I’ve always been a pretty organized person. I love everything about being organized: to-do lists, calendars, efficient ways of planning, etc. Today I wanted to share how I plan my editorial calendar as well as the tools I use to help!
My editorial calendar
Bad blogger alert: I only started using an editorial calendar at the beginning of this year. And I have my SEO strategist, Clemence to thank for that. Before I started using a spreadsheet, I really just used my planner and draft section of WordPress to plan out posts. I was also a big on-the-go writer. I typically don’t have my posts planned out too far in advance. I genuinely love writing and hitting post within 24-48 hours, but as I’m growing, I’m learning that I definitely need an editorial calendar to help me sort through my content.
Right now, I use a spreadsheet that has the following columns:
- Day Of The Week
- Post Type/Category
- Keywords (SEO)
- Draft Ready (Y/N)
- Optimized (SEO)
I look at this spreadsheet at least 3 times a day, whether I’m updating it or looking to see what type of content I need to add in next. It’s definitely not perfect or super thorough, but it works for me. I always know what’s coming up and I can look back to see what I’ve been writing about. I’ve also noticed that once I started using an editorial calendar, I started blogging more consistently – a huge plus! Secretly, I think I just hated seeing empty spaces in my calendar.
Overall, my editorial calendar is an amazing tool that helps me manage both my full-time job and Pink Champagne Problems more effectively.
How I organize topics for content
I’m a natural-born writer. I’ve always loved notebooks and pens and anything to do with stationary. Right now, I have two things that are imperative to my editorial calendar: My planner and my Moleskine notebook. I keep my planner at work because it’s too big to carry around all the time. I use this for mini to-do lists, deadlines, appointments, events, etc. I keep my planner at my desk at work since I spend most of my time there. I color code everything and write in my blog post topics (taken from my spreadsheet) so that I can always know what I’m writing about for that week. This may seem like a little bit of a tedious step, but I just really love writing things down.
When it comes to brainstorming blog content, I live by my Moleskine notebook. It’s the perfect size, so I bring it everywhere with me just in case an idea comes at a random time. This notebook is perfect for jotting down topic ideas. If I’m really feeling a topic, I dedicate a page to it so I can write down sub-topics that I want to go into the post. In this notebook, I also write any lessons I learn from blog podcasts that I listen to. Just recently, I started writing down monthly goals too. Again, this can all be done on your phone or computer, but I love writing things down – it helps me be more creative and think about what I’m jotting down on paper.
Every night, I’ll take out my notebook and look at things I’ve written that day. I pick a few topics from my notebook and add them to my calendar. Then I start writing. Of course, things get shifted around, especially if I get writer’s block about a certain topic. But it’s easy for me to go into my editorial calendar and switch things up, fill in missing information, and see what content I need to start writing for upcoming posts.
Tools that keep me organized
I know some people are all about Microsoft products, but let me tell ya: Google Drive has been a lifesaver in so many situations. I mean what service allows you to have everything you want synced on any device you ever log into? This is where my editorial calendar lives, along with contract templates, invoice templates, and copies of everything I send out. It’s so helpful that I’m able to access these documents from my phone, laptop, desktop or work computer. I also just got a Chromebook after my MacBook of 4 years completely died on me, with no signs of life. I did not feel like spending over $1000 on a new MacBook, so I took the plunge and ordered a Chromebook.
I absolutely love it. It’s exactly what I need and it runs great for a $250 device. You see, with a Chromebook, you can basically only go on the Internet. And that’s really what I needed it for. I do all of my photo editing on my desktop computer. I chose this one based on reviews alone, and I’m happy I did. It’s super fast, it’s up and running within minutes of receiving and it really enhances my productivity. It’s lightweight, which makes it great for traveling. One of the best features is the battery life – it last 10+ hours! The only “downside” is the storage. You get a certain amount of storage on the device, but you can save an unlimited amount to your Google Drive. This isn’t a huge factor for me, since I’m not really saving much to my computer. If I don’t save a download to my Google Drive, I typically go in and clear my downloads to free up space. It’s a simple device, and one I highly recommend if you’re like me!
I invested in CoSchedule last year and it’s been a complete lifesaver when it comes to scheduling social posts. There’s a CoSchedule plugin on WordPress, which allows your calendar to pop up on every blog post you write. This makes for easy social media scheduling while the post is still fresh on your mind. My favorite feature is the ability to create templates for different social messages that you can automatically populate for a post. I use this every time I publish a post – they’re generic “new post” tweets that go out throughout the day. You can also schedule to Facebook – another feature I use. I wrote a post about CoSchedule when I first started using it, check it out for more information!
This is something I recently invested in a few months ago. GSuite allows you to link up your domain with your Gmail account. So now my email is “email@example.com” as opposed to “firstname.lastname@example.org”. I love this feature because it makes you seem a lot more professional when working with brands and connecting with people. If you have a team member or employee, you can purchase plans that will let you create multiple email addresses under your account. It’s a really great service and something I’m happy I finally purchased!
For my fellow bloggers, what kinds of tools/templates do you use for your editorial calendar? I’m all about learning new tips! When it comes to running a blog, organization is extreme key. As new technologies, services, and ways of running blogs come up, it’s hard to keep up with it all. If you have any questions about how I manage my editorial calendar, please don’t hesitate to reach out!