Hey y’all! Remember this series?? It’s been two months since the last piece, but because these posts are something I pour my brain into, I simply don’t want to rush them. While I’ve been a full-time blogger for a few years now, there are definitely times where I’m struggling with a piece of the blog puzzle (or many at a time). So I never want to publish these if I don’t feel totally in my zone with whatever section I’m talking about and giving advice on. Plus, these take a good amount of organization and research to get to a point that I’m proud of #perfectionist.
With that being said, hopefully the first 3 were helpful. You can see a full breakdown here (and I suggest starting at the beginning if you haven’t read any and are interested!)::
Today, I’m back for round 4 which involves ALL THINGS CONTENT. One of my favorite parts, if not my favorite!
How to start a fashion blog — Managing Content
For the sake of ease and to not confuse other posts, we’re going to be talking about content in the form of blog posts only. Things like social media can fall under content, since I’ve covered that separately, we’ll be talking about posts. If you haven’t already read the first post on finding your niche, please start there! I talk about things like presenting your content and the kind of content you’ll cover, which is the right place to start. This post is past that – when you know what you’re covering, and learning about how to manage the content choices you’ve made.
If I could give one piece of advice when it comes to managing your content, it’s to develop an editorial calendar. It’s something I didn’t do for a long time (I’m not always the most organized girl on the planet), but I created one about a year ago and it’s been life.changing. y’all.
The point of an ed cal is to plan and keep everything in one spot. This would include posts for the month, a way to track series, any sponsored content, themes for the month, reminders for holidays or things like a Nordstrom sale, etc. Nothing needs to be set in stone (except maybe the next week or two if you’re really great at planning), so don’t think it needs to be perfect. Also, I like having blank spaces here and there because it literally forces me to write from the heart about whatever’s on my mind. But in general, the ed cal should be something you’re toying with pretty much every working day. It’s also an amazing way to make sure you’re spacing out topics like beauty, fashion, or whatever you cover.
The design/format is totally up to you and does not need to be fancy. I use a Google doc, for example. This blogger created a similar one that you can easily copy right here. I think simplicity is key when it comes to design because you want to be able to get in there, see what’s planned, and that’s about it.
In the Google doc that I use (that’s similar to the one linked above), I have a few different rows per date that help me stay organized. Those are::
- Live post – What’s going live that day.
- To shoot – What I need to shoot that day. You may want to use a different calendar for to-do items like this, but I personally like to have it all in one place. For example, if I know I need new photos for a campaign or post in 2 weeks and know my photographer takes a week to edit, I can work backwards from the live date and schedule my shoots.
- Social – Maybe I have to post something for a partner, or I want to post a certain outfit on a certain day. Because of that, I keep any social posts in my cal too. This is definitely not the case for every single Instagram I post, but I like jotting down notes or reminders if a date and social need to match up.
- Type of post – I use color for the different posts, but I also like to jot it down. So all beauty stuff is in pink, all fashion, blue, etc. etc.
Schedule and planning ahead
I think this deserves its own little section because it’s so important. And it’s NOT something that I’m the best at – but believe me, I’ve done a ton of research on how to plan ahead, so I want to share.
Just like any job, planning ahead is super helpful, especially when things like summer travel happens, or you’re in a funk, have writer’s block, are sick, etc. And since readership is crucial, trying to stay active on your blog is a necessity. I TRY to post 5 times a week, but as I’m sure you’ve noticed, it doesn’t always happen. 5x is a lot – especially if you’re just starting out; I wouldn’t suggest that. I think 2-3 a week is totally fine! Look at your analytics and the days that do best for you, and shoot for those (Fridays usually suck for me so I don’t stress if I miss Fridays).
If you do want to plan ahead or knock out some content while the productive juices are flowin’, here are some ideas::
- Evergreen content – MAJORLY helpful for busy times or writer’s block. This is content that isn’t attached to a date or season, and can be popped into your ed cal whenever. Things like this post of mine, or this one. There is still major value in these pieces, but it wouldn’t have mattered if I did them tomorrow or 5 months from now. I try to bust a lot of these out when I’m feeling creative or want to write (because I know it will help me in the long run!)
- Shop early – As I’m sure any of bloggers out there have noticed, you have to be ahead of trends/holidays to have content live in time (especially if you want to give people the option to shop BEFORE the holiday). I try to schedule in “shop” days once a month where I’ll get anything I need for the FOLLOWING month (so I bought my 4th of July clothes early June).
- Try to write a week in advance – On my best weeks, I’ve already written and developed everything for the blog the week before, and literally everything is scheduled and ready to go early. It’s h.a.r.d but soooo nice when it happens!
