January has been all about organization for me…in my home, in my career and in my life. Career-wise, being organized is such a key factor in building a blog and running a business so it’s only fitting that we start off the year with a super relevant Business of Blogging topic: How to Create an Editorial Calendar.
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I’m an organized person by nature but somewhere between running multiple businesses, working full time and managing a household, chaos ensued. Once my plate became too full, organization went out the went the window and life started to get to become overwhelming. The ironic part is that organization is even more important when you have a full schedule! If there’s one thing that keeps me on task for the blog, it’s my editorial calendar. Being more organized is at the top of my 2019 goals list and while having an editorial calendar seems daunting, I can assure you it’s been a complete life-saver! Plus I love that it allows me to post more articles with substance rather than something just thrown together at the last minute. Here’s everything you need to know about how to create an editorial calendar:
First things first…how often will you be posting? I typically post MWF each week so I always make sure that I have enough topics to cover for this frequency. You will need to adjust based on how often you can realistically post. And I say realistically because while it would be a dream to post five times a week, it’s just not always feasible with our busy life schedules. I would say that creating a blog post from start to finish (shooting, editing photos, optimizing for google, and writing) can take anywhere between three to six hours (or more) on average! Of course it can be longer or shorter depending on your specific needs but just going off of that estimation, I would recommend coming up with a number of posts that you would be comfortable posting per week without stressing out.
Something that works well for me is to publish specific content on specific days. Think about the topics you’d like to share and create content around those. My blog is still very much fashion-based but over the years, I’ve expanded to include other things I love such as beauty, travel, blogging tips and motivational posts so I created a schedule surrounding those topics. To keep it all organized, I created a “mock” schedule for my bulletin board that houses different content types including series posts such as Motivation Monday, Business of Blogging, Girl Boss, Real Talk, Q&A and Month in Review as well as my more general fashion posts and beauty edits. I also keep a handful of days out of the month open for things like seasonal bucketlists/posts, sales, sponsored posts and travel. My schedule is a bit complicated since I have so many different types of posts, but a simplified way to do this would be to post about various topics on different days. For example, beauty tips on Monday, outfit inspiration on Wednesday and an Instagram round up on Friday.
After you have an idea of what you’ll be writing about, it’s important to start brainstorming ideas! I have Google Docs for everything it seems and I have a huge spreadsheet specifically for this. I have two pages that lay out all of my blog post series along with fashion, beauty and travel topics. I also have columns for reader-requested posts, Instagram story ideas and Youtube video ideas. Each subject has it’s own column and underneath, I have 10-60 ideas. Whenever I think of something, I jot it down on my spreadsheet and I have to say that this small step has single-handledly made things SO much easier. If you can write it as an SEO friendly title, even better!
I also have a spreadsheet for generic post title ideas, just in case I get stuck 😉 And then I have separate detailed spreadsheet that acts as an annual calendar that includes all of the different blog post types I write about along with the months of the year. This is where I can write down different ideas and see how it all fits together season by season for the year. This is where I will start to fill in gaps for the year and include seasonal things in advance such as spring break, summer travel, Halloween, Black Friday and Christmas. Seasonal posts are important because you don’t want to post too early or too late and when the time gets closer, things can be easily forgotten so I’ve found that creating this type of loose editorial calendar with special seasonal dates a year in advance is a key component in remembering important dates and super helpful for staying on task! Another thing I love using is my physical planner since I always have it with me. My physical planner keeps EVERYTHING in my life organized and while it’s not solely dedicated to the blog, I always write down due dates, to do lists and content ideas.
This is where the actual editorial calendar comes into play. I might be a bit of an over-achiever but I actually have multiple editorial calendars!
After brainstorming ideas, I start to fill in my first series of calendars: three smaller physical calendars that I hang on the bulletin board next to my desk. I love doing this because I can see everything at a glance without having to dig through multiple Google Docs. I usually schedule things one to three months in advance but I leave plenty of wingle room for incoming sponsored posts, travel plans or last minute changes.
The next calendar is a master calendar on my Google Docs where I write everything out one month at a time. For example, in mid-December, I already had nearly the whole month of January planned out. I input all of my post ideas into their corresponding dates on the Google Calendar along with outfit details/ideas. I use the space below the calendar as a check list for important tasks and updates I need to get done throughout the month along with details and due dates for more critical sponsored content.
I also have a more detailed editorial calendar in the form of a spreadsheet. This is where I input blog post ideas along with their corresponding Instagram posts and outfit details. Since I post more frequently on Instagram, this is also the place where I input ideas for Instagram only posts making it much easier to schedule shoots and work within deadlines since I know exactly what needs to get done and by when. Speaking of which, I also created a separate color coded document for collaborations that I use in conjunction with my editorial calendar in order to get things done efficiently and to ensure that I don’t forget to post anything 😉
I know my content calendar strategy as a whole sounds like an intense procedure but it works for me and keeps me on task! My advice would be to follow the simple guidelines of deciding the frequency of posts, creating a simple content schedule mockup, brainstorming and keeping a running list of posts and decide on the editorial calendar style that works best for you in terms of keeping you organized.
Do you have any tips to add?
Any topics you’d like me to cover on a future Business of Blogging article?
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