How to create an editorial calendar for your blog
“What am I going to write about today?” How many times have you sat down in front of a blank screen and asked yourself this question?
You’re not alone.
One of the biggest problems that bloggers face is planning and creating amazing content on a regular basis.
It’s understandable, though. If you’re a small business owner or a blogger, you’re most likely doing everything yourself. You’re your own blogger and content creator, social media manager, graphic designer, marketer and more.
So finding the time to plan your content for a whole month, or even a week, can be a challenge.
But do you know the one thing that separates popular, authoritative blogs that people devour, share and keep coming back to from regular blogs that readers visit every now and then?
A great way to plan your blog content is to create an editorial calendar, one that you stick to.
So how do you go about creating a content calendar for your blog? And what tools can you use to make the process simpler? Read on to find out.
What is a blog editorial calendar?
A blog editorial calendar is used to plan, schedule and organise content. But it’s not just a list of titles and dates. It’s essential because you get to populate it with topics and ideas that speak to every stage of the buyer’s journey.
In addition, it gives you the opportunity to add search engine optimisation (SEO) targets to your calendar so you can create content that ranks well in the search engine results for specific keywords that are relevant to your business and industry.
So, for example, if you’re a plumber, you don’t just want to rank high in Google when people search for “plumber in London”. You also want to show up at the top of the search results when people run a search for “how to fix a drippy kitchen tap”. That’s how prospective customers find out about your business and what problems you can help solve for them.
Bottom line: a solid editorial calendar ensures that your blog content strategy is focused and will never again include a shot-in-the-dark piece of content.
Can you show me an example?
We certainly can!
Here’s a quick glimpse at two calendars so you get an idea of what elements you can include:
You can find lots more examples in this list of editorial calendar templates.
As you can see from the examples above, there are different things you can include in your calendar. Depending on your objectives and needs, here are a few elements you might need:
- Topic or title
- Due date
- Publish date
- Targeted keyword
- Target audience
- Call to action
- Related links
- Distribution channels
Why should I use it?
Because “winging it” won’t ever get you the results you want.
If you don’t have a plan, you’ll end up wasting time and energy you could be spending writing or promoting your blog posts.
When you use a blog calendar, it makes it so much easier to plan the content you’ll be writing in the future – whether it’s a week, a month or however far ahead you wish to plan.
In addition, a calendar allows you to get organised and to think strategically about the blog articles you’ll create. You can plan content around major holidays, specific solutions that you’d like to promote or keywords and terms that you want to rank higher for. In other words, you’ll be able to give each blog post a clear purpose or objective.
Creating your blog content calendar
The first thing you need to do when planning your editorial calendar is to think about what your goals or objectives are for your blog.
Are you looking to position yourself as an authority within your field? Do you want to offer valuable information that connects with a specific audience?
Define your blog objectives so that each blog post you write has a purpose and is ultimately inching you toward your objectives.
From there, think about what topics and content can help you to achieve your goals. For example, when you’re brainstorming ideas, ask yourself:
- What questions are top of mind for my potential customers and how can I help answer them?
- What helpful advice, information and data can I provide to help solve my prospects’ specific problems and pain points?
- Which buyer personas should I focus on this month and what useful information can I provide to gain their trust or entice them to buy from me? Not familiar with buyer personas? This article explains why they’re important and how to create your buyer personas.
- Which keywords do I want to target with content this month? Is there a keyword or keyword phrase that I’d like to rank higher for in the search engine results? If you’re not sure which keywords to target, you can get some good ideas by reading our guide on keyword research.
- Are there any objectives that I need to create fresh content for, such as a product release, a case study, a webinar or an event?
If you don’t know what to write about on your blog, this article includes some great tips and advice on how to keep coming up with blog content ideas now and in the future.
Next, create a list of topics and then think about the days you’d like to publish your blog posts. Look at your social media insights and at your Google Analytics to see if there are any patterns that can help you to identify a few dates and times where your following is most engaged with your content.
Don’t forget to review your content’s performance along the way to see which types of posts get the most engagement. You can then revise your editorial calendar as you go to create more content that your audience wants to read. Our free course on understanding your visitors explains how to use Google Analytics to learn more about how well your content is performing.
Tools you can use to create and manage your editorial calendar
There are lots of tools you can use to plan your editorial calendar, but the right fit for you will depend on your unique needs.
The most popular ones that we’d recommend using are Google Sheets and Trello.
Google Sheets is a free tool that’s perfect for editorial-calendar planning. Start by choosing a template from the collection and then populate it with your blog topics, deadlines, target keywords and audience, and more.
You can easily customise the spreadsheets as you see fit. In addition, you can set due dates that sync up with your Google Calendar.
Trello is a fantastic tool to help keep you organised, and it’s one of our favourites. It’s free and very easy to use. All you need to do is to create your boards and then drag and drop ideas for your editorial calendar into different lists.
Now that you know why a blog editorial calendar is important and how to create yours, it’s time to get started. Get your template together and start planning your blog content for the week or, why not, the month. With a plan in place, you’ll never have to stare at a blank screen again!