You were super excited, you were going to blog every day and it was going to have bazillions of readers and everyone was going to fall in love with your witty, sophisticated writing.
And that’s when the day to day grind of blogging started to sink in. Blogging every day, as I’ve said before, is hard work, y’all!
A lot of bloggers – and I’m no different! – have had times where the inspiration to write just hasn’t struck.
Well guess what.
Blogging is your business, and you have to treat it as such. If you owned a store, would you only go in and open it up when the inspiration struck? Hells no! You’d be in there every day, busting your butt to make that coin because you know there are bills to pay and people to feed. So why is your blog any different?
When it comes to creating content, you need to have a plan. And in our case, that plan is called an editorial calendar.
In this post, I want to talk about how you can organize your content and build an editorial calendar system that works every step of the way, from organizing your ideas. to planning your content, to actually creating and scheduling your posts for publishing.
Organizing Your Topic Ideas
Your first step in organizing your content is to actually have some ideas for your blog posts. I tend to scratch ideas down into my notebook as I think of them, but once a week or so I transfer them all into a document on my Google drive. As I use an idea, I cross it off or delete it.
Of course, I don’t just sit around hoping ideas will pop into my head, either. I use keyword research – with both the Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest – to help me know what people are looking for. I go to forums and groups in my niche, and look for questions that people are asking. You should be actively seeking ideas for blog posts this way. It doesn’t take long to come up with a lot of great ideas!
Keeping your ideas in one document makes it easier to keep things sorted by topic, if that’s important for you. I use a spreadsheet, and organize my ideas in columns according to which of my main categories they fit in. If I find I have four or five ideas revolving around the same topic, I can do them as a series on the blog, or put them together as a report to give away or sell.
Creating a Planning Calendar
Once you have your content ideas maintained somewhere, it’s time to start planning, and for this we’ll use a planning calendar.
Your planning calendar is something you can purchase or print out from online. I like to use a regular day planner type calendar for mine, and have also used a large desktop calendar with a lot of success. First, know which days of the week you plan on publishing. It’s really important to be consistent about this. Once that’s decided, go through your list of ideas and pick out the ideas that you want to use over the next month to two months, and schedule them into your planning calendar.
Once that’s done, you’ll never have a problem with knowing what’s supposed to be published and when. It gives you a chance to start doing any research you might need to do ahead of time, to prepare any artwork and images you need, to find other posts that you want to link to for reference throughout your post – remember, it’s important to link to other blogs and to a couple of your own posts!
Scheduling Your Posts to Publish
The big advantage of scheduling is that you can write your blog posts in advance. Since you already know what you’re going to be writing and when you want to post it, it’s a much simpler thing to sit down on the weekend or whenever you have free time and write as many of them as you can. It’s no longer going to be a matter of “Ok, I need a post for today, what am I going to write.”
As you write each post, you can use a different kind of organizer to schedule them to post on your blog. You can use the built in scheduler in WordPress – access it by clicking on the word “Edit” up at the top where it says “Publish immediately“; the scheduler will open up as shown in the picture to the left here.
Unfortunately, the built-in scheduler doesn’t make it very easy to organize your scheduled posts. The good news is that there are plugins that make scheduling much easier – I’ve been using CoSchedule because it also let’s me schedule my social media. But you can choose the free plugin WordPress Editorial Calendar. They both work the same way – when you schedule a post for a later date, it will show up on the calendar – then you can rearrange your schedule as needed with simple drag and drop.
Using a calendar is a great way to see where you have gaps in your consistency. And by writing your posts in advance, you’re free to deal with other things that come up that may need your attention, without being stressed out about having to get your content live.