How I Plan my Blog Content


Juggling regular blog posts with a full-time job, professional qualifications and a life (!) means that planning, organisation and scheduling are non-negotiable. We all have our different ways of managing our time effectively but I get asked soooo much how I plan my content and what my top organisation tips are that I thought I'd do a proper post dedicated to the topic.


The Basic Steps

1. Idea
As soon as an idea pops into my head, I make a note of it on my phone and when I get home I create a draft post with my initial thoughts (often this is literally just a list of products to include in it). I have a blog schedule and post 3 times a week: Tuesday is a general beauty post with skincare or makeup, Thursday is something more focused like a review or haul and Sunday is for lifestyle content. This gives me a starting point for generating new ideas and of course there's always seasonal content if you're lacking in inspiration.

2. Time-Frame
I then create a calendar entry (more on that in a minute) for in a few weeks when I think I will have developed the idea into a complete post. It doesn't have to be a solid commitment (in fact, I end up moving things around a good 80% of the time) and can always be bumped back, but having it in my planner keeps it in sight for me.

3. Writing
I pretty much always write my posts before photographing them but everyone has their own approach to this. I often write on the train, offline, before copying and pasting the words into Blogger and formatting everything.

4. Photography
I keep a little box of props I can just grab and go with. As it's winter and I obviously work, I take my photos in bulk on the weekend. I generally go for lazy Sundays and my ideal light is between 9am and 1pm in the best-lit area of the house.

5. Editing
I pretty much always edit my photos as soon as possible after taking them and go through them chronologically to ensure I don't miss anything. When I save the finished version to an external hard drive (a must unless you enjoy waiting half an hour for your laptop to start up), I always re-name after the posts title so I can find it later. It's also handy to create folders e.g. Beauty, Lifestyle, Travel or sort things by year just to keep things tidy.

6. Scheduling
I schedule my posts to go out on specific dates at a consistent time.

7. A Final Proof-Read
Usually over the weekend, I will proof-read all of the posts I have going out for the coming week. I'm sure a few typos still slip through the net but I find that right after I've written a post is the worst time to check for mistakes! I am so used to reading the words that my brain sees what I meant as opposed to what I've actually written, so I always give myself some distance from the post before coming back to it. 

Tools of the Trade

iCal
I create every one of my posts as an event in my calendar, which I can then access from my phone, tablet or laptop. It gives me a clear view of what's coming up and I can see if I have two posts that are a bit similar scheduled back to back so I can swap things round to build in some variety. It also allows me to plan my photography because I also put personal stuff in my calendar (in a different colour, so I can filter to one, the other or both) so I can see when I'm going to be busy or away and can plan to take my photos for an upcoming post a bit sooner. It also gives me the flexibility of being able to pick things up and move them around without the need for lots of rubbing out or tip-exing.

Planner 
I do actually also use a physical planner as well. I actually got this one from FeelUnique  for Christmas and also purchased extra stickers from Etsy (which you can buy here and here). This is not a bullet journal - I did look into that (after reading dozens of posts on them that didn't actually explain the concept, someone finally linked this video explaining them) but for me it overcomplicated things and tries to solve a problem I didn't think I had. All I needed was a way of tracking where I was and a traditional diary did the job, I just added in some extras to make it more visual.

I have the 'Blog Post' stickers on each day I have something scheduled and use pink for beauty posts and green for lifestyle. I pop in a note when I've received something in the post from a PR contact and cross it out once I've emailed them to let them know it has arrived (more on managing PR enquiries later!) I also have stickers that say 'to photograph' which I put on my photography day and list all the shots I need to take then underneath. I have 'to email' stickers, which I put under any posts that contain press samples so I remember to send the link across to my contact. I have a few other random stickers I use to designate other little jobs I have to get done but I also find the social media stickers really useful - underneath each post I add the sticker once I've shared the post on each channel so I know where I'm up to.

Wunderlist
This is a really handy app one of my colleagues introduced me to. You can create different to-do lists with tasks on them and set alerts for a specific time so you're notified when you have a little job that needs doing and you can tick it off once it's done. It's really great if you're on the go.

