What on earth!? In my 5 Tips for Blogging Everyday post I mentioned how important it was for me not to try to plan too far ahead and just roll with the punches in order to avoid blog-burnout. And now I'm trying to plan a whole 365 days in advance? Well, sort of. I stumbled across a few articles from full time bloggers who use calendar apps and sometimes printed calendars to plan their blogging for the whole year. It's something I've been exploring and I want to show you how it can be beneficial.
If you're serious about blogging and committed to keep going all year, whether it's a part-time hobby or a full-time business, using a calendar to plan for the year ahead can help to keep you on track with post ideas and prepare for upcoming events and holidays. This will work for those of you blogging just once a week or everyday. Customise your calendar to fit your own realistic schedule.
Of course you can't be expected to think up 365 blog post ideas on the spot and fill in every date on your calendar - but you can start off with the obvious dates... Christmas, New Year, Birthdays - what happens around these occasions that would make an interesting blog post? If I can set a reminder to start creating some Valentine's Day themed DIY tutorials 2 weeks before the 14th Feb then I'm right on schedule for perfectly timed posts. And if I know that the first week in September is back-to-school/college/university time then I can plan ahead with some useful posts.
HOW TO START
Start by opening an account with a Calendar app of your choice. I use Google Calendar for my photography business and I like the way it works so I've simply created a new calendar called 'This Fashion is Mine' for all my blog-related stuff. I can see the two calendars together or separately. I use the app CalendarMob on my iPad and phone which syncs my Google calendar so I can always keep up to date wherever I am.
You can then go ahead and fill in all the memorable dates that spring to mind. Just the basic big events and birthdays for now, you can always add things as you go along.
GET THE IDEAS FLOWING
Have a sit down with a notebook and pen (or open a Word doc) and write as many blog post ideas as you can in 30 minutes. Even the rubbish ones! Just get everything down, you can always narrow it down afterwards. Just write ideas as they come to you.
Then add the best ideas to your calendar. Slot them in wherever they best fit. The beauty of a digital calendar is you can move stuff around. So if you never actually get around to blogging about your favourite local restaurant, just push it back a few weeks. No one will ever know! To make you feel better you could even fill in your previous two weeks worth of blog posts and give yourself a big pat on the back for being so productive and following your calendar plan (ahem.)
Now you can go through the calendar month by month and see what springs to mind for posts around important dates. What do you want to be writing about 1 week before Christmas Day? Will you be baking a cake for your sister's birthday and don't you think that would make a cool post? If you have a holiday/vacation booked you can pop that in and work out if you want to take a break from blogging or work on enough posts the week beforehand to have them all set up and scheduled.
KEEP IT COLOUR ORGANISED
Google Calendar allows you to colour code your events. I have different colours for lifestyle posts, fashion posts, beauty posts and DIYs. Anything that doesn't fall into these categories gets labelled with a misc colour (blue). My personal dates to remember such as birthdays or appointments get marked in pink, any UK specific dates (such as bank holidays) well Google have already popped these in for me in orange. You can turn this setting off if you wish but I find it useful to know whats coming up and I can plan my blog posts around those dates too. For example, if there is a bank holiday Monday coming up I might post a big DIY project the Friday before, which gives you guys plenty of time to try out the DIY!
WHAT TO REMEMBER
If your planned posts never quite happen it's not the end of the world. They act as more of a back up when you're stuck for blog post ideas and need to stay on track. Your calendar will become a place to keep new ideas too. I like the thought of going back to any day of any month and seeing what I blogged about! Above is my blogging calendar for the month of May and you can see I didn't post everyday but I have a good mix of posts and tended to get a bit lazy around the weekend of the 24th!
FREE CALENDARS ONLINE AND APP
I hope these tips were useful so those of you who need a more consistent way to schedule you blog posts and hate the feeling of sitting down to your computer and nothing comes to mind! I have a post coming up soon on my favourite simple blog post ideas to turn to when I'm stuck so check back for that one. Check out my 5 Tips for Blogging Everyday post if you're getting much more serious about your blogging or just if you fancy challenging yourself.