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Content calendars are a pain in the butt to create, aren’t they?
What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be that way? In this post, I’m going to show you how I sit down and create a yearly content calendar.
I publish here on the blog once weekly on Sundays. As I actively write pieces elsewhere as well (both my own and for clients), once a week is all that I can commit to for consistency. You’ll find that most experts may differ on the best days to publish and the times, but they all tend to agree that consistency is one of the most critical factors.
One of the easiest ways to achieve this critical element is to plan out your content well in advance. If you know what and when you need to write something, it makes planning out your weekly schedule so much easier. You also won’t publish posts that are too late to be of use to your readers (i.e.: it’s a little too late or too early to release a Christmas crafting post in January!) if you have a content calendar that you follow as well.
So with that in mind, here are five steps you can take to plan out a year’s worth of content in one sitting.
Step One: Figure Out How Many Posts Per Year
Super simple here, if you publish once per week, you need 52 posts. If you publish twice, you need 104. I get that figure based on the fact you have 52 weeks in a year. You might find you need to come up with one or two more posts depending on how the weeks work out, but this will get you mostly there. Also, you may decide you want to take the week of Christmas entirely off, so there are things like that to consider!
Step Two: How Many Categories In Your Blog?
Here on my blog, I will be carrying four categories into 2020 (with a fifth “misc.” group). My categories will be Home Decor, General Crafting, Seasonal Crafting, and Jewelry Making. Knowing that I need 52 posts for the year and four categories, I know I should have about 13 posts under each category.
For this step, I highly recommend using a map of some kind. For this step, I use Trello, which is a free online tool. I like Trello because it functions almost like a storyboard. As an example, here’s my basic 2020 calendar. As I go along, more and more detail will appear in those cards, but for now, it’s the bare-bones article. I fill in more details once I decide on a publish date and start my research.
Step Three: Rough Titles
As you can see from my screenshot, I have rough titles. These will not be the final titles, but rather just an idea of what I’ll be doing for that post (i.e., making a necklace). So go along and come up with some rough titles that you want to cover this year. It doesn’t need to be set in stone as this is just for you, and you can change your mind as the year goes along!
If you’re new to this, this step can take some time. Don’t worry if you need to space this out over a day or two, keep going!
Step Four: Due Dates
Once you have a rough idea of what you want to publish, you need to figure out when you wish to post these. Like the previous step, this might take you a little while (this is where I get hung up, if anything). Because most of my blog is about crafting, I like to publish my seasonal posts ahead of time.
Some Things You May Want to Consider
- How many days before your publish date do you want to finish writing your post?
- I publish on Sundays, and I like to be finished much of the writing by the Wednesday BEFORE.
- Do you write seasonal posts?
- I like to plan my seasonal posts first and then my non-seasonal content around them.
- Is there content that should be published before an event?
- If you’re writing about NaNoWriMo, you may want to decide if those posts need to be published before November.
Step Five: Create Your Content Calendar
For my calendar, I use a plugin on my WordPress site. It’s merely the WordPress Editorial Calendar. You can select the day and time you want to publish this post, and it saves it as a draft post for you. Once I have due dates, I input them into my calendar, scheduling them all to publish on Sundays at 10 am.
And Now Your Year Is Planned!
Well, at least your blog content is, then there’s the social media marketing and whatnot (you can check out my earlier post on some helpful tools for social media). You can complete these steps in about an hour, but they can take longer, and that’s okay. Keep going until it’s done! Having your year planned out early will save you so much stress! Having a content calendar for your blog will also allow you to keep on top of crucial deadlines to ensure your posts are timely for what your readers are searching for throughout the year.
I hope this post has inspired you to get your content planned ahead of time. Please share this post to your favorite social media platform and pin it to Pinterest!
Now that you’ve got your content calendar in the bag, want a free tip sheet on social media marketing? If you sign up for my mailing list below (I never send spam, and you can unsubscribe if it all becomes too much), I’ll send you a link to download your pdf after you have confirmed your subscription.
That’s all for this year! My goodness, it’s been such fun, and I look forward to sending you more crafty ideas next year. I am going to be doing things a little differently. On January 1st, my writer website will officially launch (writer.katherinededul.com). Any posts about blogging and writing will then be published there, and this will be all about home decor, crafting, and baking! My first crafting post of the year will be a necklace tutorial, so until then, stay crafty my friends and have a Happy New Year!!