An editorial calendar can be one of the most useful tools for a blogger. This may sound a bit over board but I am going to say it anyways, using an editorial calendar changed my blogging life. Once I started getting into professional blogging I lived by my handy calendar. If you want to decide whether or not using an editorial calendar is the best for your blog then head on over to this post that I wrote which points out 8 benefits of using an editorial calendar.
If you feel like you find yourself scattering to put together a blog post at the beginning of every week I really want to stress how much this helps. I hope that every blogger will put their own unique twist on using an editorial calendar and that this system helps increase your traffic and activity on your site.
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There are multiple platforms you can use for an editorial calendar. I chose to list the three main calendars that people tend to be attracted to, but hey, go get creative!
+ Google Calendars
+ Paper planner
+ Editorial calendar plugin for WordPress
The great thing about having an editorial calendar is that you are able to see the bigger picture. Instead of focusing on what your blog needs today you are focusing on what your blog needs for the month of March (or whatever month you are planning for). Here is the step by step process I go through every month when I use my calendar to plan my blog content!
1 | SIT DOWN WITH YOUR PLANNER AND BRAINSTORM
What theme do you want to center this next month around? What idea can you expand on? Maybe a month seems daunting. So let’s start out with a week if a month is too big of a leap. If you are a food blogger then maybe you can try centering one week on healthy recipes. If you are in the same niche as me, gather posts on a topic such as email marketing strategies and bunch them up within the next few weeks!
I keep a list of post titles in my blogging notebook so that I can go through the list and this makes this step easier. Once I group common themes together I place those post titles beside each other on the calendar. An easy way to gather post titles is putting them in one common place as soon as you think of them. I have the evernote app on my phone which has tremendously helped this process. But you can also use the notes app that comes with your Iphone or simply write it down and file it away! Since my whole life basically revolves around my business I am constantly thinking of new ideas and strategies. If I do not write down these ideas immediately then they are pretty much gone forever. I’m so scatterbrained it is kind of embarrassing.
2 | FREQUENCY OF POSTING
Star where you want to post on the calendar. I started drawing stars just because when I was little getting a star was comparable to getting an Oscar, so I guess stars make me feel like I’m an award-winning blogger. Now the question, how many stars do I draw for every week? There is a variety of advice being thrown around about post frequency. In my opinion, I feel like every blogger is going to have a unique post frequency that fits their blogging lifestyle the best. Most bloggers hear “the more, the better” and then blog their hearts out a little too much. They start posting five to six times per week and are constantly making new content which leaves little time to market and promote the content they have spent forever creating. These bloggers are not getting the results they want simply because there is only a certain amount of time in the day. From blogger to blogger, let me say one thing before you decide your post frequency: make sure you are able to allot time to marketing your posts. Don’t spend all your time writing posts if you can’t go out and tell people about it!
If you are a beginner blogger or blog for business, I would recommend blogging three times a week. Once you become comfortable with this number and feel like you can take it up a notch, bump that three on up to a four! I feel as if sticking around this frequency level is a solid strategy because you are able to focus on other things as well.
3 | PLACE POST TITLES ON DATE TO BE POSTED
Go back to your notes that you have collected throughout all your brainstorming! Pull out that theme idea that you wrote down, pick the theme that you feel would be best for each month (or week if you choose!). Start placing post titles that you want to expand on by the stars on your calendar. Now you have a theme chosen, post titles that correlate with that theme, and an idea of what date you need these posts written by! This is so awesome and I always love this part because it makes me feel so accomplished.
To expand on the subject of post titles a bit, there is a better way to create a post title. Post titles are an important factor in conversion rates and the amount of traffic you will receive from a post. I’m going to expand on this point in a future blog post but I thought I would mention that here!
4 | NOW PLACE OTHER ACTIVITIES AROUND THESE POSTS
By activities I mean any collaborations, giveaways, or guest posts that you have planned for this month. Maybe highlight these activities in a different color so it is easier to differentiate between a guest post and a scheduled post on your blog! I always love color coding, I have bought every color of sharpie pen known to man because I love all the pretty colors. I chalk it up to a “need” for my business. My business would not run the same without my wide array of sharpie pen colors!
Once you have all the activities placed on the day you want them on you should pat yourself on the back. Your editorial calendar is rockin’ by now and I hope you are getting as excited as I do!
5 | SCHEDULE SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS OFF OF THIS CALENDAR
Most professional bloggers use a social media scheduler like buffer or hootsuite. This helps you easily stay on track and saves a crazy amount of time during your month. You would be surprised! I read a statistic that using a social media scheduler actually saves 3 whole days out of your year. That is 72 hours out of your year that you get to do whatever you want with because of a social media scheduler. As a blogger and business owner, time is so very important and I never feel like I get enough.
Now that you have this editorial calendar it is easy to know what day you need to post what on what platform. I am in the process of actually making a separate schedule for my social media because my scatter brained self needs tons of schedules for every part of my business. I love social media so much though because I get to really connect with my followers. This is definitely an area that is a great addition to any blog and being able to schedule these posts ahead of time is such a big time saver!
6 | NOW “CHECK” IT UP ON YOUR CALENDAR
What keeps me motivated, and this may be silly, but put a check mark by the post title when you have completed the post and scheduled it in your blog que. It also helps you keep track of which blog posts you need to make and which blog posts you do not have to worry about. I am the worst at creating a post and only finishing 60% of it, then forgetting about it. My calendar helps me keep track of which posts I need to finish that way I can strive for that check mark. I am such a type A person and when I see all those checks on my calendar I feel so accomplished. I let myself take a lengthy break when I’m done and do a mini celebration!
And here is a video explaining how to work the editorial calendar plugin that you can find right here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/editorial-calendar/
What strategies do you use when planning with your editorial calendar?