Blogging’s hard. I know that very well. It’s why I recently wrote that series, 5 Ways To Find New Blog Content. But finding content is only part of the challenge of blogging. Another part is scheduling — more specifically, being a consistent blogger. That’s where an editorial calendar comes in.
What’s a Blogging Editorial Calendar?
It’s exactly what it sounds like: a calendar/schedule of blog posts you
plan to will write on your small business blog.
You can do it in list format, or on an actual calendar — I don’t care if you use parchment paper, fer cryin’ out loud — just make the calendar already, would ya?
Why Create an Editorial Calendar?
Consistent blogging builds a loyal readership. But blogging consistently is really hard!
When you start blogging, you probably have energy and momentum coming out your wazoo. But later blogging can become a chore; your enthusiasm is down and you get tempted to procrastinate. “Oh, I’ll write that blog post tomorrow; too busy right now.” And then you actually never do write that blog post. And when that happens enough, your blog starts to die a slow death.
Using an editorial calendar:
- gives you a manageable schedule
- helps you set realistic publishing goals
- lets you focus on the big picture and your larger blogging goals
- compels you to avoid procrastinating
If you have a month’s worth of blog plans in front of you, you’ll be much less likely to skip one – the “domino effect” will be obvious of you do.
A Simple Sample Editorial Calendar
Throughout the blog content series, I used a hypothetical bike store owner as an example — let’s do that again and pretend that you’re the bike store owner.
Four Possible Types of Blog Articles
1. Company events/dates – annual spring bike sale / upcoming fundraiser / etc.
A company blog should never be only about the company — it should be about the readers and the content should focus more on them than on the company. But as long as there’s good balance on that issue, it’s okay to occasionally promote company-related events that are on the horizon. The bike store’s annual spring sale, its participation in a big local charity event and things like that should be added to the blog calendar. Post about these things far enough in advance so readers can take action if they’re so inclined.
2. Industry events/dates – Tour de France / safety classes / regional sports expo
You can assume that readers are interested in biking as a general topic, at least to some degree. Remind them about big events like the Tour de France or the regional sports expo that’s happening on the other side of the state. Add something interesting, obviously, if you can — is there a local rider in the Tour de France? Put it on your calendar and write about that kind of thing. It’ll show your enthusiasm for bikes and biking.
3. Local events/dates – local races / bike club events
Be a friend to local bike enthusiasts. Stay in touch with the bike club(s) in the local area and promote their events whenever it makes sense. Get a copy of their calendar and add the important things to your calendar. Write about them far enough in advance that readers can get involved.
4. Evergreen content – Best Places to Ride / How to Choose the Perfect Bike / etc.
Every blog needs “evergreen content.” These are the anchor articles, the important things that readers can refer to again and again. These articles retain their value for a long time — thus the “evergreen” name. They’re usually “How To” or “Tips” or “Guide”-style articles. Possible titles for our bike store owner might include
- Top 5 Bike Trails in Portland
- How to Choose the Perfect Bike for Your Child
- Why It’s Smart to Ride a Bike to Work
- … and things like that.
Plan on writing a couple articles like that each month and put them on the calendar.
Fill Out the Editorial Calendar
The above ideas may not completely fill out the editorial calendar — and that’s okay. Other types of blog posts can be added along the way:
Maybe there’s an interesting article in the local paper about a new bike law that the city is considering — boom! That’s a blog post.
And using the blog content ideas I already wrote about should help identify plenty of less-timely ideas that can be added to the calendar on any open spots.
If you want your blog to grow consistently, you have to write consistently. An editorial calendar will help you do that. Create a plan, schedule your blog posts in advance as much as possible and let yourself fall into a nice, consistent rhythm. You’ll appreciate it — and your readers will, too.
(Stock images courtesy Shutterstock, used under license.)