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Develop an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog [Day 12 – 31DBBB]

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of April 2009 Writing Content 0 Comments

This post is an excerpt from the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook

Yesterday your task in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge was to come up with a list of at least 10 post ideas for your blog. The idea was to spend time before you needed posts coming up with ideas. Doing this can release you later on to just write instead of having to brainstorm ideas every day.

Today’s task is to take the list you created yesterday and to plan your posting schedule (or editorial calendar) for next week.

This is something I attempt to do on a weekly basis for each of my blogs (I usually do it Sunday night or Monday morning).

How to Develop a Weekly Editorial Calendar [or at least how I do it]

1. Calculate how many posts you want to post in the coming week on your blog.

2. Set up a spreadsheet or table in a word document that has a slot for each post and the date and time that the post needs to go live on the blog.

3. Take the list of ideas that you’ve previously brainstormed and begin to slot them into the empty slots in the table. As I do this I often get other ideas that I’d not previously thought of for posts that might make good followup posts to those I’m planning. I slot these into the schedule too.

4. For each post that you slot in write a sentence or two about what the post is about (so you’re able to remember later in the week). I often also take a moment or two at this point to brainstorm some main points for the post. If any examples, illustrations, pictures or related posts that I’ve previously written come to mind I make note of these too.

Let me say at this point that what I come up with after going through this process is not always the way that I roll out posts in reality. My blogging style is a little more fluid than this and I tend to add new posts into the mix, reorder posts and extend single posts into series.

However – going through this exercise is fantastic because it means I’ve got a week’s worth of post ideas at my finger tips. It also means that for each post I’ve got ideas that I can use when writing the post – this gives me a real head start and means that I can usually get right down to business and start writing on the days I need to do the writing of posts.

Another Editorial Calendar idea to Consider

Another way that some bloggers approach editorial calendars is to come up with a weekly rhythm for their blog. They assign a different type of post for each day of the week and stick to that rhythm over the long term.

For example Mondays might be ‘list post’ day, Tuesdays might be ‘link post’ day, Wednesdays might be ‘opinion/rant’ day, Thursdays might be ‘review’ day etc. In this way they know the style of post for each day and then just have to slot in topics that fit each style.

The above two methods are only two suggestions of many and there are many variations on the idea of blog editorial calendars that you might like to explore. Here are a few posts that pick up the idea from archives here at ProBlogger:

How did you find this process? Have you got next week’s Editorial Calendar set up? Share in the comments, or join the discussion over at the forum: Day 12 – Develop an Editorial Calendar

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. Another great idea – will keep me busy this afternoon. Thank crunchie it’s friday!

  2. This simple post has probably been the one that has the most meaning to me so far as a lack of forward planning is probably my biggest weakness.

    I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve thought of developing a calendar for posting different types of articles at specific times but then never following it through.

    Hopefully reading this will motivate me to finally do it.

  3. Thanks Darren,

    Very useful and practical advice as always ;-). Do you think that it is a good idea to put a “schedule” up on a blog or just let your readers get a feel of what will be coming next themselves?

    Off-topic, I thought that was really cool how you twittered that your post was on its way, that was kind of exciting. And then, because I was lazy, I clicked on your account, followed the link there and landed on yet another great idea for a page – explaining who you are and what you do and why follow you on twitter…

    You really are a veritable goldmine.

    Thank you so much for all the work you’re doing. I enjoyed your book hugely and I love this course refreshing me and getting me working on the things I missed doing.

    Karenne

  4. In conjunction with Day 11’s task, your blog should be well organized!

  5. This is an awesome tip, once again. I’ve been thinking I need to look at my blog on a bigger scale and this is perfect. Thank you once again!! And the forums are a gold mine too. So glad I joined this!

  6. Great advice Darren,
    have been thinking of how to develop a weekly calander for my blog. At present it consist of weekday memes, reviews on thursdays/fridays and weekend linky – love.

  7. I’ve created the spreadsheet and filled it all in – feels very satisfying to know what’s going to be on the blog for the next week.

