Recently I presented on this topic to a group of delightful bloggers. I began my presentation by asking, “How many of you currently use an Editorial Calendar to plan your blogging activities.” I was surprised that very few people put up their hand (though I suppose that’s what brought them to me!)
An Editorial Calendar is a must-have tool in your blogging toolbox and you should think of it as the map that will take you from great to awesome blogger success; it is the opportunity to begin to see your blog as a business, and one that needs boundaries, guidelines, flow and structure in order to grow, grow, grow towards your dreams.
I set out in the presentation I mentioned above, to convince everyone in the room that they needed an Editorial Calendar. I want to convince you too! Here are my top 4 reasons why you need to drop everything and start planning…
1. An Editorial Calendar Helps You Clarify Your Blog’s Purpose
In blogging we talk about “voice” and “niche,” and “branding.” If you want to take your blog from good to great, you need to focus in on building your brand. Discover what it is you want to write about, and who you are as a blogger, and make that the focus of not just a few posts a month but every single word that is published on your site. That’s not to say you can’t stretch the boundaries, but you should be narrowing in on a focus and that focus needs to be present in everything that you write. An Editorial Calendar really helps you with this. It gives you a chance to plot out blog topics, play around with their order, and then step back and begin the process of cutting, toning and refining. Literally step back! See each topic as it is, and decide whether it actually fits with your focus.
2. An Editorial Calendar Means You Never Miss An Opportunity
As you grow your readers, you will come to realize that they expect certain things from you. If you are a craft blogger, they are probably looking to you to come up with amazing craft ideas in time for Father’s Day. But your life gets busy and sometimes we blink and suddenly it’s June. Too late to pull together your craft post? Maybe. A calendar keeps you on track; if you are attune to your calendar you know what important date is right around the corner. You won’t forget to address National Breast Feeding week or Breast Cancer awareness month, or to capitalize on the changing seasons. You have it all plotted out.
And if you are monetizing your blog, you know that pitching is all about the right time (as much as it is the right pitch to the right person). Having a calendar allows you to stay on top of important, key times when you should be pitching companies you want to work with.
3. An Editorial Calendar Means You Always Have Something to Say
As a writer too, I know that sometimes the water runs very dry. Desert dry! But other times the well overflows with abundant ideas! Capitalize on these times of abundance. Keep a journal (or list on your iPhone) where you jot down a post idea when it comes to you. When you sit down to create your Editorial Calendar each quarter (year, half year or month) pull together those post ideas into the best sequence. This means when you sit down to write your scheduled post, you know exactly what to write about!
4. An Editorial Calendar Allows You To Diversify Your Posts
Sometimes you have to publish two sponsored posts back to back. No sweat. But overall, diversity is better. Having a game plan for what you will post each week allows you to spread out different types of posts. This is just makes the flow of your blogs, from one to the other, that much better.
An Editoral Calendar doesn’t have to be set in stone. It can be a fluid, ever-changing document that supports your creativity by giving you a focus, a reminder, something to say and the opportunity to appear organized! There are many templates out there for you to try, but do what works best for you. Really make it your own!