I’m away from technology for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging. So for 14 days, I’m issuing you some homework. That’s right — you get to work while I get to relax. You can follow all of the assignments here. If you have questions, feel free to post in the comments…It may take me a while to respond, but I’ll be reading everything when I return!
Over the 14 days, I’m going to assign you some tasks that I think will help you streamline, organize, market and ENJOY your blog a little more. For the first five assignments, you’ll be asked to review your blog itself. You’ll get the weekend off, then five more assignments that are focused on helping you build your readership and social media community.
For years and years, I kept a thick journal full of notes about homework, shopping lists, calendar items and more. I used different colors for different items, used sticky notes to separate sections and lived and died with that book.
Only recently have I taken that journal and moved it online, with a combination of Google Calendar and an Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress. It’s made me a much better blogger (and it’s helped keep me sane!).
And even if you’re a lifecaster — sharing your daily comings and goings — I think that having a system to organize your posts can really help!
- If you know that you’re going to an event, or have a holiday or other celebration coming up, a calendar helps prevent the “oh my gosh” moment you may experience if the date sneaks up on you. You can find old photos, get links, write a post and save it as a draft for editing and review, etc.
Research and get opinions before posting
- This is probably the biggest reason that I use editorial calendars. If I’m reviewing a new tool, or want to bring up an issue for debate, I’m able to take some time and collect information, get links from others, ask questions on Twitter and more. Let’s say I have a post on Thursday that I want to crowdsource. I can ask the question on Monday and Tuesday and have lots of great content to add to my own thougts. (see http://katywidrick.com/2011/06/28/how-to-display-tweets-in-blog-posts/)
- I wish more bloggers would write, walk away, and come back for review. Rushing posts out leads to bad grammar, typos, broken links, bad story-telling and more. We all do it — but the more time we take to proofread our own content, the better. Having a calendar allows you to have a better sense of what posts may need some extra time for review. I love to work ahead on weekends — I start a lot of my posts for the weekend on Sunday, then go back and add to them or edit for content before hitting publish.
Let readers know what to expect
- Your editorial calendar can be totally private, and just for your organizational use. But, it can also be a great schedule to post for your readers, so they know what to expect (and love coming back to get it). For example — perhaps you post a new recipe every Monday, and a new playlist on Wednesday, and a Five for Friday post (ahem) on Friday. Sharing that editorial calendar can not only help your readers feel like they know you, they can also help brands and organizations/advertisers that may be interested in working with you or providing products.
Homework is assigned — now go get to work!