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Your First Week of Blogging – Plan Your Future Blog Posts

Posted By Darren Rowse 19th of January 2023 Creating Content, Writing Content 0 Comments

Your First Week of Blogging - Plan Your Future Blog Posts

Update: this post has been updated and compiled with other similar posts into ProBlogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Course – a 31-day guide into getting your blog going on the right foot.

Let’s look at another idea of what to do in your first week of blogging. Related to our previous post in this series which focused upon writing compelling content – is a task that I think can be a very useful habit to get into – developing an Editorial Calendar, or at the very least doing some planning on the future content that you’ll be producing for your blog.

Today I want to show you three techniques that I use in my process of future planning for posts.

1. Capturing Ideas

One of the most useful folders that I have on my computers desktop is one that I simply call ‘Ideas’.

Screen shot 2010-02-18 at 10.24.40 AM.png

Inside that folder are four other folders – one for each of my blogs and another for miscellaneous ideas.

Screen shot 2010-02-18 at 10.26.01 AM.png

Inside each of those folders are many many text files. Each text file is a different idea for a blog post.

  • Some are completely empty and the name of the file is simply a short phrase which is an idea I could write about.
  • Other text files are simply a list of 3-4 points that I could write about.
  • Others are more developed ideas – they might contain an introduction or even a full draft of a post (although generally once they are at this stage I move them over to saving them as a draft in WordPress).

These text files generally begin their lives at random times during the day when I’m thinking about something else and an idea pops into my mind. The key is to capture them quickly, record them in a way that they can be found again and to develop them as much as I’m able to as the idea is fresh.

Sometimes, if I have the time and energy for it, I’ll work on the ideas for a while straight away but many times I simply get as much of the idea down into the file as I can and then save it for another time.

This means that at any point of time I have quite a few post ideas at different stages that I can tap into.

2. MindMapping

mind-map.pngI won’t write an extended post on this as I’ve covered it previously but one of the most powerful techniques that I’ve ever used for coming up with blog ideas to write about is mind mapping.

You might choose a different method of brainstorming – but the key is to set aside specific times (I try to do it monthly) to simply come up with ideas to write about.

You can read more about how I do this in at Discover Hundreds of Post Ideas for Your Blog with Mind Mapping. Note: I used to use whiteboards for this process but now use a Mac tool called MindNode.

Generally once I’ve done the mind mapping exercise I’ll then convert the best of the ideas that I’ve generated into text files to save in the ideas folders mentioned above.

Note: Incidentally – I also use mind mapping when planning a new blog. It’s similar to the technique outlined above on coming up with post topics but I find it also helpful in planning out categories for a new blog.

3. Editorial Calendars

I’ve used a variety of approaches to creating editorial calendars over the years. I’ve adapted my approach over time to suit the different stages of my blogs. These days as I’m actively editing two decent sized blogs with up to 30 posts a week I find that I need to map out what posts I’ll be doing ahead of time.

In doing this you’re able to develop content that builds momentum (posts that build upon each other), take your readers on a more thoughtfully planned journey and give them a more balanced run of content.

I found previously that if I wasn’t planning ahead in this way that I’d end up with too much of one kind of content all in a row which didn’t really benefit readers as much.

The other good thing about this approach is that you know what writing you need to have done by certain times of the week – deadlines work well for me in motivating me to work.

My Editorial Calendar approach these days is pretty much based around spreadsheets. I’m on a mac and use its ‘Numbers’ program for this and simply have a spreadsheet which looks like a weekly calendar. Here’s last weeks:


You can see here that DPS has a 2 post per day schedule and that ProBlogger is on a 1 post per day schedule – but I like to throw in a few extras each week. This is obviously a completed week – I generally am playing around with it during the week and am finalising timings as the week progresses as I (and my writers) finish posts.

I also have editorial calendars on the go for future weeks at any given time – they’re less developed but I do add to them as I get closer to the beginning of each week.

