Note: you can listen to this episode above or load it up in iTunes.

How to Create a Schedule for Your Promotions

Today’s episode is part 10 of the new ‘Today, Not Someday’ podcast series. The focus is actioning your ‘someday’ list, the things you’ve always wanted to do to improve your blog but have struggled to make happen. For details about how the series works, check out episode one here. I’ve included a full list of episodes below.

The focus of today’s episode is about how to map out the next year’s promotional or marketing calendar for your blog. If you want to build a profitable and sustainable blog you need to put effort into thinking about how to make your blog profitable, and this is a key part to making it happen.

Numbers 2016 written on sandy beach during sunset. by Nora Carol Sahinun on

In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • How to evaluate your blog’s performance and achievements for the past year
  • Why you’re losing income if you don’t create a promotional calendar for your blog
  • How to create your blog’s promotional calendar
  • 4 key areas of activity to include in your promotional calendar
  • How I use SmartSheets to create promotional calendars for my blogs
  • 5 ways your blog will improve if you take the time to create your promotional calendar today, not someday

Further Reading and Resources for How to Create a Schedule for Your Promotions

How I use SmartSheets to plan the Digital Photography School Promotional Calendar

Other episodes in the Today, Not Someday Series:

Meet my new friend, Edgar (and a SPECIAL OFFER)

I’d like to welcome a new sponsor to the ProBlogger podcast for the duration of this 10 part series, my friend ‘Edgar‘.

Edgar is a tool I’ve been using since January of this year that does exactly what this series is about. It enables you to make the work you do on social media keep paying off for the long term. You put a little work into Edgar today by adding social media updates highlighting the great content in your blog’s archives and Edgar goes to work to share them to your followers not just once but by queuing your updates to keep delivering to into the future.

The team at Edgar have put together a special deal for ProBlogger readers which gives you a free one month trial. Sign up for your free one month trial at

Here’s a video of how I use Edgar:

If watching videos isn’t your thing – here’s a blog post I wrote on how I use Edgar.


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Hi there. This is Darren Rowse from ProBlogger and I would like to welcome you to episode 75. Today, we are continuing our series of challenges that you can invest a little time in today and hopefully, they’ll pay off for the long term on your blog. 

The hashtag we are using over at Twitter is #TodayNotSomeday and the idea is that these are things that you’ve probably got on your someday list. Things that you have been putting off that you really need to do today because they have a long term impact upon your blog. 

You can find today’s show notes at and if you are just […] this podcast for the first time, you might want to go back to listen to episode 66 where we introduced this series to you. It also has links to that particular episode (number 66) to all of the podcasts and challenges I’ve been over the last few days. 

Also, I would like to acknowledge Edgar who is the sponsor of this series. You can find more about Edgar, a great social media tool at where I do give you a month-long free trial. Without further ado, I like to get in today’s episode where we are going to talk about mapping out your next year of promotional activities. 

Today’s challenge is to do something that I do at the end of every year, to map out the next year of marketing activities that you are going to do. I used to do this alone when I had no one working with me on my blog, probably for the first seven or eight years of my blogging, but these days, I do it with my team. 

I can understand if you are a solo blogger wanting to tackle all this by yourself, but also if you have others working with you, this is a great activity to do together. 

It may actually be good to do with another blogger. If you don’t have a team, you might want to team up with another blogger and actually bounce off each other. It’s sometimes good to get an outside perspective on it whether you do it alone or together with others, really the challenge is to map out your coming year in terms of your marketing efforts.

By marketing, I don’t mean by promoting yourself. What you are going to sell on your blog, how you are going to monetize the blog might be a different way to put it. 

The reason that this is really important is that I think most bloggers intuitively get that they need to spend time every year thinking about content, thinking about finding readers, thinking about building community and reader engagement. These three areas—content, finding readers, community—are things we all need to focus on as bloggers. We all naturally do that, but many bloggers fail to put as much time into how they are going to monetize their blog.

If you want your blog to be profitable, if you want it to be sustainable, you need to think about how you are going to do that. You need to be quite intentional about that. You don’t want to just have built a great blog and they will come. Build a great blog and the opportunities will come. That doesn’t really happen. You need to think intentionally about how you are going to monetize your blog over the next year and that’s what this challenge is all about.

