How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

Do you have an editorial calendar for your blog yet? If not, your blogging efforts probably aren’t as effective or efficient as they could be.

By the end of this how-to guide, you will have your very own editorial calendar, and you will be much happier for it too!

The Benefits of Creating an Editorial Calendar

Before getting into the details of how to build an editorial calendar, let’s consider its primary benefits. After all, we’re mostly motivated by what we’re going to get out of it, aren’t we?

So, here’s what you have to gain:

  • An editorial calendar will help you to keep organized. When you know what posts need to be written for the following week or month, you won’t have to come up with new ideas at the last minute.
  • Your calendar will help you to develop content with an end goal in mind, instead of having to force a message in at the last minute.
  • An editorial calendar will keep you focused. When your post ideas are laid out in front of you, you can give yourself some time to mull over the posts before publishing them.
  • You can use your calendar as a to-do list, to help you develop your ideas as they come to you.

An Important Prerequisite

Before you create an editorial calendar, you should have a content marketing plan of sorts. Your content marketing strategy should outline your target keywords and define your ideal customer, follower or subscriber, so that you can create content to draw in your target demographic.

However, that is beyond the scope of this post. Don’t worry; I will be talking more about that in a future post.

How to Create Your Editorial Calendar in Google Drive

Google Drive is a fantastic tool that enables you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and a variety of other media. If you already have a Google account, you should be able to access Drive from drive.google.com. If not, you’ll want to go and create your account now.

Once you are logged in to Google Drive, simply click on the red ‘Create’ button in the upper left hand side, and click on ‘Spreadsheet’. For all intents and purposes, the spreadsheet tool should serve you well in creating and maintaining your editorial calendar.

Building an editorial calendar - creating a spreadsheet

At this point, the most important headings to create in your spreadsheet are ‘Title’, ‘Notes’, and ‘Publish Date’.

The Title, of course, is the title of the post you intend to create.

Your Notes section might include links to articles that you want to reference, or quotes from experts and influencers in your industry. You could also simply link to an Evernote note where you’ve stored all of the information you want to be included in that particular post.

The Publish Date, naturally, is the date you want the post to go live on your blog. Make sure to give yourself and/or your team adequate time to flesh out the post ideas they’ve been assigned.

What an editorial calendar looks like

This is what a basic editorial calendar looks like.

These three headings are absolute necessities, but if you’d like to go into more detail, you might consider adding the following titles to your calendar as well:

  1. Author: if there are multiple writers for your blog, you may want to create a section for contributing writers.
  2. Destination: if you regularly create guest posts or submit articles to other places, you may want to specify a destination for each of your posts.
  3. Status: if you’d like to mark finished posts as ‘complete’, ‘in progress’ or ‘incomplete’, you may find this heading helpful.
  4. Category: if you have multiple categories for your blog, which you likely do, you can pre-determine which category you intend to slot each post under.
  5. Tags: if you struggle to keep your blog tags organized, and you want to be more structured, you can take some time to think about what tags you want to attach to each of your upcoming posts. Don’t forget that tags are supposed to compliment search; in other words, if a blog post is tagged with ‘SEO’, people should be able to find other posts on your site about that topic by clicking on the tag anchor.
  6. Keywords: when you know what your keywords are going to be, it is much easier to write titles and headlines that help with your SEO efforts.
  7. Call to action: if you have a specific call to action that you want to highlight in a post, you can mark them down in a new cell on your calendar.

Share Your Calendar

Once you’ve created your editorial calendar, remember to share it with your team or other collaborators. After all, one of the benefits of creating your calendar using Google Drive is the ability to share it online.

When others can pitch in and add their ideas, it will ultimately benefit the content you create. Working together, you can develop a finished piece that is far better than what you could have conceived on your own!

Conclusion

If you need help setting up an editorial calendar, or you are looking for a writer to create content for your blog, I would encourage you to get in touch with me.

I blog for a variety of businesses on a variety of different subjects, and am more than happy to help. I look forward to hearing from you.

6 Reasons People Don’t Care About Your Blog

6 Reasons People Don’t Care About Your BlogIf people don’t care about your blog, have you ever stopped to think about why they don’t care?

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, our company hasn’t been around that long”, or “Our blog isn’t as important as our product.”

Those things may be true. However, if you aren’t gaining traction with your content marketing efforts, it’s probably because you aren’t doing the right things. A well-crafted blog post will almost always augment your traffic and grow your brand awareness.

You have to create a long-term plan for your blog if you want it to work for you. You have to learn to work smart instead of just working hard, because we all know that writing – especially undirected writing – can eat up a lot of time.

