One of the hardest parts for many bloggers is staying on track with their posts. If you do a lot of reviews, like me, then you have to keep up on those due dates. Even if you just do more personal blogging keeping up with a consistent schedule of posts can be hard at times. An editorial calendar is a tool that bloggers can use to help gain control over our blogging schedules.
There is not one set way to create an editorial calendar. You have to find what works for you. My style is not necessarily your style. One blogger may swear by using a plugin editorial calendar, another insists an old fashioned pad of paper is the trick. To get started think about the calendar you use in your everyday personal life to keep you organized with appointments, meetings, special dates, and the like. Does that calendar work well for you? Can you adapt that same style to creating an editorial calendar for your blog? Or, do you need something more computer based for your blog? Something more visual at all times? Consider these things before you even start creating your editorial calendar. We can have a bazillion organizational tools in our lives, but if we don’t feel connected to them we just will not use them and the time and effort for set up will have been in vain. It may take you a few tries even to find the system that works best for you.
Once you have a system to create your editorial calendar on you need to actually add things to it. Again, you can put (or not put) anything that works for you on the calendar. There is no right or wrong. The goal is to help you be organized with your blogging. Here are some ideas of things you can include on your own editorial calendar.
- Due Dates
Do you have a deadline for a certain post? Then put it on your calendar! Find a way to make these stand out also. Use DUE TODAY in all caps maybe, highlight it with a certain color marker if using paper based calendar, whatever it takes for it to stand out.
- Pre Due Dates
While I include my due dates, I have also learned that I need to back up a few days before that actual due date and add myself a little reminder that the end is near. This way you have a little wiggle time to actually get the post done rather than the last minute.
- Memes/Ongoing Themes
Do you do Wordless Wednesday each week? How about Monday Mingle? Maybe on your own you do a recipe each Sunday. Include those regularly occurring posts on your calendar as well. If you work ahead, mark it done for those weeks once the post is scheduled. Have an idea for your weekly cleaning how-to post but it involves say Halloween decorations? Jot that idea down on the calendar with that reminder for the date you want to post it – you can create it later – but you still have the idea
To keep things timely on your blog you probably do certain types of posts around holidays. Whether it is traditional holidays like Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day or more obscure holidays like National Chip & Dip Day (March 23), add these dates of interest to you to your editorial calendar
Have a thought for a future blog post? Add it to your calendar! You can actually assign it a day or just keep an idea list in with your calendar for when you are feeling a little stuck.
- Travel Dates
I have been traveling more frequently for my blog this year. For me, this means I need to keep those travel dates on my blog so I know by glancing at it that I need to work ahead before that trip to schedule some posts while I’m gone. I do try to blog while I’m away too, but sometimes these trips are jam-packed from sunrise to sunset.
- Category Evenness
Do you go in spurts with topics on your blog and feel you have neglected another certain category occasionally? Include on your editorial calendar the categories that you need to write about spread out among the days. This will help you keep things more even on your blog so all of your categories feel some love.
- Create a Series
Some of our ideas can’t be contained within a single blog post – well ok they could but it would be really long. Instead plan on spreading out that big idea over several days or weeks as a series on your blog. Say you are planning a major trip to Walt Disney World and you want to share the process on your blog, break it down into one post a week. The first on picking a date, second week on planning a budget, third week on meal planning at the parks, etc.
- Positive Thoughts
It’s nice to throw in a positive thought, nice quote, or words of encouragement for yourself into the calendar. You will forget that you’ve added them and then a month later you see it and it makes you smile – that can make your entire day right there!
You can see that the editorial calendar can be as much or as little as what you want it to be. The important rule is to make it work for you so you will actually use it. Do you already have an editorial calendar? What form is your calendar in? Any suggestions for us on other things to include in our calendars?
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