Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog - Notes
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Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog - Notes

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The notes for a presentation I gave at the July 17, 2014 New Zealand Blogger Network meetup on the whys and hows of creating a editorial calendar for your blog.

The notes for a presentation I gave at the July 17, 2014 New Zealand Blogger Network meetup on the whys and hows of creating a editorial calendar for your blog.

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Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog - Notes Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog - Notes Presentation Transcript

  • Bloggers are creative folks. But like many creative folk, we often wait until inspiration strikes us to write and publish. That’s not really the best way to approach it. Why? If you wait until inspiration strikes, chance are your blog will be a barren, parched expanse of digital real estate. If you’re serious about blogging – whether for personal reasons or to promote your business, brand, or service – you need to write and publish regularly. That can be difficult, I know – what with finding time to write and to generate enough ideas. But you need to do both. Duke Ellington put it best when he said: I don’t need time, I need a deadline. Or, at least, you need to be able to set aside time to write and know (more or less) what you’re going to write about. One of the best ways to do that is to create an editorial calendar. © 2014 Scott Nesbitt Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog - 1 Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog By: Scott Nesbitt
  • What’s an editorial calendar? The editorial calendar comes from the world of magazine publishing. Magazines generally have their editorial content — articles, photos, and the like — for the year planned out at the beginning of the year. Issues have themes, and those themes have article ideas that the editors have either assigned to writers or which writers have pitched to the editors. Not all of the content may be in the hands of the editors, but it’s scheduled and it has a deadline. And that’s what really matters. When it comes to blogging and editorial calendars, it’s not just about pencilling in what to write and when to publish it. It also involves blocking out time to write those posts. I’ll be discussing this process in a moment. How can an editorial calendar help you? One of the many (ill-fitting) hats I wear is technology coach. When I advise my clients on how to organize their digital lives or get them to use new tools, I stress that they need to build a habit. And that’s what an editorial calendar can help you do. It can help you build the discipline to sit down in front of the keyboard. It can help you build the habit of writing. To be successful at blogging, or any kind of writing, you need to do it every day. With an editorial calendar, as I said earlier, you block out time to write. That’s the start of building that discipline and that habit. Once you do that, writing your posts will not only become a regular occurrence, it will become easier. Creating the calendar I’ll be talking about the tools for creating and maintaining a calendar in a few moments. talk about tools in a moment. Right now, I want to focus on the framework of an editorial calendar rather than on specific tools. You can apply this framework to any tool. To start off, think about how often you want to post to your blog. It might be once or twice a week. It might be three times a week. It might even be daily. If you don’t have a publishing schedule, no matter how loose, for your blog it might be time to create one. Consider not only how often you want to post, but the days on which you want to publish © 2014 Scott Nesbitt Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog - 2
  • those posts. That schedule will help you focus your calendar. Next, try to think at least a month ahead if you can. You don’t need to think a month ahead. You can think a week or two ahead instead. No matter how far ahead you are thinking, try to come up with topics and, if you want, one or more themes for the month. If you decide to use themes, group your topics around those themes. Slot your posts into your calendar, based on their publication dates. For example, let’s say you publish posts three times a week: on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On those days, enter something like Publish xyz post in your calendar. While you’ll probably be setting your posts to publish automatically on those days, having those slots in your calendar is a good reminder. Let’s say it’s August and you’ve scheduled your topics for September. It’s time to start writing your posts. To do that, block out days in August to do your writing. Depending on what calendar tool you’re using, you can also block out specific times on those days to write. By blocking out those dates and times, you’re committing to writing. That’s the first, and most difficult, part of building the habit and discipline of writing regularly. Don’t feel obliged to write a post a day. If you expect a post to be long or just require more thought, then spread writing it over two days. In my calendar, for example, I often enter Start writing xyz post in one slot and Finish writing xyz post in the slot for the next day. If you publish several times a week, think about leaving holes in your calendar. Why? Something might come up. You might go to an event and want to write a report about it. Someone might offer to write a guest post for your blog. Any number of things can happen. Leaving that hole in your calendar gives you the freedom to slot those posts in without making it seem like you’re cramming content into your blog. Looking at Calendars It doesn’t matter which calendar you use. The calendar you use doesn’t even need to be digital — it can be a wall calendar. But if you do decide to go digital, there are a lot of good choices available. Here are a few: ● Google Calendar ● Apple iCal ● Outlook Calendar ● Zoho Calendar © 2014 Scott Nesbitt Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog - 3
  • ● Yahoo! Calendar ● Dayhaps ● Sunrise ● Daystack They all do pretty much the same thing. You select a day and then add a calendar entry (sometimes called an event) to it. To that event, you can add information like the title of the post, any keywords or tags, and the theme (if any) under which that post belongs. You might also want to add a reminder. Those reminders are very useful. They nag you. They let you know that you have something coming up. They keep you on your toes. You can set up reminders so that they’re sent to your email address or to your phone as a text message. Something I recommend is using multiple calendars. I don't mean individual ones that you need to log into separately. I'm talking about calendars within a larger calendar. Think of a cupboard with several slots. The cupboard is the main calendar, and each of those slots is an individual calendar. With some tools, like Google Calendar, you can colour code individual calendars – for example, blue for your personal calendar and red for blogging. Doing that gives you an at-a- glance view of what’s on your plate. Multiple calendars enable you to focus. You can choose to view only one calendar and not be distracted by everything else. But, as I mentioned earlier what you use isn’t important. What’s important is that you use a calendar. It keeps you accountable and helps you build the discipline and habit of writing regularly. Final Thoughts You'll find that once you get used to working with an editorial calendar, writing posts (and finding time to write them) will become easier. It takes some time to get into the rhythm of using an editorial calendar. It also takes some effort. You’ll slip. You’ll backslide. You might even get frustrated. But stick with it. Remember that you’re building a habit, and building a habit takes time. But before you know it, you’ll be using you editorial calendar like a pro. © 2014 Scott Nesbitt Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog - 4
  • Connect with me Web site: http://scottnesbitt.net/ Blog: http://weblog.scottnesbitt.net/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/ScottWNesbitt © 2014 Scott Nesbitt Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog - 5