You’re all set up to blog now. It’s time to start getting plans in place that willhelp you blog regularly.There are two sides to planning your blog. Firstly, you need to know whatyou’re going to write each week, or fortnight, or month. Then, you need a rou-tine in place to help you deliver your posts to your self-imposed deadline.In this chapter, we’re going to look at the first part: building your content cal-endar.What is a content calendar?A content calendar is just a diary of what posts you are going to publish, andwhen. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You just need something that lets you markwhich posts will go out on which dates. You also want to be able to move theposts around, as your plans change.Good options include:Awallplanner.Uselittlestickiesforyourpostssoyoucanmovethemaround.Printableworksheets-withboxesorrowsforeachdayofthemonth.Trello.Ihavelistsforeachstepofthepublishingprocess,andIaddacardforeach post. Once I've set publication dates for each card, I can use the Calendarview to see my posts on a timeline.Asanawouldalsoworkwellifthat’swhatyouliketouse.Oranytoolthatletsyou view tasks as a calendar.CoScheduleispopularwithbloggerswhoneedasinglecalendarforplanningblog posts and social media updates. It also integrates very well with Word-press.See the Resources section for links, and the Worksheet pack for printable cal-endar sheets.Gather your stockpile of ideasTo get started, you need your chosen calendar, and a bunch of ideas to plan in.We generated a heap of ideas in Chapter 2. Now we’ll start matching ideas todates.
Map out your important dates
Much of your content might work at any time of year, but your January salepromotion needs to go out over Christmas. And some of your content mightdo better if you can tie it to an event that matters to your customers.There may also be events you’ve planned for your business that could workwell as a blog post. Or they might actually need promotion as a post, news-letter, or both. So start by marking in these important dates on your calendar:Eventsandholidaysthatmattertoyourcustomers.Don’tjustgowithgeneralinterest ones. If you’re a bike shop, what about big bike races? If you’re an artstore, can you tie to major exhibitions? If you’re a beauty brand, what aboutFashion Week?Datesinyourbusinesslikesales,promotions,andnewproductsarriving.Anyotherdatesthatmattertoeitherthekindofcontentyoufeatureontheblogor how you get it written. Like your own holiday.
Add in Your Content
Now take each item in your idea stockpile and slot it into your calendar. Tackle
the big dates first, like Christmas gift ideas and bank holiday promotions. Thenfit the rest of the ideas around those fixed dates.Where you have important dates but no content, see if you can come up withan idea to fill the gap.You may still end up with a few open slots in your publishing schedule. That’sokay. This isn’t a set in stone thing. Your calendar can and should change allthe time. A bit of ‘give’ is a good thing.What we’re aiming for is a calendar that’s just full enough. Enough for you tofeel confident you will have something to write about, most weeks that youplan to publish.