Email Folders
I'd say emails are definitely my major point of improvement when it comes to blogging, partly because there's soooo much rubbish that comes through, it's hard to sift through it all and partly because I answer emails all day at work so it's not hugely appealing when I get home... However I operate a system: if it looks spammy (e.g. trying to sell you 'SEO expertise' or 'guest posts' or trying to get you to join something random) then I delete, if it's not addressed to me specifically then I don't feel the need to reply to every single mass press release email (I will only come back to them if it's of interest, which I think is what they expect) and if it is directed towards me, I save it in a folder called 'Need to Reply'. I try to reply to everything in that folder at least twice a week.  

Dealing with PR

This kind of deserves its own little section because it's often quite a big part of what we do as bloggers. I always try to manage expectations when it comes to press samples; firstly, whilst I'd never accept a product I had no intention of featuring, products are sent for consideration so whilst I will always give an update on products I've willingly accepted I don't *have* to review every single one (or I'd do nothing else). I always say there's going to be at least 30 days before I'd post on something (2 weeks to test, 2 weeks to create the content), longer for products that need it like skincare.

I photograph each individual product I receive and note it in my planner under the date it arrived so I know exactly what I have and when I received it. After I've started testing it, if it seems promising I then look at my calendar and consider where it might fit in. If it's relevant to a post I have coming up then I'll add it to the list of products I'll be putting in it (i.e. my draft post) or if it seems to warrant it's own post or triggers an idea for a new one then I'll pop that into the calendar.

Contingency Planning

Sometimes stuff just doesn't go to plan! Whether it's a random occasion coming up on the weekend you were going to take some photos or you accidentally forgot to take an important shot, it always helps to have a backup plan. I keep a few stock photos (e.g. a cosy-looking shot of some products, a magazine and a notebook) in my arsenal because I can easily write a lifestyle post on a variety of topics with that as the generic image. I also have a few shots of some of my favourite products on hand because they can easily be adapted into a post (e.g. a photo of the products that are in my skincare tub right now could be made into 'My Top 10 Skincare Products of the Moment') or you can just upload them to Instagram as exclusive content if you don't end up using them.


I really hope this has been useful and clear and has answered some of your questions, however if you want to know anything else then do comment below!

What are your top tips for organising and planning your blog content?


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55 comments

  1. I found this SO useful, I have to admit I'm finding it difficult on top of working and the professional qualification as well. My job quite often involves late nights too, and my commute is reserved for study reading. Eurgh, so much to do, so little time.

    I think the biggest issue for me has been PRs. A month or so ago I didn't reply the same day (probably the evening after) and got a reply saying that I "clearly didn't care enough to be involved" and implying I should priotise my blog more. It' really gotten me down, despite me not blogging for 'freebies'

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Lifestyle Blog

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    1. I *should* definitely be studying on my commute too haha and oh my gosh I've never had someone be quite as rude as that! Sorry this happened to you xx

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  2. This is such a fab post to read! I don't work full time yet, but I am saving this post for when I need to start juggling my time more, thank you!
    Chloe xx
    www.marblebeauty.co.uk

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  3. Oh my gosh I don't think you understand how handy this post has been, not just to me but I'm sure so many others will benefit from reading this!! I found it so interesting to hear about the way you organize your planner and don't worry, bullet journals are one big kerfuffle to me too! I love how you use the stickers to help you work out what specific jobs need doing, emails, blog post to know when a post is going up. I feel like these stickers are the way forward for me as I just usually use coloured pens and it can look a bit boring! I hate those SEO emails, they automatically end up in my spam folder without me even needing to move them anymore that's how many I get, so frustrating. I find it great how you deal with PR, so professional and I love the idea of giving them the 30 day period. I've learnt so many tips and tricks and I still don't get how organised you are considering all the things you have on your plate haha!
    Charlotte / Charlotte's Picks

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  4. Thanks for sharing this, Jasmine! I find it easier to write after having photographed the products for some reason, so we're not on the same boat with this, but I also use physical planner for blogging. Bullet journal is something i found overwhelming as well, traditional journal works well for me. Those stickers are really handy, maybe i need to invest on them, too!

    Selene Addicted

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    1. Yeah I think everyone has their way of doing it - I guess even just after all these years blogging, I still see myself far more as a writer than a photographer! xx

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  5. This is such a helpful post! I'll definitely be taking a few tips away with me as I really struggle with schedules - I'm just so unorganised!

    Katie | www.ktramshaw.com
    X

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  6. This is such a useful post! I'm going to steal some tips here! I find at the moment everything is up in the air as lighting isn't going great for photos and it's waaaaaaay to cold to shoot an ootd!

