I’ve been running a blog far longer than the 8 months represented in my archives. But the blogging community has evolved alongside trends, priorities, and social media. I certainly don’t blog the same way I did in 2009, when I still talked about high school crushes and my blog changed its appearance at least every other month. My content has changed, and so has my method for organising and producing that different content.
The Editorial Calendar
I don’t remember where I read about this, but I remember it was definitely on another blog… about blogging and lifestyle. I wouldn’t consider myself a “Lifestyle” blog, but I suppose that’s the niche I fit into because I blog about my life. (And creative writing and writing craft and mental health and gender and sexuality.)
Basically, an editorial calendar is a way to plan out what content you’ll post and when you’ll post it. Some blogs, particularly DIY blogs, tailor their content to trends based on certain months: school crafts in the fall, Christmas crafts in December, summer crafts through June and August. If they have an idea for an Easter craft, but it’s the middle of July, an editorial calendar for their blog ensures that they can get that idea out the next time Easter comes, and gives them a place to plan, expand, and brainstorm.
Some editorial calendars are simple calendars, with sticky notes or pencilled-in blog post titles. They might include social media presence reminders (posting a picture on Instagram, sharing a recent blog post 3x on Twitter the day it goes live, etc.) Some small information about meta-data, like the blog post category, can be included too.
My editorial calendar serves mostly as a place to brainstorm, plan, draft, and back up my blog posts.
My Software & Process
I use Scrivener for the majority of my writing, whether it’s for the blog, my fiction, my works-in-progress, or my poetry. I love the folder system, as well as the ability to store meta-data, on top of the writing experience. I can quickly draft a post in Scrivener, decide on a category, and stick it into a folder for later use—whether it’s in a future month or in my “Stock” folder.
Currently, I plan out a month’s worth of posts near the beginning of the month. As I’m writing this, it’s August 2—but I have this post planned for today, August 19. I wrote a few other posts the day I wrote this one.
I write in advance because I burn out easily. That happened in July, when I didn’t have enough content pre-written and I was back-and-forth between two cities (five hours away from each other…)
I prefer Scrivener because it puts me in that writing mindset. When I’m in Scrivener, I have very minimal distraction. I also have everything I need right where it’s easy to get to.
I write on certain topics. As much as I’d love to post recipes and food adventures, CorylDork is not the space for that. I reserve this website for blog posts on my personal life (to my own discretion), gender and sexuality, writing, and student life—which includes organisation and lifestyle stuff.
I pay attention to how often I’m posting in these categories. I want a variety of content for all the things I write about, so I use the “Outliner” view in Scriv to see which categories are dominating, and which I need to shine some light on again.
I post three times a week: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. One of these days is a themed day: Writing Wednesday, so the other two days are free game for anything in my other categories.
I like to vary the length of my content. By default, my Writing Wednesday posts are generally short. Most of my blog posts range between 500 and 800 words, and I’m okay with that.
I blog using WordPress on a self-hosted server (so, I have the files from WordPress.org, rather than a domain purchased through WordPress.com), so my dashboard might be different to any WP.com users.
I use the following tools for my blog posts:
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The scheduling tool is by far the most handy. I can write up the post, include all the data I need, and then change the “Post immediately” section to a specific day and time.
I also use a few plugins, but they aren’t particularly integral to a simple blogging system.
I use Hootsuite to schedule a few (maximum 3) tweets to promote my blog, and occasionally on Instagram. When it comes to social media, I’m not hardcore into promoting. It’s something I think I should do a bit more, especially since I get loads of hits from Facebook when I post over there, but hits and pageviews are not my current concern. I like to blog consistently about a selection of topics.
My biggest tip for bloggers is this: focus on what you want to say.
If you want to talk about something, make sure you have enough to say about it. Make sure you can be consistent in saying what you want to say. Others would tell you to “think about why you started” but that’s literally the shittiest motivation I can think of (I started blogging because I wanted to bitch about people. Not a good reason to continue blogging).
You also don’t have to blog often. I blog 3 times a week, but that might be too much for you to maintain for a longer period of time.
Anyway, as promised, below is the Scrivener template for a Blog Editorial Calendar! This was created with the Windows version of Scrivener, but hopefully it also works for Apple users.
Happy blogging! Remember: it’s okay to stop blogging for a bit and take a break when, and however long, you need it.