Like I’ve said before, there’s more to creating a blogging schedule than knowing when posts are going to be published. However, that’s an insanely important part of it. First of all, that’s the only real part that your readers see. Second, you have a blog. Obviously, posts need to be published on it, preferably on a regular basis. Finally, writing blog posts may be the most time-consuming part of maintaining your blog.
Editorial calendars put together two of my favorite things: blogging, and planning. Woohoo!
I’ve played around with a lot of editorial calendars over the years, before finally settling on a few favorites. Because yeah, I use more than one at a time. Gotta back up that back up!
I’ve said it throughout this challenge, but it’s worth repeating: everyone will have a different “best.” The tools that I use may not mesh well with the way your brain or schedule works. But these five editorial calendar tools have met my high expectations and then some, so I hope you’ll at least consider them.
5 Editorial Calendar Tools Worth Trying
1. Paper Calendars/Planners
Let’s start simple. Sometimes, you just need it in writing. I know that the reason I’m such a big note-taker is because the physical act of writing something down helps me remember it. So while pen to paper may not be my favorite organizational method, I always fall back to it anyway because it’s what helps me remember things. I back everything up digitally as well, further cementing the dates and information. When I was less busy, just putting it to paper and then to calendar was enough for me to completely memorize my schedule.
Personally, I use a May Designs monthly planner that has monthly calendar views in the front and a lined notebook in the back. Right now the notebook is still blank, but I’d like to start using free moments at work and stuff to outline reviews. That should save some time in writing them.
I use different colored pens for reviews, BABB/Bumblings Blog Tips posts, and other features. It makes the at-a-glance view easy to read and comprehend. But unlike highlighters, they’re erasable so I can easily move posts around.
Related: How I’m Organizing 2015
Trello is the real bread and butter of my blogging schedule. Because it has both a calendar view and a Kanban board view, I can easily switch between viewing posts by due date and viewing them by status. Nowadays, I only use this for reviews, as opposed to all posts, since they have the most status updates.
When I sign up for a blog tour or get approved for a book on NetGalley, I immediately add it to the “To Read” board and set the due date. For blog tours, the due date is simple. For NetGalley ARCs, I usually just pick an open slot around a month or so in the future.
Once I finish reading the book, it goes into the review list, which triggers an Evernote note to be created where I’ll draft the actual review. Then it goes into the posting board until I create and schedule the entire blog post.
The reason I like Trello so much as an editorial calendar is because it’s so flexible. You can create lists for whatever suits your work flow best.
3. Google Calendar
Yes, in addition to the paper planner and Trello, I also use Google Calendar. Thankfully, my Trello cards automatically back up to Trello using a service called Zapier, so I don’t have to put time into creating this one.
The one shortcoming of Trello is that the mobile app doesn’t have a calendar view (that I know of…I haven’t checked recently). So if I’m not at my laptop and want to see what posts I have coming up, I can just check the Google Calendar on my phone.
Again, it’s all pretty and color-coded!
Honestly, I haven’t tested Asana that much yet. But I’ve really liked what I’ve seen and it might allow me to combine my dashboards in Trello and ToDoist – editorial calendar and to-do list in one.
From what I understand, Asana might be your best option if you have a team of bloggers instead of a one-woman show like this blog.
Since I haven’t actually been using it as an editorial calendar yet, I can’t speak to the best way to use it. But here’s a great post about setting one up.
Admittedly, I don’t use CoSchedule much for planning blog content, but it’s still immensely useful. For example, take all those spotlights you see in the Google Calendar screenshot. They’re all scheduled in WordPress already. But WordPress’s native posts interface isn’t a great way to view upcoming posts.
Since I also schedule three months worth of social media promotion when I write a blog post, it’s awesome that it shows that info on the calendar, too.
CoSchedule is a paid plugin, and for self-hosted WordPress blogs only, but I consider it worth the money. My favorite part is the ability to schedule social media promotion in the same place that you draft the post, but the calendar view is a close second.
Free alternative: Edit Flow
Related: My Blogging Toolkit
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