If you are following along with PinkPot, you know that we’ve got this cool series going on this month on the blog: Content Creation Hacks for Bloggers and Creative Business owners.
Last week as a part of Content Planning, we discussed about different ways to come up with new ideas for your blog content. Remember the staring at a blank screen problem I spoke about? You know when you open your text editor to write up a post and you end up staring at the screen not knowing what to write about? That one! I actually found a name for it, it really exists, and is called the blinking cursor problem. I have had that problem multiple times and one powerful blogging tool that has helped me tackle the blinking cursor problem is the editorial calendar.
I have blogged both with and without an editorial calendar and I can confidently say that it has made a difference to the quality of my blog posts. Most importantly, editorial calendar has helped save my sanity and be peaceful, as getting stressed about writing and publishing a blog post is the last thing you want to do after a busy day.
What Is an Editorial Calendar:
An editorial calendar is basically a publishing schedule for your content. Whether it is articles for your blog or audio clips for your podcast, an editorial calendar helps you stay organized and plan your content ahead of time. Especially if you are an entrepreneur and content marketing is your strongest tool for the growth of your business, an editorial calendar is a crucial resource. Here’s why!
Benefits of using an Editorial Calendar:
To help make the most of your editorial calendar, I have created a workbook with an editorial calendar template for you. Download it for free right here!
Consistency: If you are serious about content marketing, you most definitely know the importance of consistency. As the renowned author Robert Collier said – “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.“. Posting quality content consistently increases trust and loyalty in your readers and customers for your brand. And an editorial calendar is the easiest way to be consistent. It is the closest thing you have to “set it and forget it”. Plan out your content in advance, create it, schedule it and you can forget about it.
Content quality: There have been many times in the past when I crammed a post just minutes before publishing it. As a result, my content was not well organized or researched. But when I started planning out my content weeks before publishing, I got ample time to research and write detailed posts of good quality. By forcing you to plan ahead, an editorial calendar helps you write in-depth, thoroughly researched content which people will love and share. There is no way of writing a highly informative post with fine quality in a matter of a few minutes; it requires a lot of planning and hard work to produce high quality content.
Content strategy: An editorial calendar helps you create a content strategy for your business. For example, say you have a wealth of knowledge to share about a particular topic that you know your audience loves. Instead of sharing it all in one post, you can strategically plan and create a series which makes your content more digestible and easy to follow. Also by offering a bird’s eye view of your content all at once, an editorial calendar also allows you to visualize the “big picture things” like themes, series of posts, and also ensures that you have a diverse variety of topics in your content.
How to create an editorial calendar for your content marketing:
There are a ton of ways you can create an editorial calendar ranging from a simple paper and pen method to an advanced software that organizes and manages your content. Whatever method you may choose, here are the key steps for creating an editorial calendar:
Plan Logistics: Before you start, it is important to have a few details on hand. Create a list of categories/topics that relate to your niche and that you’d like to write about. For instance, my main content categories are Design, Photography, Blogging and Business. Every article I write will most often than not fall under one of these categories. I recommend not going above six categories as it may dilute the expertise and niche of your blog. Its also important to note down the frequency of how many times you want to write a post on your blog – it can be once a week or 4 times a week – but just be consistent with it. Readers trust you more when you follow a certain pattern of posting content on the blog.
Gather the ideas: Inspiration can hit us at anytime anywhere, so its always a good idea to keep a pocket notebook to jot down ideas, you can even take notes on your phone. When you sit down to create your editorial calendar, gather all your ideas at a single place and use them to create blog post topics. Group your ideas under the categories/ topics of your blog.
Strategize your content: If you want your content marketing to work for you, it is important to use a strategy. Once you convert your ideas into content topics, spend some time on creating a content marketing strategy. Can you convert any of the posts into a a helpful series that will make your readers come back each week? Could you invite a few experts to share their thoughts on any of your topics? This would definitely strengthen your content and also increase your content outreach. I also find it useful to analyze your traffic and growth trends and use it to plan out your content strategy. Use your google analytics to see which posts your audience like the best and why some posts were more engaging than others. Observe the headlines, content and structure of the posts that worked. Also use your analytics to decide on what may be the best day and time to post your content.
Distribute posts in an even way: One of the biggest benefits of using an editorial calendar is that it offers a bird’s eye view of your content which means you can see all your posts spread across a period of time in just one shot. When you start scheduling posts, it may be useful to distribute your posts in an even way across topics and time. You don’t want to write 3 blogging posts back to back and then not talk about it for the next one month. Similarly you don’t want to write 5 posts all in one week and disappear from the blog for the next one month. Make sure to evenly space out posts in a way that they offer consistency and variety. You can also plan your posts around any product launches that you may have coming up. You can write content related to your product and create interest in your audience about your product around its launch period. Its all about creating a balance between your audience and your content which will keep them coming back for more!
Resources to help you create an editorial calendar:
As I mentioned before there are different methods to create an editorial calendar. I have tried many methods and here are a few of my favorite resources which I am sure will work great for bloggers and business owners:
Also I have a free workbook to help you create and use an editorial calendar. You can print this out each month (I use it monthly) and use it plan out your content marketing strategy and create the content schedule for the month. Make sure download your copy right here!