So far in the Blogging 101 series here on Clear the Way we’ve gone over the following starting a blog, finding your voice, and branding your blog (part one and part two). Today we’re covering the basics you need in place in order to develop a killer editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is a tool you can use to plan, schedule, and promote the posts you make on your blog, how you work with brands/sponsors, all your social media, etc. I did not always use an editorial calendar for Clear the Way, but once I did my blog changed drastically. I was able to post every day and I saw a crazy increase in traffic as well as engagement. I have experimented with different kinds of editorial calendars over the years and I have finally settled into a routine that works really well for me and that I think will work well for others too. Editorial calendars are super detailed and I could not possibly cover everything I need to in one post. So this is simply part one and it covers the very basics.
Begin with the Basics
You need to decide a few things before you can begin setting up an editorial calendar that works for you and your blog. First, you need to look at your schedule realistically. Even if you have been blogging for awhile now, maybe you have added or taken away some things from your “life schedule” and this could be a time to re-evaluate. The first thing you must do is to keep your goals attainable. Ask yourself how much time you can afford each week on blogging. Blogging can take a lot of time if you are focused on creating quality content, growing a presence online, and working with brands or sponsors. An editorial calendar will help you spend time wisely (and will even save you time in the long-run) but you still need to take a look at all the other responsibilities already on your calendar: school, work, family.[Tweet “”An editorial calendar will help you spend time wisely and will even save you time in the long-run.””]
Once you have taken a good look at your current schedule and have decided roughly how much time you can spend blogging each week, you are ready to move on to the next step: planning out your posts.
Planning Your Posts
With your schedule in mind you know how many times you’ll be able to post each week. I think a good starting point for people with an open schedule is about four to five posts a week. If you are doing work and school (or if you are a parent) then maybe try for two or three posts a week. Once you get into the swing of things, you will find out what works for you and you may be able to post more often with a little planning ahead. I’ve created a Post Planner (download the one-week or two-week version below) for you all to use. I find it helpful to write stuff out when I’m beginning to plan. I will be using the printable for examples throughout this post so follow along if you’d like.
As you can see from the example, I like to group my posts by category. Most every blogger does this, because it makes planning your posts easier for you and reading your blog easier for everyone. I believe it is important to breathe who you are into all you do and that includes your blog, of course. So when you are choosing categories for your posts, try to think of things that will show your readers a bit of your personality and your taste.[Tweet “”It is important to breathe who you are into all you do.””]
Scheduling the Categories
The example above are for (more or less) a blog with a focus on fashion, but these will help you understand the basics of planning posts based on categories. Let me show you how I would divvy up posts for these categories with the goal of posting four times each week. As you can see, I listed five categories and that’s because I (am pretending to) want to write about trends and travel tips. I don’t think I’ll be able to sustain a “Travel Tips” or “Trend Report” series long-term if I share one tip or trend every single week. This will take the focus off my personal style, outfit collages, and wish-list round-ups anyway and I certainly want to focus on those. So I will alternate a “Trend Report” and “Travel Tips” post every week, like this:
With my posts set up into a schedule like this, I can see very clearly what I must do to prepare for one week’s worth of posts: take outfit pictures and edit them, make an outfit collage, curate a wish-list, and set up either a trend report or a travel tip. If I have a clear schedule one weekend, I might be able to take photos of a couple different outfits, make two outfit collages, make two wish-lists, and write both the trend report and the travel tip. That might be a lot of work for one weekend, but that would set me up for two week’s of posts on my blog!
Those are the basics. I can’t wait to get into more detail with you about the editorial calendar planning and implementing process! Click below to download the little printable and don’t hesitate to give me some feedback. Was this post helpful for you? Do you think you’ll be using the printable? If you have any questions or requests for Blogging 101 posts, please feel free to email me.