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- Do you ever wish you were a bit more organised with your blogging strategy?
- Wish you had more clarity about what you should be working on and when?
- Wish filling out a tax return wasn’t so painful?
If you ever find yourself dreading getting tax audited or finding yourself rushed for time for a project because you hadn’t planned ahead enough then it’s probably time you invested in a blogging planner or management tool.
In this article, I’m going to share with you some of the best blogging planners available in 2021 and how you can choose the best blogging planner for your specific needs.
But first, why do you need a blogging planner?
Bloggers wear a LOT of hats. There are few more jobs as diverse as that of a blogger and as such, it can get pretty chaotic!
Here are just a few of the tasks bloggers have to juggle;
- Content creation
- Content research
- Growing and monetising an email list
- Pitching to brands
- Social media
- Pinterest marketing
- Website design
- Website maintenance
…The list goes on!
So it stands to reason that the blogger’s who will be most successful are those who get good at juggling and the best way to master the skill is to get organised.
Writing down your ideas often helps you to order your ideas and gain some clarity. Documenting your stats shows your progress and keeps you motivated. Documenting income and expenses and storing your receipts prevents a whole lot of stress when it’s time to complete a tax return!
But it’s important to choose the right content planner for you otherwise it’s likely to get neglected – or lost behind the sofa never to surface again!
Overview of the best planners for bloggers
These are my top picks for 2021 blog planners…
- The best digital planner for bloggers (with included app) is the Blog Boss Management System
- The best printable organiser is the Money Savvy Bloggers Planner
- The best paper planner is Meera Kothand’s ‘Create’
How to choose the right blogger planner for your needs
So we’ve established blogger life gets pretty busy and a planner comes in handy, but what type is the best?!
Not every blogger will need the same things from a planner. Newer bloggers, for example, may need more help planning content and structure and formulating ideas whereas more experienced bloggers may need help planning out email funnels and tracking income.
The best planners for influencers might have more focus on social media management whereas bloggers who focus more on SEO might prefer more blog content planning resources.
1. Decide what topics your blog planner to cover:
Before you buy a blog planner, I’d suggest brainstorming the topics that you need help planning and tracking. Here are some suggestions:
- Blogging goals
- Strategy – for working out you blog business plan
- Daily planner and to-do lists
- Weekly, monthly and quarterly planning for looking at the broarder picture
- Notes, brainstorming and content ideas
- Content planning – blog post ideas, campaigns, affiliate promos, newsletters…
- Email marketing – brainstorming lead magnets and planning email funnels and weekly newsletters.
- Affiliate marketing – track affiliate links, product strategies and affiliate content.
- Pinterest management planning
- Social / Instagram management – including blog promotion checklists
- Networking/pitching/collaborating with brands
- Collaborating with other bloggers
- Creating and marketing your own digital product
- Tracking blog traffic/social stats/income/ expenditures
2. Decide if you prefer a paper, digital or spreadsheet-style planners.
Some people find writing things down on actual paper can really help them focus, especially when planning a blog post. If you’re one of these people then a paper planner might be best for you.
However, the downside to a paper planner is that it’s easily misplaced or lost and when you use it to plan everything, you’ll feel really lost without it! It’s also not great for on-the-go ideas when you might not have it with you. Digital planners which are app-based are great for allowing you to document ideas as they crop up.
If you have income from multiple sources e.g. different affiliate programs, ad networks, sponsorships, your own products etc, then I’d urge you to go digital. It’ll take forever adding up your finances and you could easily make an error. A spreadsheet which adds up total income/expenses will save you time and will be less stressful!
3. Choose a planner for blogging by someone who has similar goals and targets to yourself.
If you are a blog owner, try to purchase a blog planner created by a blogger. If you are a course owner, choose one by a course creator. If you focus on your social channels, look for a planner written by an Instagram influencer.
Only when you are using a planner yourself do you realise how it can be tweaked and improved and therefore it will likely be a better experience using a planner created by someone who has trodden the same path as yourself.
Paper Planners for Bloggers
Types of paper planner
There are two types of paper blog planner.
1. The type you purchase from a stationary store. It’s more like a proper book and has a fixed number of pages which can be limiting but it does look super pretty on your desktop.
2. The type you download and print yourself. It does mean you can print extra pages if you run out but it’s not much good for those without a decent printer. It could also use up a lot of paper and ink if it contains a lot of pages such as a page for every day’s to-do list!
