How to Create an Editorial Calendar for your Blog

Yesterday I challenged you to come up with at least 10 blog post ideas for your blog. Today we’re going to take those ideas and begin to form an editorial calendar around them – specifically we’re looking to create an editorial plan for next week on your blog.

As I share in this episode this something I resisted doing in the early days of my blogging but having started to do it a few years ago it transformed my blogging on many levels so if you’re yet to do it I can highly recommend you give it a go.

Editorial Calendar

In Today’s Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment).

  • 10 Quick Benefits of creating an Editorial Calendar
  • How to Create a Simple Editorial Calendar for Your Blog
  • A basic weekly format for an Editorial Calendar that you might want to try (with a different type of post on each day)
  • Tools you might want to check out to help you create your editorial calendar

By the end of this challenge you now should:

  • know what you need to create
  • have some starting points for each post
  • have a plan of when you’ll create each post

Tools Mentioned in this Episode and Related Reading

Here are the editorial calendar tools I mentioned in today’s episode:

And here is some further reading on the topic:

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Welcome to the ProBlogger Podcast episode 12 and day 12 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Today, we’re talking about creating an editorial calendar for your blog. I’m going to share with you why an editorial calendar is useful, some tips on how to set one up, and I’ll share some tools that you can use. You can get today’s show notes at where I will share those links to all those tools mentioned in today’s show.

Hi, this is Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to day 12 for 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Yesterday, you came up with 10 blog post ideas. I suspect many of you would have come up with more than 10, which is great because it’s going to give you a great head start on today’s challenge. Today, we’re talking about editorial calendars. Specifically, I want to challenge you to create an editorial calendar for the next week of your blog. Not this week but next week. Some of you have already got an editorial calendar and today is the perfect day to assess it and to do a review of it.

If you’re like most bloggers who simply sit down to write, come up with an idea, and then hit publish all on the same day, this could be a blog changing exercise for you. I know it was for me. To be honest, this was a bit of a process for me to get my head around. I’m a pretty spontaneous kind of person. For the first few years of my blogging, I pretty much did it as I just described. I sat down, I came up with an idea, I’d write the post, and then publish it almost immediately. But I found a lot of value in switching gears and starting to think ahead.

I know that probably is going to relate differently today to each personality type but bear with me and give it a go just for one week, see what happens. Ultimately, today is about setting up a publishing schedule for next week and to determine what you publish on which days.

Let me give you a few benefits of an editorial calendar, even a simple one. As I said yesterday, this is going to help take the pressure off idea generation when you sit down to write which, hopefully, will remove one of those big obstacles that face many bloggers. Secondly, as I’ve also mentioned yesterday, it’s going to help you create momentum and create content that takes your readers on a journey and brings about a change rather than just hitting them with random pieces of content. The third thing that I love about having an editorial calendar is that it sets deadlines.

Deadlines don’t feel great on some levels but for me, at least, they helped me to identify when certain things need to be done and then to make plans to get that to happen, which for my personality type is a good thing. Like I said before, I’m pretty sporadic and impulsive, and if I left it to myself, some things would never get done. It means that you’ll develop a more consistent production of content, which means that you’ll start to produce more regular content, hopefully, and establish a rhythm for your publishing. This is good for you as a writer but it’s also good for your readers.

What I’ve found over time is that readers begin to notice when you publish and they’ll show up at those times and those days. The other thing about an editorial calendar is that it gives you a great bird’s eye view of what’s coming up on your blog and you can begin to notice patterns or gaps opportunities. By having that big picture, you can see that I have got a whole heap of posts coming up that all have this one voice or this one topic and perhaps, I’m neglecting this other area of my blog. It enables you to mix up your content in that way.

If you’ve got a team, it also is a great place for working out who’s going to do what and when and how to use different team members to their strengths. If you get a longer-term with your editorial calendar, it can also help you to coordinate other aspects of your business.

For instance, on our business, we know that we’ve got an ebook being launched in a couple of months time on Digital Photography School so we’re already beginning to plan what sort of content we’ll use in the lead up to the launch of that ebook and during the launch period. Not just sales copy but how can we actually create content that builds awareness of a need in our readers and leads them to the point where they might want to purchase our ebook. We’re able to design a whole week of content around that topic of the launch for instance.

It’s also great if you’re working with advertisers to be able to say, “In June, we’ve got this theme coming up. We’re going to tackle this theme and it relates to your product. Would you like to sponsor that type of content?” Opens up all kinds of opportunities and conversations with other brands and collaborators. It also helps you to plan around holidays and seasonal events that might be coming up. I know, for us, we always have a whole heap of content that relates to the holidays in December and we’re planning that ahead of time.

It also helps you to mix up your content and achieve certain goals. Every blogger will know that some type of content is more shareable than others so it’s great to have shareable content in the mix. But some bloggers fall into the trap of only creating that type of content. They forget to weave into the mix of content, content that helps to build community, that helps to teach, and sometimes, that helps to sell. A calendar helps you to be more intentional about those different objectives. 

