myself out there and try. If I don’t my blog won’t go far.

    1. By the way, I went into my Microsoft program on my pc and designed my monthly blogging calendars. I first created a blank calendar template and then started created filled calendars from there. Just thought I would share that idea. I am a very visual learner so seeing a plan visually mapped out really helps me.

  26. I’m sure there’s a simple answer to this that I’ve seen and I am just not connecting the dots, but how did you do the little “aside” about your love of korean bbq? Thanks!

  27. Okay, I’ll start my weekly post. I choose Friday for now. Hope i can do it. Later, I hope I can make twice posts a week.

  28. ‘Editorial Calender’ is a tricky one for me. I realize that when I structure posts, it becomes more of a chore and I start to loose interest. In the past, I signed up for blog-a-day challenge, which to be honest, was not a realistic goal. What I do now, is to post at least once during the week, and also, I have a feature ‘Weekend Post’. I guess that’s structuring in itself!
    :)

    http://www.lorawords.wordpress.com

  29. I did this when I first started writing, before I launched my blog. My original plan covered 2 months, and kind of self-perpetuated for the next 2, (with the launch about 1/3 of the way through), but the momentum was slowing down. Definitely time to make a new plan–which I’ve now done, to cover the next 6 weeks, after which I won’t have much time for about 3 months. So I’ve built in drafting/saving posts which shouldn’t be date sensitive. It will mean doubling my current rate of writing for a few weeks, but if that’s what it takes to make my blog ‘successful’, so be it.
    Thanks for the timely reminder. (no puns intended) :-)

  30. Hey guys! I’m back again! (Sorry for the delay!) Here’s my latest two posts in concern with the assignments:

    http://ankhprophecy.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/blogging-101-to-play-catch-up-with-life-put-your-house-on-fire-while-singing-zippity-doo-dah/

    http://ankhprophecy.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/blogging-101-days-i-lost-count/

    Yes, I know, we’re at day 30 and I only have a summation of about 4 posts altogether in concerns with Blogging 101, but the reason behind this is because a majority of what was prompted for us to do I had so happened to have already done myself over time. So a lot of it is self-explanatory and there’s no need to delve deeper than I already have. Please enjoy the posts! :D What I’d really like though is for people to take a look at my Bio and Home pages, and the look of the site itself (like the footers and header and drop-down menu), and give me anything on them: comments, opinions, frustrations, criticisms… I need to know, because currently I’m still not getting a whole lot of traffic or people interested to follow unless I follow them…so I need some constructive crits–preferrably on my blog itself or by my email (or on here).

    Thanks! Lots of love and hugs to the rest of the student body. :P :D

    (And BTW, in regards to this assignment and what I’ve seen people comment on their own struggles with keeping up with posting on their blog regularly, yeah…I’m a TOTAL victim of the carnage that is ‘blog neglect,’ as I call it. Yeah, I know exactly how to schedule posts to come out whilst I’m busy, but it takes a lot of time to have three weeks’ worth of posts waiting to be dunked on the days you’re busy, and like someone else said before I’m practically never NOT busy–especially when juggling writing, drawing, blogging and game making, plus general housework, cleaning my butt, sleeping, eating, and going to work–just thankfully I have no kids as of yet! I see the benefit of planning for the next thirty days and having editorial calendars and reminders and saved post drafts, etc. etc…but WHEN can one do that with such a bombastic, hell on wheels schedule? Shit–excuse my french–but I did a New Years Res too, and completely F- bombed that within the first few weeks of January. …I feel so bad and am such a wreck mental / creative wreck!)

    1. They’ll come down a couple of weeks after the challenge ends. Fear not, however, we plan to run the challenge again, come fall.

  31. I would have been slightly intimidated to plan out a monthly idea of what I’ll write about, as blogging is still so new to me but after this Zero to hero, I am excited and roaring with the thought of having a guide to help me through! yay! :-)

  32. New to blogging and all this information is overwhelming. I view it as a journal of sorts, and I was bad at updating that as a girl. Being as I am just coming out of the gate, I have little traffic and no followers. Just feeling my way around. I thank you for the help.