So, it's about 9:00 a.m. on a crisp, Monday morning. You're feeling pretty great as you stroll through the office doors and waltz around the corner to your desk. The smell of opportunity fills the air. "This shall be the day!" you declare. Yes, today you're going to write content so genius and so outrageously impactful - that it'll smack the moustache right off of Tom Selleck's face.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from a relaxing weekend, you grab a piece of paper and feverously start scribbling. Words and ideas are pouring out the tip of your pen. Then, Stew walks by and asks if you'd like to accompany him to grab a cup of Joe. You oblige, of course, certain that caffeine will fuel your beast of a mind. A ten to fifteen minute chat at the coffee machine reveals the worst. Stew is a Habs fan. You return to your desk disappointed, but reassure yourself that some people really just don't know any better. You vow not to let this news affect your working relationship with the guy.
Plopping into your chair, you can't help but notice the red, blinking light on your telephone. It's about as distracting as a police siren at this point so you decide to answer your voicemails (you know, the ones you ignored on Friday to skip out early for beers). After a few return phone calls and catch-up emails, its almost lunch, so you decide to tackle some housecleaning issues before you commit to a few hours of writing blog posts.
Fast forward to 1:00 p.m., you're stuffed and full of regret. Dabbing the sweat from your forehead, you solemnly swear to yourself to never again touch a triple chipotle burrito. Mustering every bit of strength you have, you waddle to the board room next door, severely dreading the conference call that's about to start.
About two hours later, you emerge from the meeting relieved - and frolicking like a little baby lamb in a pasture. Glancing down at your wrist, you realize that you only have a couple hours left to work on what you had barely started this morning. It's GO time.
And so, you begin. Opening a new browser window, you start typing topics into the search bar, copy and pasting a few ideas here and there during your research efforts. You develop a list of possible topics and send them off, stretching your legs on the way to the printer. Lunging around the corner, you run into who, but Stew. He's cheerily picking up his teams' playoff schedule - one that you so longingly wished your team was a part of. As he hands you your blog topic sheet, he suggests checking to see if any of your ideas have already been covered prior to starting. Great. Not only are you bitter when you return to your desk, but you're also slightly panicked.
A quick scan of your company's blog reveals that scumbag Stew was right to suggest reviewing previously published posts. All of your topics have been spoken for. Its 4:50 p.m., and the only satisfaction you've squeezed out of your entire workday was the swish of your shot sinking in the recycle bin as you whispered to yourself, "three pointer".
Sound familiar? Maybe the story is a bit different for you, but the underlying issue remains the same. You're struggling to produce quality blog posts. Whether it be time-management struggles, a lack of topics or accountability issues, an editorial calendar can help you stay on track.
The Editorial Calendar
So, what exactly is an editorial calendar? Simply put, an editorial calendar acts as a schedule to keep track of blogs and content pieces from the idea, development, and publishing stages. As a blogger, you can certainly benefit from using one, and here's why.
Have you ever gone to a restaurant for your favourite grub, ready to indulge, only to find out that they've removed it from the menu? Well, that's the same feeling of disappointment a visitor gets when they've come to your blog for new information, only to find that you've stopped posting frequently. An editorial calendar helps ensure consistent blog posting. By assigning topic dates ahead of time, you will reduce the probability of scrambling at the last minute. Producing pieces right before the due date often leads to a lower quality of work. Ensure this doesn't happen by using an editorial calendar to identify topics well in advance. For tips and tricks on finding content ideas, try reading 10 Tools to Help You Generate Content Ideas.
An editorial calendar also holds your contributors accountable. Whether you're a department of one or have numerous guest bloggers, tracking deadlines instils a sense of accountability. When a delegate knows their deadline, they're more likely to manage their time accordingly. This also reduces the amount of time you need to spend tracking people down.
If there are industry events or product launches specific to your business, editorial calendars can help develop a strategic plan. By planning out topics weeks or months in advance, you can align content with milestones for your company. This will enable you to create relevant content and publish it on time.
Editorial calendars also provide an archive of posts. If you aren't tracking what you're writing about, you run the risk of duplicating topics. And, as we know, Google loves fresh, new content. Having copies of past calendars on file creates an inventory of previously chosen topics. This doubles in value as it will also help you identify opportunities for content re-purposing to get the most out of your work.
Measuring Results. How do you measure your success if you aren't tracking your results? I've seen business owners stumped by the spikes and dips in their monthly website visits, because they weren't tracking their initiatives. Ensure you are using Google Analytics to see what sources are driving visitors to your site. Having an editorial calendar can help you, as a blogger, to identify what content is driving engagement. Use this information to develop content pieces in the future.
The Editorial Calendar Essentials
- The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Use an Editorial Calendar: get convinced of the many reasons you should work with an editorial calendar
- The Components of an Editorial Calendar: what does an editorial calendar consist of?
- How To Create An Editorial Calendar: builds on the components of... post, showing you how to put things together
- How To Make Your Editorial Calendar Work for You: an excellent editorial calendar workflow, from monthly, to weekly, to daily tasks
In closing, there are numerous benefits to using editorial calendars. They ensure consistency and accountability, provide a strategy and an archive, and can help you measure the success of your efforts. Have you seen positive results from using an editorial calendar? Share them with me, I'm all ears.