Using An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog

by Eileen Lonergan April 18th, 2011 

editorial-calendar

You already know that a blog is a trifecta win for your website:

  1. Fresh content on your blog is a big attraction for search engines
  2. A blog gives your target audience a reason to return to your website on a regular basis,
  3. A blog attracts new visitors looking for the info you have to offer

The key to keeping your blog fresh and relevant is to organize yourself in a way that will help you post valuable, useful, and fun content on a predicable schedule.

planning strategically
like
a publisher
If you are like me, when I established my blog I was loaded with ideas, overflowing with excitement and full of plans. The key is to harness this energy and get those ideas organized.

How do I do it and how do I help my clients do it? We set up an editorial calendar that provides a simple structure to guide content organization and creation for many months to come.

Publishers originally used editorial calendars as a guide for advertisers to build targeted ads around the planned content. Pleasing advertisers is probably not an issue for your blog, but planning strategically like a publisher makes a lot of sense.

First, the key to successful blogging is consistency – the New York Times doesn't show up every now and again does it? Second, you can plan to present content in a variety of ways; writing, videos, and using images. Some people love videos, some bulleted lists, mix up your delivery to engage as many people as possible.

Here is a simple example, the subject of your blog is Facebook and you post once a week. A logical Editorial Calendar could be:

Week 1: An editorial " Is Facebook still a player?
Week 2: A tutorial " How to build Welcome pages for businesses (create a video)
Week 3: News " Facebook has just launched a way to turn personal pages into business pages
Week 4:Guest post " ask a trusted colleague to guest blog. It will remove the pressure from you to write something, and expose your audience to other people. (Also this could be a terrific opportunity for link exchanges, which is another SEO booster!)

My clients and I set aside a little time at the start of each quarter to layout the calendar. I suggest that you use Google Analytics to review your stats and examine which posts are drawing the biggest audience and which keywords are sending visitors your way. If you see that your Facebook video tutorials are popular, schedule more!

If you are working in WordPress it is also possible to write a series of articles and editorials to save and publish at a later date. This one minute video tutorial will walk you through the process. There is an excellent WordPress plugin that is simply called editorial calendar, and this is a super tutorial video which will walk you through the features and best ways to use the editorial calendar.

My advice, set aside some time to think through your message and the frequency you can commit to for the next several months. Lay out your plan and get with it.

Do you use an editorial calendar or do you have other tools and processes to keep your blogging going? Share them in the comments!

Eileen Lonergan

Eileen Lonergan is a WordPress website designer, a ghost blogger, and manages social media for a variety of clients.

eileenlonergan.com

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11 Responses to “Using An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog”

  1. Thanks for linking to my company's post on The Importance of Using a Social Media Editorial Calendar. We created that calendar after working with one of our clients and wanted to share. It is an integral tool for staying on your social media game!

  2. Don Campbell says:

    Excellent article Eileen. Very practical advice that I need to do a better job following!

  3. Howie says:

    For as important as it is, consistency can be incredibly difficult for even the most passionate blogger who is overflowing with ideas…afterall, I do feel it the blogger's obligation to be accountable to their audience to continually provide value. I'd be lying though if I didn't say that maintain a consistent posting schedule, with all the other demands of life, wasn't difficult. Your post couldn't have come at a more perfect time, Eileen! Thanks.

    A colleague and I were speaking quite a bit recently about guest posting. I've noticed that alot of high level bloggers, now that they are established, actually seem to include guest posts on their blog most of the time–publishing guest posts several times a week. Do you have a view on the frequency of guest posting? (I see your sample layout posting schedule had a guest post reserved for the 4th week….)

  4. Lill says:

    Great article! Having an editorial schedule makes your blogging life more organized and can give you an idea where you should be going.

    • @Howie, thank you. In the groups that I am circling in, I am also hearing a lot more discussion of guest posting. I haven't given too much thought to the frequency, you bring up a good point. It seems like once a month is a nice rotation, more than that and you may be seen as taking over the blog, less, people may forget you. I would be curious to have other opinions on that topic.

      @Don & Lill, thank you for taking the time to read and respond, I appreciate it very much!

  5. [...] Create a Calendar and Stick with It! Because Google is rewarding sites with fresh content, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of publishing material to your site and blog on a regular basis. The best way to organize what you’ll be writing about and to stay disciplined with a schedule is to create a calendar. Whether it’s a once a week posts on your blog or daily mentions on your Facebook page; an organized system will keep you on schedule. Here are some more good ideas for creating a calendar for your content. [...]

  6. [...] to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!A few months ago I wrote and posted this article, Using An Editorial Calendar on the Search Engine People Blog [...]

  7. [...] You can go along way towards helping yourself by creating and sticking to an editorial calendar. [...]

  8. Jared says:

    I've started to lean more on guest posts as well. Getting them to come in steady is probably going to be as much work in the beginning as developing a whole new post though :)

  9. Jared, you are probably correct. A good place to start to find guest posters would be within Facebook or LinkedIn Groups that you belong to online. Perhaps someone who is interested in the same field as you, but has a niche that is a bit different from yours. Also, a little blurb at the bottom of each of your posts telling people that you accept guest posts is a way to let your readers know you are open to suggestions.