It is said, “A goal well set is half achieved.” This is true with creating content and an editorial calendar.
What is an Editorial Calendar?
An editorial calendar is a layout of what you are going to write/post about and when.
I create editorial calendars for
- Blog and
- hopefully soon an Email newsletter.
Why Create an Editorial Calendar?
There are a lot of reasons to create an editorial calendar. Some are
- You always know what to write about
- Integrate blog, social media, email and any other places you write or advertise
- Helps to you to keep track of what you have written
- Gives you advance notice of research you have to conduct
- Gives you a starting point for brainstorming future topics
- Helps line up gusts
- Breaks the writing process into steps to make it more manageable.
Questions to Get You Started
Below are the 6 questions I use when I need to re-evaluate my content schedule or make a new editorial calendar. They help keep me on target and focus my brainstorming efforts later in the process. The questions should be answered in order as some of them build on one another.
- How much time can I realistically spend writing in a week?
- How much can I realistically write in that time frame?
- How often do I want to blog/post?
- What topics do I want to cover?
- Do I want to have a topic of the week/month?
- Are there topics that I could cover in a series?
Not that you know what general topics you want to cover (see questions 4 through 6), it is time to brainstorm a list of specific topics. I personally get small squares of paper and write every idea that comes to mind on it’s own sheet.
Once I write out all of my ideas, I organize them into categories. Your categories will vary but as an example, mine are hot topics to cover, marketing, finance, motivation/habits, business basics, human resources, product development and topics that will take a lot of research.
I break my topics out this way so that when I make my quarterly editorial calendar I have the hot topics or most relevant and timely topics set aside to write about first and the topics that will take a lot of research separate to add them to the last month of the editorial calendar so I have time to do the research before they are due to be posted.
The first calendar I create is my blogging calendar. This is my most important calendar because it dictates what I talk about in all of my other calendars. I post weekly so I lay out one topic per week for a quarter. You can make a longer or shorter time frame depending on what you are covering but for me a quarter works.
My first step is to take those hot topics and put them in the calendar in the order I want to cover them. Alternatively, you can lay out all of your topics or whatever group you want to cover and pick your favorite few to cover first.
Next, I go through my needs a lot of research pile and pick one or two I really like and put them in the last month of the editorial calendar so I have time to do research for them.
Lastly, I go through my other topics and pick out ones that go together or that I think would be good to cover and add them into my calendar until all of the slots are full.
If you have extra topics, paperclip them together and keep them in a safe place for when you need to make a new calendar. I always have left over topics that I keep. Some have been around a long time but they just have not fit. Don’t get rid of them unless they no longer fit the direction you are moving in. You can always work on them later and you may need more topics the next time you write your editorial calendar.
Integrating Social Media
Once my blog schedule is complete, I add posts to my editorial calendar. Personally, I make my social media posts relevant to my blog topic. It gives me a week of content that I have already written to use on social media so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. This strategy makes it easier for me, but another strategy is to create topics for each day. For example:
- Monday: Motivational Monday
- Tuesday: Common Questions
- Wednesday: Blog Post
- Thursday: Networking Tips
- Friday: Fun Fact Friday
No matter how you set up your editorial calendar, make sure it makes sense to you so that you will stick with it. It is more important to be consistent than to post frequently.
What are some strategies you use to create an editorial calendar?