At this point spreadsheets work best for me but previously I’ve taken different approaches including using a paper diary, using iCal and Google Calendar, using tools like Basecamp etc. It’s about finding a system that works for you and setting it up so that you do it naturally as part of your workflow.

Also check out Day 12 in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog – it is all about Editorial Calendars.

Tasks for Your First Week

Perhaps an editorial calendar like the above one is a little advanced if you’re in the first week of your blog – however the concepts behind it can be good to explore. If I were starting a blog today I’d be taking the above three exercises and doing something like this:

  1. Set up an Idea Collection Process – whether it be using folders and text files as I’ve mentioned above, getting a notebook and pen or using a tool like Evernote on your iPhone – set up a system where you can collect ideas as you have them for future use.
  2. Set aside time to brainstorm topics – schedule time into your monthly (or weekly) workflow where you’re simply setting aside time to brainstorm possible topics to write about on your blog.
  3. Develop some kind of system to help you look ahead at the future posts on your blog – You might use a calendar of some kind or simply have a section of your notebook where you plan your next week or month of content.

Share Your Approach to Planning Future Content on Your Blog

I’ve shared 3 of the techniques I use to help me keep fresh content coming on my blogs – I’d love to hear from you on how you do it in comments below!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I didn’t do it in my first week, but now I have a physical calendar to plan future posts. This comes in really handy now that the staff has expanded and we have about 10 writers on staff – some writing weekly, some writing monthly, and some writing every few months. Without the calendar, I can easily lose track of whose turn it is.

  2. Great tips for a young blogger ! Thank you !

  3. I have never been one for planning out my posts, but the idea of an editorial calender really makes sense!

  4. For planning I have only benne used drafts in WordPress. But I have come to find that it is to unstructered. Now I am using my phonecalendar for planning ahead.

  5. And I programmed posts for a couple of months ahead so now I don’t have to rush with ideas. Very useful. If I push myself to write content, it won’t be fun anymore.

  6. Very cool article with rich tips!

    I personally do some of the above tips and more than having a folder of ideas on my computer, I write all ideas that pops into my mind into my iPhone Notes and start killing them one after another.

    I also use To-Do lists a lot for writing specific articles!

  7. Genius ideas.

    I use Evernote to store my ideas. I used to write them down in a little notebook, but then I realized that if I lost it, I’m screwed. Same thing with “Notes” on the iPhone. Having something like Evernote that syncs up online is huge.

  8. I’ve resisted setting up an editorial calendar for a long time, simply because I’d always end up changing my mind at the last minute … but as my blogging obligations grow, it’s starting to look like a good idea. Thanks for giving me the push.

    Also – can’t believe I’m saying this – but I never really thought of using mindmapping as a way of planning out my overall blog strategy. I’d tried it (unsuccessfully) in the past as a way of planning individual blog posts … don’t know why I never made the connection.

    Got some great ideas for this weekend! Thanks, Darren!

  9. I absolutely love the first one, to put that folder on the desktop.

    I do have some sort of system with folders in folders but if I look for something I have no idea where to find it anymore.

    But putting one on the desktop, just for ideas and drafts and even almost finished posts for my blog, is brilliant.

    First thing I am going to do now!

  10. I’ve been using OneNote & my HTC Touch so far to accomplish the first tip but really like the 2nd and 3rd ones. Hoping to get to some of those advanced tips when I have a bit more time back home in the States.

  11. Darren,

    I really liked the idea of MindMap! Very useful tool to have in any blogger’s arsenal for generating ideas. I don’t have folders like you mentioned but I use MS Outlook’s notes feature to keep post information. I create one note per post similar to your one text file per post approach. However, the advantage with Outlook is my desktop doesn’t get cluttered and also I can backup my notes and save them on external drive to save me from HDD failures. Once the note has enough points, I post them to WP directly as a draft for later work.

    I haven’t created editorial calendar yet but I guess MS Outlook should work fine here as well with its task and calendar feature.

    Thanks for sharing the tips!

  12. This blogging thing really is a lot of work when you think about it. If you have a full time job and do this on the side, it is pretty difficult.

