Bloggiesta Mini Challenge – Plan Those Posts!

January 16, 2016 Uncategorized 40

PLaNThoseposts! (1)

Do you want to write more creative posts? I know I do! Surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly), I’ve found that the key to writing more creative posts and experimenting with new things has been planning my posts in advance. I love writing books reviews – I think of them as the core of my blog – but when I don’t plan my posts in advance, I find myself scrambling just to keep up with these review posts. If I plan posts in advance,

  • I have the time to brainstorm
  • I can intentionally leave space on my calendar for new things
  • I can take inspiration from holidays and other happenings
  • And I’m thinking about posts enough in advance that I can take on more ambitious projects, such as hosting new events

Since this is Bloggiesta, I’ll be challenging you to go plan some posts of your own. But first, I’ll share some of what I’ve learned so far and some of the advice from other bloggers that I’ve found the most helpful.

The Blocking Method

The idea of doing a task at one go isn’t new. Any time management computer game will tell you, doing all of an activity at once is more efficient. However, despite trying to do all my blog post writing on the weekends, I’d never applied this idea to post planning until reading Kristy Ellington’s post on the blocking method. I find that having dedicated time for planning posts at the beginning of every quarter and of every month makes my blogging life so much better!

What to do this Bloggiesta:

  • Put it on your to-do list to plan posts at the beginning of every quarter and/or every month
  • Sit down and plan some posts for the next month now

Take Time To Be Inspired

I’ve always thought that an editorial calendar sounded a bit too professional for my blogging style, but it’s actually one of the easiest ways to find inspiration. I loved this editorial calendar from Ahology, which helps give you an idea of when people will start looking for different holiday related content. I always forget about holidays until they’re right on top of me, so I appreciate this reminder to start planning early!

What to do this Bloggiesta:

  • Plan at least one post inspired by the resources mentioned above
  • Plan at least one holiday related event to host on your blog

Blogging Tools Are Your Friend

You guys, I know I’m late to the party on this one, but the WordPress Editorial Calendar plug-in has changed my life. Being able to get a visual layout of all my planned blog posts makes everything easier for me. Being able to drag and drop planned posts to different dates is also fantastic. If you’re not on WordPress or if the Editorial Calendar just isn’t your jam, there are lots of other options out there. I was using Todoist for a while, but I didn’t like it as much because it’s not as visual. I have heard great things about Trello though and, of course, there’s always the old standby of a physical or digital (google, outlook) calendar for organizing your posts.

What to do this Bloggiesta:

  • Pick a calendar or other productivity app to help you keep track of your planned posts
  • Bonus – plan your social media promotion of your posts too

The Challenge

Pick at least one of the things in the “What to do this Bloggiesta” sections above to try. Then leave a comment letting me know what you did and if you have any post scheduling tips I didn’t include here, before entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Done with the minichallenges from this Bloggiesta? Looking for more ways to improve your blog? Check out these past Bloggiesta challenges at Doing Dewey:

40 Responses to “Bloggiesta Mini Challenge – Plan Those Posts!”

  1. Laura Roberts

    Ooh, I am always looking for tips and tricks to improve my blog. In fact, I even hosted a Meetup tonight that was at least half dedicated to answering people’s questions about blogging! (The other half was about productivity and goal-setting – another great topic for the start of a new year.)

    I definitely love the editorial calendar plugin for WordPress, since it really helps you visualize your month and year, and it makes it so much easier to schedule things in advance. It’s a Must Have!
    Laura Roberts recently posted…Stephanie Chandler on monetizing your book marketing to make more moneyMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      That sounds like a great Meetup! I can’t believe how much of a difference being able to visualize my schedule has made. A to-do list just wasn’t doing it for me!

  2. Becca

    I just got inspired by something I read and wrote a post about it! In advance of when I want to post it! BOOM!

    I used to do this much more often but have been a lazy slacker lately.

    I love that editorial calendar but I feel it is lacking. It only has the most major of American holidays and events. I like writing things down like Banned Books Week, Hispanic/Latino Month in March, Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday, Veteran’s Day – stuff like that. Because everyone will be capitalizing on the big ones, probably myself included. Now the trick is just remembering to check the calendar/list in plenty of time to write something up! Blocking to the rescue!!
    Becca recently posted…The Randomness That Is My Personal Search HistoryMy Profile

  3. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories

    This is great. I was trying to get in the habit of writing 30 minutes a day to start drafting blog posts so when I had time to blog, writing was a breeze. And I used to be better about planning out my editorial calendar and have it on my Bloggiesta list to hash it out and add the timeline from Ahology too. You’ve given us lots of great ideas to plan out our posts, thank you!