    Just the hard part now – writing them all!

    This level of organisation is so helpful. Because blogging has so many facets to it, it’s easy to feel a little out of control. So thanks once again.

  8. Thanks for the idea. I also have Sunday Link Love posts on my blog.
    I am going to create an editorial calender today only :)

  9. and if you are really spurred on you could schedule them, or maybe that’s tomorrow’s point?

    Yesterday’s post makes me wonder about getting a moleskine and today I think about getting my phone synched up with my calendar for scheduling when I should write/post my stuff.

    Phill
    [ twitter: http://twitter.com/phillipgibb ]
    [ blog: http://synapticlight.com/ ]
    [ blog: http://sonofmine.wordpress.com/ ]

  10. This is my only real problem blogging so I’m really pleased to get some help with this.

    Thanks!

    Alex

  11. I do some version of this, though not as nicely systematic as you. I should push harder for this much organization. Great to hear what works for you.

  12. But then there’s always the unplanned, spontaneous posts you want to include as well – like the transcription I just did of @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher)’s “twitter victory speech” – much fun!

  13. Thanks Darren,

    I know I know I know, plan plan plan. But it does get so difficult when time is a thing you don’t have. I have up until now only ever had three posts in the cache. Most times, I post those posts the next day, and then have to work on the next three.

    I haven’t spent much time on developing a Calendar.

    What would be nice is to see a estimate of how long it takes you, and how many do you plan in advance. I think this might give us a better idea of the effectiveness of planning.

    Being a developer, I know full well the importance of planning, and how that can save you in the long term.

  14. My current post listing practice does not involve a schedule. I am often several posts ahead in my writing, but then I just edit and post when I feel the urge.

    I am experimenting with posting every day this week, which is working out.

    What I like about this idea is that it will help me be more structured and write and publish more related posts. Plus, if I have a schedule and write ahead, I can set up my posts to publish automatically so I don’t have to worry about forgetting.

  15. I’ve had to break my calendar the last couple weeks, and it’s very frustrating. If I had done more of Day 11 first then it might have been easier. It was good to put those tips in this order.

  16. Hey Darren,

    Once you get this calendar ready, do you recommend going ahead and starting work on the future posts? What about writing them entirely and scheduling? I know from your Twitter stream you do that at least some…

  17. Great advice Daren. I feel that having a calendar really helps me with coming up with post ideas. I am more focused on what I need to be writing about.

    Another great benefit is that it helps you stay on track for your blogs purpose. Too often bloggers change the focus of their blog without even realizing it.

  18. HI,

    Thank you for the post. It will be very useful to me.

    Thanks,
    Krishna

  19. Sudeep says: 04/17/2009 at 9:15 pm

    Hey Darren ,
    Actually yesterday when i was doing my brain storming i did come up with the same way … did not think that could have been the next tip of yours. Thanks …
    I think so its good to be aware of what and when you are going to say what in the week , just enough ahead…..
    Healthy Regards

  20. Thanks for this tip. After visiting a number of other mummy/mommy blogs I’ve been toying with the idea of a weekly posting schedule, but haven’t been quite sure of how to do it without copying others, and without burning myself out. This gives me more food for thought…

  21. Hey Darren, I love a plan, so a calendar is perfect.

    for http://www.ahotpinkpetticoat.blogspot.com, I have attempt half-ass to create a routine. This exercise along with yesterday’s exercise will help me nail that down and commit. So thank you.

    Alison

  22. This is a great idea. It requires some discipline but can be part of an overall task to follw a “Business plan” for a week, month, or even the whole year.

    I really appreciate your valuable advice,

    Greg

  23. Definitely a useful tactic. I mentioned in yesterday’s tasks that I have an overwhelming backlog of post ideas and can never decide which order to do them in. Writing them down into a specific order with dates will definitely help me decide. In fact, I even reckon writing out a month’s calendar would be beneficial, although obviously then there will probably be more shuffling about required as the month progresses. :)
    Thanks,
    Sam

  24. I never thought of doing this. But this should keep me more disciplined to post on a more regularly basis.

  25. Great homework…

    The time line will depend on how fresh the product must be, it will be shorter for news blogs than long lasting content ones (there is no reason for a history blog, for instance, not to have 2 years planned in advance.)