Before you begin planning, I think it is worth saying that you probably do need to do some reviewing as well and while this podcast is more about planning your next year, it might be worth just hitting pause on this podcast and doing a bit of review on your blog first. 

We actually just published a post at ProBlogger last week which walks you through how to do an audit or a review on your blog. I’ll link to that in today’s show notes. It may actually be worth listening to that before you do your planning, but particularly just think about your last year. Particularly, when it comes to monetization, what were your main income streams over the last year? How did those income streams perform? Were they on the increase? On the decline? What did you launch? What products do you have? How did they perform for you this year? What affiliate promotions did you do? What advertising campaigns? Whatever it is that you do on your blog to monetize, do a little bit of a review on that before you think about the year ahead.

Once you’ve done that review, what I generally do is grab a calendar. Sometimes it’s a paper one or sometimes it’s an online one, sometimes it’s one that I make myself in a spreadsheet or draw upon a whiteboard. It doesn’t really matter but have a calendar in front of you. As you look at the next 12 months, think about how your year might flow in terms of monetizing your blog. What are you going to do over the next 12 months to monetize your blog? 

What I encourage you to do is to put the big things first. What we do is we ask ourselves the question, “What products will we launch over the next year?”

If you haven’t yet thought about products for your blog, go back to episode 67 where we actually talked about creating products to sell on a blog. What type of product are you going to create? What other topics do you want to cover? And when would be the best time to launch it?

Start to think about the products that you want to create next year and begin to mark them down in your calendar as to when you want to launch that product. Once you got something marked in your calendar—perhaps you want to launch an ebook in June—then start to ask yourself the question, “How much work is it going to take to get that ebook together? What phases of development will be needed? How long will it take?” And you might want to put in the calendar those phases and work backwards in the calendar as to the significant milestones that you want to hit. 

For Digital Photography School (my main blog) we are actually during this process deciding which products we are going to create over the coming year and we usually do four to five products every year.

When we are planning a year ahead, sometimes, we don’t always know the exact specifics of what we will create but we do know that we are aiming for four or five and we generally know the first few.

Right at this point in December of 2015, we know the next two or three products that we will create and we got some guesses as to what the fourth and fifth one will be and we’ve already got them slot into our calendar. 

Because we know that we want to do an ebook in January of next year and we want to do a coursing March of next year, we know how much work is needed for each of those products so we are able to slot into our calendar exactly how much development time will be needed.

At any point in here, we know where each of the projects is at and I’m actually going to show you in the show notes a screengrab of one of the spreadsheets that we use and those of you who love spreadsheets, those of you who are spreadsheet geeks are going to love this particular spreadsheet because it’s actually a spreadsheet of this previous year and what we did. You’ll see all of the different products we developed and when we were working on each.

It’s very geeky and I’ll have to admit that I didn’t create the spreadsheet, it was one of my team, Jasmin who created it. It’s really great to be able to look at this sheet and say, “You know? In April this year, there’s going to be three products in development. We are getting to launch this other one,” and to get that snapshot.

For ProBlogger, it’s perhaps a little bit simpler. We don’t launch four or five products every year. As we are thinking about next year, there are a couple of products that we’ve got in mind. We got them to slot into our calendar, but we also slot into our calendar the events that we run and the key dates that we need to hit certain milestones for those events to happen as well. It may be that your calendar is about ebooks, courses, real-life events, or other products that you are developing as well.

The big things are your own products then you can also start to slot into your calendar other sales or promotions of existing products that you might want to do over the next year. For Digital Photography School, we run a media sale every year so we know in June or July that we have to block out ten or so days for us to do that media sale. We also do a sale at the end of the year, 12 Days of Christmas is the sale that we have been running for several years now. We slot that into our calendar as well.

Then, you might want to slot in some affiliate promotions. You may not know exactly what products you’ll promote at this point at certain times of the year, but I think it’s really useful to slot into your calendar that in April, we’ve got a four-week window where we can do an affiliate program, a launch of a product, and you can begin to be on the lookout for something that you might want to do a promotion of at that particular point.

