We’re a bit under a week away from the new month and that means… it’s time to finalize our plans for September. Fall is coming and we’re about to get into the Holiday seasons with themed posts, so this is just about your last month to fit in anything summery or bright before your content may become a bit more thematic.
You might have been around to catch last month’s PlanWithMe for August where I gave a complete walkthrough of all of the pieces you can use to plan out an editorial calendar for your blog posts, from year to month to week and day, or you might be finding this one for the first time.
You can Download The Blog Planning Kit we covered last month here, or use the tips in the rest of this post to plan out your posts using your preferred planning system.
I’m going to keep it a little more simple this month, for anyone that wants to dive right into planning the calendar and doesn’t want to deal with goal setting, but all of the worksheets are included.
I planned out any month/season specific topics I could cover already using the Year At A Glance layout last month. There’s several topics under September… but that doesn’t mean I’m going to do all of them. This is just an overall ideas sheet.
This is my September 2016 Blog Post Calendar:
Now if this looks a little overwhelming or you aren’t quite sure how to get there, I’ll show you how I planned this month.
The very first thing I did, which was included in drawing out my calendar, is write the post I already knew 100% I had planned for this week: My #BeautiesOnFire 7 Deadly Sins post.
Always write in what you’ve committed to, especially to someone else, FIRST.
I know I have extra room in my schedule this month, so I’m not listing my Sponsored posts until a little later this time, because I have a few options for scheduling them in.
Then I filled out the rest of my first week with everything already planned. I know that I need to do my “Battle of the Boxes” right away at the start of a new month, and I had already decided that I wanted to implement a Recap post each week, sort of a “What You Missed” link post for both content I’ve posted, and from around the web.
I chose Saturdays because Saturdays get the most user engagement, so you’re more likely to have a reader stick around longer on Saturday.
Mark out any theme days right away, so you can schedule fitting posts into that day.
I wrote in my theme days (#BeautiesOnFire on Thursdays, and All About series on Tuesdays), but wrote in just the topics for the Better Blogger Challenge because they function as stand-alone content as well as part of the series of challenges.
There is a blank week where I’m torn between two topics that I want to discuss, and it will kind of depend on the feedback I’m getting for what it feels like you guys need next.
I also included the next PlanWithMe for October at this stage, because I do my planning posts on Sundays, and want to do it close to the end of the month while still giving enough time for everyone to get their posts together.
Instead of keeping a separate to-do list, I put my sponsored posts (from BrandBacker) in the notes, as well as the theme I’m including from the Year At A Glance calendar.
I decided in advance that I need a full month for Vibrance for the hair challenge, and around 2 weeks for Valentia, to be able to test it properly. Both fit into open Friday slots.
Tuesdays are all about Boxes, so I scheduled Spoilers for the first week, the Ipsy Giveaway Guide next, and Ipsy and Birchbox after that. Ipsy tends to get more hits than Birchbox so I typically schedule that first.
Plan your content to be up when people are searching for it.
But you’ll notice these, along with the All About themes, both have arrows linking them back and forth to other weeks. I do this whenever the exact week doesn’t quite matter, or I’m still deciding on the order. If Birchbox comes first or Ipsy takes longer to test, they may be switched, and the Giveaway Guide could fluctuate.
The All About series of blogger resources will be covering LootHoot the first week of September, and the next two topics Writing an Amazing Review, and All About A.R.T – Getting $1000 in Freebies, are interchangeable.
This is another one that depends on what it feels like you guys are needing – I’m expecting a couple people would like advice on writing a review that is productive for both the brand and other potential purchasers, so it’s roughly scheduled before the site that will get you swimming in things you need to review.
I scheduled HonestFew for the last week of the month because they made recent changes and I want a little longer with the site before reviewing it. It’s also a little different from the other resources we’ll be covering, so it would throw off rhythm to have it sooner.
Now we’re into the final calendar.
I scheduled in my remaining two product reviews based on where they fit. I know I want to make my SmartStuff post into a Lifestyle post about SPF which fits into my Sunday post theme, and I scheduled Evian on a Friday because I don’t need long with it, and I can decide on specifics of the article later without being tied to a theme.
Turn ‘reviews’ into useful articles to reach a wider audience.
I’m utilizing Make Your Bed Day as a habits & productivity post since it falls on a Sunday when I typically do lifestyle posts anyway.
The final thing I’m scheduling is writing about my Level 10 Life goals next Sunday. After my recent September Challenges post, I noticed a good deal of interest in the Level 10 Life challenge, and I think it would be fun to share the goals and layout I chose.
I left a blank day, besides the Better Blogger Challenge day that is still up in the air, because I know I will come across a topic I want to cover based on feedback and questions I receive this month and I want the freedom to cover it when I want to instead of waiting.
So we’ve got the editorial calendar down.. something that I’ve noticed a great deal of interest in, and that I’ve searched myself countless times, is Social Media Scheduling.
