This Just In

How to Use an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

(Just a quick FYI: this is not a sponsored post. I am paying, and happily so, for the CoSchedule tool I mention in this post. However, I will get a discount on my monthly fee for sharing this review. I had already started the post before I learned about the referral program, because I’m that happy with how it’s helped my blogging process. But if you do click this link and sign up for a free trial, I’ll get an additional credit toward my account. It’s a win-win. But I always disclose, so there you go.)

Editorial Calendar

My poor social media and blogging clients are probably so sick of hearing this. But truly, I believe that if you want to:

  • get more readers/followers
  • get more page views
  • make more money

An editorial calendar is your most important tool.

{Obviously if those aren’t your goals, and you just want to blog for blogging’s sake, or to keep a journal, this step is NOT a requirement and may actually make blogging less fun. That’s totally OK!}

So, what is an editorial calendar? How does it work? What does it look like?

A lot of that depends on you and your individual blog.

But in general, an editorial calendar:

  • helps you organize your topics, posts and publishing frequency
  • helps your readers know when to come back for new information on ongoing categories and topics
  • can be a great selling point for working with brands and/or making money from your work
  • helps you focus when you’re not sure where to start or what to write about
  • make sure that you meet deadlines (especially when juggling multiple clients or sponsored posts)

How to create a blogging editorial calendar

These calendars can be date based — say, a Meatless Monday, Workout Wednesday, Fit Tip Friday, which can help you follow a specific schedule (and can be very helpful as you’re brainstorming upcoming posts). They can be around special events for your vertical — Spring Cleaning, Winter Holiday Shopping, etc. Or they can follow no strict plan and just help you organize the many ideas that come to you as a blogger.

I have tried several free editorial calendar strategies, and they all work (so if you’re starting to test this out and want to know if it will work for you long-term, try one for a while and see how it feels):

  • the free Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress (it’s VERY good)
  • Google Calendar
  • as soon as you brainstorm a post, create a draft and start working on your notes, graphics, etc.
  • paper and pen! cheapie month-at-a-glance calendars are great for this

I’ve started using a premium tool (as in, you pay a monthly fee) for my own editorial calendar, and I easily justify the expense. It’s called CoSchedule, and it works the same way as the free editorial calendar plugin linked above BUT it has additional features:

  • team assignments (you can invite multiple authors/collaborators to one dashboard so you can keep track of their work, deadlines, etc.)
  • social scheduling (right from the post dashboard, you can add social messages that are specific to Facebook pages, Facebook groups, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and you can preview what they’ll look like; you can also schedule multiple messages so this one, for example, will be scheduled to post immediately after I hit publish, 7 days from now, 30 days from now, etc.)
  • when you drag your blog post to a new date — let’s say you decided to push it back by a week —  the social messages that you’ve scheduled go with it automatically

(These images are from CoSchedule because I have only been using it for two weeks and don’t have great visuals to show how much you can really use it.)

This 2:00 video explains more:

I like the tool so much, in fact, that I’ve recommended that our office start using it (we’re making some big changes to the website and this collaborative plugin will really help).

CoSchedule is $10 a month and integrates with all major social platforms including WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Buffer, and Google+ Pages.

OK, back to working on my upcoming posts. Happy scheduling! 

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