    • DoingDewey

      Glad to help! Writing every day sounds like a great habit! I find that after I’m done working for a day, I really hated writing a blog post each evening, so I’m enjoying doing all my writing at once better. I think I might enjoy it more if I managed to get ahead on blog posts so that I didn’t feel rushed doing my writing though 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      Historically, mine has been pretty haphazard as well! I’m enjoying trying to be organized now, but like you, I think I’ll have more time for organization in the future. I’m hoping I’ll be finished with my PhD in May and would love to use some of my time afterwards to do more with my blog.

  4. Shelley

    My blog is pretty low key, but any kind of organization helps with productivity in my life as a whole. I added a calendar on Google Calendar for my Book Blog, and started out simple with scheduling the first Monday of each mother and hour to go over my plans for posts and goals for that month. I think once I do that (Feb 1 is the first time) I will be able to fill in the calendar with other blocks of tasks. Thanks for all the info!

    • DoingDewey

      Right now, I’m taking a day at the beginning of each month and week to plan to, as well as writing my posts on one day at the beginning of the week. It’s a little thing, but it’s made all the difference for me 🙂
      DoingDewey recently posted…Eclectic Nonfiction in MinireviewsMy Profile

  5. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    Hm, I really like the blocking idea. But three days to do a whole month of blogging? No way that would work for me — unless I could take three days with no work or family obligations! I’ll have to find another blocking method that works with my life.
    I love WP Editorial Calendar. I love being able to drag and drop the posts to change the date, I do that all the time.
    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review recently posted…Escape into Summer: My Family and Other AnimalsMy Profile

  6. Steph

    I did Blog Ahead in October and have been ahead ever since. I have most of January Scheduled and am moving into February now and have brainstormed ideas until about the 15th 🙂 I love planning posts a head it fees great to know that if something comes up the blog is good to go for a bit.
    Steph recently posted…Mini Bloggiesta 2016 – To Do ListMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      That’s wonderful! I think I was trying to finish up a paper in October and decided I didn’t have time to participate in Blog Ahead, but I would love to take the time to get enough ahead that I could be writing posts for the week after the coming week each weekend. Hopefully the Blog Ahead event will happen again this October too and I can join in 🙂

      I’m glad you’ve had some fun getting started on your February planning! I wrapped up most of my February planing this Bloggiesta too.
      DoingDewey recently posted…Eclectic Nonfiction in MinireviewsMy Profile

  7. Bex

    One of the big blogging goals I have this year is to blog ahead. I want to have a pile of posts written and ready to post/pre-scheduled. I haven’t sat down to do that just yet, but it’s on my list! 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      That sounds wonderful! I’m currently writing posts for the coming week each weekend, which is nicer than writing them the night before, but I’d love to get to where I’m writing posts for the week after next instead 🙂
      DoingDewey recently posted…Eclectic Nonfiction in MinireviewsMy Profile

  8. Chrisbookarama

    Thanks for the ideas! I planned some posts for Valentine’s Day. Plus, I downloaded a calendar for Evernote for my blogging schedule.

  9. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

    These are really good tips, thanks for the link to the editorial calendar ideas! This year I’ve been trying to make it a habit to write a little bit every day, which seems to be really helping in the post ideas department. It’s not a lot of time, less than 30 minutes most days, but it gets some posts started and helps me think of my next idea. It’s a lot better than trying to write everything on Sundays like I was doing. Hopefully it’s a habit I can stick with through the year!

    • DoingDewey

      That’s interesting and proof that, as expected, not everyone has the same writing style. I found it a little stressful to try to write posts every evening and I’m feeling much more laid back and able to take the time to plan now that I’ve switched to writing everything over the weekend. It’s possible I’d feel differently if I were able to get more ahead though. When I was writing posts every day, they were typically for the next day, which is always going to be stressful 🙂

  10. Carey

    I used my Google Calendar and planned out my posts through the end of February. I have some posts that I plan to repeat on the same day every week (Stacking the Shelves Sunday, What Are You Reading Monday, etc). I was able to plan all of those for the rest of this month and next.

