How To Make An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog
A characteristic of a casual blogger is that they start off by sitting down at their computer, typing up whatever comes to mind first and publishes right away. (Guilty? Yeah, don't worry, every other beginner blogger has done it too).
An editorial calendar is an important tool to move out of beginner blogger land. It's a content planning system that differentiates the hobby bloggers from the seriously driven bloggers. You should know however, editorial calendars are not just utilized by bloggers. Any person or business who is tasked with content creation will utilize this tool. It's an absolute necessity if you plan to publish content intentionally and regularly.
So, if you're ready to move into the world of purposeful content creation, I'm going to detail my process which you can emulate.
Step 1. Pick your calendars home
The first step is to decide where you will keep said Editorial Calendar. The most common two 'homes' are a physical planner or an online calendar. While I cannot rave about my Day Designer planner enough, I realize some people are more into tech tools for planning their time. If you don't already regularly use a physical planner, a Google Calendar is another perfect option to create your editorial calendar with.
The basic concept is the same regardless if you're using a physical planner or electronic calendar. I'll get more into how to use both in just a moment!
Step 2. Inputting holidays + important dates
Has this happened to you? You had in mind for some time that you wanted to write a post of your favourite Christmas sales and gift guides, and wouldn't you know it, you forgot about Christmas! Suddenly Dec. 24th arrived and surely then it was too late to post about the best deals at Nordstrom and the perfect gift guide for men. (Apparently you hadn't walked into a mall since Halloween).
In order to ensure we're giving ourselves enough time to prepare, write and publish content related to major holidays (and even not so major holidays such as National Ice Cream day - important if you're a food blogger!), it's good to have these holidays written in our editorial calendar. Don't just stop at holidays though.
If you're a festival blogger, note down every important festival throughout the year in your calendar
If you blog all about the city of London, write in your calendar all the major events happening in the city
If you are a fashion blogger, you better ensure you have the Victoria's Secret semi-annual sale and NYFW noted down
Think of all the important dates related to your blogging topic and input them in your calendar for the year! This way, dates won't sneak up on you, like Christmas did that one time clearly.
Step 3. Post idea generation
I develop blog post ideas in the most random of situations. (You too?) While picking up strawberries at the market or out to drinks with friends, blog post ideas come to me from the strangest of inspiration places, in the most unexpected moments. I tried a few methods of writing out blog post ideas, but the one I've happily settled on is my iPhone/MacBook notes app. The two synch together, so no matter if I'm on my computer or phone, I always have the most up to date list. And it goes without saying that as a millennial, I always have my phone with me.
In my notes app I have my 4 blog categories written out as headings and all the blog post ideas below in bullet points.
Step 4. Post frequency
You might have heard, one of the best methods of steady blog growth is consistent posting. This is without a doubt one of the most difficult things to accomplish, but also one of the most effective. It's time now to determine how many days a week you'd like to post. There is not right or wrong number of days per week, as long as you stay consistent so your readers know when to check for new content.
Okay, so let's say you choose twice a week, lovely! Now pick the days of the week you'd like to post on. Tuesday and Thursday you say? Great!
Step 5. Fill in content
I fill the content into my calendar monthly, however you can choose whatever frequency you wish. Starting with 1 or 2 weeks of content planning might be better to try to begin with.
Once a month, armed with mini sticky notes, my Day Designer and my Apple notes app full of post ideas, I start filling in my calendar. I post twice a week on Wednesdays & Sundays, so I first I figure out how many Wednesdays & Sundays there are in that month. That gives me the number of posts I'll need to fill in.
I then choose which post ideas that make the cut in a couple ways.
First, I choose the best post ideas (simple).
Second, I look through my current content and think out if there's any gaps I need to fill. (Say I want to offer my readers a complete guide to Blogging on Squarespace but only have 1 post on it, maybe I need to cover that topic a little more completely). In this case I might think up a post idea that's not already on my list.
Third, I choose/create post ideas which will attract readers to my opt-ins gifts. As a method of getting people to sign up for my Mastering Blog Engagement Mini Course, I add posts related to upping blog engagement to my calendar. Of course someone interested in that post would have an interest in my opt-in, so it's a little strategic marketing happening there.
Fourth, I consider launches coming up and write content that those interested in the launching product/service/event would like. Then in the post I can collect email addresses so that when launch day comes, I can speak directly with a group of people already interested in that topic/offering.
I write down on sticky notes the post names and place them in. If you're going the Google Calendar route, simply type in post idea names as a new event.
To figure out what blog post to place where I take a few things into consideration. It's best not to oversaturate with one blog category for a month. I mix my posts up between blogging, Squarespace, online tools and business throughout the month so I don't have two posts from the same category back to back. I also keep in mind launch dates, post series, and holidays/events when placing posts on dates.
I love using sticky notes as opposed to writing posts in my planner directly as I hate nothing more than a calendar that looks disorganized and confusing with cross-outs everywhere. If for some reason I'm not able to complete the post I intended on the day it was scheduled in the editorial calendar, I can simply pick it/the sticky note up and move it, no crossing out involved. Much better!
There you have it! That's how to make an editorial calendar - the simple, clean, and organized way! (My 3 favourite things).
Looking for more articles to up your blog game?
Have a different strategy? Going to take up this method to up your blog game? I'd love to hear about it! Leave it in the comments and we'll be chatting soon!