Tuesday 2 December 2014

A blogger’s best friend: the editorial calendar

Guest Post by Robin Houghton

A blog is a commitment – once started, it takes time to build up a readership, and a big part of that is being able to regularly produce interesting content. But what about those days when you just can’t think of anything blog about? Or you’re just too busy to blog?

If a blog falls silent it can look abandoned, and readers may turn their attention elsewhere. Not only that, but it will drop out of the search results. But there’s a simple trick for keeping your blog vibrant - create an editorial calendar.

It may sound a bit over-the-top to have an editorial calendar for a blog with just one editor/contributor. But trust me, it’s time well spent. The principle is just this: plan ahead and you’ll never run out of content. Here’s how to get started.

1. Decide on a realistic posting schedule for your blog, based on what you want the blog to achieve, your priorities and your resources. 

2. Draw a grid on a sheet of paper, or open a blank spreadsheet document. Across the top, label the columns ‘week 1’, ‘week 2’ and so on –  just do one month (4 weeks) to begin with. 

3. Down the side, label each row with a ‘type’ of blog post. Think about the blogs you enjoy reading. Which posts are the ones you always click on, or share? Useful information – ‘ten top tips...’? Reviews of books, or events? Opinion pieces on something topical? Keep going – thinking about who you want to read your blog.

4. Now go through each week and select two blog post types for that week, bearing in mind both your own agenda and also anything topical or seasonal for that week.

5. And that’s it - a month’s worth of blog posts all planned out. The following month, copy and paste (rather than overwrite) the previous month, so you keep a record of everything you’ve blogged about. 

6. Don’t feel you have to write every post yourself – maybe a blogging buddy would like to contribute a guest piece now and then.  Or on platforms like WordPress or Tumblr it’s easy to reblog someone else’s blog post – it all spreads the love!

Set time aside for this process at the beginning of the month (or do it every three months if you’re up for planning that far ahead). Over time you’ll know which are the most popular posts and you’ll do more of that ‘type’. Like all forward plans, allow yourself some flexibility. But with a calendar in place you’ll never be stuck for ideas of what to blog about.

Guest Post by Robin Houghton

Blogging for Writers, published by Ilex Press (UK) and Writers Digest Books (US) November 2014, is Robin’s second commissioned ‘how to’ blogging book. Available from all good bookshops and online.

Robin Houghton has over two decades of experience in marketing and communications, formerly with Nike, then running her own business Eggbox Marketing since 2002 specialising in online. She now works primarily with writers and publishing industry professionals to help them make the best use of social media. Robin writes blogs on social media and poetry and has been a guest blogger for a number of sites including Social Media Today and MarketingProfs. She is a published poet and a commercial copywriter for web and print, and an experienced trainer and conference speaker. Her first book 'Blogging for Creatives' was a best-seller and resulted in two more commissions, 'Blogging for Writers' and forthcoming in 2015 'The Rules of Blogging (and How to Break Them)', both published by Ilex in the UK and Writers Digest Books in the US.

US Cover

Follow Robin on Twitter: @robinhoughton

Connect on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/robinhoughton

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Buy the book in the Writers Digest Shop 
or from Amazon UK

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out this simple steps to improve your editorial writing skills and (as the result), improve your blog.