How to Create and Maintain a Blogging Editorial Calendar
Blogging is all fun and games until you run out of ideas to blog about.
We’ve all been there! You write so many killer blog posts. It is not surprising that all your kick-ass ideas will start to slowly run out.
And before you know, it’s a Monday. And you have a blog post scheduled to go live tomorrow. And yet you still don’t know what to write about.
Yep… You’ve got Blogger’s Block.
Don’t stress out about it. You’re not alone!
And you can beat this! You can continue to create great content week after week, as long as you have a blogging editorial calendar to help you along the way.
Stop waking up and questioning what you will write about. And start planning ahead today!
Why do I need an editorial calendar?
If you want to be a successful blogger (and I’m guessing that you do), then you need an editorial calendar! No doubt about. You just do… believe me.
There are many benefits to having an editorial calendar. And without it, you can expect your blog to stay in the same place. It will not grow. It will not advance. And it will not become a success.
Don’t believe me yet? Let’s take a deeper look at some of the benefits.
It helps with organization
Life can be a little messy. We have so much to focus on from our personal life, work life, and even blog life. When you throw it all together, there is not enough time in the day to get done what needs to be done. The last thing you want is to go to bed on a Sunday already worrying about what to write on Monday morning.
If you have an editorial calendar, you don’t have to worry about it! You already know what you need to write about for your next blog post. Or even what you will write about in 2 weeks. It is all planned for you, down to the references you need and the date it will launch.
An editorial calendar is needed to add some much-needed organization to your blog!
It helps to establish your blog’s niche
You need to establish your blog’s niche. If you write about training your dog for 3 weeks, and then randomly share your favorite makeup products, you will confuse your audience. And you will lose that audience.
You need to establish yourself as an expert in something. So find a niche and stick with it!
With your editorial calendar, you can create a plan to stick with the niche of dog training. Maybe one week you could discuss Simple Puppy Training Tricks for Beginners. And then the next you talk about Advanced Dog Training for Older Dogs.
Whatever niche you want to focus on, there are many smaller topics that can help to break down your niche.
An editorial calendar helps to ensure that you have enough to write about! If your niche is too small, think about looking at the bigger picture, and then break it down into a few subcategories.
It helps to maintain an engaged audience
This might not seem true, but it is! When you establish consistency, your audience will notice.
Let’s say you post every Monday and Thursday. After you do this consistently for a while, your audience will know when to go back to your blog to read more!
Plus, your audience knows exactly what to expect. People don’t like surprises. We are creatures of habit. So if your audience likes to wake up on Friday mornings and read your Thursday blog post, don’t disappoint them!
An editorial calendar helps you to maintain a blogging schedule that will not disappoint your audience. Leaving them coming back for more every time you post!
I share a new blog post every Tuesday. So there are no crazy surprises here at The Content Bug.
Now let’s take a look at how you can create your own editorial calendar. And most importantly, how you can maintain it.
But, unlike other posts about blogging editorial calendars, you will not find a free template in this post. And if you were expecting that, then I’m sorry! But you should never use a free editorial calendar template for your blog. Just don’t do it!
Your blog is one of a kind. And so are you. You will not find a “one-size-fits-all” editorial calendar that fits your blog perfectly. You need to create one that works for you!
So stay with me and I’ll give you a sneak peak at my blogging editorial calendar. Plus tips and tricks on how to create and maintain your own!
How to create an editorial calendar
Creating a blogging editorial calendar doesn’t have to be a hard task. You can create one in an hour if you put your mind to it.
But here is my pro tip. And I know that I am repeating myself. But you need this drilled into your pretty little mind!
DO NOT go and download someone’s template. I know templates are great and they save us a lot of time. But they are not set up specifically for your blog!
You need to remember, that your blog is unique. And that you are one of a kind. There is no one-size-fits-all editorial calendar out there. Because every blogger is different! So take some time and create a content calendar that works for you and your blog.
Establish a structure
The structure of your editorial calendar will determine your success with it. If you hate the structure, and it is not helpful to your blog, then you won’t stick with it!
So come up with a structure that fits your style and thought process.
Take a look at mine. I like to use GoogleDocs. That way it is always easily accessible no matter what device I am on.
Shhhh… Now you have the inside scoop on what I’m planning for the rest of March.
