Trade Secrets: How We Plan Blog Posts

Trade SecretsAfter 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

  • How inspiring. I adore your blog and all the resources you share freely. Thank you.

    Ellen x
    https://elfeelgoodsvintage.uk

  • Hey there, stumble upon your beautiful full of resources and tips blog! Really excited to start my lifestyle blog after long hiatus and thankful for such tips. I’ll try my best to write down any ideas in my notebook and make it as my new habit. Once again,thank you for the tips

  • You are so right! I try to post every day of the week with different categories within the same topic. It leaves room for creativity that way! I need to get a market board, my little planner is not enough! Thanks for sharing!

  • Great site. I will keep it in mind when searching fot relevant news and information to publish via http://www.exportadvicers.com/

  • Thanks for this! I’m really struggling to get ahead of my posts…it’s a challenge!!

    www.munchtalk.net

  • Loved this trade secrets post – I’ve been following your blog for a while now and this is the first time I’ve commented. Not because the other posts aren’t great, but because this was a such a great inside read into how everything you both do work! 🙂
    Keep on rockin’ girls, you’re both a true inspiration!
    x Helen

  • Blogger planning buddy = Brilliant. Now I just need to find one 😉 Thanks for the post!

  • You guys are truly amazing at what you do and an inspiration to take the same steps in order to plan ahead and grow my blog! Thanks for the tips!

  • I love your blog and the quality of your posts and the images you include is right up there. I don’t know how you manage to do 2-3 posts a day. I struggle with doing that many a week!

  • thanks for this bit of inspiration, i was just girding myself for coming up with my blog schedule for the rest of the month. i’m deeply lacking in enough wall space for a marker board schedule — though yours looks great and has me looking around for a place to squeeze it in— and instead use a combo of google calendar, which i can share with distant collaborators — and lots of color coded lists in my daily planner.

    http://foiegirl.com/

  • I don’t know how I missed this one. This is a great help! I’ve been needing a little help with the organization process. I’m used to winging it but like a Girl Scout, I’d rather be prepared. Thanks!

    http://www.lauralistardiaries.com

  • Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It is so very generous of you!

  • SUCH great information from some very inspiring women. You are such givers! I look at your blog every day and come away with a smile on my face or an idea in my head, so thank you. That is an amazing gift to receive (daily!) :).

  • Great post! I especially like your tip about being okay with nixing your weakest ideas. I think sometimes we can get caught in a trap of thinking that ideas are scarce and therefore we need to save all the scraps. Sometimes killing some actually makes the others stronger. I appreciate the helpful post.

    http://makeanddogirl.com

  • Great tips! I’m just starting my life inspirations blog (although I’ve been blogging off/on for a few years now) so thanks for the extra kick start as I attempt posts 5 days a week!

  • Great insight! I used to be good at planning my blog posts out but I haven’t been as on top of it lately. Thanks for inspiring me to get back on track.

  • Thank you for the helpful hints! Maybe this can help me get started!

    www.alifeofabibliophile.blogspot.com

  • I am super impressed by you two!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

  • Thank you so much for your tips. Your blog is a wonderful read. Hope to achieve the same with my own one day. Miriam x

  • I love that you all advocate planning ahead. I think there are so many bloggers that would benefit from keeping a blogging calendar!

  • Thanks again for the great tips! I love the energy of your blog and you always have such amazing tips!

    Theresa
    http://bomamma.blogspot.com

  • I love when you post these extremely helpful posts! Such great tips and so helpful!

    fashion415.com

  • Great post. So interesting to see how other people plan their posts. I love your blog.

  • Wow! Thanks so much. This is great advice!

    Xx
    http://kendra-genevieve-rose.blogspot.com

  • Thank you so much for the great tips. I love to jot things down in a notebook but never end up looking at them when I sit down at the computer. Better slow down and take a look to get organized!

  • I genuinely love this post and your blog. I visit you guys daily now! It can be lonely being a blogger, so I think it’s a great idea to meet up with like-minded people! Thanks!

  • Love your blog you guys do a tremendous job. You shouldn’t cut some idea just because someone else published something similar, because then I wont get to see it LOL.
    Thanks for the tips.

