Blogging can be a lucrative career or a great way to earn a second income. However, most bloggers don’t make money off their blogs, despite their best efforts. Creating a content strategy and using an editorial calendar for your content can change that.
Most bloggers simply aren’t consistent with their content. This means that your readers don’t know when to come back to your website. As a reader, this is frustrating.
An editorial calendar is a huge part of your content strategy. Using one consistently and effectively will help build your audience. In addition, it will increase your sales and give you more consistent traffic.
What is an Editorial Calendar?
An editorial calendar is a tool for your blog. Major magazines and newspapers all use one to meet their deadlines. Essentially, it is a calendar on which you plan your content. If you use a day planner for your personal life or business, it is quite similar.
An editorial calendar allows you to create a content strategy that works for your blog. It helps you plan your content effectively and prevents you from becoming distracted.
Using an editorial calendar as part of your content strategy helps you stay on topic and on track with your blog. If you are planning related posts in a specific sequence, it keeps those posts in order. This helps you write posts in a timely and effective manner.
Another major benefit of using an editorial calendar is that your audience knows what to expect from your blog. This means that he or she will visit your blog on the specific days when they know you publish posts they love.
Using Your Editorial Calendar for Your Content Strategy.
Google defines strategy as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.” A content strategy allows you to plan your content in order to achieve your blogging goals.
If your blogging goal is to build your audience, for example, you can plan content that will help you achieve those goals.
Creating a Content Schedule
One of the ways that you can help build consistency and increase traffic is by blogging about specific topics on specific days of the week. You see this frequently in Facebook groups and on Social Media.
Imagine a blogger who blogs about sports cars. He or she may a post test-drive videos about new sports cars on Mondays.
If you are interested in how the blogger rates the car or want to see the car in action, you know that you should visit that blog every Monday for a new post.
An editorial calendar helps you to build anticipation and expectation, which leads to returning visitors.
Yes, it is awesome to attract new visitors to your blog, but your dedicated audience is where you reap the greatest rewards. They are consistent traffic and you already have their trust. That means when that when you sell a product, your dedicated audience is far more likely to purchase it.
As you can see, building an audience and earning their trust is all about consistency. Your editorial calendar is the tool you need to use to build consistency.
Planning Out Your Content
The first thing you need to decide is how often you wish to post. If you are working a full-time job and blogging, posting daily on Monday through Friday may not be manageable.
New bloggers should only post one to two times per week until they know their capabilities.
Right now, I am only able to commit to one blog post per week and maintain my freelance writing jobs. I have attempted to post multiple times per week, but that simply isn’t feasible for me right now.
As time goes on, I plan on shifting my focus toward my blog, one step at a time. This means that in future weeks or months, I may decide to write two posts per week.
Until you find a balance, start slow and consistently build your content and blog. Only plan your editorial calendar about a month ahead so that if something isn’t working, you can adjust your schedule.
Create Daily Themes
Once you get a feel for your capabilities and decide to increase your posts to multiple times per week, consider setting a daily theme.
For lifestyle blogs, this is very common, but it can work for any niche. If you plan on posting daily, Monday through Friday, come up with five themes. These can be in a specific category or a type of post.
The following is an example:
- Monday – Weekly Inspirational Post
- Tuesday – Craft Tutorial
- Wednesday – Book Review
- Thursday – Style Post
- Friday – Family Activities for the Weekend
As you can see, this could fit easily into any niche. Simply plan each post on your editorial calendar. You don’t need titles or keywords yet. Just get the idea in writing for now.
Types of Editorial Calendars
There are two types of Editorial Calendars available for bloggers to plan their content. You can purchase or create your own daily planner or you can use a digital one on your computer, smartphone, or in WordPress. There are advantages and disadvantages to both versions.
Tangible Daily Planners
People who are visual tend to prefer a physical daily planner. To be honest, I use both a physical editorial calendar and one via a WordPress plugin. If you are the type of person who likes to visualize your content, the print copy is likely for you.