    Keeping some flexibility into the frame is a great suggestion.

  26. Awesome! I’m going to set this up in Google calendars, immediately.

    Right now on Mondays I do a weekly series where I do my take on a the theme of that weeks Personal Finance Hour. It is a blogtalkradio program hosted by two of the leading bloggers in my niche. This has been working well for me.

    Also, I’ve been doing links of the week on Friday, however, I would like to move these to Sunday, and provide some more useful content on Friday.

    Thanks for all the thought provoking ideas, Darren!

  27. I do this but not on the computer. There are some things I like to be able to touch, feel and scratch :) So I do this on a piece of blank paper. And I do a month at a time.

    I do not fill the whole month out at once, but this way if I run a contest, I can put the end date/announcement date down. Or I can see when i have too many guest bloggers or too many tutorials, etc. It allows me to see the big picture as I fill slots in.

    Then on Sunday, I go through and make sure the upcoming week is filled and even start scheduling the posts that are done. Some need to get written the night before, but many can be done ahead.

    This helps keep me organized. Things do sometimes get moved around a tad, but again – I can scratch and move or draw arrows. I thought of a spread sheet but I love having this nearby and I am online way too much anyway.

    Jodi
    MCP Actions
    http://www.mcpactions.com

  28. This is all important as we often are impressed with the folks that think ahead and post a holiday edition, right on schedule. Planing ahead is what I survivie with. Keeping a daily rythm of writing helps me also. I like to have several different pre-written posts to select from. It is like a saftey net.

  29. This seems like getting more of a coherency in your blogposts.. getting more of a flow over time and not doing the on-off postings..

    Great idea, getting right on it. Perhaps even making a whole line of posts dedicated to deepening a single topic within the realm of my blog.

    On the off-topic side: ordered the problogger book, let’s see what little gems are hidden in there.

  30. Another task for us today. :D
    Sometimes we have to push ourselves to do these because it might take us some times to complete it, right?
    Between, I’ll take my time to do these. Thanks Darren!
    You’re pushing us to work better on our blogs!

    Regards,
    Lee

  31. I try to stick to a monthly calendar on all my small posts, having them scheduled in advance keeps me from forgetting them later (except this month I really dropped behind :) that way I can focus on other pieces. and I always expect random posts to pop in my head.

    I really liked #4 and will add that in, thanks

    I can’t believe it’s 12 days already!!

  32. it’s really good article. i’ve used it and also i’ve shared this information to my friends too. thanks again.

  33. This is such a useful thing to do- one that I’ve been working on for a while. I’ve got certain themes for each day of the week right now, but my problem is I have more themes I want to do and not enough time! I need to work on weeding out some of the less popular themes or find a way to combine theme. The thing I have learned so far about blogging- it’s a continuous work in progress!!

  34. A wonderful tip, Darren!

    My blog’s purpose is to feature different Etsy artists each day. To keep me organized, I implemented an editorial calendar on my blog two months ago. I actually display the calendar directly on my blog for my visitors to see! My calendar helps me in two ways:

    1. It allows my blog visitors to see what types of items I plan to feature, and Etsy sellers can submit items for me to feature. That keeps me from having to hunt for the items . . .they come to me!

    2. It keeps me motivated and excited about my daily/weekly themes. My calendar keeps me accountable and organized.

    Here is this month’s calendar:
    http://onthedotcreations.typepad.com/onthedotcreations/-otdc-monthly-calendar-.html

  35. Another great idea, by the end of the series my blog might actually be organized and get restarted :)

    Still recovering from staying up until 3:30am for the Twitter battle, it inspired me to start working on my blog again.

