A quick Google search for how to build an editorial calendar may lead you down an endless rabbit hole of ideas. So I’ve decided to share my own best practices for creating the perfect editorial calendar – one you will actually stick to. Not sure if you need to make an editorial calendar? Here are 7 Reasons Why You Need a Blog Editorial Calendar.
- Determine How Often You Will Create Content: When it comes to how often you want to share new content with your readers on your blog, be realistic. I’m serious. Be truly honest with yourself. How much time are you able to set aside for creating fresh content? And how often will your readers expect you to post? Think quality over quantity. You want make sure you have time to create quality content that is marketable and SEO-friendly. Sometimes posting daily isn’t always better than posting weekly if the quality of content will suffer due to personal time constraints. Successful bloggers are those that are consistent and in it for the long haul, so don’t ambitiously over commit.
- Begin Brainstorming Ideas: If someone were to ask you to give a 30 second elevator pitch about what your blog is about, what would it be? All of your posts should reflect that key message in some way, shape or form. Who is your target audience and what do your readers want to know or learn? Think about the blogs you like to read and analyze what makes you return to them on a regular basis. Your content should draw in readers and keep them coming back for more. Write the blog you would want to read. Start by brainstorming 5-10 categories that highlight the overarching theme of your blog. Then, jot down 5-10 topics or post ideas under each specific category to get your creative juices flowing.
- Consider Hot Topics and Holidays: If you read blogs yourself, you understand the importance of timely and relevant content. Please don’t write about winter soup recipes during a summer heat wave. Posting relevant content shows your readers that you strive to remain current on hot topics in your field of expertise, which is key to building a strong rapport with your readers. Take into consideration special events, holidays, and hot topics in the news when building out your editorial calendar for additional exposure potential. Aim to stay 2-4 weeks ahead of the game. Rarely are readers looking for the perfect Labor Day party recipe on Labor Day to make for their family and friends. Most readers are planners, and appreciate seeing a recipe or hot topic post a week or two ahead of the designated occasion it is intended for.
- Plan for 3-6 Months of Content: It’s important to treat your editorial calendar as a “test-and-learn” tool at first until you find the perfect rhythm for content creation. Plan your editorial calendar for a few months, execute the plan to your best ability, and then take time to review how successful you were at following through. If you missed posts, consider lightening your editorial calendar load by posting less frequently or delegating writing tasks to other members of your team. It’s important to experiment and find a timeline that works best for you.
- Choose the Right Tools: There are many wonderful tools available to help you create an effective editorial calendar and hold you accountable to it. Whether you settle for a something simple like Google Sheets to create a shareable excel sheet, integrate a program like Edit Flow or Coschedule into your WordPress account, or use external resources like Trello or DivyHQ, there are plenty of options out there for bloggers on a variety of budgets.
Check out the Best Tools to Create an Editorial Calendar for more information on these tools including the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is best for you and your blog!