How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog
If you're a blogger, creative, or entrepreneur, you'll feel me on this one... All the day-to-day tasks we need to get done just to keep our business moving is EXHAUSTING! Social media scheduling, blog posts, podcasts, outreach, promotion, product creation, graphic design, website maintenance, trainings and webinars... I mean, COME ON!
CONFESSION TIME: In the recent months, I've been so busy with other projects (all of which I'm eternally grateful for!) that I've had a hard time keeping up with regular entries on my blog. I was finding it increasingly more difficult to sit down and consistently write--whether that was because of my schedule or just a lack of inspiration on what I "should" write about.
A friend of mine, who had also gone through this same experience, suggested I create an Editorial Calendar to keep up with my posts. I sat down with my little planner (yes, I'm old school and actually love writing things down) and started chipping away at this Editorial Calendar. This simple tool has helped me tremendously in planning out my blog posts and scheduling when they will get done.
I'm so passionate about it that I've created a little tutorial for you to do the same! Here are 7 steps for you to create an Editorial Calendar for your blog:
STEP 1: Hone In On 3-5 Categories That You'll Write About
If you've watched my free Instagram Webinar, you already know about my "3-5 Sub Challenge." Yes, I know, it's not a sexy name; but it get's the job done!
The 3-5 Sub Challenge is basically where you pick 3-5 sub-categories of your overarching theme to your blog (or Instagram profile, if you were following the webinar) and hone in on them so that you can have a consistent flow. So start by picking out exactly what you want to write about. Maybe your categories will be (1) travel tips, (2) city guides, (3) restaurant recommendations, and (4) hotel recommendations.
The idea here is to get a rotation of categories that you can plug in throughout the week on your calendar so you're never confused about what topic you should cover next. Try to get as specific as you can!
STEP 2: Do a Brain Dump
Once you have your categories all laid out, it's time to do a brain dump! Brain dumps are one of my favorite creative exercises because they allow you to explore every nook and cranny of your brain to find ideas and inspiration for your projects.
Sit down with your notebook or computer in front of you and just start "dumping" (aka writing) away. Think of every possible blog post idea that you can that fits into the categories you just outlined. It doesn't matter if they are weird or if you never use them--write it down. Write every possible thing that comes to mind down.
If you need some inspiration, I always love to stalk Pinterest to see what articles stick out to me. It helps get those creative juices flowing and sparks new ideas. Write for at least 15-20 minutes--or more if you get on a roll! Ideally, you want to walk away with at least 20-30 new blog post ideas.
STEP 3: Commit to a Consistent Schedule
Once you've got your brain dump out of the way, you need to really have a talk with yourself and figure out what you can *realistically* commit to posting. Is it once per week? Twice per week? Twice per month? Whatever it is, commit to it and stick to it.
The worst thing you can do is be overzealous about how many times you want to post and then get let down or feel bad that you couldn't keep up (I'm guilty of this!). At the beginning of this year, my goal was to average 3 posts per week. But, as my schedule got busier, I could only commit to 1-2 posts per week--which is totally fine! Be realistic with yourself and commit to what you can actually do.
I'll also suggest committing to a consistent time of day when you actually write your posts. For me, I have to do them in the morning because that's when I have the most brain power. If I put them off until later, they won't get done. Figure out when the best time of day is for you and keep it in mind for Step 5.
STEP 4: Choose a Platform to Keep Your Calendar
A life coach once told me, "If it doesn't get scheduled, it doesn't get done." I believe this to be very true in my own experience. If something is in the calendar, it's more likely to get done versus if it's just in my regular "list of things to do."
After you've committed to your schedule, it's time to choose the platform where you want to keep track of everything. You basically have the options of paying nothing or investing a small monthly fee to use a robust scheduling service. Here are some options:
- Google Calendar (FREE, easy to use, syncs to your devices, color coordinate, & schedule recurring events)
- Excel (FREE, easy to use, you can upload it into a drive and read from other devices, lots of tabs, & color coordinate)
- Monthly Planner (for those of you who like to actually write things down!)
- Trello (Basic Plan is FREE, small-but-easy learning curve, can access via the cloud, & create multiple boards)
- CoSchedule (Paid Service, but very robust and efficient; you can schedule all of your social media through the platform or backend of your WP site)
I personally use my monthly planner since I like writing things down and having them in front of me, but the choice is yours!
STEP 5: Plug In Your Content to Your Calendar
Now that you've chosen your system, it's time to plug in all of your content to the calendar. This is exactly why we did the first 3 steps so that we know exactly what we are going to post about (the category), the blog post title, and the days/times we are going to post. Refer back to your journaling exercises and plug everything in accordingly! You can use schedule reminders, color coordinating tabs, and other things to help you out.
At this point, I would also recommend knowing what types of keywords you might want to highlight, what types of photographs you want to add, what types of calls to action you'll be including, and any other small details that will make the actual process of putting a blog post together much easier. You can write these things in the notes section where you schedule that day's post.
STEP 6: Constantly Be Adding to Your Brain Dump
Once you've got your Editorial Calendar all set up, remember to constantly be adding to your brain dump list. I have a list on the Notes App on my iPhone that I keep track of all my blog post ideas (it's literally titled "Blog Post Ideas"). Sometimes, ideas will just come to me in the middle of the day or while I'm out and about, so I have this place where I can go and constantly add ideas. Make sure that you're keeping something like this so that you're always coming up with fresh content.
STEP 7: Continue to Plug & Chug
Take a look at your Editorial Calendar every 2 weeks to make sure you're plugging and chugging away. Use your brain dump list, your category intervals from the 3-5 Sub Challenge, and your posting schedule. It's super easy once you have a system in place!
What are ways that you keep an Editorial Calendar or ways that you stay on top of your blog posts? Comment below! Would love to hear more suggestions!