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Behind the Scenes – My Low Tech Editorial Schedule

How do you organise and plan your posts? Do you have an editorial calendar?

I like to keep things fairly informal but do use a spreadsheet to help me keep more organised than I used to. Here’s how it looks for dPS:

Editorial calendar

The left two columns are my blog posts. I publish two posts per day – one scheduled for the US audience in the morning and one for the afternoon. I’m usually scheduling these 2-3 days in advance (but up to a week or two in advance if I’m taking a trip).

The 5 columns on the right are my Facebook posts on the dPS Facebook Page which I plug in a day or two in advance also. The times at the top are Aussie time zone times but they tend to go up more during the US morning through to evening – every 4-5 hours.

The Facebook updates are a combination of:

  • New posts on the blog (2 per day)
  • Highlighting old posts in the archives (1-2 per day)
  • Discussion Questions (1 every day or two)
  • Links to hot threads in our forum area (1 per day)

Note: Much of what I do I posted about last week in my post on increasing Facebook Engagement by 200-300%.

I do move them around a bit depending upon what is happening on the blog on any given day. If something hot is happening on a post or forum I’ll push that into the schedule faster for example.

The green colour signifies that the posts are scheduled. If they are white they are just penciled in but not set to go live yet.

That’s how I roll – what about you? Do you schedule posts far in advance? Do you use a system or tool to help you do it?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Hi Darren,

    I am learning to embrace this but for the most part I write around a set time and then post. But I do see the need for this going forward, as I become more busy and simply need to organize a few day’s in advance.

    Thanks for the share,

    Ryan

  2. Darren,

    I do schedule several weeks out and use Evernote to come up with the schedule. It is not much more formal than what you are doing. I also feel free with moving things if something more topical or time sensitive comes up. I am not a slave to the schedule. Take care.

    • Kostas says:

      That sounds pretty much how I work too, I know people who will not deviate from the schedule, but sometimes you just need to if you want to take advantage of something that comes up.

  3. Jarrod Galm says:

    Good insights, Darren. I tend to be using too many tools to help manage my posting schedule. Maybe going to basics like using a spreadsheet would be beneficial to my blog and my sanity.

    But like you, I do like to post things and have them in the queue a couple of days out, giving me some time to make any last minute updates/corrections before they go live.

  4. Joey E says:

    I like yours, and how you integrate social media.

    I only schedule posts, and I color code them based on topic (I have 2 blogs). This one seems simpler.

  5. Lakhyajyoti says:

    I always schedule posts for each and every blog. Often I busy with my office job. So, whenever I got time for blogging, I prepare a post and schedule it for my readers.

  6. Wow, this is really cool to look at. I do schedule things in advance, but usually inside Buffer App – and so I don’t have the same view of how everything works together like this.

    I’m totally digging how you approach your editorial calendar though, and I think I might be taking a page out of your book. :) Thanks!

  7. I use a similar content schedule for myself and my clients. I typically use hootsuite for my clients and bufferapp for myself to schedule posts in advance.

  8. At the moment, I don’t really have an editorial calendar or anything like that. Its usually just be writing so I guess I don’t need one, yet. But I am open to suggestions for ones to try when I do need one?!

  9. kathyj333 says:

    I’m just figuring out that scheduling posts ahead a time is the way to go. And it only took me seven years to figure that out.

  10. James Seo says:

    It’s always refreshing to see how other copywriters and bloggers keep track of their content schedules. I’m partial to merging the old-school and new-school. for as much as I use my iCloud calendar, I still have PILES of notebooks floating around and sticky notes. Can’t fully give them up!

    • James, I fully hear you with the written notes! They are excellent for setting goals and actually achieving them I found. It’s apparently something having to do with the brain being better stimulated when we write the traditional way, pen on paper :)

  11. Thanks for sharing Darren!

    I’ve been using the Editorial Calendar Plugin for WordPress and it’s done it’s job well but I’m going to test out your system.

