The Blog Process | Part 1: Planning Your Calendar

One of my favorite quotes regarding branding is that "your website is your handshake; your blog is your voice." Jasmine Star said that and whether you love her, hate her, or have no idea who she is, she's got blogging and branding down to a science. 

Because your blog is a direct link to who you are, and how you operate, blogging cannot be the type of thing you wing. As business owners, or creativepreneurs, we don't have the time to sit in front of the computer and come up with content every single day, or even once a week. Not without some sort of planning or forethought. Which is what part one of this series is all about. 

I have tried blogging on the go. When inspiration comes, boom, I write it up, find or take a few photographs and let it go live. If that's the only approach you've tried thus far, it's probably no wonder you're struggling with maintaining it. Without planning, you're spending 2-3 hours in front of the computer, and we know that we can't run a business and waste a third of our day just sharing photographs (and then having to promote it on social media!)

But It has always and consistently taken exponentially shorter amounts of time when I planned it out instead. One day of planning for the month, subsequently led to a 3-4 hours of blogging per week (which includes up to 3-4 posts). And I can schedule and promote those posts on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter in about 15-30 minutes every day. 


Do You Really Need to Blog Consistently?

Yes. That's the short answer, and it's absolutely true. Why? The long answer is:

  • it increases your relevance to Google (and we all want the coveted first page)
  • It generates more traffic, by setting expectations and inviting people to return regularly
  • it keeps you relevant (if you have a blog that hasn't been updated in over a year, you can believe a prospective bride might skip right past your page)
  • if you've got a plan for your blog, you know when your blog content slows down, you have a complete reference list of inspiration and ideas, and you're much more engaged in the result than if you wing it one post at a time.

Now I admit... sometimes I tell myself these things and then start to wonder, "wait, how do I KNOW this is working?" And then I get an inquiry or I meet with a client and they totally reaffirm it. One of my client once told me how much they make a point to see my Instagram feed on Monday's and Tuesdays, because that's when they see my latest work and sneak peeks and it gets them excited for their wedding. To which I, of course, was like YES! 

Convinced? Now here's how to do it.

Start with a visual aid. I use an online task management software called asana to see how my future blog posts are lining up for the month. A basic wall, desk,online calendar could do the trick though.

Ask yourself three questions:

What do you do? What are the services you offer? What are you trying to promote regarding those services? 

Who are you? This is the differentiating factor between you and another vendor who offers similar services with similar pricing. This is where you create a personal connection with future and current clients. This is your brand

Who are they? Do you know who your target client is? Where do they shop? What do they like? What's a typical Saturday night in their lives? Understanding these details about the clients you'd like to book helps mold what you blog about and who you blog for. 


Now what?

Now for my favorite part - the buying of the calendar. Go to Office Depot and smell the crisp white pages of a brand new planner... Run your fingers over all the colorful sharpies... admire the notebook covers... huh... what? Isnt' that how ALL people act in an Office Depot? Ahem... so yeah...

After you've VERY CASUALLY decided on a new calendar (be it paper or digital) it's time to make a list. Start brainstorming ideas based on the questions above. Think of your clients frequently asked questions, upcoming shoots or events you're participating in, and something personal you enjoy doing regularly. See if any of those could be recurring series, or something you can talk about more than once. And write all of them down. 

You now have your blogging map. Keep brainstorming and perusing pinterest for ideas. This list should never go away. Who knows, maybe in six months, these ideas will be fresh and new again. Eventually we will merge this

Are you feeling a little bit lost still? Not sure where to start? Then make sure to sign up for the Creative Guide to Upgrading Your Awesome, because on Monday i'm sending to all you #Awesomers my own personal weekly blogging map. 

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What Part of the Industry Do You Work in?

For now, just brainstorm. Join us again next week when we discuss how to "shoot on purpose" - the act of mentally branding your business.

Questions? Leave them for me in the comments below, or join me on Periscope this afternoon at 12pm to ask me directly! This will be my first Periscope broadcast, which means I'm facing my fear of hearing myself talk again (*shivers*). If you're not following me, be sure to download the Periscope app to your phone and add me! And if you can't join us at noon, the broadcast will be available for another 24 hours, so you'll have a chance to hear my rambling and see my very over dramatic use of of my hands. 



Friday, 8/21 | Part 1 | Calendar Planning

Friday, 8/28 | Part 2 | Shooting on Purpose

Friday, 9/4 | Part 3 | Image Selection

Friday, 9/11 | Part 4| Content Creation

Friday, 9/18 | Part 5 | Marketing Your Brand


See you next week! xoxo!

Ariana Watts

Silver Feather Studios, Burlington, NC, 27217, United States