  • I once had a manger tell me that it is extremely important to share your passions, goals with others. He said that some may ignore, some may find them unrealistic or impossible to obtain and some may be skeptical and some who will provide full on support (keep them close). Thats what happened here, the core of your passion is on display and now we have a key to how its done. I’d say I’m a list maker myself and probably would do the same if I had a blog. The point is, its absolutely wonderful that you encourage creativity and share what is dearest to you with all of us. Thank you.

  • Love your words of wisdom. Thanks for sharing. Happy Weekend!

  • this is SUCH great advice. thank you so much for sharing. you girls are beyond awesome!

  • Thank you for sharing your tips! I could definitely do with more help getting organised! Just need an injection of discipline 😛 I find it helps a lot having someone to work with to share ideas though, might have to get creative with that one 🙂

  • Great Info….thanks! xxx

    http://birdyjewellery.bigcartel.com/
    http://www.jaychapman.co.uk/
    http://jaychapmanmakeup.blogspot.co.uk/

  • I’m lucky to have a blogging partner/sister, but we haven’t really worked on scheduling – thank you for the suggestions. Would definitely make things easier (and more fun)!

  • This helps me SO much! I have been blogging for about two monthes now, and I have NO organization! I guess I better get on that!
    http://mergestyle.blogspot.com

  • Great job ladies! ♥

    Life happens – is another way of also understanding that if personal priorities come up and you can’t meet deadlines on your blog – LIFE is the priority!

    I know there’s two of you and it’s easier to fill in the daily posts as a team – but a lot of bloggers are solo and can get too caught up with blogging in general.

    My advice for that is; don’t get overwhelmed. Update as often as you can, invite guest posts or share other products/ art work etc. that don’t require writing and photography too often. Promoting your blog elsewhere is also a terrific way to work smarter not harder! ;D
    xo Ella

  • Great post, I like to see how different bloggers, use different techniques 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing! It’s always helpful to get an idea of how other people are doing things–especially those who already have hugely successful blogs 🙂 I just made my first month-long blog calendar yesterday (my blog is super new, only about a week old) and it’s amazing how much stress it relieves, and how much more freedom having a plan actually creates 😀
    x Julie

    www.crochezjulie.com

  • Simply just love how you share ideas and secrets so generously. Thanks a lot for this post and all the others!

  • This is brilliant! Thanks guys 🙂 It’s always great seeing how other minds work.

  • Great tips as always! You guys are truly an inspiration!
    xox
    Megan
    www.arayofsunblog.com

  • All the way from Portugal, I´m such a big fan of your blog, your posts and your tips!

    Thank you!

    http://shortstoryoflifeandstyle.blogspot.com

  • Thanks for this!
    I’m trying to start/revive my store blog right now, and organisation is my biggest weak spot. This has been really helpful x

  • Wow! You guys are a real force of nature! Planning blog posts for the next 2 weeks! At 2-3 posts a day that’s at least 28 posts in advance. Good stuff!

    Maria xx
    www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

  • Great post and tips!
    Could really use it to help me with my own blog!
    So much ideas!

    X
    http://dipitblack.com

  • Such a good advice! I´ve always been a chaotic and impulsive person. But adult life forces me to become more organized. I never thought this could be so much easier and better for me!

    Thank you!

  • Thanks for the tips and I think it’s a great idea to have a blog partner or even just a friend to bounce ideas off. I’m always coming up with ideas for blogs then losing confidence in them only to see an article on the same topic by someone else at a later date. Talking it through would help sort out the definite ‘no-no’s’ to the ‘go for its!’ 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing all these tips! I like to keep everything really organized if it comes to my blog, so these tips were very helpful. The blog schedule seems such a great idea, maybe I’ll write everything down in a little notebook with my ideas.

    http://bravebrunette.blogspot.com

  • Thank you for this “secret”!

    I started a blog a few months ago and I still wondered how to plan my posts and how to organize … So thank you so much for sharing!

  • Thank you so much for this. I’m pretty new to blogging and setting up my own business. I’ve found it hard to come up with blog idea’s, planning ahead will be such a wonderful help. Time to dig out the notebook!

