I’m part of a few blogger Facebook groups, and one issue I continually see being brought up is the topic of organization, or more specifically, disorganization. If you’re a blogger who struggles with keeping everything organized, you’ve come to the right place! One of my best tips for organization? Starting an editorial calendar for your blog.
An editorial calendar is a great way to keep your blog post ideas organized and keep you consistent with your blog posting schedule. You can determine your weekly blogging schedule and plan your posts months in advance. That way, you don’t have to sit down and fiddle your thumbs thinking about what to post that very second.
I’ve always been somewhat of an organization fanatic. I never don’t have my agenda with me and my blog editorial calendar has become my saving grace.
WHAT IS AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR?
Before I got really serious about blogging, I interned at a number of online lifestyle publications. At one of them, I sat right beside my boss (Hi, Sarah!) and got a glimpse of how a professional editorial calendar was run. Being the organizational addict I am, I was immediately hooked.
An editorial calendar is calendar that contains your blog post schedule. Even though it sounds all fancy, it’s really not scary at all! On top of your blog post schedule, you can also use it for things like social media giveaways, blogging networking events, guest posts on other blogs, etc. But let’s start out with the basics!
Here are my top tips for getting set up with an editorial calendar.
Related Post: Tips for Keeping Organized as a Blogger
1. Set a blogging schedule
The first step is determining how many blog posts you can realistically write per week. Is it one per week? 3 per week? One per day? Being honest with yourself will help you create a schedule you can stick to.
For example, right now, with everything going on in my life, I know I can write one, helpful, in-depth blog post per week. Which I know will be more useful than writing one, short, crappy blog post per day. I wish I could write more, but I just launched a new media business and building a client base is pretty much a 24/7 job!
What will work for you right now? Figure out a realistic posting schedule and then you will know how many post topics you need to come up with for the next few months. Factor in how long it takes you to write a post, take (or find) photos, share it on social media, etc. Once you’ve chosen your number, it’s time to start planning!
2. Choose your blogging days
Let’s say you’ve decided on three posts per week. Now, you have to choose the three days you’ll post on your blog and the topic you’ll post about on each day. Keeping a consistent schedule is key, so your readers know what they can expect!
I’ll give you an example below:
WEDNESDAY- OUTFIT POST
With this schedule, on Mondays you would write about anything beauty related, from product reviews, to natural skin care roundups, to your favorite holiday makeup looks. On Wednesdays you would post a photo and write about your outfit, on Fridays you would post a homemade recipe or a roundup recipe type post, etc. As long as you have your main topics, you can go from there.
3. Brainstorm post ideas
Once you’ve figured out how many blog posts you’ll write per week, and the topics you’ll write about, it’s time to start brainstorming post ideas. You might already have ideas before creating your schedule, and that’s even better! Make sure you keep all your ideas in one place (one Word doc, a notebook, the ‘notes’ section of your phone, so on) so you don’t lose any of your brilliant ideas!
Using the example above, let’s say you want to create your blogging schedule for the next three months. 3 posts a week, with four weeks in a month, multiplied by 3 months is 36. That means you need to brainstorm 36 post ideas. 12 of which will be beauty posts, 12 will be outfit posts and 12 will be recipe posts.
One way I like to brainstorm is creating an idea web. Write your main topic down in the middle and branch out from there, with the topics becoming more and more specific. Say you start off with BEAUTY in the middle. Your next branches might be NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCTS, SKIN CARE, MAKEUP TUTORIALS. You can then branch off from SKIN CARE into ACNE PRODUCTS, MY DAY/NIGHT SKIN CARE REGIME, SENSITIVE SKIN. And so on and so on. As you get more specific, it will become easier and easier to create blog post ideas.
Another strategy I use for brainstorming is visiting communities I’m part of and checking out their pain points. For example, I mentioned at the beginning of this post about being part of a number of blogging Facebook groups. Bloggers will post their problems and questions in these groups. If I see topics that are continually brought up, I know it’s something I should write about.
4. Create your editorial schedule
Now it’s time to create your editorial calendar! There are a number of ways you can do this. If you like having pen to paper, you can use a tangible calendar, or use a bullet journal. I use Excel. Whatever you choose, have fun with it! Colour coding is a great way to keep things organized. I created a mock schedule using the example from above. (PS. I know these dates aren’t the real January 2016 dates, I’m using them for simplicity).
You can add things such as SEO keywords, images required, a description of the post, etc. to ensure you have everything covered.
5. Write your awesome posts
Now you’re all set to write your posts! Never again will you have to sit down at your computer, stare at your blank Word doc, wondering what to write about. You have your topics scheduled and laid out right in front of you. Now all you have to do is make sure you stay on track!
Related Post: How to Create Epic, Share-Worthy Blog Posts
Have you thought about creating an editorial calendar for your blog? What’s holding you back and how can I help?