How to Plan and Organize Your Blog’s Content Calendar

by | Feb 15, 2016

When I first started blogging, I had no content calendar to speak of. I posted most days, but there was no strategy or thought put into my content, and I wasn’t planning ahead as far as what I ultimately wanted to accomplish with my blog posts.

Your blog’s content calendar is a lot more than just a schedule of what days you’ll publish new posts. A good content calendar helps drive your blog strategy, is created with your target market in mind, and helps you to accomplish your blogging goals.

When I talk to new bloggers, this seems to be one of the biggest struggles they have. Not only do they struggle to maintain a consistent posting schedule, but they struggle to come up with blog post ideas.

And ultimately, when you’re throwing up content at the last minute just to make sure you get a new post up, that content isn’t going to help your blog or help you to reach your blogging goals. In fact, it might actually hurt your blog!

In this post, I’m sharing all about how to plan and organize your blog’s content calendar, as well as your blog content strategy.

 

How to Plan and Organize Your Blog's Content Calendar

 

HOW TO PLAN AND ORGANIZE YOUR BLOG’S CONTENT CALENDAR

 

 

What is a Content Calendar

 

First things first, let’s talk about what a content calendar is, for anyone who doesn’t know. A content calendar is simply a calendar or schedule you use to plan and organize the content you’ll be producing.

You can use something as simple as a printed calendar or planner, or something digital such as a spreadsheet, your Google Calendar, or a project management tool such as Asana (which is what I use).

It simply allows you to plan your blog content ahead of time.

 

Why You Need a Content Calendar

 

So why do we need a content calendar, anyway? Can’t we just wing it and post whatever and whenever we feel like it?

Simply put, no.

At least not if you want to treat your blog like a business.

Let’s start with the obvious. Have you ever sat down to write a blog post for that day and your mind was totally blank? You couldn’t think of a single thing to write about? And when you ultimately did figure out what to write about, it wasn’t that good because there was no plan or strategy behind it. It wasn’t even a topic you were that excited about, it was just the first thing you thought of.

Having a content calendar helps prevent THESE moments!

Planning your content calendar ahead of time also ensures that every post you publish on your blog serves a purpose. When someone lands on your blog and reads this post, what do you want to happen next?

Maybe you want them to sign up for your email list? Make sure to have a relevant content upgrade people can sign up for.

Maybe you’re trying to sell a product? Well, then your blog posts should be relevant to your product so the people coming to your blog WANT to buy that product!

Creating a content calendar also allows you to keep your content consistent. I write about three main topics on my blog: productivity, personal development, and blogging. I want to make sure I’m publishing content regularly in each of those three categories. Using a content calendar allows me to look at a glance and make sure I’ve planned posts for ALL the topics I write about.

 

CREATING YOUR CONTENT CALENDAR

 

Alright, now that we’ve covered what a content calendar is and why you need one, let’s talk about how to plan and organize yours!

 

Know Your Why

 

Before you publish any piece of content, you should know WHY you’re publishing it? What are your objectives for your blog? It might be one of the following:

  • To position yourself as an expert on a certain topic so you can sell informational topics like eBooks and courses
  • To drive consistent traffic to your blog to make money from advertising
  • To develop a relationship with your readers and drive them to your social media platforms so you can become an influencer
  • To get readers to sign up for your email list
  • To make money through affiliate marketing by developing the trust of your readers

 

These goals are VERY different and will require different types of content, so knowing your ultimate goal for your blog is SUPER important. You can choose more than one of these, but it will be difficult to be successful if you choose ALL of them.

 

Know Your Audience

 

If you want your blog to be really successful, you need to know who you’re talking to so you can target your content toward those readers. You can do this by figuring out:

  • Who is reading your content now? You can figure broad demographics using Google Analytics or Facebook Insights. For more detailed information, you can send a survey to your email list to ask them more about themselves.
  • Who do you WANT to be reading your content? Who do you ultimately want to sell to? Hopefully, these are the people who are already reading your content!

When you know who your target audience is, this allows you to find them where they already are. For example, what is the most popular social media platform for your target audience? This also allows you to narrow down what they’re struggling with and what YOU can help them with.

 

Do Your Keyword Research

 

Each piece of content you publish on your blog should be written with keywords in mind. Well-researched keywords are what is going to allow your blog posts to be found on search engines such as Google and on platforms such as Pinterest.

Spend some time on keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends to figure out popular keywords in your niche that you want to try to rank for. Look specifically for keywords with a high search volume, but low competition. Narrow in on one keyword for each blog post and use it organically throughout your posts.

