So you may have heard of an editorial calendar and how important it is, but don’t quite see the point of it yet. But as a blogger, and editorial calendar is one of your most valuable planning tools. I spend 1 day every month planning my content, not because of my need to plan, but because content doesn’t happen all by itself. An editorial calendar is really just a list of what you plan to do in the next week, month or even year. There are editorial calendars available on the web (read this great post from Hubspot on how to set it up!), or you can even use a Editorial Calender plugin or EditFlow right on your WordPress dashboard. But a spreadsheet will work just as well if you’re just starting out. Here’s a look at 4 reasons why you need to set up an editorial calendar today.
1. Avoid Writer’s Block
This is the most important one and also the most debilitating: you sit down to write something and then nothing comes. An editorial calendar will help you to plan ahead so that you know exactly what it is that you need to be writing on.
2. Plan Consistent Content
The key to blogging and to ranking in searches, is to have consistent, value-adding content. And if, like a lot of bloggers, you also have a day-job and a family, things happen and before you know it you’ve not been able to publish anything for a week. Even if you plan to do just one post a week, a bit of planning will allow you to write a few articles at a time so that you can schedule your posting ahead of time. That way you will always have something fresh to share.
3. Themes and Events
This is not essential and will greatly depend on your niche, but building local events, holidays and happenings into your content can really benefit you. If you are a design and decor blogger for instance (like me!) and there is the biggest Design Conference in the world happening on your doorstep (like the Design Indaba), your readers will want to know about it and especially your experience at this event.
Working with a monthly theme also really makes your planning simpler and creates consistency on your blog and social accounts. This winter, I focused on All Things Beautiful in June, Kids Winter Fun in July and Warm & Fuzzy in August. I don’t stick to them religiously, but they do help when I want to figure out what to write about.
When you are a single contributor to your site, or even if you have a few people writing together, making sure you have variety in your content can become challenging. Readers don’t want to read 5 similar posts in a row. I divide my content into categories and then write posts for each section on a specific day of the week. I don’t necessarily post the content on these days – this is my writing schedule.
- Monday: Newsletter with the previous week’s content
- Tuesday: Guest post (this is where I write a post for someone else’s site and also where a contributor post gets published on Homeology)
- Wednesday: Homeology PRO post (so today is Wednesday 😉
- Thursday: Trends or Inspiration Posts – these are divided into Get The Look posts, Latest Trends posts and Lifehacks.
- Friday: DIY projects I do or projects from contributors
Once I have my content written, I slot them into my publishing schedule on my editorial calendar to ensure that I have a constant stream of fresh, new and varying posts.
So now that I know what I’m supposed to write about on which days, I can let my mind go and come up with subject ideas per category. I take an hour or 2 at the end of the month and plan the content for the next month, listing post ideas under each category. Once you get the creative juices flowing, it’s actually pretty easy. I don’t end up writing about all of them, but it certainly gives me enough to work with. And come writing day, I don’t have to sit and fret. So go on, develop your own editorial calendar and write away!