I am a very “build the plane as I fly it” kind of person, so planning and a blog editorial calendar isn’t something I did for the first 46 years of my blogging career.
But I’m getting increasingly more busy, and really want to be more intentional about my planning and messaging for my audience.
Something I have been reminding my audience a lot of lately is this: Results are lag indicators. What is happening now is a result of what you did in the past, and what you do today affects the future.
So as more people rely on me for the value that I provide, I want to make sure that my message is not only consistent but sophisticated.
And a sophisticated message takes planning.
Why Create A Blog Editorial Calendar?
- You’re a grownup now. Eat your dessert first and start using a calendar like an adult.
- (Just kidding.)
- Deliver a sophisticated message
- Deepen audience experience with engagement
- Streamline your process
- Make your life easier
- Put you in a position to hire out (eventually)
Laying A Foundation For Your Blog Editorial Calendar
Who Are You Blogging For?
None of this is about you. None of this is about what you are selling or what you are doing. Service centered businesses are successful businesses. So focusing on who you are serving is the foundation stone of everything that you do and every choice you make for your business.
If you are thinking of coming up with a blog editorial calendar, then you are probably far enough along in your blogging journey to know that your niche needs to be clearly defined at this point.
Your avatar should be specific. It is probably a former version of yourself. Your audience needs to be clearly defined so that you can narrow down pain points and be relevant.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to do some avatar worksheets. Write it out. What do they look like? Pin down your niche. Let your avatar guide your decisions for your business.
Come Up With Categories And Subcategories
Your niche is the beginning of your blog categories. Before brainstorming blog post topics, think about the categories that you want to write about.
Don’t think about what you want to write about and then come up with categories for those topics.
Instead, let’s start over with who we are blogging for (duh see above.) What do your readers want and need, and what categories do those topics fit into?
If you are a beauty blogger, maybe categories your audience is reading about include makeup tips, natural beauty and self care.
Brainstorm Blog Topics
Really exercise your brain and think outside the box. Don’t just write what everyone else is writing about. Provide real, unique value.
Offer a dissenting opinion or unique perspective on an old topic, or stay on top of current events. Stand out in your niche.
Want a big fat list of blog post ideas for any niche? I might know where you could find one…
Consider what words your audience is using, and try to detach from your specialized vocabulary. Use the Google or Pinterest search fields to investigate the top suggestions when you start typing in suggested terms,
If you are visual like me, you might enjoy sitting down and really drawing out this graphical representation for topics and subtopics.
What is popular right now in your niche?
What is performing well on your blog? What is getting the most traffic? Which opt ins are converting the best? What products are consistently selling?
Think about what is going on in the world and adjust your message. If you ignore major events and the fear that they can inspire in your audience, you are going to lose them. They need to be reassured by you, and you need to be real and current with them.
If you have speaking engagements, networking opportunities or any other business event coming up, make sure to generate buzz by incorporating the announcing into your content.
What’s Relevant To Your Avatar Right Now?
What is relevant to my avatar may not always be obvious, or something that I am struggling with. Think outside the box. And know that these things will change as all of the above adjusts over time.
Above all, remember that quality is the most important thing (more than quantity.) There are a lot of reasons why more is not always better when it comes to blog content strategy.
Determine Your Platforms
Where Are Your Clients?
If you are a food blogger, you are probably showing off your tasty photos on Instagram. Career coaches will find people looking for jobs on LinkedIn, and Facebook is a versatile platform that can provide group support for lots of different niches.
Not every platform is best for every niche. Find out where your audience is and meet them there.
What Platforms Suit Your Personality And Brand?
Think about how you want to present yourself and the personality that you infuse into your business. This will help you choose how you want to show up online.
Social Media Platforms To Consider
Facebook: Personal favorite, Versatile, social, visual, engaging.
Instagram: Visual, artistic, creative.
Pinterest: ProTip: Not actually a social platform or just for creatives but a traffic generating search engine
Snapchat: Popular among the young’uns
YouTube: Personable, builds trust factor
Twitter: Great for finding new audience with hashtag effectiveness, like IG
LinkedIn: Professional; officially social media for business
You Do Not Have To Do All The Things
You do not have to show up on every single social media platform. Streamline, niche down, determine your brand and infuse your personality. Pick 2 or 3 platforms to really focus on and show up for your audience on.
Don’t get too hung up here, either. If you build a strong Facebook presence and then pivot in a year and realize you need to start establishing yourself on LinkedIn, no big deal. You can shift or presence or add focus at any time in your career.
Create Your Blog Editorial Calendar
Really, most of this article is through. You have already done the hard work up to this point: the research.
Now you have an idea of your events and career goals for the next 2-3 months, you have a tos of brainstorming and you know who you’re talking to. Now actually creating the blog editorial calendar is just a matter of making decisions and getting it on paper to create a plan.
Step 1: Choose Platforms
You have already done this previously. Determine your platforms and decide how you are going to post. Will you be using a scheduling tool?
Step #2: Determine Frequency
How often do you want to post? Maybe you post on your personal Facebook page everyday, and then Instagram and LinkedIn twice a week. Think about how much you want to be posting to figure out how much content you need to create.
Step # 3: Test Optimal Part Of Day
Once you start posting, pay attention to the time of day. Is your engagement better in the morning, afternoon, during the day, on weekends?
Post at different times of the day, see what performs and then see if the time of day affects performance consistently.
Be Consistent With Your Blog Editorial Calendar
The key to success here is just to be consistent If you make a plan and don’t stick to it, you just did a lot of work for no reason. Your message is probably scattered and your audience not be 100% clear.
One More Plug For Why You Should Have A Blog Editorial Calendar
I know my stuff. Love my clients and my business. I am great at helping people. And I get results.
But after my business really took off, doing things as I go became less convenient, and I felt it in my schedule and in my energy level.
I also grew to start needing assistance, and not having a written plan but trying to get a team to all see your vision can be challenging.
Planning is going to make you more clear, confident, organized. It will ultimately make you more professional. After all, we’re grown ups with businesses now.