I also love using Pinterest to do keyword research! I type in a really broad word that I blog about, and it will give me more specific keywords that people have searched for that includes that word. For example, if I plug the word “productivity” into Pinterest, I can see that popular searches are “productivity tips”, “productivity planner”, “productivity quotes”, and “productivity apps”. I’m definitely going to be writing those down to use in the future!

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to put together a BIG list of keyword ideas for future blog posts!

 

Come Up With Blog Post Ideas

 

This is definitely more difficult when you first start blogging, but I PROMISE it gets easier! The more you write, the more ideas you’ll get. I swear for every post I write, I come up with at least three related posts I want to write later.

What I like to do is just create a Google spreadsheet and create a column for each of my blog categories. I’ll start by just quickly plugging in any blog post ideas that come to mind. Once I’ve done that, I’ll look at my list of keywords and put together post ideas from that.

Schedule time on your calendar once per month or so to brainstorm new content to this list is ALWAYS filled with ideas!

Note: Make sure the post ideas you’re writing down will help you to accomplish one of the blogging goals we talked about earlier! Have a purpose for each piece of content.

 

Create Your Calendar

 

Alright, it’s time to actually create your content calendar! Don’t overthink this step – it does NOT have to be fancy or complicated. For a long time, I used a paper planner, and that worked just fine.

Some tools, such as CoSchedule, were created specifically with this purpose in mind, however, they also have a robust social media schedule tool and therefore it’s kind of pricey.

You can also use a Google Calendar and just plug your posts in there.

Finally, you can use a project management tool like Asana or Trello. This is my preference because I can break down each task (blog post) into a checklist of subtasks that I’ll need to accomplish for each post.

 

Determine Your Publishing Schedule

 

I always think it’s a good idea to have a publishing schedule for your blog. Not only does it make it easier to put together your content calendar, knowing when you need to have a post scheduled for, but it also holds you accountable to your readers and gives them an indication what days they should check back for new posts.

If you tell your readers you post every day, but they check back four days in a row to no new post, they’ll likely be disappointed and might not check back again.

Be realistic about what you can manage. Don’t try to commit to three days per week if you don’t think your schedule will allow that. When I first started blogging, I published new posts about 5 days per week. However, they were SUPER low-quality posts and took no time at all to write.

Now I publish high-quality content that I KNOW will benefit my readers, but it takes a LOT longer to write. Therefore, I publish just once per week.

I recommend starting small. If you find you’ve got the extra time, you can always increase your post schedule later!

 

Plan Your Calendar

 

Once you have your list of blog post ideas and post schedule, actually planning out your content is the easy part! For the most part, it’s just a matter of plugging posts into the calendar. Here are some things to keep in mind though:

  • Shoot for an even distribution of posts across your content categories. I publish about the same frequency of posts for each of my blog topics.
  • Consider holidays and major calendar events. This one isn’t as relevant for me, because I don’t write any holiday content. If you DO write holiday content, definitely schedule further in advance and consult your calendar!
  • Note any special launches. If you create and launch products on your blog, you’ll want to note those launches in your content calendar. If you’re publishing an eBook, you’ll want to write content that is relevant to your eBook topic so the people who land on your blog posts will then want to buy your book!

 

Write Amazing Content

 

Now that you’ve created your blog strategy and planned your content in advance, the only thing left to do is write your posts! I try to write my posts for about four weeks in advance. That way, if something comes up and I find I don’t have time to write a post one week or I’m on vacation, I’ve still got content ready to go.

I do have a pretty in-depth guide on my blog for writing amazing blog posts that people will actually read – make sure to check it out!

 

 

BEFORE YOU GO

 

There you go, friends! Now you know why you NEED to have a content calendar for your blog, and you’ve got all the tools you need to get yours set up! You’ll be amazed at how much faster you can reach your blogging goals when you create a strategy and a calendar for yourself.

 

P.S. If you’re ready to start or grow your blog, here are some blogging resources I recommend checking out:

 

And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE 5-Day blog challenge where I teach you how to grow your blog from hobby to side hustle!