    It was helpful because I was able to make sure I wasn’t using the same book for all of these posts in the same week.
    Carey recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #8My Profile

    • DoingDewey

      I like the idea of adding more structure to my blog, with particular types of post on particular days, but so far, I haven’t found something that works for me. I like being able to write what I feel inspired to write at any given time and I like being able to schedule ARC reviews for the pub date or whenever a tour company wants, which tends to randomize my review days. It sounds like a great way to be able to plan ahead though!
      DoingDewey recently posted…Eclectic Nonfiction in MinireviewsMy Profile

  11. Tanya Patrice

    I firmly believe that planning blog posts ahead of time helps creativity. You’re not rushing with content, and you’re not worried about what to post, so you have time to get inspired.

  12. Katrina @ Bookish Things

    I do this with my meme posts. It’s easier for me if I sit down and get them all knocked out at once. I typically do it at the beginning of the month. I need to do this for my reviews too. But this bloggiesta I totally did that and have content on the blog until the end of February. So yay!!!!

    And I use CoSchedule for my calendar and social media posts. It’s so easy. I just schedule everything and then schedule the social media posts in the same box. Takes a lot of remembering to do it off my plate.

    • DoingDewey

      I’ve considered trying to have a more constant schedule on my blog, whether memes or just specific days for reviews, both to make it easier for my readers to know what to expect and to make planning easier for me. So far, I’ve preferred the flexibility of not doing that, but I can see why it would be helpful. It’s great you got your planning done through February! I did the same this Bloggiesta 🙂

      I’ve heard good things about Coschedule. It looks like it’s a subscription service though, right? That’s been my impression and so far, I’m happy enough with what I have that I don’t what to pay for something else, but it does sound very helpful.

  13. Julia

    This was super helpful, since I’m trying to get back into the groove of planning my posts ahead of time. I love the ahology holiday calendar–it just gave me a great idea for a St. Patrick’s Day post in March (but first I need to figure out all of february…). Most of my posts are unrelated to events of the outside world, and I can’t really predict when I will finish reading a book to review, so I’m not sure how to really get started with the rest of my planning.

    I also have a question about the “Plan to host at least one holiday related event on your blog” goal. I’m relatively new to blogging…what would be some examples of an event? Like blogging challenges or reading challenges?
    Julia recently posted…Eterna Files Review and Giveaway—Victorian Paranormal Spy DramaMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      That’s great! I’m currently writing ideas down as they strike me, even if that means adding to next December that I shouldn’t forget my blog birthday this year 🙂 Most of my posts aren’t related to the outside world either. The things I mostly schedule are: my reoccurring memes (right now, just Nonfiction Friday); reviews of ARCs (usually I aim for the pub date) or for tours; and any events I’m hosting. Other than that, I tentatively add book reviews to the calendar once I’ve read them and I add discussion post when I have an idea for one. Then I move them forward in time if I don’t get them in a given week 🙂

      For holiday related events, I think you could have a blogging or reading challenge or event. I know some bloggers host horror read-a-thons around Halloween, romance themed events in February, Christmas themed read-a-thons or read-alongs in December and sometimes also for Christmas in July, and things like that, which are themed around a holiday. A lot of people also New Year’s challenges, which may be about your own goals or reading self-help type books. There are a lot of different ways you could take that idea, I think.

  14. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories

    That blocking method idea is interesting, I might have to try that one month and see how long it takes to write a months worth of blog posts and social media all at once. I have a feeling it will take me longer than a day for each category Kristy suggests but worth a shot.

    • DoingDewey

      Haha, yeah, I should add to my post that I actually write posts once a week, although I plan once a month. I think I take longer than Kristy projects as well.

  15. Meghan

    I use Google calendar and color code, but I like paper. I just haven’t found the right one for blogging. I ordered one from PlumPaper Desins and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. I like to plan out a month or two for my non review posts. Then weekly I schedule my reviews based on my cure reads.

    • DoingDewey

      I like the idea of paper planners – there’s something beautiful about a nice, organized planner – but the fact that I’d have to carry a large planner with me or only be able to work on it at home as made me go with electronic planning all the way. I hope you like your new one! I also tend to schedule out my non-review posts further in advance, with the exception of book tours and ARCs. Mood reads go on the schedule when I get to them 🙂