Following an editorial calendar has been one of the best decisions I’ve made for Minimalist Baker and it played a big role in letting me tackle this business full time.
“Wait, you work how many weeks in advance?”
I usually work 2-4 weeks in advance and even more when I know I have an upcoming obligation or trip.
When I was a guest on the Jess Lively Show talking about blogging and minimalism, I found myself unexpectedly excited when I told Jess about my editorial calendar for Minimalist Baker.
In hindsight, I didn’t think much of my planning habits until someone else pointed them out.
Why an Editorial Calendar?
Blogging can get overwhelming fast.
The work that goes into creating one single blog post adds up – nearly 8-10 hours for me – and you quickly realize you need a plan of attack if you’re going to blog with any amount of order or consistency.
When I started blogging full time it was crucial for me to map out what I was going to do for the week. Otherwise,
- I felt unprepared
- I forgot things at the store
- I over committed myself
- I became less productive overall
I first began following an editorial calendar in preparation for a 3-week trip overseas in June 2013. My goal was to completely unplug while we were away on vacation. The blog did great while we were away. Surprisingly, during this time, we gained followers and the site grew. I feel the basis of this was that I felt confident about the quality of content shared despite being “offline.”
Plotting an editorial calendar is a two-fold process for me.
1. I plan out the month.
Near the middle of each month, I begin planning out what the following month will look like in terms of recipes and special projects.
I plan out every recipe I’m going to make that month. For me, that’s 3 recipes a week for roughly 4 weeks resulting in a total of 12 recipes. I also loosely write up each recipe and determine what ingredients and props it will require.
The goal is to approach the middle of January and already have a pretty solid idea of what February content will look like.
2. I plan out the week.
Once the month is planned out, I map out what my workload will look like each day of the week.
Every Sunday I:
- Sit down and plan our meals for the week
- Then I schedule what recipes I’m going to make
- Lastly, I write out a detailed grocery list so I’m prepared for our weekly trip to the store
What I’m left with is a detailed, color-coded map of what’s happening on any given week, including:
- What blog posts are going live on which dates
- What recipes I’m making / blog posts I’m writing
- Any other special projects or obligations occurring within the week
Below is a snapshot of what January 2015 looked like for me.
This leaves me feeling prepared for the week ahead. And that mindset helps me approach my work confidently.
Ultimately, this improves the quality of content shared on Minimalist Baker.
My Top 5 Planning Tips
1. Plan out content at least three weeks in advance. Why?
- You will instantly feel more confident and in control of your work.
- You will know you have enough ideas for future content so your blog won’t die.
- It allows room for error in case a couple of ideas don’t work out the way you hoped, or life happens and you just can’t get to something.
2. This is common sense, but don’t schedule other things that will interrupt or take priority over your daily obligations. Stick to what you say.
3. Don’t schedule too many things to accomplish in one day. A loose rule of mine is 2-3 essential things. That way there’s room for error. And it means if you complete 10-15 big tasks each week, you’ve accomplished a lot!
4. Perform an end of week review to determine how much you actually accomplished. Did you get all of it done? Only 50%? Adjust accordingly for the week ahead. This will help you determine if you are over- or under-loading your schedule and help you find your ideal workflow.
5. Treat your blog and your editorial calendar like it’s a business. You wouldn’t willy nilly decide to close up your bakery one Saturday morning because you slept in and couldn’t get the muffins right, would you?
So don’t neglect your blog’s content schedule. Treat it like your business.
I hope these tips were helpful for you and that they somehow inspire you to get more organized when it comes to your blogging calendar. If you did, share your experience in the comments! And if you have any questions or suggestions of your own, please leave them below! I’d love to know.