 

 

How to Organize Your Blog Content Calendar | Struggling to stay organized with your blog? Here are some great tips for putting together a content calendar to keep you on track! | Blogging, Business

24 Comments

  1. Crystal // Dreams, etc.

    I use a template that I created for my editorial calendar. I’ve looked into purchasing planners for blogger, but my template works so well for me and since it’s just a sheet of paper, I can slip it into the planner that I use for everything easily and take it with me on-the-go. 🙂

  2. Lynda H

    I like writing mine too. 🙂 I don’t do it diligently though and I tend to write and not read, eek! So one of my many goals is to utilise this planning procedure better. I have so many posts half-started that I need to complete. I did stick to the plan these past 2 nights though and got 2 posts I’ve been meaning to write for ages done and dusted. Nice post, thank you.

  3. Candy

    This is something I really need to be better at. I know it would make Life easier .

  4. Becky @ Disney in your Day

    My calendar is not nearly as organized as yours, but I’m making it work! I have a long running list to pull from which helps, and then I put in anything that needs to be on a certain date.

  5. Mistle

    All great tips! I always have to keep a pen and paper with me in case I come up with new ideas for blog topics. I have so many ideas written down. I organize my content with my Erin Condren planner. It helps keeps me really organized. I love the idea of color coding! I did not think about that!

  6. Kalyn

    Love the idea of color-coding! I don’t use an editorial calendar (I’m more of a write as I go kind of blogger) but I can see where it would be beneficial to keep up with content and keep from posting about the same subject too much or too little!

  7. Valerie

    Very helpful! I recently started using a content calendar for my blog and now I would never be able to live without it. But I love your idea of color coding though, great idea!

  8. Who Let the Mum Out?

    I’ve never thought of coloring code. That’s great! I love te WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin since it’s easy to move posts around. I also use a planner to write down what I need to do for the posts. Planners are so pretty.. but can get so expensive. Where did you buy your planner? It’s so cute.

  9. Amanda | Maple Alps

    I’m so bad at this! Thanks for the tips!

  10. Christine

    Great tips!!

  11. Lauren Jane

    I must use a hand written calendar or I completely fail. We try to have a color for each person in the house(so 5 colors!) and then one for church things and one color for blogging. I often mix the colors up though…I should work on keeping that better. I also keep all my ideas in a notebook I carry around all the time.

  12. momwithfive

    Great tips, very useful thank you so much. This is the first year I got such a calendar. I know it will make my life easier but I need to learn a lot.

  13. Hollie

    Erin, you have awakened me to the fact I can streamline my planning even more! I too have a paper planner, one that I made myself and just have in a 2D ring binder, but by narrowing the topics I write about can seriously help me maintain focus, create topics easily, and maintain a sense of calm.

    And yes, I definitely find colouring and all artistic endeavours I turn to therapeutic. Husband bought me colouring books for Christmas actually to add to my collection. I love being creative, it’s really good for the soul.

  14. The Southern Thing

    Great tips! Being realistic is key! It’s much better to produce quality over quantity!

  15. Katie {Always, Katie}

    I have a little whiteboard calendar, where I write in fixed-date things like linkups or holidays. Then I use 2×2 post-it notes to write blog topic ideas, so that I can move them around as I need to. I do color code those 🙂

  16. Jenny

    Color coding would be so handy for me to start doing!
    I usually just use Google Calendar but sometimes I will use a paper planner as well.

    xoxo, Jenny

  17. aaronica @ the crunchy mommy

    oh i love your usage of colored pencils!!!! i love using color when i organize!

  18. Greta

    So helpful! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

  19. Keating

    This is the same way I organize mine! Except I use CoSchedule for the most part. But everything is color coded and I try to plan everything out ahead of time, if possible. It makes it so much easier when I have a good visual of the week or even the entire month!

  20. Angie Scheie

    I color code my google calendar but I should totally do this to my paper one too. Great idea!

  21. Allison Jones

    These are amazing ideas. I organize my blog calendar on my laptop’s calendar (which also sinks to my phone). I also just started using co-scheudle which I am obsessed with!

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

  22. Erica @ Coming Up Roses

    Color coding is WHERE. IT’S. AT. I’ve got different color mini post-it’s that signify different themes or post types for my print calendar, plus I’ve got an ongoing Excel spreadsheet that is my LIFE. Organization for the win!

    Coming Up Roses

  23. Julie Hood

    I always love seeing how bloggers stay organized! And having a handwritten, color-coded calendar is such a great way to do so. Currently I just keep a list of ideas on my phone and a category breakdown list in google drive…but I need to add some sort of calendar aspect so I can plug those categories into regular monthly slots. Thanks for these tips!!

  24. Lana @ The Joy Blog

    Thank you for this awesome guide on how to do this. I have been blogging for a year, and always seem to feel disorganized. This was quite helpful.

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