For a blogger, content still is king. But it's hard putting out quality content on a regular basis. The days are gone when you could dream up a topic, start typing, and it would go viral.
Nope. There's a LOT more competition now, for one thing.
So put away the idea that you don't need a plan. Remember, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
YOU. NEED. A. PLAN.
That's where an “editorial calendar” comes in. As with anything, you can go about setting up and using an editorial calendar in a variety of ways.
- Put it on paper
- Put it on a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
- Use a WordPress plugin like this one
It doesn't really matter. I like a spreadsheet myself. Here is one I made and published back in 2017. I tend to use a Google Sheet nowadays though because Sheets are stored in the cloud and I don't need a separate app to access them.
The plugin route is a way to go, but I recommend using as few WordPress plugins as possible. You want a lean, mean website and bogging it down with more code is NOT the way to achieve the page load times Google is looking for nowadays.
So what is an editorial calendar? What is its purpose and what should you include in it?
What is an editorial calendar?
Bloggers, authors, content marketers, editors, and managers can coordinate, organize, and track editorial material using an editorial calendar.
So, what types of material should you include in your editorial calendar?
The sky's the limit, after all. The sorts of material available for your calendar range from blog articles to infographics to email newsletters to social media updates.
In short, an editorial calendar is the place where you plan the content you will publish and record when and where you published it.
If you read the above carefully, you will note that you can plan content publication and distribution outside your own website or blog. Yes, you can plan guest posts you want to publish on other people's sites. In fact, I highly recommend you do this (guest blog). You can read about guest blogging here, here, and here.
One last thing: An editorial calendar isn't just for your website or blog. It can be for short-form content like tweets. One can also be used for planning your video content strategy as well.
In other words, you can use one or more editorial calendars for ALL of your content.
What should you include in your editorial calendar?
You can do as little or as much as you want. It's your editorial calendar, after all!
But these are the minimum fields I suggest you include in your blogging editorial calendar:
- Planned Date
Of course, I include a lot more things to track than the above. I also include:
- Holiday (yes, I write content specific to holidays)
- Author, if you have a multi-author blog, which includes writers who want to guest blog on your website. Yes, plan guest posts and topics.
- Call to Action or CTA. Yes, every blog post has a purpose. That purpose, summarized, is your CTA.
- Keywords you want to include in your post
- The Category your post will be included in
- Tags you will be using in your blog post
- Meta Description. Yes, I know, Google doesn't weigh in your meta description any more. However, they still post your meta description in their search results, so you can bet meta descriptions matter!
- What is the Status of the post? Plan, draft, review, or published?
- Date published
- URL of published post
- You can also track your search position results here
You can, and should, also have a content promotion strategy. Who will you be telling about your blog post? Will you include it in your newsletter? When and where and how will you post it to social media?
Check out Content Four Play for more information about promoting your published content.