editorial-calendar

How many times do you get up in the morning, stare at your computer screen, and wonder aloud, "What the heck am I going to write about today?" Too many times to mention, I bet. It's only natural that blog writing and other social media posting falls through the cracks sometimes. You know it's important to your company's brand, but it's not always easy coming up with topics to write about.

The key to getting a handle on your blog writing is to start using an editorial calendar. Don't panic. This isn't a big deal, or difficult to do. Here are ten reasons why:

1. Defeats writer's block – Imagine sitting down at your computer next week and knowing exactly what to write about. Isn't that a great feeling? That's what an editorial calendar can do for you, when you plan your topics a few weeks ahead of time.

2. Stay current – An editorial calendar allows you to plan your content a few months ahead of time so you can promote company milestones, reference important holidays, or cultural events.

3. Guest bloggers – A full schedule of blogging can be overwhelming. You can gain greater exposure for your blog by adding guest bloggers to the mix. An editorial calendar helps you accomplish this since you can use it to schedule guest posts. The guest blogger gets more exposure for their work, and you can get a break from writing once in a while. Talk about a win-win scenario!

4. Manage projects – If you have trouble keeping up with projects – such as a special series on a particular topic, an editorial calendar will keep you on track. Since you're planning what to write about ahead of time, you can do more research. You might find that the information you gather is more than can be covered in one blog post, and dictates a two or three-part series instead.

5. Organize creative assets – Now that you have your topics assigned in your editorial calendar, you can spend time gathering images, videos or other text to supplement your articles. List the links, files, etc. in your calendar, so you'll have everything you need when it comes time to publish.

6. Blogging consistency – An editorial calendar is great for helping people develop consistency. Successful bloggers usually find that consistency is more important than frequency. If people know that you publish a new article on Wednesdays, that's when they'll be checking your blog. If you fail to publish that day, there's a danger that you'll drop off people's radar.

7. Lead generation – Now that you're planning articles with an editorial calendar, you can make sure that the topics you're writing about meet the needs of your target audience. In this way, you'll have a better chance of generating leads from your blog and other social networking sites.

8. Social media strategy – An editorial calendar also plays a key role in your social media marketing. Track which posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. get the most engagement, and then revisit those topics at a later time, since they are resonating with your audience.

9. Schedule posts – Believe it or not, many bloggers don't schedule their posts. They always hit "publish now." However, there's no reason why you can't schedule some of your posts, especially if you get motivated one day and churn out three blog posts in a row. If one of the articles is timely, you can post it right away, and then schedule the other two articles based on your editorial calendar. When you let the article sit for a while, you get a chance to review and enrich the content before it finally gets published.

10. Reduce stress – One big benefit of an editorial calendar is that it can reduce your stress level. Knowing you have a topic in mind before sitting down to write is a much better feeling than just staring at a blank computer screen with no idea what to write.

Most businesses today have a social media marketing strategy. Savvy businesses include an editorial calendar as a key component of that plan.

Gloria Rand

Gloria Rand is an SEO Copywriter & Social Media Consultant, who specializes in helping small businesses achieve online visibility, profits and sales.

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9 Responses to “The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Use an Editorial Calendar”

  1. Arnie Kuenn says:

    Hi Gloria,
    Don't mean to link drop, but if people are reading this post (excellent list by the way) they may be interested to know they can get a free content calendar template from us.

    Here is the link: http://www.verticalmeasures.com/calendar

    Arnie

    • Gloria Rand says:

      Thanks for the compliment, and sharing the calendar. I don't mind at all, since you've done a great job putting it together.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Good job on the calendar, Arnie. Do you use the same calendar for social content planning?

    • Arnie Kuenn says:

      Hi Ruud – it's been a while! I don't think we have used the calendar for pure social content planning, but we do incorporate social media (we call it socialization) into the calendar to support the whole content marketing plan.

      So we assign content promotion tasks to people in that calendar. Once in a while we have content that we post exclusively on social media channels – and that goes on the calendar too.

  2. Robbin Lynn Crandall says:

    Thanks for this article, Gloria. I typically find an editorial calendar very helpful; it was nice having a reminder of why I"m keeping it up! :) It's also nice to have confirmation of the fact that it can help my social media marketing strategy. Hope to have more posts from you like this one! Thanks again.

  3. Jeff Quipp says:

    Thanks for the post Gloria. I find an editorial calendar crucial for keeping me on track. You know the old saying, "if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there".

  4. Jeff Quipp says:

    Arnie … you can link drop anytime you've got something this valuable and useful to share :) Thanks again!

  5. Tushar says:

    I have found an editorial calendar to be a helpful guideline that still allows for flexibility. It’s nice to have some regular features planned, as well as to be able to fit in other posts that aren’t part of a weekly series. I like to be able to see everything at a glance.

    I keep a running list of post ideas in Wunderlist (my fave!) and simply put them in Google Calendar as an all-day event (so they stick to the top) in their own “Blog” calendar in a different color. I also block off time to create the posts beforehand – it’s no good having a posting schedule if I haven’t also planned when I’m going to create the content!

    PS. Shauna, I love how you’ve simplified the definition of editorial calendar – THANK YOU! I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the idea, but really, “In a nutshell, it boils down to having your blogging schedule planned out in a calendar format. That’s it!”.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Love how you have set this up, Tushar. I also collect snippets of info in Evernote and tag them with a post idea topic so I can pull everything together once I start writing.

      Really creative use of Wunderlist!