If no one cares about your blog, it might be for one of the following six reasons. Let’s explore each in more detail.

1. Your Blog Isn’t Concerned With Anyone Else

Companies everywhere used to use their blog to post updates about their business growth, their latest client or the recent hire on their team. In short, they were mostly self-interested, and they tended not to stick with their blogging efforts.

However, tooting your own horn won’t help you to get traction with your blog in today’s online climate. People are looking for information; they don’t care about your company unless you first show that you care about them.

As it has often been said, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Write for your audience; don’t write merely to self-promote.

2. Your Blog Doesn’t Add Value

It’s one thing to write for SEO purposes. However, if you’re just going to re-present information that’s readily available elsewhere, your blog isn’t doing what it should be doing for you.

Moreover, you need to engage your audience by providing information that they are likely to be looking for. Carefully consider what your customer might need to know about your product or service and write about that.

Additionally, link out to other sources and reference other experts. Don’t fear talking about other people’s products or services, unless you are going out of your way to defame them.

3. Your Blog Isn’t Helping Anyone

Why do people read the blogs they do? Why do they become repeat visitors? Because the author is helping them!

You need to consider what goals your target demographic might have, and create content around that. If you are committed to serving your audience, your blog will reflect that fact.

Use your blog to educate and inform.

4. Your Blog Doesn’t Have A Focus

If you have a blog, you should define your target keywords and hone in on a specific subject. A blog doesn’t benefit your site if it doesn’t compliment the product or service you are trying to sell.

It’s easy to lose focus, and it might even seem difficult to create a variety of content around a single subject, but the sooner you determine a focus, the sooner you will gain a reputation for your area of expertise.

5. You Aren’t Framing Your Content In An Interesting Way

This post could have been titled ‘Your Blog Isn’t Very Good’. While that might be an okay title, ’6 Reasons People Don’t Care About Your Blog’ is far more attention-grabbing.

If you’re already putting significant effort towards writing posts, keep in mind that you may not necessarily have a content problem. You might have a headline or title problem.

It’s important to frame your content in such a way that people can’t help but want to read more. Make sure to craft interesting titles for your posts.

6. You Aren’t Adding New Content On A Regular Basis

Many businesses already know that they should be blogging. However, they don’t necessarily know why. When you don’t know why, it just becomes busywork, and it ends up falling to the bottom of your priority list.

For your blog to be effective, you need to be publishing new posts on a regular basis. It’s not enough to post sporadically, whenever you feel like it. You need a plan and an editorial calendar to keep you honest.

There isn’t much point in having a blog that’s updated any less than once a month, and that’s on the low side.

Conclusion

So, if you find it difficult to stay on a consistent schedule, or you simply don’t know how to create engaging content, I am here to help.

Please get in touch with me, and let’s come up with a plan to tackle your content marketing problem.

Musicians: What is Your Overall Marketing Plan?

Musicians: What is Your Overall Marketing Plan?My primary area of expertise is in online marketing. However, in deciding on an online and social media strategy, I think it’s crucial to have an overarching marketing plan that informs your overall approach.

In other words, you need to define your purpose. Once you know why you exist, the what will pretty much takes care of itself.

You may have heard all of this before, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Let’s figure out what your overall marketing plan is so that every part of your promotional efforts lock together to build a unified whole.

Why do You Create Music?

It may seem a little patronizing to ask, but you have to carefully consider this question (“why do you create music?”) if you want to figure out what your purpose is.

At the center of your marketing – and, for that matter – at the center of your music career should be your reason for existing.

A lot of musicians try to go about it the other way. They start with the ‘what’. When you start with the ‘what’, your marketing messages sound like a whiny, self-important child (check this out, check us out, check out our latest promotion, etc.). People tend to tune this stuff out.

When you start with the ‘why’, your marketing will resonate with the right people. You will begin to attract an engaged audience.

Your ‘why’ doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. It doesn’t even have to be eloquent, respectable or admirable. However, it does have to make you come alive.

How do you know if you’ve found your ‘why’? If it makes you cry, laugh, get angry, or if it sounds too good to be true, you’re probably hitting pretty close.

How to Translate Your Purpose into Your Marketing Plan

Your ‘why’ is your primary motivation for doing what you do. Another way of looking at it is that your core values are telling you how to act.

Is serves to reason that what you value, you will put effort into, correct? If you really love your significant other, you will let them know. If you really care about your family, you will spend time with them and help them when they’re in need.

