Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog [Day 12 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog from Problogger]

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Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

Here’s my notes on Darren Rowse’s Problogger Free Podcast on 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. You can listen to Darren Rowse’s free podcast here Day 12 Create An Editorial Calendar for Your Blog. The complete list can read here on Day 0 – Welcome and Introduction.

Become A Problogger with Darren Rowse

In order for us all to get the full benefit of this series, I’m going to go at a slower pace posting going forward in September on Tuesdays each week. I hope with this challenge we are all able to improve our blogs and websites. Yes I did jump from day 11 to Day 20. I thought this one was really relevant and I learned a lot from this one. I hope you do as well!

So lets do this together! Day 12 here we go! Subscribe and check back often! #31DBBB

Day 12: Today the challenge is to create an editorial calendar for your blog.

A couple of weeks we came up with 10 posts ideas. Some of us probably came up with significantly more than just 10 post ideas. So, today create an editorial for your blog for next week. If you already have an editorial calendar today is a good day to review it.

If you’re like most bloggers you sit down, come up with an idea, write an article, and hit publish. On my first blog I pretty much did the same thing. On this second one sometimes I still fall into that pattern.

This was a bit of a process for Darren to get his head around. He is very spontaneous. So he did pretty much what most bloggers do as stated above. He basically sat down, came up with an idea, wrote an article, and published it immediately.

I was a bit skeptical at first of this idea. Yet I’ve found it to be so useful! I challenge you to simply do this exercise for one week. See what happens!

Why an Editorial Calendar is Useful

First, download this free and simple PDF editorial calendar to get you started.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 12.29.41 PM

  1. Helps with Idea Generation. This is going to help take the pressure off of you to come up with ideas to write about. This is one of the big obstacles writers face.
  2. Helps Create Momentum. This will also help you create momentum, create content that takes your readers on a journey, and create content that will facilitate change. This will be more useful than hitting readers with random pieces of content.
  3. Helps Set Deadlines. Deadlines don’t always feel great at some level. This helps identify when certain things need to be done. It also helps to make plans to make it happen. For those of us sporadic and impulsive certain things will never get done.
  4. Helps Create Consistent Production of Content. This means that you’ll develop a more consistent production of content. This also means more regular content and will help you establish a rhythm for your publishing. This will be good for you as a writer. But it also will be good for your readers. Readers will begin to notice when you publish. Readers will start to show up at those times or those days.
  5. Helps Create a Birdseye View. This way you can notice what’s coming up on your blog. You can start to notice patterns, gaps, or opportunities. Perhaps this will help you avoid neglecting other aspects or topics of your blog. This enables you to mix up your content.
  6. Helps Organize Your Team. An Editorial Calendar also helps you determine who is going to do what and when.  This helps you figure out how to use team members to capitalize on their strengths.
  7. Helps Set Long-Term GoalsLong-term, an Editorial Calendar can also help you coordinate other aspects of your business. For instance, Darren has an eBook being launched in a couple months’ time in the digital photography school. So they’re planning their content to lead up to that eBook. Not just for the purpose of sales of copies. But to actually help readers be aware of the need for purchasing the eBook for example. Further, it opens up opportunities for conversations with sponsors. You could say to a potential advertiser “In June, we have this theme coming up that relates to your product. Would you like to sponsor this content?” This opens up conversations and opportunities with potential collaborators.
  8. Helps Plan Around Holidays. There’s always a lot of activity during the holidays. Having a plan will make this time of year less stressful for you and your family.
  9. Helps Create Variable Content. Sharable content is good. Some bloggers fall into the trap of only creating sharable content. It’s great to have sharable content but don’t neglect content that helps build community, teach, and even to sell. A calendar helps meet those objectives.

Tips on how to set up an Editorial Calendar

Tips

Remember to download this free and simple PDF editorial calendar to get you started.

