So you’ve got your blog up and running and it’s looking how you want it to look! You go glen coco! But now it’s time to actually start blogging. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably overwhelmed with ideas and don’t know where to begin. Should I start with that decadent chocolate cake recipe? Or that DIY candle idea? Should we get personal or round-up some of my favorite links from the week?
So many ideas, so little time!
This is where a content calendar becomes key. If you’ve been following TBP for a while now, you know that we PREACH “the content calendar”. Lee and I live and die by ours and if it suddenly disappeared for any of our blogs, we’d probably just implode. I’m being dramatic, but that’s how much we love our content calendars.
First– what is a content calendar? A content calendar is a scheduling tool to help you outline a plan for your blog. It can be as short or long-term as you want and as detailed or not as you want. In general though, a content calendar will outline what your next few months will look like on your blog.
Second – why use a content calendar? Quite simply, to stay on track! When you have a million and one ideas, it’s nice to know where to focus your energies that day. When I sit down to write or get in my kitchen to cook, knowing what I’m working on is way better than a free-for-all, let’s see what comes out scenario.
Here are some tips for starting a content calendar:
1. Find a scheduling tool that you like– You’ve probably heard us talk about CoSchedule before, and that’s because we love it. It’s a scheduling tool for bloggers that simplifies the process of building a content calendar. It syncs with your WordPress back-end so you’re able to access it from your blog and even schedule your social sharing! There are others out there, but Coschedule is definitely our #1.
2. Create a framework-determine the number of posts you want per week and how you want to break those posts down. For example, maybe you post 3x a week and 2 of these posts are recipes and 1 is a personal post. Or maybe you exclusively post recipes and you want to ensure you’re getting in a good variety of content i.e. 1 entree, 1 snack, 1 appetizer etc…Variety is the spice of life, but sticking to a framework helps you to stay on course.
3.Determine a length- some people like to set out their entire year, while others prefer to stick to the next two weeks. I like to sit down at the beginning of each season and plan the next 3 months. This helps me predict what my next few months will look like, while also leaving a little room for spontaneity.
4. Don’t be afraid to change it up– your content calendar is just a guide, but if inspiration strikes, feel free to shift things around. Lee and I do this all the time, but we also know that if we’re lacking in a bit of creativity we can still depend on our content calendar.
5. Cross-reference with your goals – remember when we had you outline your blogging goals on day #1? Keep those goals beside you as you set out your content calendar. Assess whether the posts you have scheduled out can help you achieve your blogging goals. If not, might be time to assess some of the content you have laid out.
New bloggers– pick a scheduling tool and start scheduling! Use the tips above to get you started and then comment in the TBP Community with what your content calendar looks like (i.e. how many times a week, how long out are you planning, what tool you’re using!)
Experienced bloggers– if you don’t have a content calendar, now’s the time to get one! Your challenge is the same as new bloggers. Or if you have one, tell us what tips and tricks work for you to keep you on track.