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.

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

  • Ken Kowal says:

    Thanks for the article. I fall into the category of always scrambling to keep a schedule but always feel great when I finish a new post. I keep a list in Evernote with 1 or two sentences on topics and then just grab one and run with it when I have the inspiration.

  • Nice nice nice!

    So far, my own planning is that on Thursdays, I ensure my coffeepot gets abducted by aliens so I slip into a caffeine deprived state and engage in imaginary interviews.

    So far, I’ve interviewed Xena, Chuck Norris, Capt Kirk and Capt Picard.

    Must schedule out the other 6 days…. :)
    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach recently posted…I just BOLDLY removed ALL of my Internet Marketing products from my site – here’s why

  • Thanks for posting this, Kelly. It’s inspired me to take my blog seriously again. Red Paper Clip does have a blog, but Idris and I have been too busy (or we’ve at least convinced ourselves that we’re too busy) to update it regularly. In fact, I’m afraid to look and see when we last posted a blog entry! Strangely enough, a number of clients have recently hired us to write a weekly blog for them, so we’ve developed several idea generating techniques and made sure to schedule time for ourselves to keep those blogs up to date, but we have yet to do such a thing for ourselves. What can I say? The cobbler’s son has no shoes, and writers have no writing on their websites!

  • Robin says:

    First I never knew there were programs to help schedule blog development. Second in my case it has to be done at the same time which is at night. I just cannot stay focused long enough to get it done otherwise. I think the best tip is the writing 52 titles and a few sentences next idea. That’s a great framework and will help the creative process.
    Robin recently posted…Tumbling Towards Smiles and Higher Margins

  • Robin says:

    After following these tips for 7 days I managed to get posts up every single day I had plotted out on the planner. It really does work, I highly recommend the program.
    Robin recently posted…Explaining Promotional Drinkware Types and Decorations

  • Kelly Watson says:

    Thanks, Robin! Glad to hear it worked for you.

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  • Hi Kelly,

    While I’m not crafty enough to create such a cute post it note editorial calendar, the Word Press plug in has been an amazing tool that has helped boost my productivity.

    I use it in conjunction with the WP future calendar plugin. Another tool that helps me save time when posting reoccurring weekly or monthly themes is Post template. There are so many great templates to choose from that can help bloggers get more done in less time.
    Saidah@AProverbsWife.com recently posted…My FREE Barnes & Noble Gift Card Paid Off!!

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  • Christina says:

    Thanks! This was an awesome post, very easy to understand and full of great ideas. I LOVE your post it calendar. I did install the WordPress plugin but plan to use your post it calendar idea for many other things!

  • Lydia says:

    Thank you for putting this together-I really want to discipline myself more when it comes to blogging, I was shooting for 3x a week for each of my blogs, but i got off track. Just wondering do you schedule time for twitter/facebook/blogging communities too? ll of these are time suckers when I do engage in them and I don’t do that consistently!
    Lydia recently posted…Tuesday was a snow day

  • Kelly Kautz says:

    Completely agree with them turning into time suckers! I don’t schedule my time with them, but I do approach them cautiously. I also downloaded a software called “Freedom” that turns off your internet access for a period of time. I use it when I’m writing, and I find it really helps keep me focused by removing the temptation to start surfing.

    Good luck with your blogging goals — if you do manage to post 3x a week, you’ll be doing better than me! :)

  • Vicki says:

    Thanks for this! It’s exactly what I was looking for. I am having a hard time organizing my thoughts and ideas for posts! I will be following you on facebook for more great content.

  • Chris says:

    I think the thing I struggle with most is coming up with worthwhile content to write about and not just writing for the sake of writing. It needs to address a need of my customers and clients and be relevant to them….
    Chris recently posted…Building My Home Photography Studio Part 2

  • Randy Dickey says:

    I enjoy your pointed advice and whimsical approach; always finding your posts capture my attention and provide value – Nice job!

    For your readers who may wish to take the Google Calendar approach; here is a nice collection of Google Calendar tips that may help them take full advantage of that option. Use Google Calendar Like a Pro Tips.

    This was just a useful post i’d found, not affiliated with the site in any way…
    Randy Dickey recently posted…Kansas City Google Apps | KC google apps | Google Apps reseller | google apps assistance | Google Apps service

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  • Mary Babiez says:

    Thank you for this. My blog strategy and planning has always been a bit disjointed and always leaves me scrambling for posts at the last minute. Based on your ideas, I just outlined the next 3 months on a calendar and it makes much more sense. I was easily able to see inconsistencies and now have more streamlined categories planned out.
    Mary Babiez recently posted…5 Printables for a Festive October

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