One of the topics that always returns in our Blog Class events is how to manage all the wonderful content you’re creating. We use an editorial calendar which is, well, a calendar for your blog posts.
WHAT IS AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR?
Magazine editors have been using an editorial calendar for about a gazillion years. It’s probably the most tried-and-true method of content organization (aka keeping sane). As a young intern starting out at Grazia – and later working for ELLE as a features writer – I soon discovered that most magazines plan ahead for at least three months. Each issue is dedicated to a specific, relevant theme that runs through most of the articles. After a big brainstorm session, every task, project, and article is scheduled into an agenda that’s dedicated to that month. This creates consistency and, because you are constantly looking ahead and making well-thought-out choices, creates a unique voice.
WHAT CAN IT DO FOR YOU?
Working with the regular publishing schedule helps you keep track of which articles need to be published, what special events or holidays might influence your blog posts in weeks from now – and it helps you set out a long-term strategy for your blog. An editorial calendar helps you to…
• Eliminate your writers block
With your content planned out one to two months in advance, there’s no excuse called ‘I’m not posting today, I don’t have anything to write about’.
• Free up time
You work ahead and your posts are prepared, so it’s more easy to schedule a day off or plan a Monday full of business meetings.
• Build a strong reader base
Because your posting is consistent, readers will know exactly what to come looking for on your blog and on what time or date. They will start to see patterns, and will come back regularly to check out their favorite sections on your blog.
• Attract advertisers
These events and product releases are interesting for future advertisers who love to plan ahead. You own a well organized and accurate blog, which makes it attractive to advertise (on a long-term).
• Publish more diverse and creative content
Oddly enough, planning ahead makes your blog more creative. Taking one good look at your calendar will tell you if there’s enough diversity and renewal, and to balance out the different topics you want to write about. You’ll also be able to plan in creative projects that take up more time, like interviews or photoshoots of other people’s closets.
HOW TO CREATE A STEADY EDITORIAL CALENDAR?
1. Determine the frequency of your posts.
How often are you going to post?
2. Identify your readers.
Find out who your readers are and who you want to add to your readers.
3. Set up blog categories.
Each article you write should fit into one of the categories.
4. Come up with blog post ideas.
Brainstorming is always a good idea.
5. Schedule special events.
Schedule upcoming events you’re going to and events you want to go to.
6. Create the calendar.
Here you – more or less – see how CHAPTER FRIDAY manages it’s editorial calendar. We use Google Calendar since that’s already linked to our personal agendas and Gmail accounts. (In short: it’s easy. and it’s free!)
7. Write new blog posts.
8. Check your editorial calendar frequently and don’t forget to update.
(Image via SNUG design)