  1. Determine how many posts you will write. Calculate and consider how many posts you want to write next week. There’s no right or wrong answer to this. More frequent posts would be good but not if it comes at the expense of the quality of the posts you write. How many will you create? Maybe three, four, or five?
  2. Write it all down. Set up a spreadsheet, word document, or even a piece of paper. On the spreadsheet, give enough space for the name of each post, the time, and the date of the post.
  3. Prioritize the potential posts. Take the list that you came up with yesterday of post ideas and prioritize which posts you want to include next week. Darren encourages us to take some time on this. Probably best to prioritize the best ideas as some ideas might need further development.
  4. Create a plan and rough outline. Take each post you want to publish and put it into a time/day slot. Darren likes to write a short description, the main points, and a headline. Try to write down any ideas that might help you write the post.
  5. Set deadlines on creating posts. Finally, set a deadline as to when you will create the posts. For example, I will write the first post Friday afternoon at 2:00pm, the second post Saturday night at 8:00pm, and the third post Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm.

Congratulations you’ve just set up an editorial calendar! It’s a simple one. But you now have a calendar that tells you what you need to know for next week.

Optional – Different Daily Posts

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Another way to get into the rhythm of creating content is to make each day of the week a different post. You could set up a weekly calendar like the following:

Monday – List post

Tuesday – Review Post

Wednesday – How to post

Thursday – Opinion Post

Friday – Link Post

Saturday – Ask readers a question

Sunday – Interview Post

You can slide in anything you like into however many days of the week you plan on posting. This will create a rhythm and appeal to different types of readers. Many bloggers start out this week. Give this a go if you’re feeling a bit stuck. Darren says that at the start of the week he has a plan but sometimes plans change. Don’t feel you have to publish everything you come up with you first start. Feel free to shuffle things around and allow yourself some flexibility.

Tools to use when setting up an Editorial Calendar:

  1. Coschedule – a good editorial tool and excellent way to plan your social media sharing of posts.
  2. Editorial Calendar – a plugin for WordPress. This tool gives you to see and manage your posts that are coming up all within WordPress.
  3. Edit Flow – Another editorial tool Darren recommends and a lot of bloggers use. Although this one hasn’t been updated in a while.
  4. DVQ – This is a paid tool and probably better if you have a larger team.
  5. Other mediums are Google Drive including: Google Document, Excel Spreadsheet, Numbers Spreadsheet, Google Calendar, etc. also.

While I tried out several of these above I really like Buffer in sharing social media posts. Whatever tool you choose, set up your calendar for next week!

Further Reading:

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Do you already have an editorial calendar? What tool do you use if any? What does your next week look like in your editorial calendar?

{Click to go back to day 11 here} {Click to go forward to day 13 here} *Coming Soon*

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About Jonathan Key 112 Articles
Jonathan graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Ouachita Baptist University. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. While he works for a contractor buying specialized tools, his passion is personal finance, frugal living, blogging, and stewardship.

64 Comments

  1. Every time I read a blog post on how to blog it excites me. I have been blogging for two years but just decided to take a blogging class earlier this year. I made it half way through and got overwhelmed with implementing all the changes and tips. The biggest one for me was the editorial calendar. I would write one out, then I would get a sponsored post so I would have to change. Or I would have a ‘brilliant” idea and have to do it right away so that would bump my schedule. Of all the tips I got this is the one that I love the most and struggle with the most. I am still working on it every day!!
    Jennifer A Stewart recently posted…Saucy Saturdays [#15] Link Party #SaucySaturdaysMy Profile

    • Angie scheduling in social media can be very beneficial and adds consistency to your online presence. It has helped me when I did it all week last week. I’m glad you found this useful. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. I really enjoy reading your posts, I learn a lot from it! Especially when it comes to making a blog successful. Thanks and keep it up!

  3. This is such good information. I have only been blogging now for about 2 months and I’m already struggling with writing and publishing immediately because I’m getting behind. I have all these ideas but I HAVE to make myself schedule them out and write them earlier. Thanks for all the tips…I’m going to try this 🙂
    Anna Harris recently posted…Fall Mini Home TourMy Profile

    • Anna I think it’s at the 2-3 month mark that people often give up. The newness of blogging has worn out and time seems stretched. I’m really enjoying finding better ways to manage my time and an editorial calendar is the way to go. Let us know how you’re goes the rest of this month. Thanks for commenting and reading!

  4. This is a great idea to have an editorial calendar to plan & build a better blog as well, as most of us use a calendar to update payment sheets, due dates & even personal reminders. Thanks for sharing these great tips.

    • Ranesha you can try Coschedule out for free for 2 weeks and they’ll extend it to 4 weeks if you ask. Also, if you write a review on the app on your blog they give you a 50% discount for a year. Thanks for stopping by!

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