Yesterday I talked a bit about some of my blogging goals for 2012. What I didn’t get into was the detail level.
One of the tools I am implementing to help me meet my 2012 goals is an editorial calendar. Have you tried using one?
What is an editorial calendar?
In case you’re not sure, an editorial calendar is simply a content plan that follow’s a basic publishing schedule. Magazines, for instance, have monthly editorial calendars that start out as a broad list of key topics and eventually evolve into highly detailed outlines of each issue’s content.
Interested in learning what your favorite magazine will be talking about in two months? Check their editorial calendar (this is also a great way to pitch publications, but that’s a story for another day).
Why is an editorial calendar important?
Not only will an editorial calendar help me to remain focused throughout the year (and reduce writers block), it’s also great for sharing with potential partners.
For creatives interested in participating in a guest post, it indicates what type of material may be a good fit for the site. It also shows potential sponsors that the site has a plan and allows them to see where they might best fit in.
How to create an editorial calendar
Editorial calendars do not have to be pretty or overly-complicated. Whatever format works for you, works. I like to use a spreadsheet style format.
- Set aside an hour or two that you will have to focus (isn’t this the most difficult part for most of us?).
- Determine how far out in advance you would like to plan (I prefer to work with six months to a year, but you can work with any amount of time).
- Pull out your notebook or open up your computer and write down as many post ideas as you can come up with.
- Add regular, reoccurring features.
- Organize posts into themes or monthly series.
- Consider seasonal changes and holidays (i.e. New Year’s Resolutions, Wintertime, Spring Cleaning, Graduation, Summer Vacation, Back to School and specific holidays).
- Determine how frequently you’d like to post (be realistic here, you don’t have to post every day, you have to post consistently).
- Begin layering your themes and posts over seasonal events and then schedule to specific dates.
- Utilize a calendaring system. If you’re on WordPress, I’d encourage you to use the Editorial Calendar plugin. It’s great for scheduling posts in advance. If you’re not on WordPress, try the Win Calendar. It’s highly customized and allows you to create calendars for Excel and Word, months in advance and import Google Calendar information as well.
- Determine how much information you want to share with the public and post it!
I have developed an editorial calendar for SNAP! that I will be posting on our “About” page, but I am going to share it with you here first!
So what do you think? Do you like some of the topics we will be covering? I’d love to have you get in touch with me about scheduling a specific guest post if you’re interested.
You can see that my online calendar is pretty basic. I am sharing the topics, but I don’t get into more specific detail – this allows me greater flexibility.
Here’s the thing. As much as I love working online, I still adore paper! For my weekly series and day-to-day calendaring I am using this gorgeous planner from Laurel Denise.
I adore it!
I would love to know what tools you’re utilizing to plan out your blogging, or maybe you just wing it?
Oh, speaking of calendaring and goals…this week’s Twitter #SNAPChat will be all about blogging goals. Join us online Thursday at 10:30 a.m. MST