  12. Thanks for sharing your calendar, Darren! I use an “opposite” system of posting, in that I feed everything from my blog/other blogs onto social media platforms.
    I schedule all my Facebook and Twitter posts on Sunday night for the entire week to come. I have a combination of sharing content from blogs that I read regularly (problogger included :)) and inspirational posts (usually a quote image, video, or something personal).
    When my own blog posts go out (I usually write 2 per week – one is mine and one blogger interview or guest post) I share 2-3 times on Facebook within a week time period and about daily for a week on Twitter.
    It seems complicated but once you do it a few times it works really quickly :)

  13. cassie says:

    I’ve been meaning to create some sort of schedule for ages. Been procrastinating for too long. Thanks for sharing this simple yet straight to the point editorial calendar. Will be using this as inspiration :)

  14. Susan Jones says:

    Thanks for this Darren. I’ve been looking for a post that lays out how to do this for ages. Everyone says you need to have an editorial calendar, but so far no one has shown us HOW.

    One question: How far in advance do you plan your editorial calendar? Is it just a week or do you have a plan for a month or two in advance and then schedule every 2 – 3 days?

  15. Eli says:

    Hi Darren,

    Love DPS!

    May you share what plugin you’re using for the Floating Social Share Buttons? on DSP

    Love how the “share this” animation comes in.
    Thanks!

  16. Laura says:

    do you use the editorial calendar plugin as well as the spreadsheet?

  17. I have a calendar plugin and use Google docs to keep track of everything else but am always experimenting with better ways. My blog is starting to get quite busy so am thinking about a wall calendar next year – I love being able to pinpoint where and when things can slot in and I’m quite visual so I think that’ll work for me. (Trouble is, I already have a big wall calendar for my freelance work so will have to make some room) :)

  18. I love seeing this, Darren! I teach a online course called Content Brew and part of what I teach is using a spreadsheet to manage your editorial/content calendar. I find that a spreadsheet is just the easiest way for me to see what I have coming up.

    One thing I do is color code mine by topic. It’s easy to spot if I’m writing too much about a certain topic or not enough about another. Someone else mentioned Evernote– I love it to keep track of the ideas that I’m not ready to schedule yet!

  19. I’m using Evernote for all this now. I keep a notebook for each of my blogs/sites. One note in each notebook serves as a To Do List for that site. I clip notes or interesting topics into the notebooks as I go along and tag them by topic/planned blog post. I create a new note for each blog post and work on them from this one central location. Still a work in progress, but worlds better than the one I used before – nothing! lol

  20. Christine says:

    I love this! I use a paper calendar to schedule posts but I love the idea of scheduling social media posts as well! I’ve been really trying to increase traffic to my FB page and I think this could really help!

  21. carolyn says:

    Brilliant! I’ve been scribbling it all on an old-fashioned wall calendar and just said this afternoon that I really needed something better to keep track of all the different things.

    Your system is perfect for me, is super simple to set up, and won’t cost me a dime!

  22. Alexandra says:

    Good idea about green vs white. I hadn’t thought of that, and have a status column for everything, which gets really wild. However, I’m scheduling a lot of bilingual matter and collaborating with an editorial team most of the time, so we use colours to draw attention to when something needs to be done by something else, and the status column to say things like “blog post still needs to be translated”. So maybe the green colour coding would not work for me….

    For anyone else doing this with collaborators, we use a shared spreadsheet on google drive where we plan everything from blog to facebook, twitter, instagram etc.

  23. Huy DQ says:

    thanks for your post. I will make my own a file like this. I used to add all posts in post schedule of blog, but found it very difficult to manage post, link and operating SEO campaign. An excel file is easier.

  24. Michelle says:

    I have to laugh! I logged in to your site specifically to search for e-mail marketing stuff, and this post was right in my face. Sychronicity. I’ve been procrastinating on “the calendar” for a while. This particular blog is a brand new project, and is THE ONE, I’ve finally honed in on loca,l and am concentrating my efforts on what I know and love, but my mind, as always is spinning out of control.

    Thank you. xx

  25. Monja says:

    Thank Daren for sharing a look behind the scenes, I enjoy it :-) I started using a simple sheet of paper but now I use the WordPress plugin for editorial calendars. With it I can drag and drop the posts to different days easily and at the same time I have an overview what is published when.

  26. Man, I love knowing how other people work – and I love that fact that this is so low-tech and not too distant from what I’m doing. I looked around for an editorial calendar app until my non-blogger husband snapped “just use a bloody Excel spreadsheet!” So I did. And it works! I will not be telling him that Mr Problogger has just confirmed he was right.

    Got to get my Facebook posts planned at least more than the minute before I write them, thanks for the kick up the bum.