  13. I didn’t plan any posts when my blog first started and it was still taking shape, now a month in, I have started doing just that.

    I find that it gives more polished posts because I can build on something over time instead of coming up with an idea, sitting down and writing and hitting publish, writing ahead allows me the opportunity to capture an idea, build on it, write it, edit it, add to it, polish it and in the end the end result is much better.

    Thanks for sharing the IDEAS folder concept Darren, I am going to implement that today. I have just been writing idea lists in word documents, and then expanding from there into another document.

    I think you idea would allow for a more seamless process, and I could sort each idea into the categories of my blog by subfolder.

  14. Love the techniques here!

    Idea collection is very important for those times when you feel somewhat uninspired to write. I always write down my title idea and a short snippet of what the article will be about. Make sure to write that short little snippet, otherwise you will see your title and think “What was I going to write about that???”

    Two other methods I use are the brain dump method and the “talk it out” method.

    With the brain dump method I open up a word processor, turn off my screen, get an idea in mind, and write until I can’t write anymore.

    Usually I come up with 3,000-4,000 words of great content, and with editing it comes out to 3-4 articles!

    For the talk it out method I use some type of voice recording device and start talking about an idea that I had. I usually gain deep insights (valuable for personal development field), because I’m exercising my mind on the topic without any distractions like the internet, email, etc.

    All that’s left is to transcribe for a good 3-4 articles or to edit and post as a podcast!

    Hope this helps!

  15. Hey,
    I have been using you idea of editorial calender for a while now since you taught in 31 day course.But the idea of making small files of idea really appealed me… I have some thing like that on my desktop but not well defined.. thanks for that.

  16. What I do is I use that one plugin, Post Idea+, or something, that really helps me with my ideas. :)

    Thanks for the post.

  17. Hi Darren,

    I currently don’t plan my posts, but a good idea I plan to implement is creating a series of articles (like this one), it makes the planning easy and the readers have an easier time understanding the content.

    The current essence of my blog is the REAL-TIME Blogging Report I conduct, the idea is to document all the steps I’m taking along the way and let other bloggers to be able to see and understand what is required – and plan accordingly.

    In this sense my posts are a result of my blogging journey.

    Thanks – Ami
    Be a Blogger | REAL-TIME Blogging Report

  18. I keep a Google Doc with all of my post ideas and drafts. This way I can easily pull it up and work on a post whether I’m at home or work or wherever.

    When I’m on the go I just put post ideas in Notes on my iPhone and later transfer them to the Google Doc.

  19. I will jsut use the drafts-option of my blog-system. By using the drafts I have them always with me (also when I’m working on another computer).

    Another trick I sometimes use is posting in the future. When you know that you will have some busy workingdays/offline period, just publish already a blogpost for that period.

  20. nice idea’s on the schedule.
    I, like @Simon Willer above have been saving my posts as drafts, but in a similar fashion to Simon, have been finding it a little awkward to keep them organized.

    I do find it easier though to keep my ideas as drafts. That way, i can write the title and make some notes, save as draft, then go back to it when i feel like to add some more. Before you know it you’ve got a full post ready to go :)
    I also use the wordpress app for my iPhone so that i can make a note of ideas on the move.

  21. Wow!! Great points!! I need to work on that calendar to help me focus more on my posting. I LOVE the mindmapping. I’m gonna try MindNode on my Mac. I’ve used Vizio on PC and it looks similar. I also like the folders idea, so simple yet creative and helpful.

    Thanks for these great tips!!

    Arie Rich

  22. Since I started blogging I keep a moleskin diary. A page a day diary and I post once a day, sometimes twice but the second post usually requires little diary space. I can carry a diary around in my bag all day and keep it alongside me when I am busy with kids – not so a laptop. I have a post schedule for each day of the week and I jot ideas on the next available day… sometimes craft ideas can be written weeks ahead, sometimes I only have an idea on the day. I find it handy to have a page for an idea and then as things “Strike me” I just pop them in… a page a post… Some posts are easier to plan ahead… and when I start to catch up with my pages I know it is time to brainstorm. I guess this is the calendar on the run idea!!!

