I’ve been blogging for over six years now and somehow over the course of those years I never evolved past the scramble-to-get-content published phase. When people mentioned their editorial calendars— as in, “Sure, I have an opening in my ed cal in two weeks”—I’d chuckle and think, “I can fit you in in two hours.” There was no organiation, no planning ahead, just a lot of fly by the seat of my pants and scrambling to get shit done.
There’s something energizing about that kind of work: it’s deadline driven, it’s highly responsive, it’s exciting, and it’s flexible, and can make for very timely content.
But it was also making me feel crazy. We’ve grown up quite a bit since those early days, and there are a lot more moving parts. Plus the rush to create and publish meant there are posts that I’m not that proud of: posts that would have been greatly improved by a litle more time spent thinking about them, editing, or researching the background information. And last but not least, the one-off post creation is highly inefficient, and I ain’t got time for that. So I vowed to uplevel our content creation, and make things happen smarter, faster. I started doing weekly sprints that batched different elements of content creation, so that I could spend more time focusing on one specific activity, like writing or creating graphics, and hopefully, in the end, make all aspects of our content stronger.
Here’s how my process worked
My process starts on a Thursday, because why not? In truth, I decided I wanted Friday to be my writing day, because it’s the day I’m least likely to have lots of meetings or other interruptions, and could most reliably set aside a dedicated block of time for content development. And as we know, distractions and “multi-tasking” are a surefire way to get less done in more time!
Thursday: Planning Day
- I zoom out to look at what campaign or partnership content needs to go live, and any chapter events that are happening
- I then dive into our content calendar and plan our week ahead, including blog content
- Research and read about the topics we have coming up
- Drop any great quotes or sources into a draft in Blogo
- I plan out the content (blog posts, related social shares, and newsletters) for the calendar week and start doing some research and taking notes on potential angles
Friday: buckle down and write
- Turn off all notifications, put my phone on airplane mode, and write five posts. The goal is to get words on paper, meaning these tend to be unpolished drafts. I try to make sure there is a more or less complete post by the time I call it quits, but they typically need a solid edit, some photos and graphics, and a few links added
- Make a list of photos and graphics I need for those posts
- Take or source photos for those five posts. Our team uses shared photostreams, so I can usually snag at least half of the photos from those streams or from Instagram, but often I need to pull in the husband for some photoshoot action.
Monday: editing and scheduling
- Do a thorough edit of blog posts
- Add photos
- Schedule posts and social shares
Tuesday: newsletters and other odds and ends
- Tuesdays are a lighter day for content creation, mostly because I usually have more meetings on Tuesdays.
- I draft newsletter content and edit any posts that came in via the community
- Day off from content creation, unless there’s a content emergency (don’t laugh, this is a real thing ;))
I’ve done this for two weeks now, and I’m really appreciating the structure it’s given my week, and how much more efficient I am when I batch similar kinds of work. I still have a lot of opportunity to improve when it comes to distraction-free writing, so that’s my next goal for strengthening this process even more. In fact, I downloaded RescueTIme so I could more easily see where my time goes (cough, Facebook, cough) and I’ll share the results next week as long as they’re not too embarrassing. 🙂
Are you a content machine? I’d love to hear what your tricks are!