I’ve been blogging for nearly two years, and in that time I read a lot of successful bloggers preach about the wonders of an editorial calendar, and then I would promptly ignore them.
It’s not that I didn’t think that it was good advice or anything, I simply assumed that I wasn’t responsible enough or organized enough to follow through with one. And to an extent I was right. It took me a few tries before I came up with a system I could follow, but I’m finally there.
At first I was trying to get too fancy, too in-depth, and too complicated to actually want to use the system. Intricate systems work so well for a lot of people, but I’m just not one of them.
All of you tech savvy people may roll your eyes when I say this, but I use Google Calendar to make my editorial calendar. That’s it. I’ll get into my exact process later on in the post. (It’s nothing to be too impressed with, but just in case anyone’s curious I’ll go over it.) For now let me outline why you should be using an editorial calendar if you’re looking to get more serious with your blogging.
Why you need an editorial calendar!
So we will get into the basics here: If you didn’t already know, an editorial calendar (put simply) is a calendar you use to plan and schedule your posts in advance. When planning this blog I sat and brainstormed up at least 2 posts a week through the middle of March so I would know in advance what I needed to write.
Before that I was using a paper schedule to plan out blog posts on Mostly Morgan, but that was less effective because the perfectionist in me hated scratching out a planned post if I got inspired to write something else, instead.
But why can’t I be spontaneous?
Ok, being spontaneous with your blog isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, I love spontaneity, I think that it keeps things exciting! And you can still be spontaneous even if you’re using an editorial calendar because nothing is set in stone. Think of your calendar as back up – it’s a great go to when you just want to sit down and write without the brainstorming step; but if you’re feeling super inspired to write something else you can go with that and move the day’s planned post later in the week.
Using an editorial calendar lets you create a series.
After I had all of my post ideas written out and added to my calendar I was able to look at the month as a whole and think about how the posts were fitting together and if some posts would be better suited being written after another.
This is really great if you’re very niched down like I am here, and you’re planning on teaching something. I am passionate about teaching the business side of blogging, and a lot of topics overlap and build on each other.
The great thing about thinking of the order of your posts is that if you schedule them to be building on each other, you can do a lot of in-post linking which will keep your reader on the site longer, reduce your back-link, and give your audience a more thorough understanding of what you’re trying to teach.
An editorial calendar will save you time.
When I started blogging there would be months where I only posted five or six times because I had no idea what to write about. And when I finally did write it was only after long, unproductive brainstorming sessions.
Experience made coming up with ideas easier, but coming up with ideas in bulk saves me so much time in the long run. When I sit down and start to think of posts they trickle in, but after I come up with the first few, then the ideas really start to flow.
Bulk brainstorming is great because once you think of one post, chances are there are three or four related topics you can write about to really establish yourself as an expert on the topic which, again, is more helpful to your readers, and that will give you some SEO juice!
My editorial calendar!
Like I said, my editorial calendar is just Google Calendars. I know that a lot of people use WordPress plug-ins or come up with something super impressive on Evernote, but that’s simply not the case for me.
There isn’t too much to say about my system, so I suppose I’ll just let you guys have a peek at what it looks like and then explain myself from there.
So that’s what my editorial calendar looks like…
Like I said, it’s nothing too complicated and I’m actually a little embarrassed to be sharing it because it really is very uninpsired. But it’s what works for me. And like I said, the idea of editorial calendars used to be so intimidating to me simply because I had no idea how to go about creating one.
But as you can see, they really don’t have to be anything fancy. I personally hate being micromanaged (even if it’s by myself!) so I don’t plan out social media or anything, I just stick to posts and newsletters.
The one semi-fancy thing that I am doing, though, is color coding. The color coding helps with what I mentioned earlier about being able to visualize what your month is looking like and what you’re writing about.
The main things I’ll be writing about in February are:
- Monetizing – Green
- Branding – Blue
- Social Media – Periwinkle
- Spreading the love (aka promoting other amazing influencers) – Red
- General Blogging – Purple
- + My bi-weekly newsletters – yellow
I will also probably be posting on Saturdays in February leading up to a launch, but the details are still being hammered out.
My editoral calendar process:
Again, a little embarrassed because this is so simple, but I’ll break it down for you anyways!
- Brainstorming, I do this on paper! I write as many ideas as I can (usually using the Pomodero timer on my phone) and then circling all of the ideas that were actually decent.
- Adding them to the calendar. At this point I don’t pay attention to any particular order, that’s for later!
- Color coding – You don’t have to get too in depth, but I do recommend sorting your posts, it comes in handy in the next step.
- Organizing – this is where the color coding helps! I didn’t have to think too much about this in February, but if you’re trying to build buzz for an upcoming workshop or course you’re going to want to add a lot of teaser posts to get people excited!
And that’s it! Like I said, I have a simple system but yours doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you have a super awesome system I want to hear about it! Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m so nosy when it comes to other girl-bosses and entrepreneurs! I love reading about how people are doing things in their business and about their creative processes!
Also, my first newsletter is launching on the twentieth! Sign up now to get some inside tips on the wonderful world of blogging and business!