If you decide to purchase an editorial calendar, it is best to purchase one that is geared toward blogging, like CREATE Blog and Editorial Planner: Create Exceptional Content, Get More Done and Smash Through Your Blogging Goals or the EPIC BLOG: One-Year Editorial Planner. Both of these editorial calendars are created by bloggers, for bloggers.
If you would rather create your own, you can easily DIY one with a printer, hole punch, and binder. There are several downloadable versions available or you can create your own. The drawback to printing your own editorial calendar is that the final cost could be higher than simply purchasing one.
Your third option here is to create your own editorial calendar using a notebook. You could do this using the bullet journal method or simply by drawing out your own calendars and creating lists.
The point here is to do whatever works for you. This is your blog and your calendar.
Digital Editorial Calendars
Digital calendars tend to work best for groups or an individual who is on-the-go and uses multiple devices. Apps or plug-ins on your WordPress site make these editorial calendars very convenient to use. For example, if I am in the checkout at a grocery store and an idea strikes, I can quickly make a note on my editorial calendar and come back to it after I get back to my office.
Whether you are an Apple user or prefer Android or Windows devices, there are no shortages of editorial calendars for bloggers and creatives. Some of these also allow you to collaborate, so they can very useful for teamwork.
For alerts and reminders, I often use my Google Calendar. My Google Calendar is on every device I own, which ensures I won’t miss any notifications. It also gives me the option to have multiple reminders for each event and allows me to choose when I have them.
However, when it comes to planning my content strategy, I use the WordPress Editorial Calendar by Colin Vernon, et al. Once you install this free WordPress plug-in, your calendar will appear under “Posts” in your WordPress dashboard.
I really love this plug-in. It allows me to create post ideas or choose from existing drafts on my blog. When I view the calendar, all I have to do is click on the post link to be taken directly to the post. I actually used it to plan and write this specific post.
The WordPress Editorial Calendar helps me to organize my content on my WordPress site. It couldn’t be more effective or convenient for me.
Additional Benefits of Creating a Content Strategy
If you don’t already have enough reasons to use an editorial calendar as part of your content strategy, the following are a few more.
It Makes Life Easier
By planning your posts, it simplifies the blogging process. You know exactly which post to work on every day and can create a strategy to get what you want out of your blog. No more Post-Its or vague ideas floating around. You know what you need to write.
Your editorial calendar will organize your content and you will be able to plug-in ideas from your most recent brainstorming session. In last week’s post, “How to Come Up with Great Blog Post Ideas for Beginners” I went into detail about how to do this. This post is the next step to taking the stress out of planning your content.
An organized and well-planned blog is more enjoyable for you and will be more successful.
It Makes Marketing a Breeze
If you know which days each post will land on, you can easily use Tailwind, Boardbooster, Hootsuite, and your email marketing service to plan and schedule social posts and emails for your content.
Knowing that this blog post will go live on Monday at 6:00 A.M. EST motivates me to get everything done ahead of time. Once everything is scheduled, I can sleep in until 9:00 or 10:00 and work on my freelance writing with little interruption.
Yes, I will do some live posts and pins during prime hours for each social media platform. However, the rest of my blog is running on auto-pilot and I am free to perform other necessary tasks.
You Must Have a Content Strategy to Succeed
When I first started blogging, I honestly had no clue what I was doing. Does anyone, really? You know how they say hindsight is 20/20? Well, for me that is definitely true.
Not knowing what to write and publishing inconsistently has definitely had negative impacts on my blogs. My point is that I don’t want you to make those mistakes.
If you plan on earning any kind of income from your blog, you must have a strategy. Knowing what you want and how to get there will ensure that your blog is not a big waste of time.
What About You?
Do you have a content strategy or editorial calendar tool that is invaluable to your business? Please share it with us in the contents below.
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