In general, printable planners are the cheapest type of blogging organiser. But in my experience, they are also the sort of thing you download, use for a few days then lose down the back of the sofa.
However, they can be a good option for those on a budget.
The best paper planners for bloggers
When researching the best blogger planners, I came across a LOT of fluff! So many blog planners with pretty covers but not a lot of content. Many have a daily plan or to-do list, a calendar plan and a simple blog post outline but that’s it! There were hundreds of them like this but only a few which stood out.
1. Create Blog planner and Editorial calendar by Meera Kothand
I’ve been a fan of Meera’s for a while now – everything she creates is thorough and helpful and this blog planner and editorial calendar appears to be no different.
What I really like is how much strategy planning she includes, helping you to create a business plan. In general, a lack of strategy is where many bloggers go wrong but this blog planner really walks you through the basics of content planning and goal setting which will work for you and your audience.
I was struck by a lot of similarities with my own printable affiliate marketing planner but if you want plenty of strategy in a book-style planner, this could be perfect for you.
2. The Badass Blog Planner
From the description, this also sounds like a very thorough blogger organiser. Sadly the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon, only showcased a couple of pages so I wouldn’t usually it in a roundup but I am familiar with the creator Sarah Morgan and regularly listen to her podcast. Therefore, I know she offers great tips for bloggers and thorough advice which makes me feel comfortable recommending trying this one too.
3. The Podcast Planner
This one looked interesting for anyone starting a podcast. It’s very focussed on podcasting so it won’t meet all your blogging needs like planning out blog posts or social content. But if you are looking for a podcast-only solution, it’s worth checking out! I really like how much strategy and ideas this planner has.
The best printable blog planners
A little like the blogging organisers of Amazon, there are a lot of fluffy printables circulating the blogosphere. So take some time to research one before clicking purchase and make sure it is thorough.
I have actually the created one you can purchase. There is a heavy focus on strategy and making money blogging with detailed affiliate strategy plans, newsletter content and blog post plans and sponsored post sections.
This is a good option for anyone getting serious about making money from their blogs who just need a little more structure and direction.
Digital planners for bloggers
Digital blog organisers are great because you’ll never lose them and will have the stats and information to look back on for years to come. They are super convenient as you can update them whilst you are working on your laptop without having to go searching for your paper planner!
It is best to choose one which also has an app version so you can edit it on the go when a genius idea hits you whilst you’re down the pub!
Types of digital planner for bloggers
In general, there are three types of digital planner.
The first is similar to the printable planners but with the exception that you can fill them in online. They have been converted to a fillable PDF which you can fill out, much the same way. The hazard is that once you’ve used it a few times, it’ll get filed away and never seen again.
They may be a better fit for anyone with a digital or smart notepad as a handwriting-digital hybrid solution!
The second is the most practical style of digital planner based on using spreadsheets and databases. They are great for recording stats and finances as the columns will get added up for you, showing you monthly and annual totals which is a great time saver.
You can often also turn your data into graphs which can be useful.
However, some spreadsheets like Google sheets and Excel allow for very limited space to fill in answers and the full answer can’t be seen at a glance which can be frustrating. Especially for activities like planning blog posts. Other tools like Trello allow you to create organised cars but lack the spreadsheet overview element!
Fortunately, there is a solution to this: Airtable.
Airtable is more of a spreadsheet-database hybrid that can be viewed in various forms allowing you to switch between galleries with detailed cards to traditional spreadsheets and calendars. You can even link public forms to spreadsheets to survey your audience!
The third type is the social media calendar. These are in calendar format but have ideas for social posts for every day of the year. They can be a great time saver and help you to create engaged social followings but used alone are often not enough alone as they do not offer ways to track results or plan blog/email content. They are definitely worth considering but are not all-in-one solutions.
The best PDF style digital planners for bloggers
I found a few digital planners worth taking a look at.
My Blogger Planner + My Social Media Planner By ThissPlanner
This was stood out because it worked as an editable PDF but also be used in conjunction with a digital notepad. I also loved the statistics graph to see progress at a glance and it appeared to be very thorough. There were also clickable links allowing you to quickly switch between month/week/ and day views. This comes as two separate planners, one to manage your blog posts and the other to organise your social channels.
Digital Blogging Planner by Amma Rose Designs
I liked the easy navigation and self-reflection pages in this digital organiser. However, this one does require that you have a digital note-taking app on a suitable device so wouldn’t be a suitable option for many.
