How to Create an Editorial Calendar

Today, Charleston Blog Society member Kelly of Paper Meets Pearl is sharing her tips for creating an editorial calendar. I think we all as bloggers are guilty at times of being lazy and not scheduling posts far enough in advance. There is nothing more important in blogging than having a clean, flowing editorial calendar to keep your sanity and luckily Kelly is here to help!

Hello, my name is Kelly and I’m a obsessive organizer. I love to organize things and makes lists until my fingers bleed. Why? Is it because I’m crazy? No. It’s because I love to have everything in order, especially when it comes to my blog (Paper Meets Pearl) and small business. Having an editorial calendar has made it easier to organize my blog posts, freelance jobs, and the monthly events I attend.

“How long do you work in advance?” 
I typically work about 1-2 weeks in advance, more if I know I’ll be gone one weekend or working a shoot. Working on a blog can be overwhelming and if it’s not in order, things can get crazy fast. I usually post anywhere from three to four times a week and that’s a lot! If I didn’t have things on my editorial calendar I would quickly miss deadlines for my own blog and as a freelancer (which means no money).

Why You Need An Editorial Calendar.
Editorial calendars are what keeps us bloggers going. A typical post can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to research, write, and organize a photo shoot if necessary. My editorial calendar helps me spread out those more hefty pieces into a more reasonable amount to tackle.

For example:
If I’m scheduled to style a shoot that will also be shared on my blog, I can breakdown my task list throughout the week instead of doing it all in one day. This allows me to work more personally with the business owner, create a concept for the shoot and gives a day to take the photos and edit them. Then two days before the post goes live, I will write the piece, lay out the photos and edit the post, all before the deadline.

Imagine doing that all in one day. It would be a nightmare!

An editorial calendar also not only helps me stay on track but it keeps me productive and it is an excellent way to track my ideas.

My Approach 
I approach my editorial calendar in two ways:

1. I plan out the month
Around the middle of each month, I sit down and begin writing out ideas that will be narrowed down to what will be posted. I carry with me a small notebook to jot notes down as they come to me. I typically post 12-16 posts a month, more if I’m inspired or find sales that should be shared. If I do find a sale or item I love and what to share, I typically include those in my day-to-day tasks instead of planning for them monthly or weekly since they are more spontaneous.

2. I plan out the week
Since Paper Meets Pearl is more than just fashion finds, I also include personal style shoots. These outfit posts are typically decided on the week of and are shot 2-3 times a week, typically in the morning before work. I hope as the blog evolves and I can become a full time blogger/freelancer these types of posts can occur more regularly.

After creating all of this in my calendar, I begin to decide on which dates the posts will go live and start adding in my events and freelance deadlines. Ultimately, this improves the quality of content that I share with my readers (that’s you!).

Here is an example of what my weekly calendar looks like: Calendar

Seeing everything in an excel spreadsheet helps me organize my thoughts and I can always rearrange and change as necessary. If something is extremely time sensitive and important, I’ll put it on my iPhone calendar to remind me as well. It sounds extreme but it is what helps me. Find your balance and roll with it.

My Top Five Planning Tips 

1. Plan your calendar at least three weeks in advance. Why?
That way in case anything should happen that delays you in posting your material, you’re covered. This will make you feel more in control of your work and therefore, more confident in your blog.

You will know if you have room for other projects or ideas and your blog won’t suffer for lack of content.

2. Make sure you don’t schedule things that will otherwise interrupt your other obligations.
My calendar allows me to not only operate my blog, but also freelance as a writer and stylist, attend events, and work my full time day job. It’s a lifesaver. But I also know when to say no and space out time for everything else and still be home for dinner.

3. Don’t schedule too many things to accomplish in one day.
I typically tackle 2-3 essential tasks each day that are necessary to running my blog. This leaves room for error and fixing little (or big!) mistakes.

4. Perform a weekly and monthly review to see your progress.
Did you accomplish only 50% of the tasks you set for yourself? Adjust accordingly for the week ahead and this will show you if you’re over or under working yourself. You gotta take time for you people!

5. Finally, treat this as a job.
Stay on top of tasks to get things done! Overall this will help you create more quality content that will keep bringing in new readers.

I hope these tips were helpful for you! Click Here to download a free weekly editorial calendar. Feel free to share this article with others and get on the organization train today! And if you have any questions or suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Share them in the comments below or find me at Paper Meets Pearl.

Favorite Blogging Conferences and Classes

Starting and growing a blog can be daunting. Not everyone is an Instagram whiz or a master at Photoshop. But like anything in life it helps to learn from those that have been there, done that and luckily for bloggers there are lots of online resources to help. From week long conferences to online courses there is a course out there for every budget and level of interest.

So grab a cup of coffee and browse through some of our favorite blogging conferences and online classes below! And if you participate in any of them, make sure you let us know how it was! Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 10.26.33 PM

via Cooper & Thames

Atly – Online classes from Photoshop to calligraphy and online marketing.

A Beautiful Mess – Online courses from the bloggers behind A Beautiful Mess. Covering topics like blog design, DSLR help and tips on monetizing a blog.

Altitude Summit – The largest blogging conference in the US. The summit spans three days and is offered twice a year in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Blogshop – Online and in person Photoshop classes for bloggers.

Blogging Your Way – Online courses covering multiple topics including Instagram and writing tips.

Bloguettes – Based in Arizona they offer online classes and in person workshops.

Blogacademy – A two day blogging workshop designed to take your blog to the next level. They offer classes in several large cities across the globe.

Heart & Arrow Design – Online courses covering blogging basics and building an Etsy shop.

Skillshare – Online classes covering almost everything from bookbinding to drawing digitally.

The Well – A super useful blog run by superstar bloggers Victoria McGinley and Meg Biram that includes helpful blog posts as well as well priced classes.

Useful #Charleston Hashtags

Hashtags are one of the fastest ways to grow your social media following and promote your work. It’s important not to over tag your images and abuse hashtags that have no relation to your subject. But sometimes it can take a long time to find hashtags that relate. To make your search a little easier I have compiled a few of the top #Charleston hashtags below. Feel free to add some of your favorites in the comments so we can grow our list! chspicImage via Coastal Bride

For Bloggers:

General Charleston: