How many time have you sat down staring at a blank screen without the idea on what to write for your blog?
Many bloggers can relate to this experience of having high expectations on how they will get more traffic to their blog or how they will use their blog to spread awareness of a given product or service, but they end up neglecting their blogs in the long run.
You will start missing a day or two, followed by a week and then months and before you know it, your blog will be just another neglected website on the web.
Is this an experience that you wish to have over and over?
Perhaps, you are looking forward to that time when you will attend to your blog without a break.
An editorial calendar is what you need to maintain such consistency and ensure that you remain motivated, organized and avoid the case of writers’ block.
If you don’t have a blog yet, be sure to check out my post on how to start a blog
Benefits of an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is a blogging strategy that helps you come up with actionable plans for the content that you need on your blog. There are some benefits that you can get when you create an editorial calendar for your blog.
1. Organize your blog
For example, most blogs end up neglected since it is hard to decide on an idea to write on the spot. However, with an editorial calendar, it becomes easy to have a broad picture of what content you need to write for a particular time and hence, gives you enough time to plan ahead.
2. Helps you plan what to post
Are there some bloggers you are familiar with who have remained popular over a long time? Chances are high that such blogs are characterized by useful and epic content that interests the target readers. Additionally, such bloggers often preplan their content.
Perhaps, you have the perception that planning your blog posts is an easy thing but the reality is that sticking to a given plan of posting blogs can be quite difficult.
An editorial calendar will help you list and see what blog idea you will be writing about in a month’s time. Such an approach gives you enough time to think about the content you have in mind and whether or not it suits the time and the target audience.
3. Assists you in staying consistent
The concept of laying out your blogging plan in a calendar is helpful especially in sticking to it. With such a plan, you are able to take action, as well as evaluate your progress as you continue with your blogging activities. An effective calendar will save you the time to decide what content you need to write at a specific time.
4. Helps you in honing up your blog marketing plan
Have you developed a marketing plan for your blog? It is one of the essential tools that you need to have as a blogger. An editorial calendar will help you establish the effectiveness of your marketing plan. For example, you might find that your blog attracts high traffic if you share posts on daily basis, which then implies that you need to post every day.
Tools for creating an effective blog editorial calendar
With the advancement in technology, great tools are available that you can use to create an editorial calendar for your blogs. Here is a review of some of the best tools for editorial calendars:
1. CoShedule: this tool comprises of drag-and-drop features that allow you the comfort of planning and publishing your content seamlessly. It saves you the hassle of clicking between tabs and screen.
• Allows you plan and publish your content easily and quickly.
• Saves you time.
Cost: a starting plan of $15 per month.
2. Google Sheets: This is a free editorial calendar tool that is in the form of a simple spreadsheet though requires a lot of time to set up.
• Google sheets is a free resource
• It is highly convenient in that you can access it on any device through cloud storage
• Allows you to customize all the possible aspects depending on your plans and schedule.
3. Trello: this is a tool for editorial calendars that has simple boards that you can use to create an effective blogging schedule. It uses a drag-and-drop approach whereby you organize your blog content easily and into different lists.
• Trello is ideal for either a team or individuals.
• Requires no specialized training
• It is compatible with all devices hence, allows you to access your plans on the go.
Evaluate the three tools and establish which one works best for you depending on your budget, flexibility, as well as convenience. Whichever tool you choose; it is advisable to take some time to learn how it works before committing yourself to using it in the creation of your blog’s editorial calendar.
Reliable Tips on How to Create an Editorial Calendar
An effective editorial calendar will influence your choice of blogging topics, your ideas about blog posts, as well as track your blogging schedule. How then do you create a successful calendar for your blog? Here are a number of reliable tips on how to come up with the most successful editorial calendar for your blog irrespective of the niche market that you target.
1. Come up with a blogging schedule
A blogging schedule is a very important aspect if you have to succeed in your blogging endeavors. Tying yourself to a convenient time during which you write blog post will ensure that you remain consistent in updating your blog. Come up with a schedule that is appropriate for you.
Perhaps, you can decide to post thrice a week, or weekly. Most successful bloggers create a blogging schedule that allows them enough time to brainstorm about their blog posts as well as learn the trends within their niche market. Whatever timeframe you choose, remember to be consistent.
2. Identify your audience
Blogging with no particular target audience will absolutely yield no much results. Take time to think about the people who are likely to be interested in your posts. A suitable approach in this case is to focus on both the needs of the current and prospective consumers.
To be successful in this step, you need to understand your niche as this will help establish the tone, language, and approach you use for your audience. For example, a business blog is likely to use a language that is different from a tech blog.
3. Divide your blog into categories
After understanding your niche market and the target audience, the next step is to establish the various categories that will help your blog reach all the target audience. The categories that you have on your blog ought to have a close relation to your target audience and niche.
If you are writing a blog about baking cakes, you might consider blog categories such as baking wedding cakes, baking birthday cakes, baking cake lessons, and how to decorate a cake. With such a variety of categories, you are able to give all the necessary information that is specific to your niche and audience.
However, it is advisable to avoiding clogging your blog with too many categories as this might either make you lose the focus or make your blog appear too complicated such that the readers are not aware of where to find the content of their interest.
4. Preplan your blog ideas
The main reason why most people neglect their blogs is the lack of ideas and this results from poor planning or even the lack of planning on your blog ideas. Successful and consistent bloggers brainstorm their blog post ideas beforehand and this gives them a chance to ensure that they follow their set blogging schedule.
Have some time to brainstorm and identify what ideas you can write; do not limit yourself but ensure that you list every idea within your niche and target audience that crosses your mind. You could also try my free blog idea generator too.
For example, with the case of baking cakes, you can come up with blog ideas such as:
• 5 tips on how to decorate a birthday cake
• A Do-it-yourself cake baking guide
• Recipe for a birthday cake for a child
• Tips for choosing the best wedding cake
You can brainstorm for your blog posts anywhere, in a bus, while eating, or even in the shower, given that you capture any idea that you have. The most important thing to consider in your choice of blog ideas is the interest of your customers and readers and not your interest in what you are selling. Such an approach will help you gather new readers, potential customers and eventually buyers.
Avoid blog posts that are too long. There are bloggers who use videos or even images as their blog posts. However, always give credit to any external link and source that you get your videos and photos.
5. Make room for special events and holidays
Blog post timing is critical. There are times when your blog receives many visitors while during other occasions, you will have no traffic. You need to be aware of such times, as well as consider the special events and holidays.
Such consideration gives you the opportunity to establish the ideal content and time that you need to post in your blog. For example, if you are running a tours and travel blog, it will not be ideal to post about tips for choosing a tour company in summers when it is winter.
Come up with a list of the activities that you intend to have such as special sales, product launches, or even events that you plan to attend. Do not forget any holidays in your calendar, which might have a significant impact on the choice of your blog posts. For instance, make posts that are related to Christmas if it is December. Such a choice of events and holidays will ensure that you engage your readers and customers all the year round without a break.
6. Create the editorial calendar for your blog
Do you know why you are blogging? Have you established your blogging schedule, blog categories, and identified the special events and holidays that might significantly influence your blog posts?
The next step is to create an editorial calendar to ensure that you are consistent and organized.
Start by getting a calendar. Any type of calendar, whether a wall calendar, a yearly planner, a spreadsheet, or an online calendar, will suffice. However, choose the one that works best for you. In the calendar fill all the events that relate to your business as well as any blog posts that you intend to write within the year. Do not forget to factor in any holidays within the year.
Use your blog post ideas to add blog posts to your calendar. To achieve a variety of posts, ensure that your ideas cover all the categories that you have on your blog. This approach ensures that you cover all your blog categories evenly.
Next, make sure that you have scheduled your posts conveniently, 2-3 times a week or a month, is ideal as it will give you the chance to ensure that you run your blog smoothly. However, depending on your flexibility, choose a schedule that works best for you and your business.
Creating an editorial calendar is not the end of it, in fact, it is the beginning of your blogging activities; you need to keep up with it to ensure that it works to your advantage. To make sure that your calendar is effective, review it regularly and update it depending on what ideas and events you are having. Additionally, you can get new ideas as you continue writing, which will necessitate you to schedule them in your calendar.
Ensure that you religiously follow your blogging schedule since your readers and customers will need to read your blogs based on the schedule that you have. A break in your blog post schedule might cost you several readers and clients. While it is recommendable to follow your schedule to the later, there are times when you will feel not in the mood of writing. Use days when you have the motivation to write and come up with a couple of posts at once.