Over the (almost!) eight years I’ve been blogging, I’ve come to appreciate the value of a well planned out content calendar.
Having an editorial structure helps in pretty much EVERY way.
For a long time my blog schedule was here there are everywhere (and sometimes still is!), but I had a big blog calendar turning point when I started working with Chelsea Becker last year.
Chelsea, of Becker Editorial is the content calendar queen. The Becker Editorial team develop content for lifestyle sites and blogs the world over. These ladies are organised.
And side note: Chelsea’s the loveliest person too!
My editorial turning point . . .
I don’t think I could have continued with the blog, amongst everything else, without her help!
If there’s one thing Chelsea knows, it’s how to create a content plan which REALLY sticks, and so I’m happy to open up the floor again today to Chelsea to share her wisdom.
If you’re a blogger, content creator or are just curious about developing a content plan, I hope Chelsea’s tips can be of help to you too!
Over to Chelsea!
Chelsea Becker’s Tips On Creating A Content Calendar Which Works
As a freelance writer and content consultant of sorts, one of the things I consistently work with clients on is their editorial calendar and content plan.
It’s one thing to have ideas in your head or to be a fantastic writer, but without a structured plan, it can be tricky to run a successful site.
Planning ahead and organizing your content is not only helpful for your sanity, but it can work in your favor when it comes to the business side of things, too. And since blogging is becoming such a common career, we thought it’d be a good idea to pass on what’s worked best for Monica and I when we were working on The Elgin Avenue’s content calendar.
I’ve worked with all sorts of bloggers, and Monica clearly knows how to run a kickass blog, so we’re hoping that these 6 steps will help you, too!
1 – Have a macro calendar
I’ve seen a lot of people create calendars for their blog, but one thing I’ve seen people ignore is long-term planning.
Depending on the type of blog you have, your needs will be different, but knowing your general plan for the next 6 months-1 year is smart across the board.
I like to create a Google doc or use Google Calendars to mark any holidays or events specific to your content (so Black Friday if you run a fashion blog, National Meditation Day if you write about wellness, etc.).
A macro big-picture calendar is also the place to add any travel, life events, etc., so you can plan content around things. Or, to make sure you have backup content for weeks you’ll be taking vacation.
2 – Have a micro calendar
Once you have your macro calendar labeled with future plans and any general themes of each month, it’s time to go micro.
Monica and I shared a Google doc calendar where each day is labeled according to the content we’re producing. It was easy for us to look at one month at a time, on a smaller scale vs. our macro calendar.
At the beginning of each month, we made a plan for the next two months. We pull from our content ideas tab (more on this next), and plug in content all the days where we want to publish.
I even put content as events in my iPhone so that I can easily look at my phone and see what I need to write or publish that week. (I’m not going to tell you when to write your content for the week, because some people like deadlines and others don’t – but personally, I like posts to be written well in advance.)
3 – Make a content ideas tab
If possible, create a document that can hold your macro calendar, your micro calendar, and a tab for content ideas for the future.
Most of us think of ideas for content and jot them down on our phones or in a notebook, but it’s important to have them ALL listed out in one central location. I usually do weekly dumps from all phone notes and notebooks into said list.
As you start planning your micro calendar or content for the next month or two, you can simply pull from this list without having to brainstorm your entire month on the spot.
A content ideas tab is also great because you can write down future articles (maybe something that would make more sense during summer) and label accordingly. Think about color-coding your list based on season or type of content – or both. I love a good color coding system, personally.
4 – Create a shot list
Lists are my best friend – can you tell?! They are endlessly helpful when creating content and running a blog!
After you plan out your micro calendar and content for the next month or two, go through each day and jot down the type of imagery you’ll need. This might include a certain outfit, recipe, location, etc. – but write down the specific type of shots you’ll need to complete that blog post.
If you have a photographer, you can even email your shot list to them right then. Or at the least, save it on your phone so you can easily reference it while shooting or prepping.
5 – Add in social media
We all know that social media is just as time consuming as creating actual posts, so make it easier on yourself by planning it out. I personally advise to write in your social posts on the same micro calendar as your blog posts. This way, you can make sure you’re scheduling 2 Instagram Lives (or whatever you want) a week, and your social can mimic the blog content accordingly.
If you really want to get ahead, write out the captions for each social caption so that you can simply copy and paste each day. This is especially helpful during a crazy week!
6 – Use stock or evergreen
Monica and I are both huge fans of stock or evergreen content. As much as you can plan ahead, stuff happens.
There WILL be weeks where you can’t think about writing or aren’t inspired by the planned post. This is where stock content comes in handy!
When you are feeling inspired or in the mood for writing, write out a few blog posts that could be published any time. Content that can be relatable whether it’s January or August, and that readers will get value out of no matter what.
Do the same thing with imagery. Depending on your blog, take photos that can be plugged into a number of posts in case you’re sick, your photog is, the weather sucks – whatever.
Some common stock photos: working at a desk for productivity or career pieces, putting on makeup for beauty posts, working out for fitness posts. The list goes on.
You’ll feel a hundred times better knowing you have this emergency content in your pocket. When stuff does happen, you won’t feel like your entire content plan is ruined because you had a blah week.
Stock content to the rescue!
Phew! I feel like that was a lot of information but hopefully it was informative. I’m incredibly passionate about making an individualised content plan that works.
Of course take and leave what would work well for you!
If you don’t know where to start, or your plan could use a facelift, these 6 steps should truly help.
What’s Your Take?
Now, over to you, lovely readers! What has helped your content plan stick in place? What hasn’t?
Love, Chelsea x