There’s a whole heap of reasons why a calendar might be good for your blog and some great tools out there to help you with this (and I’ll mention some of them at the end of this podcast), but today, I want to encourage you, just create a very simple calendar just for next week on your blog. Here’s how to do it.

Firstly, calculate how many posts you want to write next week. There is no right or wrong answer to this. More frequent posts are good on some levels but not if it comes at the expense of the quality of your content. Three posts, four posts, five posts, it doesn’t really matter. Just calculate how many you want to write next week or publish next week. Then, set up a spreadsheet. Could be a spreadsheet, could just be a Word document, or a piece of paper if you really want to go that way.

On your spreadsheet, just give enough slots for each post and the time and date of publishing of those posts. Take the list that you came up with yesterday of post ideas and just do a quick review of which ones you want to publish next week. It’s probably worth spending a little bit of time on this, prioritizing which are the best ideas because not all the ideas will be great. Some might need some further development. Take each post that you want to publish and put it into a slot.

What I like to do is to write a short description of what the post will be—the main points and sometimes, even the headline—anything that’s going to help you write that post. Also, write down when you will create that post. I’ll write this post this afternoon, I’ll write that post on Monday morning, I’ll write the last post on Wednesday. Whatever it might be, set yourself some deadlines and begin to diarize when you create that content.

Once you’ve done that, congratulations. You’ve just set yourself up an editorial calendar. It’s a pretty simple one, but it’s one that tells you what you need to know for next week. You now know what post you need to create, you have some starting points for each post, and you have a plan about when you create each post.

Another way that some bloggers like to get into the rhythm of creating content and to set up an editorial calendar is to make each different day of the week a different type of post day. On Monday, you might create your list post. On Tuesday, you might write a review post. On Wednesday, you might like to publish a how-to post. Thursday might be in an opinion post. Friday might be a link post. Saturday might be a day where you ask your readers a question and have a discussion post. Sunday might be an interview post where you interview someone.

You can slide in whatever you like but the beauty of this is that it creates this rhythm and its different types of posts that will appeal to different types of readers. Give it a go if you’re feeling a bit stuck. Many bloggers start out this way and then their editorial calendar evolves.

It’s probably worth saying at this point that often at the start of the week, I’ll start out with a plan and things change. Don’t get too stuck on it. You don’t have to publish everything you plan at the start. You might get another idea or some news might break that you need to cover instead so you can shuffle things around. Like I said before, there’s a whole heap of tools out there—tools, plugins, templates—that can help you with the editorial calendars.

There are a few that I’ve tried and a few that I’ve heard recommended by others that you might want to check out. If you’re on WordPress, you might like to look at CoSchedule. I’ll give you the link in the show notes. It goes beyond being just an editorial calendar type tool and a very good one at that but also helps you to plan your social media sharing of posts which is really powerful.

There’s also a great plugin for WordPress called Editorial Calendar which we’ve used on ProBlogger for many years. It enables you to see your posts that are coming up as a calendar all within WordPress and to manage those posts from that calendar.

There’s another one that I know many bloggers use called Edit Flow, although it hasn’t been updated for a while. Editorial calendar might be the better choice there. Then, there’s a whole heap of other tools. I know some bloggers who have big teams use a tool called DivvyHQ. It’s a content management system and a calendar all wrapped into one with lots of shared calendars but it’s a paid tool and it’s probably better if you’ve got a larger team.

You might simply want to go with a Google document, spreadsheet, Excel, numbers, whatever type of spreadsheet tool that you use. I know many bloggers, perhaps most bloggers, use that. Then, there’s always a calendar tool as well like iCal or Google’s calendar. I’ll give some further reading in the show notes today.

Whatever tools you choose to use, my challenge for you today is to set up that first calendar for next week. It’s important to give it a go. You’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t and then can evolve the system that you use. The important thing (for now) is to try it and to set something up, to think ahead about your content, and to see what impact it has upon you as a writer but also upon the content you create and your readers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s challenge. This is one that I resisted for a long time in my own blogging but once I started doing it, I wish I’d started doing it earlier because it really transformed a lot of the things that I was doing with my blogs. You can find today’s show notes at where I have listed some further reading but also some links to the tools mentioned in today’s show.

I’d love to also get your review of today’s show and the podcast if you have a moment on iTunes or on stitcher where our podcast is hosted. I really do read all of those reviews and really appreciate the kind words that have already been left there. Thank you so much to those of you who’ve done that. I’d love to read yours, it does help us to get our show out a little further. I look forward to chatting with you tomorrow on day 13 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

How did you go with today’s challenge?

  • Do you already have an editorial calendar?
  • What tool do you use if any?
  • What does your next week of blogging look like in your editorial calendar?

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