How Using An Editorial Calendar Can Help You Blog
July 5, 2012
by Justine Parsons
Blogging. While the benefits are impressive, the execution can be less so if you don’t have a focus and tools in place to help you achieve this. An editorial (content) calendar in its most basic form is a schedule outlining when specific content will be published and used well, can help you blog more efficiently, in less time, with better results.
Types of Editorial Calendars
- Using a simple Excel spreadsheet may be all you need. Your calendar doesn’t have to be a complicated, 5 star document – here is a Simple Editorial Calendar example where you can plan your posts for the weeks ahead in minutes.
- Looking for something a bit more advanced? Using Google Drive you can share your calendar with contributing authors, access when ‘out and about’ and integrate with your Google Calendar if required. Here is a link to a comprehensive editorial calendar which includes measurements, helping you to see at a glance which posts are popular, and a critical part of your blog strategy.
- WordPress user? I’ve just downloaded the Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress. With this plugin I can schedule, organise, draft and publish, all from my posts menu in WordPress.
Why Use An Editorial Calendar
- An editorial calendar encourages consistency of posting and helps stave off writers block. Nothing, nothing worse than a blank screen and a mind to match.
- If you outsource your blog or have guest/multiple authors, a calendar will ensure there is no duplication and that everyone knows what they are blogging about and in what format.
- Using a calendar such as the shared example above from Google Drive will quickly help you establish a routine. Blogging, like anything else is much easier when you get into a routine. If you have all your information in front of you and know as you sit down what you will be writing, half the job is done already!
- Your editorial calendar should support your marketing strategy. Rather than blogging ad-hoc as ideas come in, a calendar helps you to plan your posts so they support upcoming events, social media campaigns and promotions well in advance.
- More bloggers are referencing upcoming blogs in their posts (a great way to encourage subscriptions). Using an editorial calendar makes this possible.
- Most importantly, using an editorial calendar serves as a checklist to ensure all information (such as links, call to action, image credits, keywords) is included in every post.
I have been using an editorial calendar for the last month for this blog. I’m not perfect, often client work takes priority over getting a post published but the calendar definitely helps. Just knowing what I’m writing about next keeps it at the back of my mind and helps with planning it out in my head. My calendar is a work in progress and will change and evolve with my blog – a tool to help me put out more professional, consistent work – with less stress!
Do you use a calendar? Would love to hear your thoughts on what should be included and why a calendar helps you blog better.