blogging, behind the scenes: post-planning

Posted on Jul 14, 2011 in Career

I’ve gotten quite a few requests lately to write a little bit about my blogging process. So I figured I’d start up a series on the the ins-and-outs of my blogging procedure. One of the most frequent requests I get is how in the world I manage to pump out quite a bit of (what I hope is) quality content during the week while still working a full-time job! Coincidentally, or not, the answer to that aligns perfectly with the topic of my first behind the scenes post—post-planning.

In the healthy living blogosphere, there is a decided to trend to nearly-live content. Meaning that the content that is published is generated, written and published within usually only a few hours of it actually happening (think bloggers that post their daily meals). While this works for a lot of people (and actually how I started out with BTHR), I found that it wasn’t a style that worked for me. I found myself rushing through dinner at night because I felt like I had to post. Or needing to lug my big camera to work everyday to capture my lunch. Also, I found myself craving the time to craft posts on specific topics, and that just wasn’t possible with the live-blogging format. I definitely wanted to include a small amount of live content, but I just couldn’t keep up with 100%. So I started post-planning.

The tools for my post-plan have changed quite a few times over the past year (I’ve used Word, Evernote, and even just sending an e-mail to myself), but I’ve finally landed on using Google Calendar to track my posts and it seems to be working fabulously!

When it comes to the type of post I have during a week, I like to consider my blog lifestyle with a big heavy dose of fabulous food. I committed long ago to doing two posts a day (sometimes only one on weekend days) and those 10-12 posts usually shake out to be this breakdown:

Of those types of topics, I have three types of posts—reoccurring theme posts (Thirsty Thursday, Sunday Brunch, etc.), reoccurring series (Today’s Eats, Good Reads), and one-off posts. The first thing I did in Google Calendar was fill in all the reoccurring posts and set them to automatically populate my calendar on the appropriate days. After that, it is just a matter of filling in the rest of the week and filling in post topics for the theme posts each week.

How do I come up with my ideas? A lot of different ways! Inspiration from other bloggers, from cookbooks, from Pinterest and from my brain. I almost always make my post-plan for the week at the exact same time I’m doing my menu and grocery list (after all, we do have to eat the food I make). When I still have holes in my post-plan, I have some go-to type of posts that I pop in (Things I’m Digging Today, Confessions).

So when do I write posts? Well, it varies. If I’m really ahead of the game, I’ll do a bunch of batch cooking on Sunday and plow through 4-5 posts for the next week. I usually reserve this for when I go on vacation or need to be away from the computer for a few days (but still want to post). But more often than not, I write my posts for the next day the night before. This is why, pretty frequently, you’ll see food in my Today’s Eats post that shows up just a few days later.

And that is how my posts get up everyday! Next up: my photography process.


Do you prefer blogs that have the majority of their content live or pre-planned? Or do you not care as long as it is good?

 

19 Comments

  1. As long as it’s good it doesn’t really matter. Most blogs I follow don’t do daily posts to begin with.
    I’ve just restarted blogging myself and am planning ahead as well. Unfortunately, I’m blogging in Dutch otherwise I would have loved to read your comments.

    • Oh bummer! I would have loved to read. Do you know of any good translators?

      • I’ll see if I can’t translate a few. ;-) But it will have to wait untill we have finished renovating our house.
        For now I’m busy painting, cleaning and vainly trying to ignore the loud noises the builders are making.

  2. I’m very similar to you – I use Google Calendar to map out posts and to plan meals. I have gotten away from it the past couple weeks (due to a move) and found my posting to be more sporadic which I didn’t like. I’m excited to get back on track. I like to keep things life-casting related as close to live as possible (ie: run a half marathon on Sunday, have the recap up Monday) but if it is just a recipe post, it doesn’t necessarily have to be “live”. When I first started reading blogs, most of them were daily-eats kinds. Now I’ve gotten away from that and find that those type generally lack depth which I tend to appreciate.

    • I am the same way you are, if it is an event or something similar that I am reporting on, I like to keep it pretty recent 12-48 hours.
      I totally feel that way about the daily-eats kind of blogs, they are great for what they are, and have given me some awesome basic ideas of food, but I often open up one of their posts and think “Really, another post about _________?”

      • I feel the same way! I’ve actually stopped reading certain blogs because I’m like honestly – how many pictures can you take of a bowl of oatmeal?? I just don’t get why these blogs are popular. Yours I understand because it has great and varied content, but the others I honestly do not get. I think it’s because in a way they are kind of selling a lifestyle that a lot of people yearn to have, because I’ve noticed a lot of healthy living bloggers are attractive, healthy, well-off young women in their 20s. I say young like I’m not also in my 20s … :)

      • I 100% agree about the idealized lifestyle. I find myself falling into that line of thinking. “One day, maybe I’ll be disciplined enough to run 5 days a week.” or “Maybe I should have fruit for dessert.” But then I quickly remember how short life is and how much I like chocolate. :P

  3. Thank you for sharing this with me. I consider myself a very new blogger and have been feeling overwhelmed to get one post up a day, but I see how planning out my posts would make it much easier for me to get material posted. Thank you!

  4. I’ve just recently started post planning and I LOVE IT! Before I was struggling with what to post daily, but now I schedule posts for Mon-Fri and then, if something neat happens, I can post a live evening post for 10ish posts per week.

    I find that pre-planning allows me to be a bit more creative in what I want to talk about, I can make sure I have time to add pictures and plan my week accordingly so I actually remember to take the pictures.

    Today – I have a planned post about the Calgary Stampede and then this evening I’ll have two posts going live about the NKOTBSB concert from last night. I’m digging it.

    I’m also digging your blog :)

    • Yay! So glad post-planning is working for you. I do the exact same thing, I “plan” spontaneity. So like when I was in NYC, I knew I’d want to write about something and post pictures, so I just filled in on Google Calendar “Something about NYC”.

  5. I don’t care as long as it’s good. And yours is definitely good :)

    • Thank you! :)

  6. I definitely don’t care as long as it’s good too. That being said, it’s so interesting to see how much planning goes into your posts! I don’t have any regularly scheduled series-posts that I do (My Weight Loss 101 series is kinda like that, but it’s not planned or scheduled.) I’m definitely much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-keyboard kind of blogger, but your work really pays off! Your posts are always fabulous. :)

  7. I’ve recently started post planning as well. I plan the posts I’ll write in the evening (that I post the next day), allowing myself the flexibility to post about surprise happenings along the way. My evening updates about my fitness journey are pretty much live, discussing the day, the ups and downs of trying to regain my fitness while losing the weight. This has been working for me. I’ll have to check out the Google docs, looks very convenient! You always give me such great ideas, thanks!!

    • You’ll love Google Calendar! Glad I could help. :D

  8. Google calendar is a great idea! I’m going to start doing that now. Quick question– I see in your screen shot that you can “check off” certain items. How do you set up your Google cal to do that?

    Thanks so much!

    • Click the gear icon in the top right of your browser window, click the “Labs” link. Enable the Events Flair option. I use the green checkmark to indicate a finished and set to publish post. The yellow one is for posts that are written but need photos added.

  9. This is so helpful! One of my goals for this weekend is to plan out a blogging schedule. It’s hard to stay focused when I dont have a plan. I don’t mind non-live updates but I don’t want to read about things too far after they’ve happened. Good content far outweighs any desire for live updates though. Looking forward to the next post!

    • I definitely lose focus when I go “off plan”. Glad this helped!

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