15 In living

Blog Planning 101

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Since many of you have asked for more blogging tips here on Thoughts By Natalie, I figure I might as well just give you what you want ;) Who knew so many of you were bloggers? I love it! Anyway, today I’m sharing a tip that’s super simple, and actually something that I’m just starting to do and wishing I started years ago. I guess better late than never, right?

For years, I’ve been keeping track of my editorial calendar and blog ideas using a combination of Google spreadsheets, emails to myself, and notes on my work notepad. It’s obviously been working for me, as I have a blog that has regular content that seems to make sense, but beyond that it’s pretty chaotic.

I don’t know how it’s 2014 and I’m just starting this, but here’s the new system: a blog planning binder! This is what you’ll need…

BLOG CONTENT PLANNER
Love that content planner in the photo? Download it at The Native New Yawker and print out a bunch. I love the way it’s organized and how clean it looks! Plus, the fonts are nice :)

BINDER
Obviously this is a personal choice, as everyone has different preferences. I love a really simple binder that’s inexpensive and sturdy, but the key is really to find something to contain your planning papers in a way that makes sense to you. This is a super fun binder for those who prefer something that’s more like a folder.

HOLE PUNCH
If you’re using a binder, you’ll need to be sure you have a hole punch for the printouts. An alternative idea is to get sheet protectors, which then would allow you to have two sheets back to back—up to you!

TABS
Since we’re organizing here, it’s important to have tabs so we can navigate our content. I like to organize chronologically by month, but perhaps you’re more into organizing by topic or season. The key is finding a system of organization that works and sticking to it.

PLANNING CALENDAR
Beyond just planning individual posts, it’s essential for us bloggers to have editorial calendars, no matter how flexible we are with our posts. Planning ahead reduces stress and ensures that we’re taking advantage of good content opportunities. Here are several printable calendars you can choose from to put in your binder…

>> Folk Floral Monthly List Calendar (my personal favorite!)
>> Folk Floral Weekly Planner (just write on the month & date for each week)
>> Chalkboard Style Monthly Calendar
>> TomKat Studio Calendar (simple, chic, black and white)

To my blogging readers: how do you plan your blog posts?

P.S. Looking to start a blog? Here’s a really in-depth guide to help you out!

15 Comments

  • Reply
    laura @ Write About It
    January 7, 2014 at 5:32 am

    such a simple, yet useful tool. I’ve been trying to organize posts online but sometimes its best to step away from the computer to think and plan. thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      January 7, 2014 at 7:39 am

      You’re welcome!! Hope it helps you be an even better blogger :)

  • Reply
    Christine
    January 7, 2014 at 8:19 am

    This is great… thanks for sharing! I will definitely be planning ahead more with my posts this year. I hope it will keep me on task and motivated to be more consistent when I have a calendar to work within :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      January 7, 2014 at 8:33 am

      Yay! So glad this is helpful for you. I can’t believe I hadn’t tried this before. It’s so simple, but makes so much sense!

  • Reply
    Allison
    January 7, 2014 at 9:13 am

    A perfectly timely post! I was just thinking about how I want to do more blog planning yesterday. Thanks for the tips. :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      January 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Great! So glad—I’m feeling super excited for an organized year of blog planning :)

  • Reply
    Megan @ Lush to Blush
    January 7, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I love this! I usually just compose on WordPress, but I’m so easily distracted with emails and notifications – this seems perfect!

    xo Megan, Lush to Blush

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      January 7, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Yes, me too! I like the whole idea of doing it on paper rather than on the computer because, while I love the internet, it can be so, so distracting when I’m trying to focus in on one topic.

  • Reply
    Ashlee
    January 7, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Maybe I am a bad blogger, but I don’t plan posts in advance, ever ;) I have no editorial calendar, no spreadsheets, no binder. I write when I feel inspired on whatever topic comes to mind. It seems to work for me 90% of the time, but maybe I should come up for a simple system for the 10% of the time when I have writer’s block. These printables are cute!

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      January 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Ha! You’re so far from a bad blogger :) I think it’s all about what works for YOU—maybe it’s some flexible hybrid that involves the pretty printables? Hehe.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    January 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I tend to be very fly by the seat of my pants but one of my goals is to start planning better. Those printables from Folk Floral are beautiful! Binder, here I come :) Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Carissa @ Pretty/Hungry
    January 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    In response to what Ashlee said, I think the level of planning required definitely depends on your life situation. I’d be dead without a calendar because I have to schedule when I cook, when I photograph, when I write, and when I’ll publish. (There are precious few hours to do it while the little one’s asleep and daylight is a must for photos.) I think this binder is a fun idea! Currently I keep track of it all on an Outlook calendar, which works really well for me because I can block off certain hours of the day for certain tasks.

  • Reply
    Avery @ Some Blissful Thinking
    January 8, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I’ll be honest: after 2 years of blogging I never really organized and just “let inspiration lead”. However, my goal for 2014 is to get more streamlined and regular in my content, and these helpful tips are perfect for getting me started. Thanks, Natalie.

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Oh wow, thanks SO much for downloading the Blog Content Planner! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! ;)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      January 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Oh my gosh, it’s AMAZING!! My editorial life is so, so organized now—thanks to you!!

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