Blog Editorial Calendar – From Blog Ideas into Reality
Content is at the core of every blog. Without it, could you even imagine a blog?
The problem is, most people don’t spend enough time to plan for blog content, let alone writing it.
A lot of bloggers struggle with writing — as a whole process. From idea generation to content outline and actually writing. All of them seem to be a burden. Forget about doing it every day.
As I think about it, this is the point when natural selection kicks in. Only the strongest blogs survive. The cream of the crop, if you will.
Surviving in Competitive Market
If you look around, almost in any niche, you will find a few very strong competitions. Without a better strategy, there is no chance you can survive, let alone take over a larger piece of the market pie.
I got an email every so often from readers of this blog.
They setup a blog, wrote and posted a few reviews around very popular products. Now they are struggling with traffic, so they run to me asking for advice. As if I have the key to the dam, of which I can unleash and flood their blog with traffic immediately.
I wish I could, but alas… that’s not how it works.
Every blogger who wants to stay competitive in their market should focus on three things:
- High quality content. Content is still the building blocks of every blog and will always be.
- Blog exposure through promotion. There are many ways to generate traffic to your blog and grow it.
- Build relationships. With your readers and other bloggers. Networking will extend your reachability.
In this post, I’m going to focus on the first point. Building content should be part of every blogger’s routine. It is not only to generate content for your blog, but also useful for getting the words out about your blog.
The Obsolete Method – How I Did It
As you probably already know if you read this blog, I am a firm believer in strategic planning, so I do have content plan for every one of my blogs.
Here’s how I did (and still do) it. I divide keywords into multiple silos. Each silo has its own hierarchy. At the top of every hierarchy is the home page of the blog.
I also keep a notebook — software based — for blog ideas. I have a bunch of them. As an idea person, I usually have far more ideas than I have time to write and implement them all
Each time I’m about to blog, I will pick a keyword from the list and then start brainstorming for content ideas. I refer to the notebook to see if there’s a match.
While it keeps my posts organized, by no means it is easy. Sometimes I need to spend an hour just to come up with the right topic to write for that keyword. That’s really time consuming. No wonder that becomes a stumbling block for me at times.
You see, it is easy to write when you don’t care about keywords. I can just pick an idea out of the notebook. Or get anything out of my head into written words. If blogging is entirely about posting random thoughts then I’m a happy camper.
But when you have to wander around when you have only an hour to write, soon you will find out that when you are finally ready to write, things just won’t flow.
There should be a better way. This is when the idea of blog editorial calendar came into fruition.
Blog Editorial Calendar in a Nutshell
An editorial calendar for a blog is designed to extend the function of a keyword list. It helps you become more organized. You will never wonder again which topic to post and in which category it should be. Moreover, you can use it as an idea bucket.
You can pour in as much detail as you wish into the calendar. If you have time, you can even start creating an outline for the topic idea so the next time you want to write about it, you know exactly what to write.
Talking about eliminating the writer’s block, that certainly helps, doesn’t it?
Combine this powerful tool with blog scheduling. You will be able to write a month worth of content upfront and queue your posts with your blog software.
This is useful when you take a vacation or for some reasons you just can’t blog.
How to Use a Blog Editorial Calendar
As how a calendar usually formatted, the top of the row is days of the week.
Each row represents a week in the year.
Now how you create your editorial calendar is up to you. You may vary the blog content format by the days of the week, or you can use each day to target a different category of the blog in rotation.
If you decide to take a few days off, you should mark the category heading as such. That reminds you not to put anything under the column in the row.
Most likely you will have more blog categories than days in a week (plus off days), so you may put more than one category or keyword in the category row.
You may as well end up with two categories or more in one day but less in other days. For that, you need to plan and consider the weight of the topic. If it requires more work to produce content related to the category, you should leave it alone and move the other categories to another day.
In each cell in the corresponding week, fill it with a keyword and perhaps the draft version of the post title. If you use notetaking software that allows you to link to a specific section of the note directly, you can make use of that feature to link to various links, content ideas and even outline for the post.
Otherwise the Notes tab will be useful for you. You can enter the keyword in the cell and then use a new worksheet for notetaking. Repeat the keyword in the first column of the Notes worksheet so you can locate it easily with the search or sort function.
Let’s assume that one of your blog categories is interview. If so, in the cell you should put the name of the candidate / interviewee and track the correspondence to setup the interview for that day in the Notes sheet of the spreadsheet. Plan ahead with this.
As a calendar, you neet to have an idea about what’s coming and plan accordingly.
When it is time to write a post, just refer to that day and the corresponding notes as the basis to create your post. If for one reason or another you can’t finish the post, move the idea to the next available date. Perhaps you also want to work on the weekend to catch the schedule.
If you’d like to document and track your progress, also type down the reason why you cannot blog today, and maybe highlight it with a colored font. It’s up to your creativity to put this into use.
Download Your Blog Editorial Calendar
Currently the Blog Editorial Calendar is available in Google Spreadsheet format.
You can view the page without even signing in, for which you can only export to various spreadsheet formats, such as Microsoft Excel, Open Office, etc., including plain text and HTML formats.
If you log into your Google Account, you will be able to access the item Create a copy from the File menu. This will save a copy of the document in your Google Documents account.
Once you have a copy saved to your Google Docs or locally, you can start playing with it as you wish. The only thing you can’t do is, of course, you can’t modify the original version.
Stick to the Schedule
Find the time to work on the blog editorial calendar. You don’t have to complete a year full of content plan in one sitting. Your blog is not a magazine so there is no need to show it to the public.
You can always go ahead and plan for the next month and go back for the next month later. Of course, if you have ideas for certain blog topic, it is considered good practice to jot them down and perhaps plan for future writing and publishing as you have them.
With predictable content schedules your readers will begin to expect the same content topic from your feed regularly. That builds anticipation, which in turn will engage your readers in a way that you may not imagine before.
Regular content also gives you an advantage in search engine perspective. You also turn your blog into professional publishing channel that people can come back to repeatedly.
Add focused traffic strategies to it and there is nothing that will stop you from growing your traffic.
With complete content plan, you are also more likely to turn your blog ideas into reality.
In other words, Blog Editorial Calendar is a superb way to organize your blogging effort and keep your content production experience smooth and pleasing.
Return to Blog Content – How to Write Great Content and Where to Get Them.
Return to Blog Tips for a Better Blog — Blog Building University.