Ever sat down in front of a blank screen and thought, “What am I going to write about today?”
Without a plan for content, you’re essentially winging it.
Print publications have used editorial calendars for many, many years to help them define and visualize their plans for content. Bloggers can take note of this strategy, too.
Creating an editorial calendar for your blog not only helps reduce the stress of coming up with a fresh idea on the spot, but it helps you think about your blogging efforts from a big picture standpoint.
So how does one go about creating an editorial calendar? And what tools can you use to make the process simpler?
Creating Your Editorial Calendar
The first thing you need to do when planning your editorial calendar is to think about what your main objective is for your blog.
Are you trying to position yourself as an expert within your field? Are you trying to offer valuable insights that connect with a very specific audience?
Define your main goal for your blog so that each individual blog you write is ultimately inching you toward that larger objective.
From there, think about what blog content would help you achieve your goal. This might be:
- Tips for improving processes/strategies
- How to solve specific pain points
- New insights on relevant data
- Case studies showcasing your past experience
- Research that illustrates an interesting concept
- Failure/success stories
Create a running list of 20 to 40 ideas, and then think about the days you’d like to launch new content. Look at your website and social-media insights to see if there are any patterns that help you spot a few dates/times where your following is most engaged with your content. If a pattern emerges, plan to publish your new blog content during those spikes in activity.
Also: Be sure to study your content along the way to see which types of posts get the most traction. You can revise your editorial calendar as you go to create more content that your audience really wants to read.
Tools for Editorial Calendars
There are lots of great options for planning your editorial calendar, but the right fit for you will depend on your unique needs.
CoSchedule is a collaborative tool that lets you plan and publish content seamlessly via drag-and-drop features. Whether you’re a one-man show or a team of content producers, you can use CoSchedule to map out your editorial calendar, organize information for your posts, and work efficiently so you’re not wasting any of your precious time clicking between screens and tabs.
Cost: Plans start at $15/month
Using Trello’s simple boards, you can drag and drop ideas for your editorial calendar into different lists and organize content quickly. This is again great for individuals or teams, and there’s no complex training required to be able to use this tool. Plus: You can sync your editorial plans across all your devices, so you can check back on your Trello boards even when you’re on the go.
A simple spreadsheet in Google Sheets may require a bit more setup time, but it's a free resource for editorial-calendar planning that is accessible on all devices via cloud storage. You also can customize every aspect of this format and set due dates that sync up with your Google Calendar using this tool.
Start Planning, Stop Stressing
With the foundation of well-thought-out editorial in place, you can start to create blog content that’s more thoughtful, effective, and laser-focused on your ideal audience. And with a plan in place, you’ll never have to anxiously stare at a blank screen again.