How to Plan One Year of Blog Post Ideas

How to plan one year of blog post ideas Before you get started, you’ll need a decent content calendar. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but you’ll want to create a spreadsheet that has at least three columns for the day, date, and blog post idea.

I use a template I got from the Content Brew course I took last year, but you can easily create a standard spreadsheet in Excel or Google Docs.

Here’s a shot of a portion of the calendar I use to give you an idea. How to Plan One Year of Blog Post IdeasOnce you have a template, follow these simple steps for planning your 2014 blog content! 

How to Plan One Year of Blog Post Ideas

 

1. Enter the Entire Year 

Mapping out the entire year has actually helped me brainstorm. It may seem overwhelming to enter a whole year of dates on your calendar, but it’s such a worthwhile step. Don’t worry! We’re not going to be filling in every single day with an idea. We’re just building a foundation. 

Entering each date also gives you a good home base for future post ideas. Spend the extra time needed to enter in the days of the week and dates for the entire year. Remember, copy and paste are your friends! 

2. Color Code

Because I’m a visual person, I like to use color when I’m planning posts. I suggest shading the months of the year in different colors. I attempted to use relevant colors where I could. For example, I have February shaded red, March shaded green, etc. It sounds cheesy, but the colors help me focus on what each month’s theme can lend to my idea bank. You don’t have to use color the same way I have, but use it somehow.

More color coding ideas:
Assign a color to each quarter of the year. 
Designate a color for each of the four seasons. 
Rotate two colors throughout the year.

3. Plug In Important Dates/Holidays

Skim the calendar month-by-month and enter in any important dates or holidays that come to mind. Don’t spend a lot on time on this step. I’m only talking about those dates that pop into your mind immediately. For example, February makes me think of Valentine’s Day. December? Christmas! Continue entering in birthdays, vacations, and any other stand out dates or holidays under the blog post column of your calendar. 

4. Brainstorm Around Step #3

Let the important dates you added to the calendar in step 3 be a catalyst for surrounding post topics. For example, you could plan a post about marriage on your wedding anniversary or share birthday party survival tips the week of your child’s birthday.

Most of the important dates or holidays you entered will spark more than one post idea. For example, your child’s birthday may also inspire a cake recipe or party decor DIY. Continue to work through this exercise for each of the dates you added in step 3. You’ll be surprised how many ideas one little date can inspire. 

More brainstorming ideas:
Make a list of holiday specific recipes. 
Create a mind map for each month of the year.
Write a list of seasonal themed writing prompts, such as “Share a back-to-school moment”.

5. Add Post Ideas!

After you brainstorm like a madwoman, go back to your calendar and  assign each post idea a relevant date. Are you beginning to see your calendar fill up?

At this point, you should have at least a few things “penciled in” for each month of the year. These ideas aren’t set in stone, but they will give you some direction and help fill in the gaps when you’re suffering from writer’s block throughout the year. 

Wishing you all the best in 2014! 

 
*This post contains an affiliate link for Content Brew, a super awesome blog course by Melissa Culbertson of Momcomm. Using my link helps support this blog. 
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Wife. Mother. Dreamer. Writer. Blogger. Florida homeschooling mom. Imperfect parent surviving on God's grace and mercy. My writing is always honest, sometimes sarcastic, and never perfect. Find me as @TheMommyMess on Twitter and connect with me on Facebook.

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Comments

  1. says

    I love this idea! And I can see where the simple act of sitting down to plan the year would lead to a lot of unexpected brainstorming! I blog a lot less right now, simply because I am behind on ideas. So this is something that may work really well for me. Thank you my friend!
    Ilene recently posted..SpeedMy Profile

    • says

      Hi, friend!! Happy New Year to you! XO I’ve been doing a lot less myself the last few weeks. It’s just that time of year, I guess. This really helped me get things started for 2014 though!

    • says

      It’s easy to go back to throughout the week and keep adding as the thoughts come to mind. That’s what I did all weekend and I’m still working on it, but feeling like I at least have a plan of attack.

    • says

      Yes! It is hard to balance that. Sometimes those planned topics don’t feel natural, but they’re good to have on hand! This actual post is an idea I had last year, but never got around to writing it.

  2. says

    Good way to plan out your year! It really does take a little bit of time, but it is so worth it! I’ve done something similar in the past – marking one day a week for a specific type of blog post – then at least I know what I’m going to write about … Thanks for sharing!
    Noel Lizotte recently posted..Happy New Year!My Profile

  3. says

    You just gave me a perfect project for today. Thank you!

    I’m going to head over to my Google Drive now and set up a spreadsheet like you suggest with brainstorm ideas, holidays, seasonal local events and anything else I can think of. I’m really bad about hitting all of my categories regularly, and I’m going to work that in too somehow.

    A little planning and my blog will be much better in 2014!
    Karen Goodman recently posted..Dog Rescue Outreach – Knocking on Doors in East St. LouisMy Profile

  4. says

    This is genius! I’m hoping to take the Content Brew class at some point during this first quarter. I’m much more of a pen and paper planner, but I like that I could see the entire year very quickly! Even if I just preplanned two posts a week, it would help!
    NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner recently posted..One Word 2014My Profile

    • says

      I LOVE my pen and paper for other things, but when it comes to the blog calendar I seem to be better with a spreadsheet. Happy New Year!!

