I’m a planner. You guys know I love lists, calendars, and everything in between. And lately I’ve started really trying to get a system going for Lovely Indeed’s editoral calendar. Now, I by no means have this down to a science, but I do know that I’ve fallen into a little system that works for me. So I’ll break it down for you.
Firstly, I’m a visual gal, so I need something to look at that lays out an entire month. I used to use a pencil and paper setup, with a planner specifically dedicated to my editorial calendar. But (no joke, this is really why I stopped using it) it was really heavy in my purse. Ha. So I looked for a plugin that I could just use on Lovely Indeed’s dashboard (I blog on WordPress, FYI) and found a really basic calendar plugin. It’s not perfect, but it does the job.
So when I look ahead to plan a calendar, I first take stock and decide if there’s anything I’ve been wanting to say or feature or make, and kind of sketch out a theme for the month or season. As an example, I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m doing a small feature series during the upcoming holidays about my family’s traditional holiday recipes. I’ve been wanting to make them all and I thought it would be a perfect thing to share with you guys during November and December. So I decided which recipes, how many, and when to feature them. I plugged those into the calendar to reserve the days.
Next, I always factor in my regular columns. I know that most of the time on Fridays right now I have a Ten Things list. Boom, scheduled. I know that I like to post one or two DIYs every week, and I know the style of DIY I’d love to feature for the season that’s coming. Boom, scheduled. Then I fill in with my other regular columns (like Married Life or Blogging) wherever they might fit or make sense.
Now, I’m a planner but that doesn’t mean I’m not flexible. If a post needs to move a day forward or back, I use the WordPress calendar plugin to drag and drop it to a different day. (Again, it’s not the best program but I love the drag and drop feature.) This way, if a cool opportunity comes along or I need to insert a last-minute post, I can just shuffle things. And I do shuffle a lot.
Once everything’s scheduled, I go through the editorial calendar and put the actual creation and writing of every post on my own personal to-do list. For DIY posts, I usually start trying to make them about two weeks before they go live. For regular written posts, I usually start writing about a week out. That way there’s plenty of wiggle room if something goes haywire, which it usually does.
So that’s the nuts and bolts of my system! I get asked often how far in advance I have my planning done. I can honestly tell you that right at this moment, I have an idea for a post on every day of my editorial calendar through the end of the year. But! My best guess is that about 25% of it will change, because it always does. DIY ideas don’t work out, or I run out of time, or whatever. The best laid plans and all that. But the moral of the story is that everybody’s work flow is a little different, and you just gotta find what works for you.
And if you have any other process or workflow that you’d love to share, let’s hear it. Leave a comment so we can all benefit from your brilliance! xoxo