blog strategy: using an editorial calendar {part 2}

Last week we began discussing how an editorial calendar is a key component in both managing the content as well as developing the focus for your blog. I hope you had time to consider the five questions I presented last week as a foundation for building your editorial calendar. This week, I’ll be sharing with you specific resources and suggestions for building your editorial calendar.

using an editorial calendar {part 2} -

The editorial calendar helps you create
a big picture view of your message and brand.

Here are some basic steps in developing your editorial calendar.

  1. Determine how many times you plan to post per month.
  2. Identify the primary topics and themes of your posts.
  3. List all other sites you write for and add those dates into your calendar.
  4. Write the topic or general idea for posts into your editorial calendar.

Other suggestions for building your plan include writing on specific topics on designated days of the week. For example, Julie Sanders hosts Marriage Mondays.  Each Monday she writes {or has a guest post} on the topic of marriage. If you participate in any memes or link ups, you will want to make note of that on your calendar. Putting a Five Minute Friday post in draft can help you remember to check for Lisa-Jo’s prompt on Thursday nights.

If you have written a book or have other products available for sale, it is a good idea to schedule posts highlighting them. These do not have to be “buy my book” posts but can relate to the topic of your book, etc. For example, I write a parenting post almost every week for a link up. It would probably be wise for me to include a little information about Parenting from the Overflow at the end of those posts.

Those who are affiliates for companies or products can schedule posts to promote. These can be similar to the posts explained above or more direct sale type posts. I am a Dayspring affiliate and periodically I write posts highlighting specific sales or products I find useful. But I also try to remember to include affiliate links to companies like Dayspring and Amazon in other posts I write as appropriate. {Just be sure to disclose properly!}

A final suggestion for developing your editorial calendar is this:  Don’t feel totally bound to it! It can take a few months to find a rhythm for posting and scheduling that fits your personality and writing style. Remember, you are the boss of the editorial calendar not the other way around!

I found several great examples of editorial calendars on this Pinterest board. If you are a visual person, check these out. Also, HubSpot offers a free Excel template for building your calendar if you enjoy playing with spreadsheets. For my personal blog schedule, I use the WordPress Editorial Calendar plug-in. I love it and highly recommend it. Some of the other tools used by contributor blogs I am a part of include Google Calendar and Basecamp. One site simply creates a file for our Facebook group.  Clearly, there is no right or wrong way. The key is finding a system you can {and will!} use.  

Just out of curiosity, do you plan your blog posts in advance or are you a write it as it comes type person?

For those who are interested in more information about developing an editorial calendar, here are two more posts that might be helpful.



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