Look, it’s not easy to just know what to blog about. It’s not like our brains are always functioning with ideas and giving us all the details we want. I mean if your brain is doing that, can I borrow it for a few days? How about we get a little more organized? You know, maybe make a schedule or list to keep your ideas flowing and flushed out. You can control your social media and what days you want to promote. You can have all of this, you truly can.
You have to admit that having a schedule makes life a little easier, yes?
Like, why would it not be helpful to have a schedule or calendar that lists out things that you need to do or put together? If you aren’t too set on things or ready, it might not be as helpful but it can help get you into a good place.
You are truly missing out if you have yet to be introduced to a content calendar — this is what will keep you on track. This will be your blessing in disguise.
A content calendar is amazing. You can call it what you want whether it’s a monthly calendar or editorial calendar, it’s a calendar that has all the things that you need to work on and put out for the month. These things are so handy especially if blogging is something you truly want to focus on. I will preach about a content calendar all day because you need
Why do you need a content calendar?
When you plan ahead, you can figure out how to get things done in a more efficient way.
- You can take down what posts you need to work on.
- You set the date on when posts will go live.
- You can select days and time for promotion.
- You will select the dates you want to post on social media
- You can mark in when you want to do a giveaway.
- You have the option to organize with themes and a focus.
- You can figure out what days you need to take pictures or write.
- And so much more.
This calendar with the help of lists will become your best friend. How do you put together a content calendar, though? How do you select what days work best? Or when you should post on your social media channels? Once you start planning, you’ll start getting learnings that will help you evaluate the calendar that you built and it’ll help you figure out the next steps to improve.
Here is what your content calendar will help you with:
Determine your posting frequency (monthly and weekly)
It’s important that you figure out how much you are going to post throughout the week or month. Set a schedule and make it a habit to stick to the number of times that you are going to post. If you want to post three times a week, MWF, do it and stick to it. You’re going to want to figure out what you can take on — figure out what you have the capacity for and don’t overdo it. Don’t commit to blogging every day if you don’t have the capacity or content to do it. Six to twelve posts a month might not seem like a lot to some but it’s definitely getting up there. Sure, there are people that blog every day but it’s usually their full-time job and if you got it, go do it.
You’ll find that you’ll have an overview of your month as you figure out how much you want and need to post. With a posting cadence, you help your audience know your schedule and when to expect new content. Everyone is being blessed in this case. They can decide if they want to read about blogging on Wednesdays and Beauty on Fridays — they have the sense to keep an eye out for topics they are going to enjoy. Allow your audience to get familiar with your brand and blog through this step.
Focus on categories/themes throughout the week.
Some bloggers have themes when it comes to their blog. I’m talking Motivation Monday and Wisdom Wednesday type themes. These aren’t bad to have and if it helps you commit to your niche then go for it. I don’t necessarily have themes but I can see how they work for people — it helps you not write lifestyle posts for the next three scheduled dates, you can mix it up with lifestyle, career, and beauty when you have themes. If you think this will help you out, think about some themes that you would want to be associated with your brand and add them to your calendar.
My categories are:
These are the topics I focus on the most and I make sure to plan out a cadence so my readers don’t get too much of one theme. I have them color-coded as you can see above and I try to not give too much of one topic but sometimes, I’m on a roll or series with information especially when it comes to blogging and social media management.
In some ways, this will help you be more organized because you can focus on other topics and flush those out before jumping back into the topics that you know so much about.
Write down your ideas and post directions.
There’s nothing worse than having an idea of a post and forgetting about how you wanted to write it because you didn’t write it down or the direction that you were going for. You should always write down your ideas with a few keywords to make sure the topic stays fresh and on track. You don’t want to forget your direction which was amazing in your eyes and end up with something so not… you, you know? You want to make note of your ideas and how you’re going to make it great.
And, make sure that you make time for research especially as you work on your post direction. There is nothing worse than talking about a topic that you have no knowledge about. You should always research a topic you’re going to talk about even if you have studied it before — things get updated and you should mark in your content calendar that you’re going to do research on this day so you can write your post on that day. You literally want to use this like it’s a scheduler because it’s going to get your blogging organized and nothing is ever perfect but you could be quite close to it.
Write out tasks for social media and graphics.
You’ll want to make it your job to make time for creating social graphics and blog graphics for your blog. You’ll need to book time to take pictures and time to edit them. This doesn’t take up too much time depending on how much you edit but you’ll want to give yourself time. Allot time so you can stay on tasks and have all the parts of your blog post together. It’s not a step that you should leave you, you want to include your creative. Your creative should be based on your content and reflect what you’re talking about in some way or format. You want to note that you need to resize or add text to an image — it will help you in the long run.
When we plan for something, we have more of a plan of attack. That’s how I see things. You can plan for all the things that you need to make so that you are lining up photo shoots and getting props together. You can use your editorial calendar to save your ideas for images and pen down the days you want to take pictures and edit your images.
Filling out your content calendar.
First, you can decide if you want this calendar online or in a blogging planner. I know many people take to blogging planners or their own planners— I am one of those people that uses my everyday planner and a Google Sheets document that I created to have everything accessible. My advice when it comes to filling out your content calendar is to start with the ideas and insert post direction from there you can work around the date that you want to publish, the themes, and notes for anything extra that pops up. Utilize your content calendar as a place to store your ideas because you can create something great once you take down a few things here and there about the topic. It’s like a puzzle but an organized way of putting together your puzzle. You have all the pieces, you just are breaking it down and putting it back together.
Here is where you get to decide what your posting schedule is going to look like. You want to fill out the entire thing with your ideas so you can stick to those plans. I feel like this is the best way to stay on task — there will be no days where you have to deal with not knowing what to write about because you have your calendar filled out. It will make your life easier and you will have a schedule.
Okay, so what do I need?
To be completely honest, you don’t need to buy a fancy calendar. But as I work on an eBook for this, I realize that there are many tips out there but we want to keep it brief and to the point.
- Google Sheets/Excel Document/Trello
- Notes on topics and needs
- Categories that you want to include:
- Post Direction
- Social Schedule
- Schedule your tasks within your content calendar.
- Consistency: continue filling out your calendar and giving it your attention.
- Strategy: once you have this strategy in place, you can align your blog objectives.
This isn’t too much that you need on your end and it’s free! Everything is better when it’s free and you should take advantedge of those free opportunities.
Is an editorial calendar worth it?
You know I’m going to say yes. At the end of the day, the last step is to finalize your calendar whether you’re going to commit to a certain topic or be able to get things done in a timely manner. You have to finalize and be able to stick to it. And, if you can’t stick to it, always have a back-up so you aren’t missing out on one of your days. This calendar will help you decide when you need to get everything done.
Creating my editorial calendar has always been an activity I enjoy. It gives me an idea of the flow I want to go with and it helps me stay on track because I will say that every now and then, I get off track. It’s also very useful for social media if you wanted to break off and create a specific social calendar.
If you have any questions or would like my template, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Do you use an editorial calendar? Why or why not?