After our last Trade Secrets article we got a great question in the comments. A reader asked,
"I'd love to learn more about your blog planning! I assume you guys schedule posts? How far in advance are you doing them? Scheduling them? And getting organized for them?" – The Life of Clare
Our blog is the backbone of our business. We love blogging, and it's what we spend most of our time on. We try to keep to 2-3 articles each day during the week and a few over the weekend on top of everything else our business does. So staying organized and planning ahead are major priorities for our small team to be able to handle this kind of work load. Here is the behind-the-scenes of how we do it:
1. Constant Brain Storming. Elsie and I love coming up with new ideas for the blog (or our next book, collaboration, etc.) We like dreaming up new ideas. We will do this in the car as we drive around to run errands. Or on a plane while heading to a business event or vacation. Or whenever. Constantly brainstorming new ideas is vital for a thriving creative business like ours. Having too many ideas is good, it allows room for you to cut the weakest and keep only the best. Elsie and I are both big believers in carrying small notebooks to jot down ideas. We also love getting inspired from multiple sources so that our ideas can take on a life of their own. We get inspiration from magazines, movies, shopping trips, meals we had at restaurants or anything else that grabs our attention.
2. Bounce Ideas Off Others. One way that we develop ideas is by talking through each idea with each other (and sometimes our team too!). Instead of just thinking of an idea and starting the project, we try to talk through the details, the styling, how we intend to photograph it, etc. Figuring out details before beginning is an easy way to create a stronger project without wasting any effort! We know most bloggers are a solo operation. So if this is you, try teaming up with a blogger friend you trust for weekly idea meetings. You will be surprised how much better your ideas can get just from a conversation with a like-minded person.
3. Plan for Success. At the Monday morning meetings we also plan out our blog post schedule for the following 2 weeks. We just created a huge marker board to house our blog post calendar! Having this schedule allows everyone to stay on track and know by when they need to finish and draft project posts. There are times when we have to extend the calendar slightly, like when Elsie or I are planning to travel for a weekend or will have limited internet access for a few days. We try to stick to the blog post schedule as best we can after creating it, but things always get shuffled a bit. After we have a solid 2-week plan, we also plan projects that will take longer to complete. We can keep them going on the back burner until they are near completion and can have a slot on the calendar. For example, I am currently working on a few knitting projects that you probably won't see here on the blog until mid November.
4. Adjust When Life Happens. No matter how good at planning you get, sometimes things have to get shuffled around. Sometimes I have a cooking flop, a craft project ends up taking twice as long to complete as we anticipated, or supplies don't come in the mail in time. Life happens. And when it does, we look at the blog post calendar, and we shuffle anything we can. Some posts end up going live sooner than we thought. For example, this post was actually scheduled for tomorrow evening. But it rained yesterday, so the final photos for the project post you would have seen in this slot today had to get pushed back. There have been a few times we had a project scheduled a week in advance only to see another blogger create something similar two days before our project is set to go live. Great minds think alike sometimes. Our policy is typically to shelf the project, rework it, or cut it simply, because we try our best to stay fresh. Having a blog post schedule helps give us more flexibility, so we are able to shuffle things a little as needed.
And that my friends is how the magic happens. Lots of planning. Sometimes a little scrambling. A lot of weak ideas getting cut along the way. And everything else getting published right here. Every day. We hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as we enjoy creating it. Thank you for stopping by—we couldn't do it without you! xo. Emma