  23. I think the editorial calendar is a MUST. You need a roadmap of where you are going… even if it changes down the line. We made our calendar, and took it a step further- posted it on the blog. It was a dual-edged sword for us. We wanted to share it with readers to entice them to come back. But now, if we don’t touch on those topics, we may be letting them down. It is an effort to hold oursleves accountable.

  24. Sorry, I meant to include the link to our calendar- just to show how simple it was

  25. Great ideas, thank you very much for sharing.

  26. While I certainly don’t have this many blogs and posts to track, I do like having a place to collect ideas. My place is an old fashioned composition book. (I still like to use a pencil now and then.) It does have tabs related to topic categories and has worked pretty well. I also track my posts and replies to other posts on a calendar – this keeps me honest with my goal for 2010 to post once per week and reply to others 3 times per week. I’m still getting started, building steam, and finding that organization and specific goals are key. Next step: an editorial calendar and planning ahead! Thanks for the tips here.

  27. Great post Darren. I think I lucked out and have been doing this already even though my blog hasn’t quite launched yet.

    I think a great thing to add to this would be to read the newspaper. It may sound old school, and perhaps it’s not for every niche, but for some reason If I start the day reading the newspaper I always find an idea here or there to write about. (and my niche is not a news niche)

    Chase Brumfield

  28. I’ll try to write down ideas on the go in a small notepad. I’ve learned that I WON’T remember the idea later on! I then transfer the idea into Evernote when I get the chance. I have a notebook in Evernote dedicated to post ideas; some are more fleshed out than others.

  29. Love these tips! Being relatively new to blogging, I’m struggling to post regularly and/or schedule posts but will use ical and the gorgeous looking mindmode for some mapping! Thanks for the ever helpful tips Darren!

  30. I loved your guidance on organization – I generally have TOO many ideas for the post; it’s keeping them organized that my challenge was.

    I now have a plan – thanks!


  31. Thanks, Darren. My way of storing ideas was a bit disorganized and I just took your recommendation about collecting ideas into folders. As a result, my desktop is much cleaner now, thanks.

    To help make sure I get those articles written and published, I’ve adopted a really neat system using a spreadsheet a guy named Alex Fayle uses.

    How I Get So Much Done Each Day.

    Hope you don’t mind the link.

  32. This post (and the comments) has/have been a terrific read.

    I love the idea of putting a “master folder” on the desktop and including subfolders inside. (I have a tendency to sometimes not remember where I “put my files” so this will help immensely.)

    The monthly calendar is a really good way to keep track of which posts will be made when, as I especially like to see a whole month in front of me. As of yet, though, I have not created such a calendar…other than to have the ideas in my head. Which, at times, does not make for easy access!

    I agree with @Chase Brumfield; the newspaper is a really, really good source for blog post ideas.

  33. I usually sketch my idea either on paper note or OneNote. Usually the idea comes from current issues,and I only written it as a post a few days after that

  34. Since my (very new) blog revolves around current events, I have my Google Reader set up on a number of different searches to find news items and blog posts about my niche. Since I do a lot of work on the go and don’t always have an internet connection, I just save a copy of these pages onto my hard drive and comb through them later. This allows me to make connections with old ideas I had and between various articles whose relationship to each other is not immediately clear. I also have folders organized by date, so that I know what topics I want to cover on what date ranges. This helps me plan ahead and stay on top of relevant content elsewhere on the web.

  35. I have several folders in OneNote labeled for different things, such as links to photo sites for my blog, links to articles I enjoyed that spawn ideas for my next topic, and a folder with just ideas for topics that I can expand on later.

    I also picked up a regular old planner calendar book, and have been trying to map out blog post ideas after reading 31DBB. It’s definitely helped, and when I’m stalled for an idea I can refer back and remember ‘oh! yeah I meant to write about that!’.

