As a luxury lifestyle magazine editor, I live by my editorial calendar. As a blogger? Well, that’s a different story. I’ll freely admit that I’ve struggled with keeping an editorial calendar for my blog in the past. Blame the creative in me who thinks, “I’ll just write when I’m inspired!” Gah.
Unfortunately, there’s not a little conveyor belt of brilliant ideas churning out of me 24/7. So when it comes to my blogging clients (and my blogs, too) I treat them just like I do with the magazine I run: with an awesome editorial calendar in place. It’s a small but mighty piece of the puzzle which will alleviate so much blogging stress from your life. Problems like:
- I don’t know what to write about
- I don’t know if my blogging efforts are even working
- I can’t seem to stay consistent with my blogging
and even the BIG one you may not say outloud…
I really hate blogging and just want to quit already!
If you stick to and adopt an editorial calendar, you won’t have these problems anymore. An editorial calendar will let you see the bigger picture so you can plan for holidays, promotions and for days when you’re just lacking inspiration.
Here’s how to create an editorial calendar for beautiful blogging bliss.
How to Create an Editorial Calendar For Your Blog
Check the Calendar
First thing’s first, check your calendar. Then, ask yourself these questions:
- Are there any upcoming holidays I should blog around?
- Are there any upcoming promotions/events I have that could use a push?
- Am I launching something in the next few months that I need to promote?
- Are there any “smaller” holidays to acknowledge? Like “National Hairstyle Appreciation Day”
Start slotting these blog post ideas into your editorial calendar. I use CoSchedule within WordPress to see things at a glance. You don’t have to start drafting the post yet, just draft the working title and pop it into CoSchedule!
Don’t Forget: If you have a marketing calendar already, be sure your blogging is supporting those milestones and goals.
Browse the Blog Bank
I have a running list of blog post ideas I keep in Evernote, I essentially use this as my “brain dump” since it’s a digital tool that syncs across all devices. When I’m planning my editorial calendar, Evernote is the next place I go.
Create Theme Days
If you don’t already have theme days for your blog, I highly recommend you consider it! Theme days are simply a recurring meme you do on your blog, like Friday Faves where you would roundup some of your favorite products of the week in a collage. Theme days can really help take the guesswork out of filling out your editorial calendar and give your readers something familiar to look forward to. (For more on blog theme days check out this post.)
Consider a Series
Are there any blog post ideas you’ve written that sound pretty similar? Look closely and see if there’s potential to create a series around them. This especially makes sense if you’re trying to tackle a larger, complicated topic. See if it can be broken down into smaller chunks and you may just have a small blog series on your hands!
One fashion post on spring cleaning, for example, can easily be turned into several:
- Spring Clean Your Closet
- Spring Clean Your Makeup
- Spring Clean Your Underwear Drawer
Survey Your Audience
Still need some blog post ideas? It’s time to survey your audience! After all, the purpose of blogging is to engage your current audience and attract other ideal clients, so who better than them to let you know what they’d like to read more about!
You can survey your audience with a quick email or status update. I also like to keep a running list of FAQs in my blog bank of ideas to refer back to later and use as potential blog posts.
While it’s great to have an editorial calendar, I don’t believe in planning content 12 months out. Why? Because you should be sitting down to review what’s working, and what’s not, at least on a quarterly basis. I do this by logging into Google Analytics and Pinterest to determine what posts are performing the best and what keywords are bringing readers into my site. This is also a wonderful place to get even more blog post ideas! Here’s how:
Sit down with a list of your top performing posts and brainstorm blog post ideas that are related to or would support those posts. One of my top performing posts on my lifestyle blog, for example, is my review on Trunk Club for Women. For additional ideas that support that, I can draft posts like:
- Top Tips on Using Trunk Club for Women
- Trunk Club for Women Competitors: My Experience with Stitch Fix
- Trunk Club for Women Review: My 2nd & 3rd Trunk
You can do the same with your keywords. What are some other posts you can write that support those popular posts?
If you’re doing all of the above, you should have plenty of fabulous blog post ideas. But if you need even more, spend some time reading and get inspired! I find ideas on Pinterest, other blogs, online magazine and websites that are relevant to my audience. That last bit is the key though, you really have to think about where your audience is spending time online and what they like. If my audience isn’t into wakeboarding, there’s no point spending my time researching that topic in hopes for blogging inspiration.
With this list, you should be well on your way to plenty of blog post ideas for your editorial calendar! Curious about what else you should include in your editorial calendar? Head on over to part 2 of this series here.
I hope you’ve found this list helpful to start planning your posts! How do you create your editorial calendar?
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