Time for Day 2 of this 8-part series on blogging. Yesterday, I shared why bloggers should create a niche for their blogs. Today, I'm going to cover one of the more important tools a blogger can pair with that niche: the editorial calendar.
Craft an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog
Even with my background in publishing, I didn't immediately see the value of crafting an editorial calendar for my blogs. In the beginning, creating new posts can be easy. Heck, sometimes it can be nearly addicting, but eventually the shine wears off and the ideas aren't as easy to generate. At times like these, a blog can be in real jeopardy.
Consistency in posts is one of the keys to success for blogs in the beginning. When bloggers are trying to establish themselves, they need consistent quality posts, and an editorial calendar helps bloggers deliver on this.
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How Do I Craft an Editorial Calendar?
An editorial calendar is an effective tool, but it's not super complicated. At least, it doesn't have to be. Many bloggers use a simple spreadsheet with dates and subjects. Heck, I tend to favor pen and paper.
Here are the main elements you need:
- Dates for posting. In your editorial calendar, you get to decide if you're going to post monthly, weekly, daily, or on some other schedule. For my Poetic Asides blog, I often shoot for 3-4 posts per week except for April and November when I go daily.
- Subject for the post. Just as your blog needs a niche, each post needs a focus. The more detailed you can make this focus on your editorial calendar the better. If you can get your post title on the editorial calendar, then that's the best.
- Spot for future ideas. I'm an ideas person. Some of my ideas start off fully formed; some are still kind of half-baked. A good editorial calendar provides you with the flexibility to keep both types of ideas.
Want to get advanced? Make a column for analytics. Keep track of unique visitors, clicks, and monetization (if you've made it to that point yet). Like I said, this is advanced, but in the beginning you just need something that collects your ideas for you.
In a way, it's a tool to prevent blogger's block. Plus, it keeps your blog sharp and focused, which benefits your readers and ultimately helps you find more blogging success.
By the way, by looking at my editorial calendar, I know tomorrow's post is going to delve deeper into the reasons why you should put blog readers first.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which includes editing Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. He regularly blogs at the Poetic Asides blog and writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine. He also leads online education, speaks on writing and publishing at events around the country, and does other fun writing-related stuff.
A published poet, he’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere.
Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.