  27. Carla Dewing says:

    Great, now I can prove to my clients that it’s a common convention :) I have always used spreadsheets to control the editorial content, and Evernote to do my ‘out and about’ scheduling at events and seminars. I would build an app for it, but why bother? Simple is always best, and you need some kind of central area where you can record key analytics insights & reports that will affect next months calender. Never mind social fatigue, we have social tool fatigue to deal with! Thanks Darren.

  28. hi Darren, firstly thank you for these great posts. Love how you share your knowledge. I thought i was the only spreadsheet geek. LOL.
    I have a spreadsheet for my blog only and usually just use facebook randomly throughout they day to push my blog post, sell my furniture, share my life (in Lilyfield!)
    I usually plan my blog posts around when I may be finish painting my furniture. In the beginning I would paint the furniture in the day, photograph it in the late afternoon in poor light then blog at night, usually when i was distracted by getting the kids to bed. I now have a much better system where I finish the furniture, style and photograph the next morning in the lovely morning light then write the blog post either during the day or that night and schedule it to come out at 630am AEST. When I don’t have a piece of furniture that i’ve painted I will write a tutorial, blog a recipe, some snippet of my life etc. it seems to be working well but i want to get to a stage of blogging consistently every day and at the moment i usually only have enough good content for about 4-5 blog posts a week (as I paint a whole piece of furniture for each post!)
    But a million ideas in my head. not enough time!
    thanks – love both your websites
    Fiona

  29. Hi Darren, oh drat and double drat, I have no schedule and I see that it could save a bit of angst. I’m always feeling like I should be posting at a certain time and beating myself up about it. I will try your scheduling ideas and let you know how I go. We are starting to get press and have a TV program coming to film us early in November, I have a book in the works and yes need some scheduling help.

    I took many things from your video mostly around that energy and where I find it, just this one gem has me now writing from another location that is more inspiring than my kitchen table.

    If you ever get to Italy come visit us, ciao for now
    Lisa

  30. Phuong Le says:

    Amazingly, i thought you must have scheduled automatic or have a team to publish them.

  31. Excellent approach to business! This means that you are a very organized person. But what if I’m not as organized as you are? I spend half an hour looking for my glasses every morning!) Where to start? I usually post the articles when I have an inspiration. But how to start not hobby-blogging, but professional blogging?

    • Korah, you can start blogging “for real” if you just make the decision to do so! Every morning, after you find your glasses :) start working using Darren’s worksheet. Or just use what works for you. I write down on paper, it’s my preference and I see that I accomplish more this way ;)

  32. I’ve always wondered how the bigger bloggers schedule their content, and it’s very helpful to get the visual WITH the description to round out the understanding. Thanks for doing this post.

  33. Vincent Gave says:

    Thanks a lot!! Your system is perfect for me, is super simple to set up, and won’t cost me a dime!

  34. This is great!! I like the simplicity of it. I’ve looked at, considered, and experimented with several, but this is so simple. Perfect timing for me as I’m in the process of interviewing VAs to handle my Social Media scheduling/publishing. Thanks!

  35. kathyj333 says:

    I’m a procrastinator matched by few. What are some good ways to get beyond “waiting until tomorrow?”

    • Hi Kathy, been there! :) An accountability group might be the one for you! There are plenty of free options online – just google and you’ll find many. Or you want particularly on blogging I’ve got ideas – feel free to message me on my FB page as I don’t want to bug everybody here ;)

  36. Tom says:

    I use HootSuite to set up my Facebook/Twitter posts. I usually take one day a week where I plan it all out.

    As far as blog posts go, I have a notepad file open, with everything laid out for the week.

  37. Wholly crap! This is SO organised. I downloaded the wordpress editorial calendar app you recommended, but this takes it to another level!

    I have a question: how do you schedule things that you’d like to share from another fb page for example? I’m getting better at scheduling fb posts and sometimes use hootsuite. But I find it frustrating when I come across some great content to share, but the timing is not right for my fb page, or I want to space things out. Any tips?

    • Kylah, I don’t usually share from another page using the FB share, because it has almost 0 reach. What I do is I save the URL for what I wanted to share and schedule it for a later time (when it works for my page) giving credit to the page that I shared from.

      If there’s no URL to share in the original post, you can right-click on the date/time of that post and copy that URL – which is the link to the FB post. As I said, I rarely do this because it has very very low reach.