The spreadsheet style blogging organiser
The Blog Boss Management System by Passive Income Superstars
I created this organisational system for bloggers due to my own difficulties completing my tax return. Juggling three businesses including two websites meant I had a LOT of expenditures and different sources of income. Trying to keep track of them and store all the relevant receipts in case I get audited made me turn to Airtable and I began to realise what a powerful tool it was for blog organisation and content planning! It is now so much more than a digital planner.
Now the Blog Boss Management System is an all-in-one solution for organising blogging strategy, education, content creation, social media management, tracking stats and documenting finances.
There are 38 templates for managing everythign from SEO keywords to Instagram hashtags and Pinning strategy. You can even store all your learning points and Aha! moments so that you can keep track and take action on blogging strategies in a timely fashion.
But what is so useful is that you can switch between different views including
- Spreadsheets – see everything at a glance
- Grouped spreadsheets – all the functionality of a spreadsheet but organised into groups.
- Galleries – each row of the spreadsheet becomes a detailed card perfect for using as a blog post planner or to map out email newsletters.
- Calendar view – there is the option to add tasks and deadlines to a calendar whichcan sync with your own Gmail, Apple or Outlook Calendar.
- Form view – create surveys to share with your audience and their feedback gets plugged striaght into a spreadsheet which you can refer to when deciding what content to create.
- Kanbans – organise your content into piles dictate by categories. E.g. by progress so that you can see your projects not started, in progress and completed.
In addition to the 38 organisational tabs (of which you can use as many as you need), there are also blog priority decision calculators, audience survey templates, a collaboration board to share with a VA or Pinterest manager and 2 bonus boards – a board for planning digital products and another for managing personal things like Netflix and Podcast recommendations, personal finances and shopping lists.
The best bit? There’s an app so you can edit your planner on the go!
Social Media Planners for Bloggers and Influencers
Finally, you might be looking for an organiser which helps you curate social content. There are a couple of social media planners I can recommend which have done-for-you social content from caption templates to hashtags lists. These are more for social media management so might not help with blog post planning or tracking finances.
The Ivory Mix Social Calendar
The Ivory Mix Social Calendar is available as part of the VIP membership which also allows you access to a huge library of premium stock images and Canva templates. It’s available in PDF, Google sheets and Trello verisons and contains 365 days of social content plus a handy list of 12 month holiday ideas.
The Pixistock social calendar
Pixistock is another premium stock membership site which also has its own social calendar – this time there is 18 months worth of content! There are also huge lists of hashtags to use in every niche – literally thousands! That said, out of the two, I do slightly prefer the style of photos with Ivory Mix.
Top tips for buying a blogging organiser
If you are buying a digital planner, make sure it is genuinely editable digitally. I found that many printable planners advertised themselves as digital on the basis they are instantly downloadable. But they can’t actually be filled in digitally which defeats the purpose!
Also it’s importnat to check that it’s easy to navigate. If its a faff, you probably won’t use it!
If you are buying on Amazon, click on the ‘look inside’ tab above the image. Many times, you’ll quickly realise the organiser is full of fluff!
If you choose a printable planner – make sure you choose one where you can print off extra pages. There’s nothing more frustrating than realising you need extra pages but being forced to print the whole thing again.
You may also want to purchase some dividers to help keep your organiser easy to navigate!
If you choose a paper planner, choose one small and neat enough to fit in your handbag. The more you are able to carry it around, the more it will get used.
If you choose a database-style digital planner, consider if you can link the spreadsheet to a calendar. The more your apps sync together, the easier life will be!
If you buy a pre-printed paper planner, make sure there are enough of each page you might need to use. If it has only 10 blog article planner pages and you write 1 blog post a week, you are going to quickly run out of space.
Creating your own blogging organiser
Of course there is the option to create your own. The advantage is that you can tailor it to your needs. The disadvantage is the time it takes you to create – time which could be better spent doing something more valuable to your business like creating content!
For example, the printable planner and the Blog Boss Management System both took several days to create each. For me, it was worth spending the time because I was creating it for my audience. But for many, this would be wasted time which could be better spent.
If you do decide to go ahead creating your own then I recommend using Airtable for a digital planner or if you are creating a printable planner, then Canva is a great tool to use.
Okay, so hopefully that’s given you some food for thought! Personally, my favourite way to get organised is with my Airtable organiser templates but if I wanted something to write directly in, I would opt for either my printable planner (obviously) or Meera’s planner ‘Create.’
Which type of planner for blogging did you choose? Tell us in the comments below!
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