    James Spinosa
    twitter.com/fourthfloor

  36. Phraedus says: 04/17/2009 at 11:38 pm

    Hi Darren,

    I particularly like your idea of a spreadsheet rather than a calendar in order to make it dead simple to slot in a new post, rather than have to move 20 posts because of adding a new one.

    Also, I’ve noticed you keep coming back to creativity as a process that requires, rather than a spark that may come along eventually (if your lucky).

    Great to see such a successful Australian blogger. Champion effort.

    P

  37. Thanks for this organizational tool. I’ll be trying this today for next week’s posts. I’m so enjoying your helpful info. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  38. Great tip! I currently use the topic method – I write on specific themes on specific days of the week. However, all of my ideas were spread out between my mindmaps, drafts in WordPress, my sketchpad from yesterday, and my Moleskine storyboards. Today I set up an editorial calendar using Google calendar. I’ve chosen to make it public because it seems that there may be an advertising benefit to that. If you’re interested, you can view the link here.

    Two features I would like to add are interviews and tutorials. The few tutorials I have posted have been a major hit, and I think interviews would lend a lot of credibility. If any of you are artists/creatives, etc. and are willing to be interviewed, even by a novice, please let me know. I’d really appreciate it!

  39. Coming from a publishing background, I had immediately grasped how developing an editorial calendar for Freelancedom might be helpful in preventing last-minute content freak-outs. And so I’ve previously planned out the types of posts for each day — how-tos, coffee break, link love, product placement, book reviews, infinite wisdom of others — which makes that whole what-should-I-write-about-today question a whole lot easier to answer.

    Planning specific posts, however, takes away even more of the stress! I should do this more often.

  40. Great idea, this technique would surely make us more creative. Thanks for giving us examples too Darren.

  41. Oh! I like this. While I post my thoughts in draft-mode, I like the idea of editorial calendars. I may take both & cross-pollinate them!

  42. Great Idea. I am new in Blogging and your challenge series is very inspiring for me. I have created a editorial calender with Google Docs based on your advice for posts.

  43. Great advice! I’ve also found through trial and error (mostly error), that when I schedule posts out for the week some topics flow better one after another. Some post topics are naturally great follow-ups to others, or build on something I posted earlier in the week. Without an editorial calendar, these things would not be so evident.

  44. This is a really helpful way to get organized. I generally jot down ideas on the fly in a notebook I carry, but never get around to actually planning a schedule. Great tips. Keep ’em coming :D

  45. Great idea. I’ve forgotten which post it is, but one of the posts above led me to an editorial calendar download, which I am using for my planning,

  46. That’s great advice but part time bloggers don’t have time to plan that much as full time preofessional bloggers ,really thinking of blogging like you said can take blogging to another lovel.

  47. At the moment, I have pending posts which I have created on a whim and without any planning. This is a great way to make sure I never sit down at the computer with a complete blank as to what to write about.

    Thanks

  48. Nice tactic but it could be another time consuming thing.

  49. this is great and this is what im doing on my blog. since my blog focus on providing daily tips (dating/relationship related) i need to have some plan on how to manage my posting activities.

    what i did is this:
    – i always have a notepad document open when im surfing the net.so if i happen to found any interesting topics that gave me the idea to write a post,i’ll straight type it in the notepad.

    -when i want to begin planning, i just open up Google calendar and also my notepad(of draft ideas).then just fill in the Google calendar on what the topic is going to be for each day.(you can use google calendar offline too,which is very convenient)

  50. Ah, this is the weak point of my blogging daily routine. I have no editorial calendar. Some call this hand to mouth blogging. I find the challenge of beating post deadlines thrilling, but I look at it now as less of blogging as an extreme sports. It’s foolish and to go on with hand to mouth blogging is very unprofessional. I fear for the day some real life emergency takes me away from writing that post. Or I can’t attend a family gathering because I have nothing on queue to post. Not to mention when I might get sick, or there’s an extended power outage in my place. Anything can happen between now and that posting deadline.

    Well, I should buckle down to work now. My work is cut out for me.

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