One thing I don’t struggle with is ideas. I have about a billion ideas for content that I am DYING to post, but my problem is organizing them. So many of my ideas are big – BIG y’all – picture, and it’s hard for me to break them down into smaller posts or series. This is why I suggest brainstorm sessions about once a month.
Get a bunch of poster boards – going old school – and get out your thoughts. Write down all the posts circling in your head or that you’ve randomly put on your phone or a notepad. Think about how to break them down into more than one post if it’s something you really want to get into. For example, I LOOOVE writing about “productivity” but it’s a huge topic. I can think of 20 posts I want to do that involve productivity, but in a broken down way to really get the most, best info out there to readers. If you have a big idea that you aren’t sure how to break down, save it and work on it next month, or do some research before your next session.
These brainstorm sessions can take up to an entire day if you’re like me and bursting with ideas, so settle in.
If you’re struggling with ideas, try::
- Ask your readers! – Even if you have 10 readers (I started there too!), ask them what they want to see. Ask on social media and in your blog post.
- Check your analytics – What are people clicking on? Which headlines do best? What articles are people skimming and not into? What pieces are selling for you (if jeans do well, think of all the ways to write about jeans – different colors, trends, hems, how to wear, what to wear to different events, etc.)
- Look at yourself – Think about the posts from other sites or blogs that really get you going. What do you love to read? What could you write about all day? Do you like posts with more text? Tips? Mainly photos?
I like to keep a tab of running ideas within my editorial calendar since it’s cohesive. And if I’m really strugging with what to write one day, I can just pull from there, and boom! A post.
Place holders in Word Press
Word Press has a great function called Calendar. It’s just what it sounds like, a calendar, but it lets you add in place holders via Word Press for any content. I don’t match placeholders to my ed cal perfectly, but if it’s a topic that I know I want to discuss or a post I need to have done by X date, I go ahead and begin the draft within Word Press, linking it to a date in the Word Press calendar. This is awesome because sometimes for the posts that get broken down into many (like Productivity), you can go in and quickly edit those post titles once you break up the titles. I can go into each one and add bullets on my brainstorm days so that I don’t forget the general outline of what that post was going to be.
I write ALL my posts in Word Press – I don’t use Google docs or anything for that because I like everything to be all in one spot. Sometimes I’ll work in my “notes” app if I want to be able to write or work on things offline (e.g., while on an airplane or other times when I don’t have wifi). Use the calendar place holders even if you just have a rough draft or notes on a certain topic, and get that headline in the system and attached to a date (which can always be moved).
I’ve talked about photos a bit in the other posts, but since they make up such a huge part of blog posts, I want to cover them more in depth here. Or at least give y’all an insight to my content. There are a few different type of photos that I’m constantly working on to cover the content that makes up BTD. Those are::
- Evergreen photos – Just like actual posts, it’s SUPER helpful to take stock of evergreen content. Photos don’t last as long as words obviously, but they still help. For example, when you’re shooting, have your photographer take general photos of you. Maybe some of you laughing for happiness (or other “general”) posts, you putting on makeup for a makeup post, you shopping and at racks, your closet, you at your desk for productivity articles, you in denim for denim pieces, etc. etc. These come in handy when you need something last minute or don’t have the funds/time for a shoot dedicated to matching your piece.
- Pinterest photos – Yep, these are specific! Photos without my face (they just do better, it’s a fact across the board), vertical ones, closer up, etc. We try to do a few of these per outfit/shoot that can be used for the blog AND Pinterest.
- Instagram – I like to take most of these on my iPhone as they just seem better fitting for Instagram. If I’m wearing something cute, I’ll ask someone to take a few, and I also take cute coffee shop photos or things of that nature when I’m out and about.
- Blog photos – The most important, time consuming, costly part. This is definitely different for everyone, too. Some bloggers I know like to shoot 1-2 a month and shoot a TON of content/outfits that day. Some shoot mulitple times a week. Find what works for you (if you can really plan ahead, shooting 1-2 a month is a dream) and your photographer, and how you can get the most bang for your buck (maybe your photog prefers shooting more often for shorter times and will discount you?).
Shot lists are my savior when it comes to blog shoots and also whenever I’m shooting evergreen content. They’re basically a list of ALL the shots you need that day, so that you’re taking advantage of every minute. Before the shoot, I pull up my editorial calendar for the next month and figure out what I’m publishing and what I need to shoot. It really helps!
OK I think that’s it! I feel like the conversation of content is never-ending and I could go on forever…but I won’t. I’m sure I left out some questions, but hopefully that helps in general.
I’d love to hear any other questions you have, if you need me to go in depth somewhere, and if you have any tips that you think I should be doing!
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