Raise your hand if your sole job is blogging. No hands? Right – didn’t think so.
The truth is that most of us blog as a hobby or a side hustle because we’re passionate about writing and want to share our experiences with the world – whether that passion is about books, beauty, or travel, etc. Given that most of us are blogging on the side, staying organized and planning posts ahead of time is essential to sustain success without experiencing burn out.
When you have very little free time, the thought of pre-planning can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. There are so many tools available to make the planning process easy to visualize and organize. Please keep reading for a list of helpful tools that I use to pre-plan for my blog.
Free Tools to Help You Pre-Plan Blog & Social Posts
If you’re not careful, blogging can get really expensive really quickly. Typical expenses can include buying a website domain, web hosting, e-courses (on everything from social media to SEO), content editing applications, equipment, paid social support etc. I don’t deny that these are valid expenses that may be well worth the money, but I would never encourage a new blogger to take on all of these financial burdens right at the start. As such, I’ve compiled a list of some great, free resources that bloggers can easily utilize and adapt to fit their needs.
Apple or Google Calendar | Create a Visual Posting Schedule
Apple and Google Calendars are a great way to create and maintain a content calendar for tech-savvy bloggers who want the freedom to sync their calendars across multiple devices or create a schedule that can easily be shared and edited with other collaborators.
Both applications enable users to use helpful, color-coded labels based on the type of content being scheduled. Additionally, users can add notes, define launch times, and set reminders. This is a great option for visual thinkers who prefer tech-based apps for staying organized.
Preview Application| Plan out your Instagram Feed
I don’t think there is a platform that bloggers and content creators complain about more than Instagram because it takes a lot of time and effort to grow on this platform. I can’t promise that planning ahead will immediately attract thousands followers, but I can say with certainty that most social media platforms tend to reward people who consistently post and engage with others.
With functionality that allows users to edit and organize photos in a mock feed, The Preview App helps me to plan out my feed ahead of time. As a result of using this app, my content not only looks more cohesive (and aesthetically pleasing), but I’m able to post regularly without the stress of taking photos and writing clever captions on the fly.
Plain Notebook | Design Your Own Custom Planner
Before I purchased any planners, I used a regular notebook that I customized using Bullet Journaling techniques. This gave me the freedom to create a planner that was completely flexible to my needs. I encourage planning this way for free-spirited thinkers who may find traditional planners restrictive to creative thinking.
Helpful elements I outlined in my notebook included brainstorming pages, monthly content overviews, and monthly and daily calendars. However, this method is not without its drawbacks. Designing everything myself took up a lot of time that could have been spent planning or writing, AND I found this method ineffective for scheduling social posts.
WordPress | Pre-write & Schedule Blog Posts
If you have a blog on WordPress, then taking advantage of the Scheduling Tool should be a non-negotiable. I use this to maintain a regular posting schedule and upload time. For example, I pre-schedule every post to launch every Tuesday and Thursday @ 6:30 AM EST (New York Time). Posting on consistent times and days enables others to easily follow along with your content because they’ll know when to expect your latest post.
Paid Tools to Help You Pre-Plan Blog & Social Posts
Although I wouldn’t encourage a new blogger to subscribe to a ton of paid services, I don’t discredit their value in helping content creators to stay organized and grow their brand. The below are tools that I’m already using or that I’m considering testing via a free-trial.
The Content Planner | Visually map out your content
I purchased this rather expensive Content Planner after seeing a fellow blogger on Instagram posting about it. Due to the high price tag, I feel extra AF recommending this, but I love it. Not only is this planner super cute, but it does a great job in helping me to plan out all of my blog and social content in an easy to follow way.
The planner comes with a set of fun stickers meant to spice up your planner, as well as some decorative paper clips. Also, the planner includes helpful holiday lists and micro-moments to look out for each month. If you struggle to think of cohesive content themes for each month, then this is a great planner to help you get the creative juices flowing. Furthermore, this planner encourages you to think beyond just scheduling posts. At the start of each month, I’m able to write down my to-do lists and major goals.
Finally, the company’s founder sends out free email challenges aimed at helping you reach your content planning goals.
My one complaint with this is the pre-set monthly social trackers since they don’t have a slot specifically for blog follows or views, or Twitter. I just keep track of these by writing in the lines allocated to email or to YouTube.
This planner sells for $59.99 USD.
CREATE Blog and Editorial Planner | Visually map out your content
I contemplated picking up the CREATE Blog Planner after reading the rave reviews on Amazon and reading the free online preview. This planner goes above and beyond a traditional content planner because it provides tangible tips for growing your blog and setting attainable goals. This planner is particularly great for anyone who wants to turn their blog into a source of income because it takes you through step-by-step stages for creating a blog with a solid foundation on earning money for blogging.
This planner sells for $14.95 USD.
EDIT: After writing this post, I purchased this LOL!
Hootsuite | Schedule Social Posts
Social media can be overwhelming because there are so many platforms that we are encouraged to be active on. Hootsuite is a social media management and scheduling platform that enables users to pre-plan posts across three or more platforms. Additionally, the platform provides analytics into how your posts are performing.
If you’re finding yourself tapped out trying to organically promote your content across too many social platforms, then Hootsuite may be right for you.
Monthly plans start at $29.99 USD.
Tailwind | Schedule Pinterest Posts
Honestly, I feel like I can’t escape Tailwind because every blogger raves about how this platform has skyrocketed their growth on Pinterest. While I have yet to try this application, I intend to start my free trial this month. Since this trial doesn’t expire after a certain number of days, but rather a certain number of posts, I feel like this will give me the time necessary to play around with the tool’s features.
Monthly plans start at $9.99 USD.
Although I find it the most helpful to maintain a consistent blog posting schedule, not everyone may need this (especially if you’re just starting out or solely posting just for fun). Ultimately, creating a sustainable blog posting cadence is up to you.
Have you tried any of these blog or social posting tools to stay organized? Or are there other tools or methods that you use? Please let me know in the comments below.