If you’re serious about blogging and you want to encourage your readers to revisit your site regularly, sustaining a steady stream of quality content is paramount. Maintaining momentum week after week can be difficult, but creating your own editorial calendar is a great way to block out some blogging time, keep yourself on track with upcoming topics, and solidify the time you spend blogging as an important part of your regular routine.
Editorial calendars have long been utilised in newsrooms and by writers. Essentially, as it relates to blogging, an editorial calendar is simply a schedule of post ideas and topics, along with time blocked out throughout the week or month committed to writing. Many successful bloggers rely on editorial calendars to organize and prioritise their thoughts, schedule timely news, and remind them to dedicate time to the simple act of writing when everything else seems to be equally important.
So how exactly does one go about creating an editorial calendar? Well, the good news is you make it as complex and multifaceted, or keep it as simple, as you like.
Consider first the ways in which you plan and keep track of your business and personal affairs. If you prefer a journal-style diary over digital versions, you’ll most likely make good use of a printed editorial calendar: perhaps a simple notebook of topics and schedule of posting dates, or a poster-size calendar on your wall which you can fill in with whiteboard markers and Post-its.
If, on the other hand, you detest a paper trail and a prefer to keep all of your tasks and events locked down in digital format – complete with handy alerts – an online or digital editorial calendar will probably suit your needs better. Use Google’s free online calendar to keep you on track, and share it with other members of your team if you’re blogging for business.
Alternatively, if your life is squeezed into your smartphone and you have an app for just about everything, use an mobile calendar app so you can plan and schedule on the go – with the added bonus of being able to remotely sync all your info with your desktop or laptop when it comes time to put your ideas into posts.
You might keep a spreadsheet on your desktop, or scrawl your ideas onto paper and keep them in a binder with a list of intended posting dates at the front. You might include only potential topics and scheduled dates, or you might include information such as further reading resources and links to relevant existing content. You might even focus your topics on products and services you plan on selling at that time of year.
It may seem like added work to start with, but once you get your editorial calendar set up and get into the rhythm of using it, it will make the blogging process so much easier. Especially on those days you face an empty content window and can’t find the inspiration to fill it. Having a list of potential topics always at the ready can be a real lifesaver, so maintaining your editorial calendar and topping it up with new bursts of brilliance whenever they strike is pure blogging gold.
Check out the Editorial Calendar, Edit Flow and Betaout ContentCloud WordPress Plugins as examples of editorial calendars designed to fit seamlessly with your blogging experience.