Blogging // Editorial Calendars and Planning

editorial-calendars

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


16 comments

  1. Kory on said:

    Wow! I’m super impressed that you’ve got ideas through the end of the year! I’m usually working on planning about week or two in advance. Sometimes I have a loss for ideas, and I’ll plan a post the week of.

    I think it’s a great idea to have an editorial calendar though. It definitely helps to plan holiday related posts!

    • chelsea on said:

      Well, the ideas are there — but the really tough work comes when I try to bring everything to life. For some reason, planning is the easy part for me. Go figure!

  2. Mara on said:

    I’m still on the old pen and paper method as far as planning goes. I’ve never thought about using a plug-in through wordpress.

    Great idea!

  3. This is perfect for the office. I’m visual as well, and it definitely helps to plan with something I actually want to look at.

  4. I’m still old school with pen and paper cause I like being able to carry my blog planner with me. Tho for 2014 I would like something a little more interesting to look at – I am a visual girl too! Lisa xo

    • chelsea on said:

      I know, that’s the one thing I miss! You can access posts from a WordPress app on a smartphone, but it’s just not the same as having a pen in your hand!

  5. elaine costa on said:

    Good planning. :)

  6. Jeanne on said:

    Such a great system! I dream of the days when I can plan so far in advance. Perhaps when my kids are in college…I usually think of DIY projects when I am running errands, write ideas on my daily ‘to-do’ list and complete and photograph in between the tasks of daily life. It can be frustrating to get something completed around kids’ schedules. But I try to use the blog to record and encorage us to find beauty in our daily life.

  7. Kassandra on said:

    Awesome little post, I am just about to start my own editorial calendar as at the moment I just post when the idea strikes me… time to get organised!

  8. This is a great post!! Thanks for sharing your strategies and that plugin!
    Xx
    LJM

    • chelsea on said:

      Thanks Lauren! Hope it helps you in some way.

  9. Thanks so much for this, what a helpful post! I’ve only been blogging for a couple of months, and have just started an old-timey pen and paper editorial calendar. Seeing your method of planning is super inspirational – thank you! :)

  10. Hi there! Very helpful post. I’ve just gotten more serious about blogging and noticed that when I participated in the thankful project, it was much easier for me to keep track of my posting! Now I’ve gotten my December and January calendar filled out as well! I made myself a binder-I like writing! I tried using technology and that wasn’t working for me. My binder also has a Blog Master list (things I plan to do for the week to network, projects I want to post on my blog), and a Blog Idea sheet. I also keep a notebook and a pen in there to jot down anything that inspires me throughout the day.

    Thank you for sharing!

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