Time management is a challenge for most of us. Finding time for everyday business issues, as well as blogging and social media can overwhelm anyone. But through strategic planning and scheduling certain tasks, we can gain back control. That is why an editorial calendar is a critical component for blogging. Not only can an editorial calendar keep you on task, but it can also offer a quick visual overview of your posts.
Your editorial calendar can be an Excel spreadsheet or Google doc that you share with your team. It can also be a plugin on your WordPress website. No matter what system you select, you need an editorial calendar to stay on task. This is why newspapers and magazines use them. They are proven systems that work. Stop reinventing the wheel and leverage tools that help you increase your productivity.
What is a Blogging Editorial Calendar?
An editorial calendar is a planning tool used to schedule and plan blog posts and content for your website. You can quickly create topics and place them on different days of the month to help you strategically plan your blog posts. For example, every Wednesday could be a Restaurant Review for real estate websites, or Recipe of the Week for a restaurant to share. Create a list of topics you want to write about, and then think of blog posts you can create on those topics.
A blogging editorial calendar helps:
- generate blog post ideas and topics
- leverage partners to assign guest blogging topics
- create a consistent content marketing strategy
- visual your content marketing strategy
- make changes quickly based on “newsworthy” issues
Why Use An Editorial Calendar?
Blogging and content marketing is a strategy. In order to make it an effective strategy, you need tools that will help you. An editorial calendar is that tool. As your blog continues to grow and engage your visitors, you will begin to see what topics interest them. This can help you strategically plan blog posts on your editorial calendar that help you grow your audience.
It is a proven fact that when we do things frequently, they become habit. So as you plan your content marketing strategy on your editorial calendar, it will help you quickly see what needs to be done and execute accordingly. An important component to any content marketing strategy is consistency. The goal is not to schedule a post for every day on your editorial calendar if you will not be able to execute that, but to determine what is an achievable goal and schedule it accordingly.
- Traffic Growth/Lead Generation
Along with consistency, you will hopefully see an increase in traffic to your blog posts. Your readers will begin to depend on the information you share. This engagement can eventually result in lead generation as you become the trusted advisor because of the information you are sharing.
Search engines look for unique content. Your editorial calendar will help you visually see the topics you are, or plan on writing about. This will also help you ensure that you are focusing on those topics that reinforce your SEO strategy and search terms that reflect how you want to be found. Create your content marketing strategy around the keywords you have selected for your website to help your search engine rankings.
Creating A Blog Editorial Calendar
Your blog editorial calendar will be unique to your business. But some things will be the same for everyone.
Determine how often you will be blogging. The more often you blog, the more frequently visitors will return to your site to read your new content. However, if you cannot maintain a frequent schedule of blogging, you should not establish that expectation. Your blog traffic will increase based on the frequency and relevance of your content. As a rule of thumb for most business owners, I suggest anywhere from once a week for slow growth and engagement, to 2-3 times per week for steady growth. You need to determine what you can manage, because when it comes to blogging, consistency is an expectation.
- Identify Your Audience
Determine who you want as customers. They are your audience. Remember that blogging is a content marketing strategy – marketing. Your blog content is for current and future customers.
- Blog Categories
Your blog categories are like chapters of a book. Each of your blog posts should fall under a category that you want to write about. For example, if your blog is about real estate, your categories might be:
- Market Updates
Once you have identified your audience and developed a list of categories to write about, you can probably begin to see topics to write about. If you are just starting, you might want to develop some ongoing topics that would be easy for you to write about. Make a list of 5-10 ideas for each category. This will help you determine if you created categories that work for you, as well as helping develop some ideas for blog posts. Here are some examples for the Buyers category mentioned above:
- New homes in Anytown
- Things to do in Anytown
- Restaurants in Anytown
- What is Earnest Money?
- What is Due Diligence?
- Relocating to Anytown
- 10 Things to Know About Buying A Home
- 5 Things to Know About New Construction
- Create Your Calendar
Now that you have your categories and some topic ideas, create some blog post titles and place them on your calendar. Ensure that your post title is specific to your topic and will attract readers.
- Write Your Blog Posts
Begin writing and publishing your blog posts!