How to Level Up Your Blog With An Editorial Calendar

editorial calendar

Sometimes writing a blog post feels like pulling teeth.

It’s a great help to have an idea bank full of endless blog post ideas, but what if you just aren’t feeling it for any of those ideas? Or the one you really want to write about takes a lot of research and resources and you’ve started too late?

If you’re waiting until the last minute to decide on the topic you’re writing about each week, an editorial calendar for your blog content can help you.

Here’s why an editorial calendar is awesome:

  1. Saves you time – you don’t have to think about what to write about next. You’ve already decided.
  2. Saves you mental energy (see above.) Decision fatigue is a real thing (I’ve heard it’s a good tactic to use on willful toddlers…).
  3. You can easily see what you need to prepare in advance.

Let’s talk about that last one for a second. I’m not great at following any kind of schedule. And when I wasn’t even trying to follow a schedule, I’d have awesome ideas like ‘I want to make an awesome content upgrade’ or ‘I want to add a detailed instructional video’.

Yeah. I failed miserably at that!

You know why? Because I didn’t have a plan. I had no idea what I was going to write about next until I started writing it. Usually on the day I intended to post it. Whoops. I mean it kind of works with the way I write (I basically start a conversation with you guys in my head…)

I’d finish up my blog post (late at night), then have to do the graphics, then I’d realize that I’d forgotten about the content upgrade…

With an editorial calendar, you can see in advance what kind of preparation you need to do. So this doesn’t keep happening to you.

Decide What to Use for Your Editorial Calendar

Editorial calendars can take the form of a Google spreadsheet, if you’re a spreadsheet girl. Or if Trello has won your heart, go Trello. Or if you’re BFF’s with my BFF Airtable, well, you might want to use that.

The key thing here is this: it doesn’t matter! Use what you’re comfortable with. All these tools work very similarly. There’s not much you can do with one that you can’t do in the others. (Airtable just added Kanban view! That’s a view that looks just like Trello.)

And they’re all accessible across devices for planning and checking up on things on the go. Win!

[yellowbox]Click here to sign up and I’ll send you a link to the templates I’ve made for you![/yellowbox]

Did I mention that Google Sheets, Trello, and Airtable are ALL FREE?

What Do You Blog About?

The first step is to get clear on what you blog about and what topics you cover. You might already know this if you’ve read how to generate endless blog post ideas.

You don’t want to talk about everything under the sun. Or even everything that relates to your topic.

Ideally you’ll have about 5-7 categories that you cover in-depth on your blog.

Why do we do it this way?

Well, let’s say you’re covering 5 categories. You post once a week and in a year you might publish 10 posts in each category.

Now if you have 10 categories, you might only post 5 posts in each category.

And if you go up to 20 categories you’re probably only going to post 2 or 3 per category.

Yes, this is a bit of an oversimplification.

Yes, you’ll probably post more about one or two categories than the others.

However, if you’re trying to build your authority and an audience who gets you, it’s better to post in-depth about fewer topics. It’s the difference between being a jill-of-all-trades, or a dabbler, and being an expert.

Look at the top bloggers you follow. Most of the ones I can think of have one or two core topics that they talk about and a few other topics that they also touch on.

Time for a Plan

How do you like to plan? 90-day plan or a 12-month plan? You can decide either way. It doesn’t matter. Keep in mind that if you choose to do a 12-month plan you need to stay a bit flexible in case you change your mind about your content direction.

The goal here is to choose a monthly focus that your content will revolve around. You can plan blog posts, content upgrades, webinars, social media, product launches, you name it, around the theme of the month.

Does that sound boring?

I don’t find it boring when I notice it on other blogs (maybe if I’m not interested in the topic – but if you find you get less visitors all of a sudden it might be a sign you’re missing the mark with your target audience and that topic.)

How Often Do You Post? And When?

How often should you post? Often when bloggers get started they have crazy ideas about blogging daily. That, and a driving passion to DO ALL THE THINGS. Harness that energy, you need it to go the distance.

If you’re totally new to blogging, I recommend posting weekly or fortnightly. Spend the rest of your time schmoozing, promoting yourself, and learning.

Consistency is also important, so decide which day of the week you’ll publish your posts and stick to it. Your audience will learn when you publish and will grow to expect you to post on those days.

Once you’ve decided on the frequency and days you publish, you’ll know how many blog posts you need to fill your calendar and when they’re going out.

Plug and Play!

Go ahead and choose your best post ideas to plug into the next 2 or 3 months. You can go further if you like, but stay flexible.

You can also add things like guest posts, newsletters, and content upgrades into your calendar to take things a step further. The beauty of planning out your content is that you’re more organized, you have time to create quality content including content upgrades.

Editorial Calendar cu-editorial-calendar2

Over to You

Now that you’ve got a beautiful shiny new editorial calendar, stick with it! I found I still needed to remind myself to actually write my blog post before I wanted to post it. If you work with a calendar, pencil in time to get the job done.

Do you have an editorial calendar for your blog? What program do you use for it?


2 thoughts on “How to Level Up Your Blog With An Editorial Calendar”

  1. Hey Cath,

    Great post! Yes, I totally agree having a content schedule is important. I actually have one for TM but I started that in March. So, the topics I had in March aren’t really applicable now, I’m finding. Since I switched my audience focus, my topics changed too. But I am still adding to it. What I need to do is also schedule in content upgrades. I took a break for a while but I want to get back up with providing more content upgrades so scheduling them in is important!

    1. Hey Elna, thanks for commenting. Yeah, it’s important to stay flexible. That’s why I’m working in quarters and keeping things a bit loose.
      Content upgrades take me so much time! I need to get smarter with them. And I’m definitely planning to make one or more per month next year!
      I’m going to be busy!

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