    Fix Me In Forty Five - A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog
    Blog Lovin' // Instagram
    xx

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  7. I agree: I can't see any mistakes just after writing my post, I just can't. That's also the reason why I always try to write my post at least 2 to 3 days before I'm posting it, as you said, having a little bit of distance is usually really helpful! Thank you for sharing :)

    http://fannyanddailybeauty.com

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  8. Such a wonderful post. I love reading about how bloggers go about making content. Everyone has their own little ways that work for them. For me personally I find that pre-writing blog posts is a life saver for me. As well as of course taking photos in a massive bulk. When I didn't do this I really struggled with being consistent and went months without blogging. I'm close to 200 pre written posts. Of course I also implement a blogging schedule which helps me in the order of posting and do as posts get closer to being posted I go over them, rework them but it's so helpful to have the main draft written up.

    www.themakeupaficionado.com

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    1. Yeah I definitely couldn't be consistent if I didn't write and photograph my posts in bulk! xx

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  9. I've been really struggling to fit everything in since starting working full-time hours - I used to work shifts so I had mornings free to take photos etc. which was a luxury I didn't appreciate! So interesting to read how you manage to fit everything in! ♥

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    1. Especially at this time of year it can be so hard to catch the lighting for photography! xx

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  10. This blogpost is so good.I love how clear you explained it and the tips you gave are so useful. X

    Todaysouhaila.blogspot.com

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  11. This blog post is so helpful for me right now when I'm not at all organised with my blog. I definitely need to get back to being on top of things and being organised!

    Jodie // jodieloue.com

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  12. This was so interesting to read and especially loved the part about the PR side of things! I need to be way more organised in that department and just in general really x

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

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  13. I have a every similar schedule for blogging and as soon as an idea pops into my mind, it will automatically be schedule into my Calendar. The same goes for PR, I'll email them as soon as the package arrives and I'll give them a tentative date when I will test and publish the post. Photographs however is taken whenever I have time as it really depends on my little one's schedule.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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  14. Your life is so busy so you need to be really organised! I tend to try to do a rough plan for the month but it usually ends up being fortnightly - I think if I did it for the month, it would be more cohesive so it's something I need to work on. I don't receive a lot of PR packages so I don't have to do too much in that regard! xx

    Beautylymin| LuxuryFragranceGiveaway

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    1. Yeah I just kind of do it on a rolling basis and try to be 2 weeks ahead, with the exception of things like monthly favourites xx

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  15. This was really interesting and it was nice to see how you do things! I always write my posts before taking pictures too! X

    Kate// itskaterose.com

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  16. This is really useful, thanks for sharing.

    xo,
    https://lidsandtricks.com/

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  17. This is so helpful! I definitely need to try out iCal to help me look ahead! I religiously use a Paperchase tick list to plan for posts and photos and have got into a good routine recently of taking bulk photos for Instagram, think I'll stick to one blog post a week though!

    Danielle's Beauty Blog

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  18. Scheduling posts really helps me out - I need to start writing ideas down as soon as they pop into my head!

    Lucy | Forever September

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    1. No matter how incoherent they are, you can always work on it later :) xx

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  19. Scheduling posts are really great, it creates space to do other blog related work.
    http://www.yourbeautypantry.com

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  20. It looks like I wrote this. I do the same things. Thanks this I'm capable of posting 3 times a week when I have full time job.

    Michelle Morchella

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  21. I always love seeing how other blogger organise theirselves! I do most things on the weekends and scheduler everything to go up during the week as otherwise I get to caught up with uni and forget to publish posts! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

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  22. I love reading organisation posts! I really need to take some generic stock photographs because there's been a few times I could really have fallen back on those! Also glad to see you're a fan of Wunderlist, such a good app!

    The Makeup Directory

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    1. It's definitely worth having some up your sleeve :) xx

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  23. This was super helpful! I'm trying to plan out posts to help with time-management - will definitely use these tips. Thanks, Jasmine :)

    Sara | www.saraspoke.com

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  24. I have the Feel unique dairy and it really handy. I'm definitely going to check out that video on the bullet journal, I've don't see the point in them either. I must check out those apps too, see if they can help me be more organised xx

    LPage Beauty

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  25. This is really helpful thank you so much for sharing. I love some of these resources I don't really plan at all...

