I think everyone has a different way of working when it comes to blogging. We know what works for us and what doesn't, and after nearly six years of rambling away on Colours & Carousels I think I've got my routine pretty much nailed. I'd love to be able to say that I'm super organised and write my posts weeks in advance, but that's more often than not just not true! I like to think I've got myself in to a good little routine now, it works well for me and I thought I'd share my process.
The best place to start with is probably planning my content and coming up with ideas, which is where my Google Calendar comes in handy. I use my Google calendar to plan just about everything in my life, and whilst I do write all of my posts down in my blogging planner I find it so much easier to have everything in one place that I can access on my computer and on my phone if I need it. Using the calendar I can plan out posts around my shifts, social events and any upcoming holidays which makes it so much easier to figure out my time! I have separate calendars for my personal events, work rota, blog posts, YouTube videos, blogger events and any important Twitter chats which I can view all together or individually - it makes such a difference.
I tend to start planning my posts about a month in advance, but this is just a general outline to try and get some ideas flowing and a lot of the time I don't stick to it. I'm often juggling my posts about right up until the last minute as I'm pretty indecisive! To start planning my content I think about the posts that I really want to write and spread them across the month, as well as any reviews that are due, then using these as an outline I start to fill in the gaps. I like to have a variety each week, so I try to steer clear from having two food posts in the same week, two similar beauty reviews, multiple wishlists, etc, etc.
Once I know what I want to post I make a list of all the photos I need to take and start working my way through it whenever I have a spare moment. Obviously I can't always take some pictures as far in advance as I'd like, for example restaurant reviews or events, but I try my best to keep on top of things and take pictures in bulk when I can. I usually edit my photos as and when I need them, but if I find myself with a rare free moment I'll start narrowing down the shots I want to use and clearing out those ever-so-annoying but inevitable blurry photos where the lighting just isn't quite right or I don't like the composition. This can take a while, because I'm prone to taking waaaaay too many photos.
It might sound weird, but when it comes to writing my posts I approach them in the same way I would start an essay. I start with all the basic stuff, setting up my page and sorting out my tags, permalink & search description whilst making sure the layout is the way I want it. Then, I'll pop a quick heading for each paragraph or section in so that I have a basic structure to start with, for example this post started out as being "INTRO", "PLANNING", "PHOTOGRAPHY", "WRITING", "SOCIAL" and "CONCLUSION" so that I stay on track. I have a bit of a tendency to go off on a tangent, so starting out this way helps me cover all of the points I want to make. I find it so much easier to write this way, it helps keep my train of thought under control!
Once I've got my basic structure sorted I'll start filling out my sections and weirdly I usually start with my conclusion. I think it's because I add my photos and my original headings from top to bottom, so when I'm ready to start writing I'm at the bottom of the page. Again, I think having my end point in mind when writing helps me stay on track. I try to add my links as I go along, or else I would forget, so when it's all finished I give it a quick proof read, preview the post to check it flows okay out of the editor then hit publish.
After a post is published I start scheduling a few social updates, usually just Twitter and Facebook. I used to use Tweetdeck for Twitter but it felt like such a chore, so I upgraded to the Awesome plan on Buffer and it's honestly made such a big difference to me! I use the built in scheduler on Facebook to share a link to my post when it's published too, and when I get a chance to I'll share my post in a few Facebook groups that I think would find it useful!
To try and keep my scheduling as effortless as possible I keep a Google document with a list of my recent post links as well as my usual social media links, so I can just copy and paste straight from the one page instead of faffing about opening all my old posts. I'm trying to get a good mix of older posts and links to my other social networks in alongside sharing new posts on Twitter at the moment, so I try to keep my most popular post links handy.