I’ve been in a fluffy pie kind of mood lately. I made these amazing Cherry Limeade mini pies a few days ago. They were so good, I was inspired to make a few more pies. Then last night, I was going through my pantry and found a box of Orange Dream pudding and thought a Dreamsicle Pie would be really lovely for spring. What’s even better? It’s a no bake pie!
Wordless Wednesday as seen around Texas…
Photo Submitted by Pink Heels Pink Truck
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When I started my blog in 2014 I had a rough idea of what I wanted to say. I’d been researching and learning over the past year and knew the blogging basics – provide valuable content on a consistent basis. This was my issue – how would I stay consistent, especially when working around a full-time job? How would I make sure the content fit what I envisioned the blog to be and how would I stay motivated over time? This is where the editorial calendar and content plan came in.
There are content calendar plug ins for WordPress, but I use a simple spreadsheet stored in Google Drive. Here are five steps to creating your own content plan.
Step 1 – Start with a brainstorming session.
I like to do this on paper first. I was starting a new blog and had a vision for what I wanted it to be, but you can do this with an established blog if you’re feeling inconsistent in your posting schedule or your content.
I started my session by thinking about other blogs I’d read in a similar niche and what I liked about them and what I didn’t. How would I be different? I filled up a sheet of paper with ideas. These became blog topics as well as categories and tags. I do this again every couple of months when I need fresh ideas for the blog.
Step 2 – How often do you want to post?
The number one rule in blogging is to be consistent. That could be once a week, twice a week, once a month, and so on. I chose to post four times each week with each posting day having a particular theme. I did this for three reasons – to stay consistent, keep the content fresh, and make the search engines happy with regular updates.
Step 3 – Create the content plan on a spreadsheet.
I used Google Drive to create the spreadsheet and save it so I would be able to access it from any computer. It’s very simple. I have five columns – Date of Post, Theme of Post, Title, Status, and Notes. I froze the top row so I always see my headings when I fill in the information.
Step 4 – Fill in the content plan with your ideas.
Under Date of Post, fill in the dates you plan for the post to go live. I do this about a month or two ahead of time. I know I’ll be posting four days a week, so I check a calendar to verify the post dates. Under Theme of Post I plan out my theme for that day. My themes are Inspirational, Business, Catch-All / Miscellaneous, and Travel. Under Title, I input in my working title for the post. I do this at least a week ahead of time. Don’t stress too much about the title. Titles most likely will change by the time you write the post. Under Status I write scheduled, posted or draft. This means the post is written and scheduled, has gone live, or I haven’t finished it and it’s in draft status. Notes are just a place to write out a summary of what I want to say or a link or resource I want to include in the post. This column just helps my memory.
Now I can look at the spreadsheet and if I see a hole I know exactly what type of posted is needed and when.
Step 5 – Follow the content plan to write and schedule your posts.
I like to schedule at least two weeks ahead and I’m always writing a week ahead. By using the content plan, I know exactly what I need to write about. There’s no writer’s block, and I don’t usually change my mind. I’ve only swapped around posts twice that I can remember.
I batch process all of my writing. I write and schedule all of my planned content for the following week on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then I take a time during the rest of the week to brainstorm ideas, fill in any holes, curate content to share, or share an old post if I can’t come up with anything else.
This method of content planning has kept me consistent for a year, helped keep the blog on topic and has kept me motivated to write and share new things. I don’t sit at the computer with writer’s block or feel I have to write something because it’s been a month since I’ve posted. It’s a simple enough system that I haven’t spent a lot of time tweaking it or making adjustments. Adjustments have come naturally over the last year and they happen without thinking about it. If you want to be consistent and on topic with your message, a content plan should be part of your business.
I’ve always been a food lover. Ok. That’s a lie. I used to be very, very picky at the expense of my poor mother. She would try to hide onions and peppers in my food anyway she could and I always found out. I even hated nuts and she would chop them very finely and put them in cookies or brownies. I still knew. When I was pregnant, she tried to talk me into eating banana nut muffins because “the baby needed nuts”. I went to the hospital that night. Completely unrelated to the nuts, but still. I took it as a sign.
After I had Wilder, I decided to branch out more. I’ve always liked vegetables, but I wanted more options. I went through a big sweet potato phase, especially in my sweet potato hash. A huge roasted broccoli phase, where you take the fresh florets, toss them in olive oil, salt and red pepper and roast them in the oven at 425 for about 30 minutes or so. I even had TJ asking for the broccoli. My roasted broccoli was one of Wilder’s favorite things to eat by the time he was 18 months. Dipped in Greek yogurt, no less.
I wanted to branch out since we were getting a little burned out on broccoli. In keeping with the Renew theme this month, I decided to tackle asparagus, which has now replaced broccoli in our house. Prior to trying this new recipe, I did NOT like asparagus. I had only seen it in a can and it made me nauseous.
Preheat your oven to 400. Take your fresh asparagus and either chop off the last inch and a half, or bend each stalk until it snaps, which is my personal favorite, and throw away the ends. Take a strip of bacon, three or so stalks and wrap it around the bunch, trying to cover most of the stalk. If you don’t, the bacon will take longer to cook in the middle. Place them on a baking sheet and cook for about 15 minutes. The last couple of minutes, I like to turn my broiler on low and really crisp up the bacon.
Remove and eat! Ok, let it cool a minute but then chow down. My family loves it with A-1 but they eat that stuff on everything. So far, this month, we’ve eaten this side dish six times!
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Hey! I’m Casey and I blog over at A Girl & Merle about life, kitchen renovations and everything in between. I love any and every food I can get my hands on, spending time with girlfriends, being a ginger, and dogs galore.
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