    Lauren x Huggled

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  26. This is such a brilliant post, but wheres the part where you wrote 'I'm also superbloggerwoman whos incredibly organised and makes it look so easy' haha :P I'm currently teacher training Jasmine, which is full time work plus time and a half I'm often still at work at 6:30pm and just exhausted so at the weekend I need a whole day to recover and then I lose the motivation to get my ish together - my photos have been so rubbish lately! >:( But anyways, I shall be coming back to this post in the future when I need it <3 Thankyou very much for sharing!

    Iqra | The Blushing Giraffe x

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    1. Hahahaha! And yeah I can imagine - one of my best mates is currently on placement and is often up until midnight lesson-planning! xx

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  27. Wow, you are super organized and professional! Thanks for sharing these. I'll definitely be taking away some pointers :)

    Nicole | The Glam Surge

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  28. Such great organisation and planning tips! I love having a desk planner all colour coded with stickers and to do lists :) I also use a book style Blog Planner where I write blog post drafts and plan ideas etc. Great post!

    Mae ♥

    http://sweetasmae.blogspot.co.nz/

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  29. Such an interesting read! You're so organised!! I used to photograph first, but now I normally draft/write my posts first too and then take pics when the lights good!

    Sophie x | SophiesMakeup

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  30. Again, I say, your level of organisation is inspirational. I pretty much do the same as you but most of the time ideas are in my head. LOL! I've been better this past month with writing down post ideas and keeping a schedule in mind which has helped me stay focused. A helpful post indeed Jasmine xxx
    Sal | UmmBaby Beauty

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    1. It's so worth writing them down - it also motivates you to get round to developing the ideas :) xx

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  31. This has given me the inspo I need!
    Amazing post, thank you!
    www.molliewill.co.uk

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  32. This is such a helpful post, thanks for sharing! I'll be referring back to this post when I next write a blog post x

    http://emmaboughtwhat.blogspot.co.uk

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  33. I always have to write blog post ideas down straight away otherwise I forget.
    Aleeha xXx
    http://www.halesaaw.com/

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  34. I really wish I was this organised, I have no idea how I manage to keep up most months, I think I must be somewhat organised, but its always a last minute edit before it goes live a few minutes later! I need to use this for inspo :)

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  35. What a fab post Jasmine! Love how well you covered each aspect. I use my diary, mobile and drafts section of my blog to plan but your post gave me so many ideas. Love it!

    Ash | www.mstantrum.com
    Latest Post: Valentines Day | Skin, Hair & Makeup http://www.mstantrum.com/valentines-day-essentials/

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  36. This was such a good blog post to read! I have a notebook full of lists, a notebook full of blog posts, a diary full of my schedule if all things blogging, work and social life, as well as a personal good and exercise diary next to my phone full of alerts when Twitter chats happen!

    Isobel x

    New post: http://fashionistachic14.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/fashion-feeling-like-girl-boss-in.html?m=1
    Insta: https://www.instagram.com/isobelceline/
    Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/isobelceline
    New Video: https://youtu.be/EQuQxbigARk
    Bloglovin : https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/fashionista-chic-12984939

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    1. I really need to get back into doing Twitter chats! xx

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  37. I wish I was half as organised as you! It is one (of many) areas on my blog that needs constant improvement!

    Kez | acaciasdreams.com

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  38. Great post Jasmine! Was very helpful! :)

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  39. Thank you for your comments, everyone, I really hope this was useful! xx

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  40. Such great tips. Please check out my Anti-LOVE-Valentines post!

    Kisses xo | From Aliona With Love

    Instagram @alionawithlove

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  41. Good ideas! I really need to start planning better, especially contingency planning! Great idea!! X

    www.cutepandaa.co.uk

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  42. Jasmine, this is such a helpful and informative post. Thank you for the tips. I couldn't agree more about PR samples situation; sometimes I am annoyed when certain PR agencies send them without asking first and expect/push you to write a review. I am still new to blogging, but now I just let them know in advance that it will take time for me to test these products (your 30 day notice is great by the way)and I generally don't write about stuff I don't like.

    Naya // www.partyparrotblog.com

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    1. Yeah, exactly, if they want to send you stuff then other people do too and you have to give all products a fair test! xx

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  43. Jasmine you are so organised and it's SO inspiring!

    Sharni // www.agirlandgrey.com

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  44. I love using Wunderlist! I also need to write more even when I'm offline!

    www.upyourvlog.com

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