  38. Xavier D says:

    I like your approach & technique Darren. I do not do anything like it, but I should consider it. Your system or something similar, might help me. Thanks, Xavier

  39. Great approach Darren. It ensures that we are always on schedule. Thanks for sharing with us.

  40. Stephan says:

    Great article Darren
    I usually force myself to be on schedule and keep everything on track.
    Thanks for your sharing.

  41. Great article! I’ve been using an editorial calendar for a while now, starting off in Evernote & now in Google Drive (for some accounts I need to collaborate around the schedule).

    Here’s a link to the current template I’m using…

    https://docs.google.com/a/shesageek.com.au/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AloOWKMl32wudE8yamF5d29SVVFKMmx4ZEFNY0prNWc&usp=docslist_api

    Cheers,
    Ev

  42. Susan says:

    I dont schedule the post for future regularly. I post daily one article on my blog and try to stick to it. If in case I am going for holidays, I used to write articles in advance and schedule using wordpress feature so that it get published automatically.

    But I like your way of scheduling FB updates and posts. I will be start using the same.

  43. Jim says:

    I always schedule posts for each and every blog. whenever I got time for blogging, I prepare a post and schedule it for my readers. I’ve been using the Editorial Calendar Plugin for WordPress and it’s done it’s job well but I’m going to test out your system.

  44. Ella says:

    There are several methods to doing this. I wrote a book about it.

    For those that don’t use this method, it is okay. There are several different ways to do it including just penciling a list numbered 1-30 (assuming 30 days in that month) and putting down what goes where.

    It’s in my book…Tick Tock Goes The Blog Clock: The Why, What, and How To Create 365 Days of Content TODAY http://beblogalicious.bigcartel.com/product/tick-tock-goes-the-blog-clock

    And I do consultations, too. http://www.bestblogcontent.com

  45. Mel says:

    I got too busy and my blogs have suffered so I’ve just been looking for an easy editorial calendar to keep me systematised. Found a few and then yours pops into my inbox. Timely. And much simpler than most of what I found. Seems ed calendars are becoming a science in themselves. I like the KISS appproach and this fits. Reckon I can adapt between yours and another one I like. Cheers!

  46. Troy Spro says:

    Great read Darren and this has given me a few ideas on post times and also frequency of posting as well.

    I’m currently only doing one to two posts a day and just posting as I go, part time for me means working within my timelines so I haven’t reached the scheduling stage as yet, but I already have most of my posts planned, just not written :)

    Most of my traffic is predomanantly Australian at the moment so I’m not sure USA posting times would help me either but it certainly is food for thought in the future.

    It’s great sharing this information as per normal Darren and also reading other replies, it lets me know I’m kind of on track.

  47. Silviu says:

    Hello Mr. Rowse,

    I post only 2-3 times a week and I don’t plan in advance. The problem is that, in time, your daily to-do list increases very much. Sooner or later you will be drawn in so many directories, blog posts, comments, social shares, emails, projects, affiliate programs and so on.

    What is really needed is not just a spreadsheet (I already use 3) but a whole system of organizing your content on your computer. What system do you use for that?

    Have a wonderful day

    • I know what you mean! There is so many things to keep up with it’s hard to track them all. I use a combination of Evernote & Google Drive… mostly because with some accounts I manage I need to collaborate with others.

      I keep Social Media & Post Ideas in Evernote. This is helpful because if I’m on the Internet & find an article I want to share or a good resource for a blog post I can clip it straight to Evernote using the Web Clipper. If I tag it correctly then I can easily find everything that I need with a quick search in Evernote. I use the tags ‘Social Media Content’ & ‘Blog Post Idea’ to easily find those two things.

      I use Google Drive to save images for a certain blog post or social media campaign. I also keep alot of spreadsheets in Google Drive to keep me sane… Monthly Editorial Calendar, Weekly Editorial Calendar & Campaign Planning Spreadsheet.

      I also try to have the same naming conventions per project. If i’m working on a cloud collaboration article I will use a tag like #cloudcollaboration in Evernote, + the file name & folder names. That way I can easily search across everything for things relating to that project/blog post.

      Hope that helps!

  48. Arbaz K says:

    Great post Darren.
    I normally use the app Any.Do and Evernote to maintain my editorial schedule and they are of great help too. Technology is one thing you can rely on these days :)

  49. Michelle says:

    Awesome post! One thing I like to do is track both scheduled *AND* unscheduled ideas!

  50. Great information Darren, But more than that, Love the calendar idea and believe that this could take my business to the next level. Awesome Post for Sure! Love It! Thanks for the great post.