  • Thank you so much for answering my questions! This is so helpful! This fortnight I scheduled 2 weeks worth of posts and have found that I’ve been so much more able to focus on social media and reading other blogs. Thanks again!

  • Wow! Great list, definitely pinning it for future reference. Thanks girls. xo. Deanna

    http://curlyadventures.blogspot.com

  • Thank you so much Emma! I’ve been more than a month writing everyday in my blog! And: PLANNING is the best you can do! I plan everyweek what I’m gonna post!My blogis now more popular, but it’s really hard because I’m alone working on it: taking pictures everyday, writing it in spanish+ in english…. but still: It makes me sooo happy when I see I’ve had 4 comments on a day… I know it’s not much, but it’s somethings that is growing up…. don’t you think?
    xoxo, Pili.

    http://elsuspirodelmar.blogspot.com.es/2012/10/lotta-vintage.html

  • it’s just the same as i do your my blog.. in solo 😀

    XXx
    www.ireneccloset.com

  • Thanks for the tips. I try to plan out my blog posts in advance too but sometimes things don’t always go my way. Any tips on how I can get more ideas?

    My blog: http://acolorfulcreation.blogspot.com/

  • So helpful… Thanks… I bought two of your ecourses when you had them on sale months ago and just got a new laptop that works well enough for me to sit down and begin going through them. They have lifted my spirits so much and made me feel more confident. You all are so smart its nice to be able to take a course online, have fun and feel like you are learning so much!

    http://run2thewild.blogspot.com/

  • I just found your blog tonight and I’m so happy I did!I’m still new to the world of blogging but this is really helpful! Now I just need to find someone to talk through ideas with!

    www.etsy.com/shop/moderndaydauphine
    www.moderndaydauphine.blogspot.com

  • Hi Emma!!Hi Elsie!!

    I’m a huge fan of your blog(s)!You guys have a great style, great ideas and your blog is always like a sweet treat for me!

    I looove vintage and handmade, but in my city (Madrid-Spain) there aren’t a lot of thrift shops, and the few i can find are very expensive! I’m always a little jelous when you post about flea markets and thrift shops (but i adore checking your pics!!) I also love scrapbooking but i’m not very good at it, i need some practice i guess…

    So, I want to thank you for creating such an amazing place, i feel like at home reading your blogs, you’re awsome!

    Kind regards from Spain!

    Ester <3

  • I recently discovered your blog and absolutely love what you two have done with it! It’s nice to see how you guys brainstorm, because I feel like sometimes I have nothing to talk about on my blog! I only have my husband to bounce ideas off of, but his ideas are usually pretty nutty 🙂

    KEep up the great work!
    christy
    Sunnywithasideof…

  • Thank you guys for being committed to your blog (and readers!) What a never ending work load-though it does sound like fun. Thank you for sharing as it made me appreciate why A Beautiful Mess is my favorite place to visit every day!

  • I have reoccurring features on my blog, so I tend to plan out posts a month in advance, although like you, it has to be flexible because I never know exactly what will happen! I love reading your blogging tips ladies!

  • Great post! I keep pages and pages of lists, and I organize my daily, weekly and monthly goals. Some of my “brilliant” ideas don’t end up working out, so I find myself re-arranging the blog schedule often. Sometimes a trip to the craft store will give me new projects I hadn’t even considered before!

    http://www.craftpond.com

  • thanks for this article .. it’s very helpful =)
    xo JANE xo
    http://livingwithjane.com

  • This is so extremely helpful! Thank you so much for putting this list of advice together for us! It’s showing me that I am moving in the right direction! Lol It was literally yesterday that I recruited one of my sisters to help me with my blog! She’s just going to help a little bit, but at least I can bounce ideas off of her and she has an interest in more creative photography than my husband… He never sees where I am going with an idea until I finish it. It’s a little hard to bounce ideas off of him and use him as photographer… But she is willing to give anything a try and she thinks very similarly to me! Also, literally only hours ago, I planned out the next week and a half of posts for the first time ever!
    I love your chalkboard idea! I’m definitely going to do that! The guest room may begin turning into my office if I keep dreaming 🙂

  • This is clever.
    I need mine to be less random. Even though I am only one person (I can’t imagine blogging with another person! -the timing!), I still can’t keep organised to this extent.