    • says

      Life happens and before you know your blog is just sitting there is silence. Hopefully having some ideas mapped out ahead of time will help. Now the task is making time to create the content! An idea is just an idea until it’s carried out, right? Time to write! All the best in 2014!

    • says

      I think it’s a perfect time to write about marriage. An anniversary is to be celebrated. Marriage isn’t easy! Thanks for coming by!

    • says

      A few days a week is plenty! Heck, even one day a week is great. You don’t have to post every day to continue on with blogging. Remember, quality is always better than quantity! ;)

  5. says

    That’s a really great idea. I have never even considered mapping out the whole year before, but I can see how it would add structure to my thoughts. I took an extended holiday blog break, and feel fresh and open to new ideas.
    Pam recently posted..2013-A Very Strange YearMy Profile

    • says

      It does seem daunting, but when you go into it knowing you’re not trying to set things in stone or fill in everyday it doesn’t seem as overwhelming. I think a month or two in advance is awesome!!

    • says

      Then just start there! Having one week planned it better than nothing, right? ;) And who says I’ll actually stick to my plan? This is just my cheat sheet!

  6. says

    I’m in the middle of planning out my year. I do it a little at a time, but I’m constantly looking for new ways to brain storm.

    I particularly like the concept that “most of the important dates or holidays will spark more than one post idea.” I’ll head back to my editorial calendar and look through it for added ideas around the days that I’ve already entered.
    Casi recently posted..Managing the JourneyMy Profile

  7. says

    Thank you for your great suggestions. I started blogging last fall and haven’t run out of an idea yet but I know I will. I really need to sit down and get this done, especially, with a full-time job also taking my time. I’d like the ability to have things pre-scheduled and ready to go. Happy to find out via the SITS Girls FB post today.
    Dana@chocolateandsunshine recently posted..2013 Was a Busy & Fun Year/Seeing St. LouisMy Profile

  8. says

    PERFECT! I love this… I’ve been slamming my head into a brick wall trying to come up with the *best* way to get organized with my posting this year and voila! Your blog showed up in my timeline on FB. I love spreadsheets and this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you.
    Chirleen recently posted..45 Simple Ways to Bring More Joy to Your DayMy Profile

  9. says

    I love this! I’m a big planner and do something similar. I print our a blank calendar for the entire year (from iCal or Outlook), three-hole punch it, and keep it in a blog binder. (I also keep a section for ideas, submissions, etc.) I like the idea, though, of join through the whole year and penciling in holidays, etc. Thanks for sharing!
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted..Sunday Supper – White Chicken ChiliMy Profile

    • says

      I like having a handwritten calendar too. It seems I use those mostly for home and school. The blog calendar tends to work well for me in a Google spreadsheet. Glad you liked the idea!

  10. says

    Oh I love that this is a simple but highly effective method of planning posts! As a newish blogger who’s been very inconsistent in posting and who’s missed the boat on posts far too many times, I think this will help me a lot! Thank you :)
    Alison recently posted..1st Pampered Chef Order :: A ReviewMy Profile

  11. says

    You must be very organized and devoted to do planning this extensive. I am not that disciplined, I go by inspiration so I can’t even fathom doing that kind of planning. Hope this works for you and it’s effective! Happy 2014 coming from SITS Sharefest (i was taking my time responding to all the bloggies :)) -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted..Finding Purpose in 2014My Profile

    • says

      I’m not naturally organized at all, but I wanted something that would help me when I struggle to find inspiration. I hope the ideas I have penciled in will help me when I’m feeling stuck. Best wishes in 2014! Thanks for coming by!

  12. kelly aren't (copper roof interiors) says

    THANK YOU so much for this article. I’m going to try to put this in play for the year. I have to get over the idea that my posts don’t have good enough content. I know…crazy right! Making a long term plan sure will help out my frozen brain.
    Thanks again.

    • says

      Yes, and that’s just it. I suffered from writer’s block quite a bit last year and it was frustrating. At least these ideas I have penciled in will help me when I can’t think straight.

  13. says

    Great article, will do this for sure this week, I can really see how sitting down with a calendar can really spark some great ideas.

  14. says

    Adrienne,

    I found your post on SITS on Facebook and I followed it to the letter. Now I have an editorial calendar for the first two quarters of the year, including ideas for my podcast (a lot of times my lack of planning and ideas makes me delay release, even though I’d love for it to be weekly). I’m having a baby in April, but if I follow the schedule and get ahead of things with the plan, I won’t have any break in my content production (or at least very little). Thank you so much for not giving hollow advice, but for making a step by step plan that people can actually execute. My wine loving audience thanks you too!

    Elizabeth, Wine for Normal People

    • says

      Yeah, Elizabeth! I’m so happy that you found this helpful! Congrats on the baby! Your comment meant so much! That’s a lot of exclamation points but, that’s me. I’m sort of annoying that way. I might hit you if you’re too close when I’m laughing. ;)

  15. says

    I’m putting together my first blog planner…this post is very timely for me! So glad I found it – and I’ve pinned it so I can come back to it. I’d love to know what you thought of that Content Brew class, I was reading about it and am intrigued!
    Stephanie recently posted..A Mix to Get MotivatedMy Profile