And I have all my calendars and sheets set up in the exact same way. So if I look at my to-do list, and then jump to my editorial calendar, it all flows nicely and works together.
So if you already have some sheets set up for your blog, try to set up your editorial calendar in the same format. Even if it is just the same color header. It will allow your thoughts to flow easily from one sheet to the next.
Things to Consider
1. How often do you plan to post
How many posts do you want to publish each week? And when will you share those posts?
This is the basic bones of your editorial calendar. If you don’t know this, then you are setting yourself up to fail. Pick the number of posts you want to share each week, and then create a calendar that sticks to that!
2. What are the subcategories to your blog’s niche
Don’t just focus on the main topic! You need to break it down into subcategories!
So my main topic for my blog is blogging. Simple enough, right?
I want to help other bloggers make a successful blogging career with digital marketing best practices that mainly only the people in the digital marketing industry know. With a special focus on content, of course.
But when I write all my blog posts they are broken down into subcategories.
This makes for easy organization on my site so my audience can find exactly what they are looking for!
So come up with 3 or 4 different subcategories to your blog. You will then create blog post ideas around those.
Pro tip: make sure you don’t write about just 1 subcategory each week. Instead, create a cycle so each category has an equal number of posts.
3. What is important to know about each post
In my editorial calendar, I include the keywords for the article, the title, the category, the website link, what articles I referenced, the date it will launch, and if it is complete or not. And of course, there is an extra section for notes.
But this is my preference. Everyone is different and needs to include different sections that they want to know about each post.
Maybe you want to know the 3 main points of the blog post. Then you need to add a section for that. Or maybe you have guest posting and you need to make sure you know the author. Then you need to add a section for that.
Feel free to add as many different areas that you need. As long as the editorial calendar makes sense to you.
Remember to plan ahead
I like to break my content calendar down month by month. At the end of the previous month, I will sit down and brainstorm some ideas for the next month’s posts. This is a life saver for me if I wake up and don’t feel inspired to write.
Planning ahead allows me to write even when I don’t want to write. Or even if I’m not inspired to write. Because I have the idea already laid out for me. I just have to do it.
So try to break your blogging editorial calendar down. If you start planning content for the whole year, you will get overwhelmed. And worse, you won’t stay up to date on trends because you are writing about things you thought of 6 months ago.
And don’t plan it week by week, because that is too easy to fall behind the curve. Try to stick with a month by month planning! It will work best for you and your blog.
How to maintain an editorial calendar
It is one thing to create an editorial calendar, but it is another to maintain it!
If you do not keep up with your calendar, then all the time you spent creating it was a waste. And now you are back to square one.
So try to maintain it to the best of your ability, okay?
I’m not talking about stretching. I’m still talking about your editorial calendar!
Some people will beat themselves up if they don’t follow their calendar 100%. This is just like a diet. You have that one “cheat day” and then your whole diet plan goes to heck!
You can’t think like this! You need a little flexibility in your plan because you are human. And things happen.
So if you don’t follow your editorial calendar to a T, don’t stress out! Your editorial calendar is the outline of the plan. If you feel passionate about a different blog post that wasn’t on the schedule, write about it anyways! And then come back to your calendar and rearrange a few days, so it still holds true.
Remember to plan a little wiggle room! And stop stressing out.
Stick to it!
No matter what you do, always remember to stick to it!
I need my editorial calendar before I write, while I write, and after I publish a blog post! There are a lot of elements that I like to keep track of. But this also helps me to always look at my calendar.
You need to remember that this is the backbone to your blog. Because without your content, there would be nothing new and exciting for your audience to come back to. So stick with your editorial calendar, and your audience will stick with you.
Now go! Get on your way and start to create that one of a kind editorial calendar! I’m sure it will be amazing 🙂
What does your blogging editorial calendar look like? Let me know in the comments below!
Why, hello there! I’m Cathrin, the creator of The Content Bug. But since we are already virtual best friends, you can call me Cath. After working in the digital marketing industry, I decided it was time to share my love for online content creation, social media, and SEO with the everyday hustlers of the world… like YOU! You can almost always find me at a local coffee shop writing, reading and working on new things for The Content Bug. But when I have some free time, I love hanging out with my dog, going to a yoga class, and being outside. Stay connected with me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter to see what I’m up to!