What other promotions might you do? Begin to slot these into your calendar. Other things that we tend to slot in as well this time are things like when our team will have vacations, so we know exactly who’s going to be on hand at certain times. Public holidays and particularly thinking about the holidays where there are sales opportunities around them, so this time of the year with Christmas and Thanksgiving and some of those types of holidays, particularly useful to have in.

Even Valentine’s Day sometimes there’s a way to spend Valentine’s Day into a promotional opportunity depending upon the topic that you have and other projects that you are thinking about starting. If you are thinking of starting a podcast or if you are thinking of starting on Periscope, you may want to slot in then have a time where you will be focusing on that because that type of thing takes energy and you might not want to double up with a product launch at those times as well.

Then, you might also want to slot in things like, “We are going to develop an opt-in next year or we want to create a little mini free course for people on our newsletter.” Again, you want to slot those in. The reason we are doing all of these is so that we can look ahead at the next year and begin to see things that are going to class, hopefully at this point when you’ve got all of these stuff in your calendar, you’ll begin to see, “Yeah, we got too much going on in the middle of the year. We need to spread things out,” or there are gaps in your year that you may want to do other things.

Last year when we did this exercise for Digital Photography School, we realized that there were these two little windows in the year where we could do something else to monetize our blog. So, we went out and found affiliate products that we can promote at those times. You can also see by looking at this when you need to be working on certain projects as well. Particularly, if you are doing what we do and actually putting aside periods of time to create the products that you are going to sell. It also helps you to allocate resources whether that be hiring people to help you to design products, or whether that be finding authors to help you create things as well. It gives you a sense of when you need to mobilize your team or find help during those busy times.

The spreadsheet I’m going to show you in the show notes is pretty complex, it’s pretty crazy. I look at it and my mind boggles and it sends me into the fetal position. It stresses me out a little bit. I’m not wired this way but when I used to do it by myself, it was actually quite simple. I just had a simple Google calendar and I slotted things in and I kept it as simple as possible.

The other thing I would say about these calendars is that nothing you create now in your plan needs to be set in stone. While we have deadlines and we know even for this time next year what we are hoping to be doing, we constantly are tweaking our plans. We are constantly moving things around. 

I think it was this year that we came up with a product idea in February or March of the year and we’ve never ever dreamed of doing that product, but we decided that there was an opportunity to create something, so we slotted it in and we moved other products around to be able to do that. You should leave time and some flexibility in your plans for those types of opportunities.

Whether you do something as complicated as we did or whether it’s just simply saying, “In these three times of the year, I want to launch these three products or do these three different marketing campaigns.” It’s up to you, but I think it’s a really powerful exercise to look ahead at the next year of your blog and set yourself some goals, set yourself some deadlines and how you are going to monetize your blog.

I would love to hear the results of your planning. Now, you may not want to reveal the exact products that you are thinking of creating, but I would love to get some feedback from you on how you found this particular exercise. You can do that in a couple of ways, either tweet me @ProBlogger with the #TodayNotSomeday. By someday, I don’t mean Sundays in the days, some-day. I saw someone tweet today #TodayNotSunday, which is funny but didn’t really get viewed by people. 

You can tweet me what you are doing, but you can also leave a comment on the show notes at Leave a comment there as to how you found these exercises and you may even want to show us your calendar if you are a spreadsheet geek like some of my team as well. I’m sure others would love to see your organizations in a visual way if you feel comfortable doing that. 

I would also love to get your reviews on this podcast over on iTunes or Stitcher. As I said in the last episode, I do read them all and it really inspires me but also shapes what I do, so if you got any suggestions there, I’d love to see those.

Thanks for listening today. I’ll be back in a couple of days’ time for episode 76 of this podcast series, which will be the last of this series. I look forward to chatting with you then.

How did you go with today’s episode?

What will you include in your promotional calendar? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and feel free to include a link or screenshot if you’ve already created it.

The hashtag I’ll be using to talk about this journey on social media is #TodayNotSomeday and I encourage you to share your journey too, using the same hashtag.

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