How to create an editorial calendar for a blog
A guest post by Nellie Burges.
We all know blogs which start strong and run out of steam, right? With an editorial calendar and a good content strategy, this would not happen.
An editorial calendar is an essential tool for arrangement and planning content on your blog. It is also one of the tools which can help you to be consistent and effective.
Editorial calendars are essential for many reasons, but mainly:
- To bring value to your audience
- Thinking and building a long-term strategy
- Improve and simplify resources
- Maximise idea generation
- Differentiating audiences
An editorial calendar helps us to select the best content for our audience. It also sets deadlines for your publication to improve our workflow and, more importantly, give us a visual reference for our planning.
This is an indispensable element for the dynamic development of a blog, so highlight the main points by building a handy editorial calendar:
7 key aspects of an editorial calendar
1. Invite collaboration:
The editorial calendar is a useful tool for coordinating your team on what should be published and when. All team members should have a broad understanding of deadlines, responsibilities and accountabilities.
A Google spreadsheet is an excellent tool for this task; a classic Excel sheet would work well too if stored in DropBox or your Google Drive. It’s up to you to choose your favourite tool. Just keep in mind the format or template you use should be shareable and editable by different users.
2. Alignment with strategy:
One of the advantages of an editorial calendar is to align the publications’ topics with the content strategy. The calendar should decide and communicate which topics to write on and the date and time of publishing.
3. Search themes of your contents:
Once you have an idea of the type of content which fits your plan, start looking for indicative keywords for search engine optimisation (SEO). A good practice is to search on platforms like BuzzSumo for references which generate interest in social networks. Look for the most shared content in your preferred blogs, or the most shared posts using your chosen keywords.
However, beware, we are not talking about copying other people’s content, but only looking for inspiration in quality sources which will expand your vision of the topic. Pablo Picasso once said: “Great artists copy, geniuses steal”.
4. Measuring results:
Record when you publish in a Google Sheet column; this needs to be visible to the whole team, or you can lose your information. When implementing your marketing campaigns, keep in mind every action must be measurable and relate to revenue earning.
Keep a tally about related information about each article in your editorial calendar. If you see an increase in leads on a specific day, you should be able to correlate or attribute this to a particular post.
Work out which days bring in the most traffic. Then take advantage of this opportunity by posting more appropriate material to help build a bigger audience for your blog.
5. Content creation process:
A balanced editorial calendar shows publication dates and communicates deadlines for submissions with details for each responsible person. You will know you need to factor in enough time for creating and reviewing articles, so keeping up with content creation process is essential.
An organised system for your business blog, through using an editorial calendar, will foster team collaboration and alignment with objectives, strategy and expected results.
Your editorial calendar will help schedule promotion of your work on social networks and other distribution channels. You will know in advance when to make an announcement and place teasers on social media.
6. Maximise idea generation:
Combine your editorial calendar with an idea mapping application (wisemapping, for instance) to generate ideas for optimising and readapting content. This are two essential techniques in any content strategy.
7. Differentiating audiences:
Each format, theme and post will have a different audience. Your editorial calendar will allow you to easily define a user profile for accurate audience targeting. This is crucial to avoid mishandling similar topics and to realise you aren’t diversifying enough.
What should my editorial calendar have?
Some important things to include in your editorial calendar:
- Date of the post
- Author (unless your blog is by a single author)
- The idea or concept of the post
- Where are you going to publish (on your blog, on a guest blog, etc.)
- Status (published, idea, in progress, etc.)
- Category (including tags, labels, etc.)
- Call to action (direct the post towards a particular action, such as download an ebook, get a free subscription, etc.)
If you use WordPress, these three plugins will help you plan and create an editorial calendar from the content manager itself:
Lastly, I would like to give you two final pieces of advice:
- Be versatile in your planning: the editorial calendar is essential to organise the content plan, set dates when to publish, and, above all, have an illustrative guide to it. But if you see it is not working out as you expected, do not be afraid to modify it. Adaptability is essential to achieve the objectives.
- Optimise creation of your content and, above all, experiment.
About the author
Nelie Burges is a loving mother and professional writer. Currently, she works as an editor at wowessays.com. Nelie has expertise in various fields, including social media marketing, strategy planning, and data analytics. When she is not working, you can find her at the park playing with her kids or practicing asana at a local yoga studio.