    I also break it up a bit and am going to start trying to sort of theme the days (again after reading, lol) So Monday might be list posts, Thursday and/or Friday I’m shooting for guest posts, etc.

    Thanks for the great post here, more ideas for me to keep up the writing flow! :)

    Warm regards,

  36. I’ve been reading through your blog all day and I’ve found so many great ideas. I’m just getting started with my new blog and I really appreciate all the tips that you are sharing with everyone. Thanks!

  37. Thanks for sharing these tips. For whatever reason the idea of setting up a schedule for posting seems obvious, but has never really occurred to me. I’ve managed to get into the routine of blogging on a schedule, but will now try to schedule what I’m going to write about in advance!

  38. My tip would be to start a “You Tube” channel and embed your first video on your home page. This will entice people to watch it and if they like the video then they may stick around and read your posts ;]

  39. Great advice, I especially liked #3 about having some type of “editorial calendar”. I pretty much jot down ideas for new blog posts whenever they pop up into my head, but then many of them I forget about or I don’t go back and complete and publish the posts.

    Having a editorial calendar would help me to stay on schedule and deliver the best possible posts on my blog.

  40. This is a fantastic post. I’m still relatively new and wish I’d done this before diving in feet first!

    I also looked at your brainstorming to get ideas article which again is really useful. I love reading your articles as they arrive via RSS – keep up the good work!


  41. Thanks for the mind mapping idea – I will use Mind Node for future projects.

    I definitely use an editorial calendar it helps me prepare for upcoming articles and allows me get ahead (if I’m in the writing mode) and schedule upcoming posts.

    For an idea folder I use a good old fashioned White board with scribbles and key thoughts. The board is always in my view where I tend to ignore a desktop folder.

    Q: Do you suggest I publish what the upcoming post topic will be? or hold on to that information?

  42. @Greg

    I think if you have the post ready to go, and know you are going to publish it, then why not tease the readers a little bit? It may entice some first some readers to bookmark the site and come back (I have done that befor when I read a post that teased a future topic I was interested in).

  43. @ Greg – I think if you have something of a “pillar post” where today’s article is directly related to tomorrow’s then yeah I would publish what’s coming up.

  44. Separating folders for jotting down ideas is a good way to organize posts for my blog. I’ll keep this in mind as I’m coming up with ideas to write about. Thanks for these tips.

  45. Mind mapping works a treat.

    It’s amazing how 5minutes of just brainstorming different ideas and putting it down on paper (or using software) can generate 20 different articles that you could potentially write up.

    There is some great free mind mapping software out there that works just as well as the pricey ones. So there is no need to even fork out money to prepare for future posts.

  46. I have several folders. I have the main post idea folder then subfolders for each type of post I write (I have 5 main topics). I keep pen and paper on me so I can write down any ideas while I’m out in the world.

  47. I love Editorial Calendars. However, I like to give myself a lot of freedom on what I am going to post. So my Editorial Calendar is not as specific as yours and looks something like this:

    Monday: CSS, HTML, SEO

    Tuesday: Tech News, Social Media

    Wednesday: Weekly round-up

    I find that it works better for me, and I can use the same editorial calendar for the entire year (if I wish to).

  48. Chris Nunez says: 02/19/2010 at 12:04 pm

    Very useful! Thank you!

  49. By far the first tip is the best. I would expand that to add a notepad next to your bed. The amount of times I have been having trouble going to sleep because I have all these ideas running through my head is crazy. I write all the ideas I can (it emptys my hed and lets me fall asleep) and then look at them the next day. About 80% of the ideas is rubbish but there are some good ones in there.

  50. Great ideas! My blog is fairly new and I’ve been looking for ways to organize my thoughts and ideas. I love the idea of an editorial calender. I set up a notepad on my Yahoo front page to add basic ideas to since I can’t use my laptop at my job but I do have limited internet access. I also need to keep a notepad with me at all times. I have ideas fly out of my head as fast as they came in. I’m sure it will be an ongoing process to find what works. I like the “calender on the run” idea in one of the comments. Having my computer with me isn’t always possible. Thanks!

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