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What planner will work best for you?
Are you in need of a good blogging planner? Maybe you're looking for one, but you're not sure what features it needs to have to help you make the most of your blog?
There are many options available (I looked for them on Amazon), and unless you know what you're looking for in a blogging planner, it can be overwhelming.
First of all, what you need depends on where you are as a blogger and what you're looking for in a planner.
Honestly, when it comes to planners, I’m inclined to try Meera Kothand’s CREATE planner, in part because of the guidance it provides as well as the smart blogging features within its pages. It divides the year into quarters, and you can start at any time of the year. I need that flexibility, but I think I also need the extra help with knowing what and how to plan for my blog.
The CREATE Planner is a good choice for someone who needs or wants a “guided planner” -- designed by someone who’s been there, done that, and is still doing that (and doing it well!)
The EPIC BLOG Planner, by Regina Anaejionu, is another guided planner option, and I'm honestly torn between these two.
If you already know what you want to do with your blogging planner, though, you may just want a simple but intuitively-designed blogging planner -- light on the guidance but providing visual cues to make it clear what goes where. It should also be designed by someone who blogs.
I've tried using all-purpose planners before (or at least flipping through them at the store) only to be put off by the tiny spaces for things that needed more room (for me, at least) -- and by the fact that, since the month's were already named for the specific year, much of the planner would have gone unused, because I would have had to start mid-way through the book, to use the current month's page.
Not so with these planners. You can start at any time of the year and use the month-at-a-glance page for whatever month (of whatever year) you like. That's a start in the right direction.
Size: 8.5" x 11", 246 pages.
One thing I love about this planner -- apart from the way it divides the year into quarters and has space for brainstorming ideas -- is the fact that it's designed to help with your email marketing as well as your blog post planning. I'm still very much a newbie to building an email list and crafting emails my subscribers will want to read, so this is a huge selling point for me.
EPIC BLOG: One-Year Editorial Planner -- Regina Anaejionu
Size: 8.5" x 11", 116 pages.
From the Amazon sales page:
"This one-year blog editorial planner helps you create a purposeful and profitable content plan for your blog through a mini blog business plan, ideal reader survey, monthly theme planning, monthly content planning, and standard monthly calendars.
"The blog planner is set up with blank months so that you can start using it any month of any year. Each month includes a page to plan important goals and tasks before the month begins, a page to track progress on key stats and goals after the month ends, two pages per month to brainstorm content ideas for your blog, email list, products, and collaborations, as well as space near the monthly calendar to write notes or record your content ideas before plugging them into your calendar."
I might get this purse-sized planner (5.7" x 8.3", 256 pages) as a general-purpose planner -- for things other than my blog. It's not a guided planner, but there are features this planner has that I can't duplicate in a DIY journal printed by CreateSpace, and just the sight of it has me thinking, "It's so freaking perfect!"
There are no pithy sentiments in this planner, either. It's made for cut-the-crap-and-let-me-plan-stuff people.
It's got my vote, anyway, among the all-purpose planners. It also comes with its own ribbon markers and dual elastic bands for keeping track of your monthly, weekly & daily planning pages. I may be in love. You can see the layout of these planning pages on the sales page for this planner.
Even the best planner will only work as well as it can if you use it consistently, and that's another reality to factor in when you're choosing your planner.
You can get a plain, unlined notebook (like this one) and plan in a journaling format -- completely free-form -- if that works for you.
But if you know you're more likely to use a planner every day if just looking at it makes you feel more like a serious, all-in, professional blogger, it's worth the extra money to get something that meets you where you are -- not only as a blogger but as a person.
Help with Content Creation
Maybe you'll decide on an all-purpose planner like the Cossac planner and add a book that will provide the guidance you need for making the most of your blog.
I just picked up the $2.99 ebook by Meera Kothand, The One Hour Content Plan. It's already here with me -- accessible on my iPhone's Kindle app. So, I can use this book as a companion to either the Cossac planner or a plain, unlined notebook.
Truth be told, depending on my mood and on whatever's handiest, I could go with either one. But the Cossac planner does have a more organized look to it, and sometimes there's real comfort in that.
The book description hooked me and wouldn't leave me alone, until I bought it. At $2.99, it won't ruin me, and if it delivers on its promises, I'm going to have so much fun! (I told you I was a nerd, right? Wait, that was in a different blog post.)
The Package Deal?
Of course, if I want a go-anywhere, digital guide as well as a physical planner with the same purpose -- to help me make the most of my blog -- I should just get the CREATE Planner, as well as the One Hour Content Plan (which, as I said, I already have).
Then, once I've got my blog planning underway and my process refined, I can do the same with other planning tools -- whatever I choose once I fill my first blogging planner.
But here's to making the best possible start with it -- whatever that looks like for you.
Because, c'mon -- two ribbon markers AND dual stretchy bands!! Plus, some of the images show the planner lying wide open without a spiral binding or someone's hand flattening it, and that is not something I take for granted.
I never thought I'd need a planner, and a tiny voice in the back of my head is looking at those planners on Amazon and yelling, "Slippery slope, woman! You're flirting with the edge!!" (I used to look at planners and shudder). And then it's being all nice and saying, "Are you sure you won't buy those planners and then stare numbly at them, like you did with the others? You can be organized, but you're not really a planner person."
And then the conversation with myself gets even weirder. I won't put you through that.
But I'm getting one of these planners, darn it -- maybe even TWO. I might be a planner person after all. Today at work, I almost had a meltdown when someone messed with my system for loading the dishcart. That has to mean something.
I have systems. I'm an organized person. I can say that now (without twitching).
And organized people plan things, right? With planners -- of some kind or other. It's not weird. Not weird at all. (This tangent, on the other hand ...)
So, I'm ending this post with a poll, and I'd love it if you'd leave a comment telling me which option you're rooting for.
Should I ...
A. Get the CREATE Planner, because I already have the blog content planning guide from the same author -- but maybe just use a regular notebook (as I've been doing) for my other planning (so I don't get planner overwhelm).
B. Get the CREATE Planner for my blogging and email marketing AND the Cossac planner for other life-related planning.
C. Use the blog content planning guide with a simple notebook (like the one I'm currently using) -- to save money while learning how to plan more effectively with it for my blog (and for other things).
I look forward to reading your comments -- even though I'll most likely decide on my own before I tally up the votes.
*UPDATE: I did. Wanna guess which option I went with?
I should add, before ending this, a (very) short list of the other blogging planners that caught my eye on Amazon, mostly because they looked fun as well as helpful:
Also, if you have a planner you love already or if you know of one you're thinking of buying -- digital or printed -- please share to benefit other readers.
And have a great weekend!
P.S. If you still haven't taken a peek at the Genius Blogger's Toolkit (which includes some planning tools and even printable planning pages), you can check it out here until Monday, October 9th, which is the last day it will be available.
I'm only mentioning it here (at the risk of irritating those who've been told about it a MILLION times over the past few days), because I have my bundle, and I love it -- and if you're a blogger, too, I'd hate for you to miss out on it. If you splurge on anything for your blog this year, this is worth it!
And now, I'll stop. 🙂