Creating a Social Media Plan
My biggest tip… is to mirror your own habits. If you’re writing for someone that’s probably like yourself (fellow beauty bloggers has always seemed to be my primary audience) then they probably use social media similarly to how you do.
*I’m in CST, so if you’re going for EST, it’s 1 hour later unless marked*
WHEN TO SCHEDULE INSTAGRAM
For me, mirroring means I love Instagram… and it’s where most of my audience spends time, OFTEN. I check it right away in the morning – people post their #MOTD in the morning… so morning is a good time for me to start posting.
But… Instagram is also the go-to for anyone eating alone… or at a restaurant and about to post a food photo. Meal times, party times, and other ‘social’ hours are great times to catch a lot of girls. Especially in the say 17 – late 20s/early 30s or the stereotypically ‘party girl’ age range. This does in fact include past midnight and into the early morning hours leading from Thursday to Sunday, so if you’ve got fitting content, share it! Boredom times at work and before starting work count too.
People will enjoy foodie posts more at times close to meal times… or the hours when they’re really craving food, like right before lunch and leading up to dinner. Makeup posts will be appreciated as inspiration right before getting ready in the morning or going out.
Since Instagram now shows you things not specifically in most-recent order, and more based on who they think you’ll enjoy hearing from, you’ve got a bit more freedom too.
Especially since InstaStalking is a thing. #NOSHAME.
WHEN TO SCHEDULE BLOG POSTS
I get the most traffic on my blog around 9 – 11 am. That’s 10 am to noon, EST. But I also know that in the mornings before work, especially Monday mornings, is when most people read blogs, so the ideal time for me to schedule my posts is around 8:45 am to 9:15 am every morning. Maybe a little later on Sundays.
I noticed that around 3 pm on Sundays is when a lot of people are working on planning their week, so that’s why this post is going up in the afternoon when your day has likely calmed down and you’re having a more chill evening.
Purely entertainment posts seem to get higher traffic in the afternoon, or once people are home from work, whereas resource posts and helpful posts are more appreciated earlier.
WHEN TO SCHEDULE TWEETS
Twitter is highly integrated into work hours, specifically work breaks & end of day.
Lunch time hits, end of the day hits, and people are mentally not at work and checking Twitter. Get your posts up around lunch time and the couple hours after – when people aren’t quite ‘there’ at work. Tweet out especially interesting posts Thursday and Friday towards the end of the work day, especially if it’s something people can relate to. That TGIF stuff is no joke because those are the times you’ll get the most retweets on Thursdays & Fridays at the end of the workday, statistically.
Go lighter on the weekend because Twitter use significantly drops through those days. It might be a time to find more people to follow, rather than tweeting out your best content on those days.
WHEN TO POST ON REDDIT
If you haven’t used Reddit yet to promote out your links.. you really should. You can get a significant amount of traffic from a single post. I use r/blogging, and r/beautyblogs primarily, and sometimes r/makeup101.
According to https://www.redditlater.com/analysis I should post in r/blogging on Sunday @ 10 a.m., r/beautyblogs on Friday @ 10 a.m., and in r/makeup101 on Thursday @ noon.
WHEN TO PIN AN IMAGE ON PINTEREST
This one really surprised me… because it’s late evening. From about 8 pm on (EST) every day, and 2 – 4 pm (EST) on weekdays. This is one that 100% doesn’t reflect my habits. I never use Pinterest in the evening naturally. I go on in the morning, or MAYBE around noon to 2 pm.
WHEN TO POST AND SHARE ON FACEBOOK
This is another one that is based around work hours. Lunch time comes… and everyone checks Facebook. Breaks are also when people are going to update their statuses, so you’ll get some traffic then too if you can get it to show up. BUT, your highest engagement days will be on the weekends, especially Saturday and Sunday from noon to 1 pm (EST).
I tend to forget Facebook a tad. It’s not a social media format I use regularly beyond participating in groups, so my Facebook Page is mostly a quick way for people that don’t or can’t subscribe to the blog to see recent posts and updates.
If you don’t see yourself being able to stick to posting ‘live’, or you tend to forget a social media method or (or three), there’s a couple options.
Resources For Scheduling Social Media
There’s a ton of options, but I’ll share two I’m using right now:
You can try out Tailwind to schedule on Pinterest, manually or auto-scheduled at optimum times, free for 100 pins (no time limit to use), or free for a month (400 pin limit) – (normally $15/month for 400 pins, or $119/year for unlimited pins, which brings it down to <$10/month average)
Even using this as a trial can help you by freeing up your time or a while, and letting you view the times they’d choose to schedule your pins so you know what times to be posting.
You can use HootSuite for free to schedule Facebook Page Posts, Tweets, and Instagram posts (up to 3 accounts free, $9.99/month for more than 3 accounts).
You can use IFTTT for for free to schedule cross-posts. I have it set to post to Facebook and Twitter when I post on the blog, as well as when I post on Instagram, since those are the places I truly enjoy posting.
If you liked this, pin it for your fellow planners and bloggers!