Best blog planning tool, Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar:

You’ve heard of it, but what is it, and how can it help you? After all the last thing you need is something else to do or maintain. But what if picking up this extra tool could actually save you time and steps when you blog?

An editorial calendar is simply a way of planning out your blog content over a period of several weeks to several months, but using this tool can do much more.

Creating your editorial calendar can be as simple or detailed as you’d like it to be. Just like most things, the more you put into it, the more it will help you. If you like to plan, you can go all out with an editorial calendar, but if you don’t, you can make it a very basic planning tool. Either way, an editorial calendar can save you time, confusion and even procrastination around your blog.

When thinking about the next one, two or even six months in your business, what do you have planned? Where are you taking your business? Are there any new services that you are coming up with, programs or promotions? Things like this can all be thought of as blog topics and planned ahead of time on your editorial calendar.

What does it look like

An editorial calendar can be created in word or google docs using a chart, or a spreadsheet in excel or google sheets. I personally like to use a spreadsheet. It gives me a lot of options and helps me keep everything organized in the order that I like to see it.

Here’s how I created my personal editorial calendar using the spreadsheet feature in Google sheets, you can use this as a guideline to create your own, or you can choose the components you like to simplify and add more as you get more advanced in your planning.

I started by creating a top row that lists the following:

Month: In this column I listed each month for the next six months, and left four rows in between months because I blog weekly. If you blog biweekly or monthly, you will want to leave only two for bimonthly blogging or one row for monthly blogging. However if you plan to guest blog in any particular month, you can leave an extra row for that as well. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be done perfectly all at once, it’s easy to add in rows as you develop your calendar but adding in a few rows is a good start.

Date: Seems like a good place to start, right? In this column I filled in the date I want each of my blogs to be published. I went ahead and filled in the date for the next six months

Events: Next to the dates column I add one titled “Events”. This column is used to add in any special events in life or business, holidays, seasons, anniversaries and birthdays I might want to include or use to inspire a blog topic. I also use this column to add my “vacation” time so I know in advance when I need to have a blog done before I go on vacation.

Tip: Vacation events can always inspire blog ideas too!

Topic: The next column will be my Topic. You can come back to this later when you see the layout of your calendar. When you see your editorial calendar completed, will begin to make more sense and inspire you for topic ideas.

Reference: I use this column for notes, ideas and links to things I want to refer to in my blog, or even links I want to use as research as I write my blog. It’s a helpful little column to keep everything organized in one place so I don’t need to go searching all over for my ideas.

Categories: If you have categories set up in your blog, this is where you would place this so you don’t forget to check them off before you publish.

Promotional: Are you planning a promotion? A special? A launch? In this column you’ll want to keep track of that information so you can use your blogs to promote those things. This has been very helpful for me!

Key Words: This is a nifty little column to keep your key words in. This column can develop over time as you can refer to previous blogs keywords and pick out your most popular ones.

Click to tweet: If you use the click to tweet plug-in this column can be a great place to store your short blurbs for your blog and have them ready to go in advance.

Social Media: After your blog is published I highly suggest promoting it across your social media platforms. I personally use twitter and facebook the most so I will pre-write 2 or three posts that go along with my blog so they are ready to schedule. I also use a link shortener for my blog so that I can enter that right after the post I’ve written. This helps save so much time when getting everything done and out there!

Setting up your editorial calendar will take you some time. But you’ll be so happy you did this, and scheduled some time to spend in it on a regular basis to plan out your blog content. It will save you so much time and hassle, stress, frustration, questions about what do I write.. (should I go on?) This has been a fabulous time saver for me and I know if you implement this tool into your blogging practice, it will save you time too!

If you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to set all this up”, I understand. You can get a free template that I’ve created by simply sending me an email at teri [at] terismart [dot] com with: Editorial Calendar in the subject line to let me know you want it and I’ll send it over asap!

Let me know in the comments, how you plan to implement your own editorial calendar?

Teri Smart