This year I committed to approaching my blog more seriously. My blog represents a creative space and community that is so important to me and because of that I'd love to grow the community and to improve as a writer. I'm so happy and proud that I have been able to keep up a pretty consistent posting schedule since making this commitment, despite the fact that life is very full. I hope that as a result you're finding this space more inviting and interesting!
The number one thing that has helped transform my approach to blogging from casual to committed is keeping an editorial calendar. By that I simply mean that I plan out the blog posts that I want to write. It seems obvious but this is significantly different from my early approach to blogging which was something along the lines of, "I should post on my blog tomorrow. What should I write about? Oh crap, I'll need a photo for that, too."
What I use:
I keep my editorial calendar as a Google Calendar which works beautifully for me. I like Google Calendar because I can maintain several different calendars and quickly see what is what since each is a different color. I have one calendar for RISING*SHINING, one for The Girl Next Door Podcast, one for Radiant Mamas (my e-course), and one for personal/family things. I love that once I put something into the calendar I can easily drag it to a different day. This is key for a blogging editorial calendar because my post line up can change day to day.
How it works:
For this blog I use my editorial calendar to schedule when a post will run as well as to schedule tasks related to posting, such as editing or taking photos. I might even add a note for the weekend that I need to "take a photo for May goals post." For The Girl Next Door Podcast I schedule when an episode will record and when it will publish. For my e-course I include when I have interviews scheduled and self-imposed deadlines for content.
When I have an idea for a blog post that I want to write, I'll look ahead in my calendar and add the post idea to the calendar. I usually add it to a day that is at least a week out unless it's something very timely or easy to write and post. By putting a post idea on the calendar in the future I'm able to see what posts I should work on when I have time to sit and write for my blog, which ranges from 15 minutes during a pump break at work to a couple of hours after Dashiell goes to bed. By having post idea on the calendar I am also reminded to take photographs for the post (this is always the most challenging part for me, remembering the photos!). As I get closer to the scheduled date of a post I can easily move it back if I haven't had time to complete the post or move it up if it's ready to go.
An editorial calendar really helps me to balance my blog workload and the flow of content in a week. I've found that if I'm planning to publish a longer, more involved post then I should pair it with two shorter, easier-to-write posts. I can also consider the commitments that I have to family acitvities, my podcast and e-course when deciding when to schedule a post. For example, budget posts take more work so I'd need to make sure I have a long lead time. I've also found that weeks when I'm recording, editing and publishing a podcast episode are pretty busy.
When I start to plan out a new month I'll often schedule general post ideas even if I'm not sure exactly what I'll write about yet. These will be things like "finance-related", "working mom-related", "recipe", "family-related". This really helps me plan out varied content and to be sure that I'm regularly posting on the topics that I want my blog to be about. If I have any recurring series, such as my monthly goals and monthly updates on Dashiell, I can be sure to schedule those and plan ahead.
A calendar and deadlines feels so professional and official, which I've found translates to approaching my blog and other projects professionally. It's funny how a completely made-up deadline carries weight just because it's in a calendar. If you're a blogger or fellow creative looking to take your work more seriously I'd highly recommend an editorial calendar as an easy but effective first step.