Now that you’ve gotten your blog up and know the keys to creating good content, it’s time to get organized! We often fall into the habit of inconsistently posting or falling away from our blog’s focus when we don’t have a plan of attack. That is why an editorial calendar can help us stay on track, save time and be more focused on our goals.
In this post, we’ll outline what an editorial calendar is and how you can use one right now to start blogging like a professional.
Using a calendar and batching can help simplify your work and allow time for sharing your content on social media and through email marketing.
What’s an Editorial Calendar?
An editorial calendar is just a fancy term for planning out what you want to talk about on your blog in the next month, quarter or year based on your preferences.
The idea is to help you map out where certain topics will fall on the calendar and set intentions to how often you’ll blog per week.
If you plan on blogging Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you’ll list out 3 ideas per week to write about. You can choose to write them all in 1 period of time or schedule them to go out through the month on their designated days.
By putting a date on a keyword or topic you want to write about, you’re more likely to remain consistent in your posting and aligning with your blog’s brand or focus.
Plus it allows you to stay ahead and plan on content that may be popular around holidays.
Successful bloggers may write a holiday post 4-6 weeks beforehand and start promoting it 2-3 weeks before the holiday to see max traffic from that post.
Do you really need one?
If you’re wanting to pursue blogging as more than a hobby – yes, you really do need one.
It will help you consistently create valuable content and generate traffic to your site. An editorial calendar allows you to establish yourself as an authority and brand that readers will continue to come back to read.
Benefits of an Editorial Calendar
- Planning out topics allows you to focus on being an expert in your niche
- You’ll be more productive with your blogging time because you have ideas outlined instead of wondering what to post
- You don’t have to decide daily or weekly what to blog about.
- It allows your reader to learn your pattern and know when to check out your blog for new content.
- Puts you at a competitive advantage when it comes to seasonal posts.
What Do You Blog About?
We talked about coming up with ideas earlier in this series; however, we know it’s a frequently asked question and for good reason. Creating relevant, high-quality content will make or break your blog. So here are our tips to knowing what to blog about.
- Know your 3-8 categories you want to blog about
- Then come up with 3-5 ideas you’d like to talk about in each category
- You may choose to focus heavily on 2-3 categories with specific content, and that is a great option as well!
- Decide how often you’ll blog per week (this post can help you decide)
- Then you’ll put those ideas on a calendar!
Creating an Editorial Calendar
Different people will recommend different things. The main 3 things to consider are:
- Will your calendar be digital or on paper?
- How far out will you plan? A month, quarter, year?
- How often will you blog per week?
Digital or Paper?
We love Evernote for my editorial calendar. Others may love Google Calendar, Google Sheets or Trello. It took me a little playing and tweaking to find what works for me. We track our time using a Passion Planner; however, we find we need something digital for my editorial calendar so we can make tweaks as needed.
How far do you plan out?
We suggest planning out a month to 2 months at a time. The reason we don’t go further than a couple of months is that we like to review which posts did the best each month. Then we create similar posts that dig in deeper into the topic or that follow the same set up to hopefully grow that popular trend we saw.
Scheduling 2 months in advance also allows you the flexibility to ask your readers what they’d like to see. Sometimes you’ll gain a better understanding of your reader just from their engagement, and you can adapt future content for them.
There may be something you want to include on your calendar months out though like a product launch, holiday or training series.
How often and when will you post?
It’s really hard and sometimes unproductive to blog daily. In our research, we found 4x a week is great; however, the biggest factor in how often you should blog is consistency. How often can you blog consistently?
You can start as little as 1x per week. It’s as simple as choosing a set amount and day(s) to publish. You can always schedule future content out using the scheduling option WordPress.
Once you know how often and what day(s) you can put an idea on each day on your calendar.
Planning the Calendar Out
One idea is to focus on a theme for each month. So you might choose healthy holidays in December on a fitness blog or a blog organization for January as people get organized.
By creating a theme, you can really dig in deep to evergreen content (content that works well all year long). You can also do this as a series like our Start a Blog Series.
Just come up with ideas for the next month or two and plug them into your blogging dates. You might also include social media shares and marketing on the calendar as well.
The main thing to remember is your calendar is a guide versus a rigid time clock. You can edit it as you need.
Optional: Including time to update old posts and social shares
We’ve found interlinking to older blog posts like the Start a Blog Series can help us engage readers longer. So in our editorial calendar, we include a day to update old content to include new links to newer posts. We also take the time to schedule social media shares once a week to once a month.
Sites that include social media shares in their plan see 31.5x more traffic than when content is just shared once based on CoSchedule’s findings.
So we may say we will create new content 2x a week and then the 3rd day is always for those updates and scheduling shares of past content.
An example of a social sharing template would be:
- Day of Post: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
- Day After Post: Twitter
- Week After: Twitter
- Month after Post: Facebook, Twitter
You can schedule these with Hootesuite or a similar service for free.
Do you currently use an editorial calendar?
Will you after reading this post?
Also, if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it to Facebook or Pinterest. You can also check out our other lessons of blogging and content here.