How do you plan your blog content? Do you have a haphazard approach – writing whatever you feel like, when you feel like it – or do you plan it out weeks / months /years in advance? An Editorial Calendar can help you focus on what you need to write and when you need to write it.
I’m a big believer in planning things so I was very pleased when Kelly Gregorio emailed me and asked if I’d be interested in a guest post she’d written on using an Editorial Calendar. If you’d like to write a guest post for Blogger Business Plan, you can learn more on my guest posting page.
Spend Some Time with an Editorial Calendar
If creating an editorial calendar for your blog sounds too daunting, just think of it as a simple to-do list. An editorial calendar (EC) can streamline your focus for the week, month, even the year. It also helps with consistency and cuts down on writer’s block.
For the independent blogger there is so much going on it is easy to become overwhelmed. An EC can organize your blogging efforts and help you get things done efficiently, one post at a time.
Tips of the EC Trade
There are a number of ways you can create an EC starting with a simple pen and paper, movable post-its or an excel sheet. For Word Press bloggers, there is a convenient editorial calendar plug-in that you can use. Those who have multiple people on their editorial team might try the file-sharing-friendly Google Calendar.
Figure out what types of EC notes are the most helpful for you. Some people like to draft the main idea of a piece while others will create a mock title and lay out the subheadings. Every blogger works differently and in turn, so will every EC. The point of an editorial calendar is to give flexibility, not resist it. Remember that there is no need to be too strict, this can lead to stress. For example, the title you post in the calendar does not need to be the polished title that eventually gets published.
Be sure to make the EC work with you. For example, if you Mondays are consistently jam-packed then schedule easier flowing blogs on that day. Are Thursdays your quiet time? Plan your largest editorials leads for that day.
Anticipate hot blog topics by overseeing your calendar with major holidays and universal events.
Keep pushing a topic onto next week’s slot? Some relevant posts you may not have the heart to write. By tracking even the topics you’re not necessarily in the mood to write about, you can have options for guest bloggers when they approach you.
Chances are you already have some kind of running list of blog ideas (if you don’t, start there). Once you have a running list, take a minute to categorize your blog into subtopics. For example, if I blog about issues that affect small businesses, my blog topics generally divide into “small business news,” “marketing trends” and “social media happenings.” Break your blog down into relevant sub-divisions and then organize your list of ideas under the appropriate category. This type of organization will give you an idea on where your topics are lacking, where they are in abundance and how you can achieve balance.
Something pops up in pop culture that you just have to blog about? Fantastic; let your editorial calendar act as a back-up reserve for material that isn’t necessarily time sensitive.
An editorial calendar is not for everyone, for example some people find themselves getting overwhelmed when they look at a month’s worth of content. How will you know if an EC is working for you? In a good EC situation you will find that it reduces anxiety because you know what is ahead. If your blog posts are fresh, consistent and concise, then your editorial calendar is doing you justice.
How do you organize your blogging efforts?
About the Author: Kelly Gregorio writes about relevant topics that affect small businesses while working at Merchant Resources International, a merchant advance cash provider for over 10,000 small businesses. You can read her daily blog at http://www.cashprior.com/blog.
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