An editorial calendar is:
…a scheduled calendar of future articles that you intend to publish.
Why is it important?
The reason why creating an editorial calendar is important is because blogging is a time consuming and sometimes difficult task. The best way to attack projects like blogging is to break it down into bite-size tasks.
By scheduling out posts in advance, it prevents you from having writer’s block. A lot of people take the “I should blog today” approach, but when they sit down to write, they can’t think of anything good to write about.
An editorial calendar become critically important when you start bringing on paid and guest bloggers. Scheduling posts, reviewing outlines and creating publishing dates is much easier when you have an organized place to arrange such information.
How to setup an editorial calendar
1. Choose a web based tool that can be shared
Our favorite approach to setting up an editorial calendar is to use a Google Docs spreadsheet. Here’s why:
- It’s web based. You can add or edit your editorial calendar on the go.
- You can share your editorial calendar with others very easily if they have a Gmail account.
However, you can choose to use web-based sharing application of your liking. Here are some other choices:
2. Create a list of blog topics
This is where the major brain storming process begins. We understand it can be hard to come up with topics, but here are some ways to think of good blog posts:
- Remember: The best businesses teach. Your job when running the blog is to educate your customers.
- Remember: You company is the expert at some topic – that’s why it’s in business. Use your blog to show that you are the experts.
- Think of common problems your customers have.
- Think of “How To” posts that could help your typical customer out.
- Ask your sales team or customer service representative what the most common problems customers have.
- Use the KISSinsights website survey tool to ask your customers what they would like to learn more about, what you should blog about, or what their common problems are related to your product or service.
3. Assign publish dates for each topic
After you have come up with a list of topics, enter the topics in the Google Spreadsheet. If you have chosen some other application to house your editorial calendar, then enter the topics in a way that works best for you.
For each topic, assign a publish date to them. These dates are really important for your blog’s momentum. Make sure everyone involved with blog post creation is aware of these dates and that they help you stick to them. Generally, if you’re too “loose” on your dates, a lot of times the blog won’t publish on a consistent basis (which is generally the sign of a weak blog).
4. Assign authors to each topic
This part depends on if you’re going to have a lot of contributors to the blog. If you’re planning to do all the writing yourself, test yourself first to see how many posts you can feasibly write in a week. If you’re a prolific writer then you might be able to blog every day. Whatever the case may be, be realistic with yourself. The worse thing you can do is burn out and stop blogging altogether.
5. Outline review
This step is optional. If you’re going to have guest bloggers or other people contributing to your blog, we highly recommend that you have your writers send outlines first before writing entire posts. This makes sure everyone is on the same page before the post is written. You don’t want to have to reject posts after the writer has spent a ton of time and energy writing it.
If you’re going to do outline reviews, create a column or some sort of indicator in your editorial calendar that signifies that an outline for a post has been approved.