How to create an editorial calendar for your blog
Maintaining a regular blog with a supply of useful comment and information is demanding. Like any regular publication the deadlines seem to arrive all too soon. Using information from media releases and product promotions only goes so far – you still need to find and write attractive content.
You have to understand your target audience and write posts that connect their needs to products or services of your organization or your client. Maintaining a rate of 1-3 posts per week is the ideal.
The reality is that most blog posts are ad hoc – spontaneous – rather than systematic and strategically conceived. Bloggers tend to sit down and write on the spot. For instance, one well-known PR daily blogger checks the latest industry news and posts from other bloggers and writes off the cuff. But an editorial calendar will make life a lot easier and blogging more effective.
Just as an editorial calendar is vital for commercial magazines and newsletters, great value results from using a calendar to plan the material in every blog. A calendar ensures that topics are covered in an organized way. With topics laid out in an orderly way, you are more likely to have more ideas and they will be more creative because your mind has had time to work on them subconsciously over time.
Definition: an editorial calendar is a calendar marketers use to organize and categorize the content they plan to publish in the future.
Marketers use editorial calendars to organize and categorize all the different parts of their marketing – their blog, their social media profiles, and their marketing campaigns. You can use editorial calendars to target the right readers and prospects, optimize your marketing content with the best keywords, and pair your content campaigns with a great call-to-action.
You can do all this at no cost! You can create perfectly robust editorial calendars using Google Sheets, Google Calendar, and Microsoft Excel without paying anything.
BlogSpot offers a range of free content editorial calendars created for blogging, social media, and content campaigns. They have provided instructions for one calendar, with some additional content management tips. With a little bit of customization, you can get your editorial calendars running smoothly, leaving you more time to focus on the quality and reach of your content.
10 questions for blog calendars
Carrie Morgan, who specializes in digital PR in Arizona, asks herself 10 key questions that are instrumental in shaping a blog calendar (and is just as valuable for newsletters and magazines):
- Who is my target audience?
- What interests them?
- What are other blogs in the same category or with the same target audience writing about?
- What are the trade publications writing about, and what’s on their editorial calenda
- What industry news/posts are shared and retweeted the most?
- What are the competition writing about?
- What topics are trade shows covering in their workshops and round tables?
- What trends are your managers or clients seeing?
- What types of articles interest your managers or clients?
- What publications do your managers or clients read, and what are they writing about?
At the same time you need to stay flexible and allow for changes. A hot trend may arise, or an editorial idea may become stale over time.
A blog editorial calendar enables you to focus more strategically. It is much easier to write posts that contain the content you wish to include. A calendar removes some of the stress of writing and produces much better ideas. No matter how structured or unstructured your blog editorial calendar is – from a casual list of bullets, or a more formal structure via a WordPress plug-in, use it and stick with it. Your results will be much better.