Blogging 101: How To Use an Editorial Calendar
Image by Courtney Dirks
Blogging alongside full-time work or studies can be stressful. You get home from a long day to be greeted by heaps of chores and social engagements, meaning your blog post gets pushed back later and later into the evening until you’re exhausted and spiel out a half-hearted, half-planned post, which you know isn’t the best it could be. The solution? Get yourself an editorial calendar.
This sounds serious…
An editorial calendar is just a fancy way of describing a list of planned blog posts. A good calendar will highlight any gaps or repeats in your content, allow you to allocate your time efficiently and most likely spark inspiration for new posts.
Whether you just want to plan for the next week, or decide to map out a whole year, an editorial calendar will give your blog direction and this level of professionalism will convey itself to your readers through your pattern of posts. If nothing else, you will feel so much better for putting your plans on paper, rather than suffering with the thoughts flitting around your head and keeping you awake at night – just us? Thought not…
Paper vs digital
There are many different methods of planning, so you need to find the one that suits you best and will support your approach to blogging.
The main choice you need to make is between paper and electronic versions. If you’re someone who already scribbles lists down on paper, or you find handwriting more inspiring than typing, then you may want to opt for a diary or wall calendar. Alternatively, there are hundreds of electronic templates available online as well as apps like HubSpot, or the Editorial Calendar plugin for self-hosted WordPress users.
The advantage to electronic calendars is that you can edit them as much as you need, share them with others and access them wherever you are.
List your ideas
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t have lots of brilliant content ideas all at once; the best thing to do is to set aside some time on a regular basis to check over your planned posts, add in any new ones and remove those which don’t seem like such a good idea on hindsight.
Use different columns or colours to separate regular features from product reviews, sponsored posts or guest posts, so that you can clearly identify what content gaps you have.
If you notice a certain month or week looking post-less and are struggling for ideas, have a browse of the annual holidays/national days/events that are taking place and write a post around that particular theme. Additionally, try creating a regular feature for your blog, that way you’ll have something planned for each week without fail.
It’s all about you
Don’t forget that your editorial calendar is there to reduce stress, not add to it. It’s easy to become frustrated if you miss a post or upload a day late, but remember it’s only you who will know.
If you find yourself getting worked-up by your editorial calendar, try customising it with colour coding to break up different types of posts – a little decoration and personalisation will make you more likely to continue using it beyond the first week.
No matter what you choose to blog about, an editorial calendar will set your thoughts and ideas straight, allowing your blog to grow and flourish infinitely. Do you have any planning tips to share? Leave your thoughts below or tweet us @bloggingedge.
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This is a great post about editorial calendars, and why bloggers need them! I appreciate your point about how the editorial calendar is meant to reduce stress and not add to it. That’s something I can wholeheartedly agree to! If you or your readers are WordPress bloggers, you might want to check out CoSchedule ( http://coschedule.com ). It is a built-in editorial calendar for WordPress that also lets you schedule social media with your posts. We built it because we needed it ourselves, and have found it to be so helpful not only for our blogs, but also for how we plan and schedule our social media content.