The hardest part of blogging is often coming up with fresh, interesting content. That’s why I try to sit down every few months to brainstorm and outline my content calendar for the upcoming months.
In the interest of full disclosure, I said that’s why I try to do that. It doesn’t always happen, but my blogging life is much easier when it does.
Mind-mapping is a great way to brainstorm. Take into consideration your:
- Blog categories – What topics have you already determined are going to be covered on your blog?
- Popular posts – Which posts have you written that have really resonated with your readers? Is there a pattern or particular theme?
- Posting schedule – Do you have any sort of bare-bones posting schedule in place? What topics would fit in that schedule?
Jot down everything that comes to mind, even if it doesn’t seem like a great idea. Even the not-so-great ideas could be fleshed out later.
A posting schedule can help to take the guesswork out of what to post because you know when you’ll be posting on a given topic. This schedule could include post topics from your categories, topic themes for each posting day, or blog hops or memes in which you participate.
- Monday: Faith and family
- Tuesday: Posts to link to blog hops
- Wednesday: Homeschooling
- Thursday: How-to posts and tutorials
- Friday: Humor
You may not even cover every topic or category weekly, but instead have a rotating theme calendar to help with planning.
While I would love it if my blog posts were all spontaneous ideas that came to me just as I sat down to write, I have to be realistic. I am a busy homeschooling mom, wife, and blogger. I’m over forty. My brain cells are dropping off rapidly.
If I don’t have an organized planning system in place, my blog is going to be in the same dismal state as my laundry room. That would not be pretty.
I use a couple of simple tools to keep me organized:
Evernote is a free, easy-to-use online service for organizing just about anything. Users can set up searchable folders and subfolders. Even uploaded photos of handwritten notes (think: mind-maps or that list you made during the kids’ piano practice) are searchable.
In addition to having Evernote on my desktop, I’ve installed the app on my phone. That means I can jot down ideas wherever I am, whenever they come to me so that I don’t forget an idea before I can act on it.
I don’t think I could survive without my content calendar. Your needs may be different, but I knew my content calendar needed:
2-page month-at-a-glance: This allows room to jot down post titles and quickly see what’s coming up and which dates I have open. I also include family and personal commitments, particularly those which might impact my blogging schedule.
2-pages per week: I include daily post titles on my 2-page weekly spread, along with any important due dates. Beside each blog post title, I jot down: T, F, P, G+. I mark through each as I promote posts on each social media platform. Daily pages also include each day’s to-do list.
Space for notes: My planner has a space for notes on the month-at-a-glance page, where I list all my advertisers for each month. There are also pages for notes in the back where I list long-term to-do items, blog and social media stats, and quick reference information.
I’ll admit that I looked at the pricey planners, but decided on a rather inexpensive, spiral bound one. It’s worked great! So, your planner doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. It just has to have the features that you need to stay organized.
As a busy mom and blogger, finding time to write isn’t always easy. Being organized helps to ensure that your available time can be spent writing, not staring at a blank screen.
What tools have you found to help you stay organized as a blogger?
Kris, who blogs at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, is a homeschooling mom to three amazing kids and wife to her unbelievably supportive husband. She enjoys photography, running, and drinking sweet tea. You can connect with Kris on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.