Creating and Sticking to a Blog Schedule (plus Free Templates)

Blog schedules (or as some people call it, blog editorial calendars): I’ve given lip service to the idea more than once, but I’ve never actually created one … until now.

I envy bloggers who post seven days a week. I marvel at people who schedule my guest blog post months in advance because they’ve got other content already in queue. But until recently, creating a blog schedule seemed so regimented. I can barely remember to floss; how can I stick to a blog schedule?

I’m not sure if the envy finally broke me down, or the shame of being someone who doesn’t take her own advice. But with the holidays fast approaching and a bunch of new projects on the horizon, I realized I had better get my butt in gear.

What The Experts Say About Blog Schedules

Since I don’t have a lot of experience creating blog schedules, I asked the experts to give me some advice. James Chartrand of Men With Pens called blog schedules “the bane of my existence,” but offered great tips for creating them:

•   “Write down 52 titles with three sentences that cover what you want to write in the post. Now you know exactly what you’ll write about and never have to scramble.”

•   “Make series. If you write a title and immediately think of the next topic that would flow from it, go for it. Series are great for planning.”

•   “Cover holiday posts. Look at a calender, run through it, and plan posts for special upcoming holidays. Less thinking, more, ‘Ah, cool, I get to write a valentine’s day post!'”

Bryan Allain, a daily blogger from my hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had this to say about scheduling blog posts:

“Using a calendar to schedule posts on my blog has made me in a better blogger in a number of ways. The calendar not only organizes future blog posts, it also helps to capture them in the first place.

“The moment I get an idea for a new blog post I put it on my calendar before I forget it. Having a calendar also helps me keep my content from getting too stale. If I’ve got similar posts slated for back to back days, I can notice it move things around before it’s too late.”

Blog Schedule Tools

Bryan Allain recommends Google Calendar for scheduling blog posts. WordPress users can schedule their blog posts using the free editorial calendar plug-in.

I prefer the old-fashioned pen and paper version, so I created my own template. (It’s shown in the picture at the top of this post.) In it, I’ve included space for daily themes and ideas that haven’t been scheduled. To download one for yourself, choose from the following JPEGs:

5 Day Blog Schedule TemplateThe 5 Day Blog Schedule Template (Monday—Friday)

7 Day Blog Schedule TemplateThe 7 Day Blog Schedule Template (Sunday—Sunday)

My Own Blog Schedule

My blog schedule includes “themes” for each day of the week. This structure makes it easier to create new posts: instead of trying to create an idea from scratch, I simply have to think of a topic that fits that day’s theme.

Options for daily themes include:

•   Tips, tools and how-tos
•   Personal essays
•   Interviews or Q&As
•   Guest posts
•   Link roundups
•   “Wordless Wednesday” (a photo or illustration)

As you can see from the image at top, I use Post-it notes to organize my blog schedule. That makes it easy to rearrange things if I miss a day or have to reschedule a guest blog post.

What tricks and tools do YOU use to maintain a successful blog schedule? Let me know in the comments section below.

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