One of my goals this year is to blog more consistently. If that’s one of your goals too, here’s a helpful strategy that will help you keep this resolution!
Creating an editorial content calendar is one of my favorite and most reliable ways to plan content for the months ahead.
What is an editorial content calendar?
An editorial or content calendar is a guide for your year of content. Magazine editors use these all of the time to assist them as they pull together content for upcoming issues. As a writer, I use editorial calendars to plan my article submissions and ensure they arrive on editor’s desks in a timely manner.
Here’s why I often recommend editorial content calendars to my clients:
- You can see the year ahead in one beautiful spreadsheet. 🙂
- Takes the pressure off of having to come up with something to write about at the last minute.
- Simplifies social media engagement and direct emails to your audience since you can repurpose your content into your day to day communication strategy.
- Ensures you’re putting out strategic, timely content that resonates with your audience.
- Helps you plan for times or seasons of the year when you want to schedule special promotions.
- Enables you to schedule writing days to draft several posts at once. (Then all you have to do is edit and schedule the posts.)
Why bother posting regularly?
- Keeps your website “alive” in the search engines.
- Enhances your expertise and credibility.
- Helps your audience see the value of your product or service.
- Providing free, helpful information is generous.
- Your content will help your audience get a sense of your brand personality. (Avoid boring, corporate speak!)
- Helps you engage directly with members of your audience.
- Grows your understanding of what your audience wants to know.
- Builds trust with your audience, which means they are more likely to buy from you and refer your business to others.
Let’s get started!
Choose a monthly or quarterly theme. Each theme will guide the direction of your content, providing a helpful framework to keep yourself focused and on message. If you have trouble coming up with a theme, check out the national health calendars, seasonal angles and annual holidays.
Also, consider what your target audience is thinking about during various times of the year. If you sell a product, what are your holiday promotion opportunities? If you want to launch a course, is the Back to School season an ideal time to schedule content around your course?
Here are some example themes:
- January – Energize
- February – Self-Care (also Heart Health month)
- March – Spring Clean
- April – Essential ingredients
Brainstorm. Grab a notebook and start writing down post ideas that complement your theme and align with your business.
Think about what your audience wants to learn from you. What are common questions you get? Not sure? Ask a few of them.
If your theme is “energize” and you’re a health coach, you might write posts about motivational workouts, energizing foods or your top favorite ways you energize yourself (i.e., music, fun workout clothes, upbeat music, citrus scents, etc).
Types of content. Plan relatable content that informs, inspires and entertains. If you sell a product, discuss the specific benefits of one of the ingredients or materials. For example, if you sell handcrafted soaps, create a post about the benefits of a specific essential oil you use.
Here are some other ideas:
- Your opinion on a trending topic in your industry
- Where you source your ingredients/materials and why your audience should care
- Your favorite resources, tips, hacks, etc
- Share “what not to do” or popular trends you don’t like and why
- How to avoid common mistakes
- FAQs (each question can be an individual post)
- Write a “how-to” post
- Write a compare/contrast post
- Your personal story of why you’re inspired to do this work
- Client success stories
Timing. Decide how often you can realistically post to your blog. While search engines prefer sites that update regularly, if you know you’ll only post to your blog twice a month, then commit to that.
Choose which day of the month your post will go live and write it on your calendar. (You might need to experiment to see which days/times you tend to get the most opens.)
Alternate content. If you want to post to your website more frequently, but know you can only commit to creating a fresh blog post once or twice a month, consider posting content that doesn’t take a lot of time to create for alternate weeks. Here are a few ideas:
- Client testimonial or a client showing off your product/service
- Funny meme related to your industry
- Behind the scenes photo of you or your employees at work
- A recipe or short tip
- Product review
- A guest post
- Short video post
- Repurpose past social media posts
Create a spreadsheet or calendar. (I use a simple Excel spreadsheet.) Plug in each month’s theme.
Under the month, include the topics you plan to write about (choose topics that energize you) and the target date for publishing.
I also include a box for checking off the post once it gets scheduled—because who doesn’t love the dopamine effect of crossing things off the to-do list?!
Collaborate! Creating an editorial calendar can be a fun project to do with a couple of friends. Grab your favorite beverages and brainstorm together either in person or over Zoom and come up with six or 12 months worth of post ideas for each other. By the way, posts don’t only have to be written. If you are someone who prefers video, plan video posts instead!
The Caveat. If we learned anything from 2020, it’s that life can be unpredictable. You may find that you have a post scheduled that would be tone deaf to what is happening in the world. For example, when I was working with a client on her editorial calendar last year, we planned a post about healthy eating at restaurants. The post was supposed to run in March right when quarantine hit. Well, you guessed it—that one got shelved for later, and we came up with another idea.
Got a question about creating an editorial content calendar? Post below!