  • Wow this is so helpful and inspiring! I was so happy when I saw the title, I got your amazing ecourse Bloglove and I think I would listen to you all my life about blogging, you are a genius at it! Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  • I absolutely love this post! Having someone else to help would be so perfect <3 I drive my mister crazy asking him his thoughts on my bloggy stuff. Looks like I need to find a good gal pal to help out!
    xo Heather
    http://ahopelessnotebook.blogspot.com/

  • Great tips. I’d love to see a “Trade Secrets” on getting sponsors and working with sponsor companies, if you’re looking for more ideas!!! 🙂

  • This is SUCH a great post. Thank you! I would love to know how much time a day you spend looking at other blogs, and how much time you spend on Social Networking sites like Pinterest and Twitter seeing what else is out there! I know that is important step, so how much time do you allot daily or weekly to research in your field?

  • Thank you so much for the tips! This is very useful.

    http://collegiatelifestyle.wordpress.com/

  • Such good advice. I went on vacation this week and (being a relatively new blogger) had to plan ahead last week to have consistent scheduled posts while I was away – and it was a CHALLENGE! I usually try to plan ahead at the beginning of the week, but I love the idea of having post ideas two weeks ahead.

    Thanks for the tips, ladies!!

    Morgan
    seemomogo.blogspot.com

  • After reading a couple weeks ago how you carry around an idea book, I started to as well. Boy, does it really help! I would really love to have another blogger to bounce around ideas with. Making other blogger friends is something I hope I get to do someday 🙂

  • Love this! Especially the last example how you gave a real life example right now! So great!!
    Carlee
    http://almostendearing.blogspot.com/

  • Thanks for sharing. I’m always amazed that you can post 2-3 times a day. This was a nice glimpse of how you get it done!

  • so inspiring – I love when you guys share about the “background goings-on” and I totally agree about the nonstop brainstorming sometimes you gotta get those weaker ideas outta your brain to make room for even better ones! xo

  • love your guide! should keep in mind those few things as well for my blog!

    www.styleandshades.blogspot.com

  • This is a great and very useful post! Thanks.

    Valentina
    http://valentinaduracinsky.blogspot.com/

  • my friend and I run our blog together so I understand being able to bounce ideas off each other. Great tips! Thanks!

  • So nice to know a bit about how the magic happens here. You guys are amazing and such an inspiration!

  • You guys have been such role models for me. You always give such great advice and have wonderful ideas! Thanks for the advice and the little peeks into how you make it all come together!

    www.thissweetcraziness.weebly.com

  • so helpful thanks ladies! thank you for sharing such lovely tips!

    -Melissa
    http://shakeshakee.blogspot.com

  • I’m such a big fan of your tip posts. Now I want a blogging planner buddy.
    http://catherinedenton.com

  • Having someone to talk ideas out with would be great. Also someone to help keep you on track.

  • A particularly resonant post as my blog is just in its infancy. Thank you ladies for this insight.

  • A particularly resonant post as my blog is just in its infancy. Thanks for the insight.

  • These are some great tips, girls! I have recently started a food blog, and I keep a spreadsheet with a list of recipes to post, a brainstorm sheet for types of posts that would entice the readers (like a series of posts on a specific topic) and I find that it helps to keep my scattered thoughts in one place.

    Keeping yourself organized definitely helps in delivering consistent product out there!! And you certainly do it 🙂

  • Really insightful and inspiring! Thanks for sharing this! I think I might need a blog buddy – my mum’s getting a bit fed up of me talking at her!
    xo

  • I loved this! I’ve always wondered about this process of yours and I’m so glad you made a post like this. Thanks for the advice!

    Maybe next trade secret could be how you both juggle it all! I know I couldn’t!

  • Great tips! I try to plan my topics out 2-3 days in advance but I also keep a running list of random topics that come to mind. I’d *love* to get 2 weeks ahead so I can have some breathing room!

  • So nice to see how it works! I find that my blog is significantly better when I’ve planned a week or two ahead. I need to do it more!

  • Love it! It’s always so helpful and inspiring to hear the behind-the-scenes for you guys! Thanks for sharing!

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