How to Blog Part 17: The Editorial Calendar
The Editorial Calendar is the content contract for your blog.
You may not need one, blogging off the top of your head as life inspires you, but it helps.
An editorial calendar is a schedule of deadlines for publishing content on your site.
Many people need deadlines to keep their motivation on track.
You can use a paper calendar, computer calendar, white board calendar, or appointment book. I tend to start with a calendar printed out from a template in my word processing program. This allows me to scribble all over it, stick sticky notes to it, and change things around before I invest in a calendar and scheduling system.
Begin with holidays and seasons. Note not just national, secular, or religious holidays but holidays and annual events associated with your industry and blogging niche.
Think about how the seasons impact your subject matter. A gardener lives by the seasons but what about a writer? If you blog about writing, how do seasons impact you? As a writer, I know that I spend more time indoors writing in winter than I do in summer, unless I’m living in a place of horrid hot temperatures, then I get most of my work done during the summer, hunkered down away from the sun, and more time away from my desk when the temperature drops.
Seasons impact attitude, perception, and psychology. Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Creative folks like writers might write with a perception influenced by mood. Seasons may also impact topics covered by a writer, writing more about outdoor activities during appropriate seasons.
Everything is impacted by seasons, from distribution and travel to energy to education to shopping. Note down the ideas about topics dealing with holidays and seasons and put deadlines for such articles onto your calendar.
Along with seasons come weather. Look for article ideas connected to weather topics during the times of year anticipating such weather conditions.
Look for conferences, conventions, and events associated with your topic and add those to your calendar. You may not attend, but you can write about the events and activities associated with them.
Anniversaries are great times to reminisce and connect information with timely events. There are international and national anniversaries as well as personal anniversaries. There are also industry and niche anniversaries. I celebrate May 30 as the birthday of WordPress. I’m working on a series of anniversary articles from my family history site to honor my ancestors’ birthdays, weddings, deaths, and special events. Every day holds some special significance for someone, maybe you, so find a way of connecting the small and large anniversaries with your blog topics.
Think about all the ideas you had when you first started working on your blog. Have you published topics on these yet? When would be a good time to set the deadline for publishing one or all of these? Add them to your calendar.
As you set these dates on the calendar look for ways to turn these into article series not just individual posts.
I set two to three dates on my editorial calendars per event. One is for when I need to start preparing the article. The next is for when I wish to publish the article. The last one is the date of the event or holiday, if it is different from the publishing date. I will often color code these with the draft date as green, the publish date red, and the actual event yellow.
An editorial calendar doesn’t mean you have to blog every day. It is another tool to help you organize your ideas, your content, your site, and your blogging efforts.