But here’s a really important point: you’re already living out your core values on a daily basis! Even though you may not be consciously aware of it, if you were to take a closer look at your life, you would soon realize that this is true.

How you spend your time and how you spend your money will tell you what you care about most.

So, in other words, translating your purpose into your marketing plan really isn’t that hard. Your ‘why’ is your marketing plan.

The reason we tend to get off-track is because we don’t feel comfortable being that vulnerable online or otherwise. If you want to live out your purpose, it demands that you feel uncomfortable at times.

Conclusion: Developing Your Overall Marketing Plan

Do you know what your primary motivating purpose is?

If not, don’t worry; I’m here to help. I offer one-on-one consultations with musicians to help them figure out their online marketing and social media strategies.

Please get in touch with me, and let’s explore your ‘why’ together.

Musicians: Do You Have a Website?

Musicians: Do You Have a Website?It’s amazing to me how many musicians (even well-known ones!) don’t have a website.

For my money, online marketing begins with your website. Sites like ReverbNation, MySpace and Bandcamp are great and all, but they’re just rental spaces. There are virtually no guarantees that their terms won’t change, that your profile won’t be taken down, or that the sites won’t get shut down at some point.

If you really want to create a solid foundation for your online presence, you need to own something, and that something should be your website.

Why are Websites so Important?

Here are the main reasons why you should have a website:

  1. A website makes you look professional. If I do a Google search for you and all of the results on the first page are your social profiles, I am less likely to take you seriously.
  2. A website says you’re serious. So you’ve invested time, money and effort into building, designing and maintaining a beautiful-looking website, cool! That means that you have a long-term plan and that you see a future for yourself in music. Congratulations.
  3. A website says you care. While you can use social media sites to provide something extra for your fans, you are somewhat limited in what you can do for them. Since your website is your own, you can do whatever you want, and if you show me that you care about your fans with the content you put on your site, I’m more likely to reciprocate too.

There are many tangent points off of these main ones, but I think you can see why I advocate having a website.

Qualifiers

Just in case; let’s make sure we know what we’re talking about here. A website is not any of these things:

  • A website is not a domain name forwarding to a ReverbNation, Myspace, Facebook, or any other social media page.
  • A website is not a landing page with a bunch of links to purchase your music (there are some strategic reasons for limiting visitor options, but this is both lazy and lackluster).
  • A website is not merely an online business card. It has to be updated, revised, maintained, and tweaked regularly.

Do You Have a Website?

So, do you have a website according to the standards laid out in this post?

If not, you need to rectify that situation; especially if you see yourself building a music career over the long haul.

Fortunately, I’m here to help. I offer one-on-one online marketing consultations for musicians, and I provide actionable tips that you can use to better your career.

If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch with me. Let’s get your marketing sorted out once and for all.

Musicians: Do You Have an Online Marketing Checklist?

Musicians: Do You Have an Online Marketing Checklist?

It has often been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Unfortunately, this is exactly what many musicians do (or don’t do as the case may be).

How much time are you wasting on empty, non-productive pursuits online? How often do you get sidetracked while trying to work on something important?

The online world can certainly be a distracting place, but if you have a plan for how you are going to approach your marketing activities, you will rarely need to spend more than 15 to 30 minutes a day on the internet (unless you are regularly blogging as this activity may require more time).

On the other hand, if you don’t have a plan, how much time could you end up wasting online? One hour? Two hours? Three hours?

That’s not time you’re going to get back!

Online marketing is important, but it isn’t everything. Practicing, performing, and recording should be higher priorities on your list of things to do.

If you find that your online marketing efforts aren’t organized, I would recommend developing an online marketing checklist to boost your personal productivity.

How to Put Together an Online Marketing Checklist

Your checklist does not need to be perfect. It doesn’t even need to be great. Its purpose is simply to guide you through the tasks that you need to do while you are on your computer.

Take a moment to ask yourself this question: what is important to me?

You already know what you need to do online. No one else can tell you what matters to you most (though you can bounce ideas off of other people).

So, start by making a list of the things you see as being important. Here are a few different items you might consider:

  • Answering emails.
  • Writing a blog post (technically, you don’t have to do this while you are online; if you’re going to format it and post it, you do).
  • Posting to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, and so on.
  • Posting events on social sites.
  • Answering direct messages on social media.
  • Interacting with your fans on social media (i.e. posts that have comments on them).
  • Reaching out to prospective fans, industry experts and other connections on social media.

This is just a sample list. I’m sure you could think of other things that you’d like to accomplish with your online time. Add them to your list.

3 Steps to Creating a Sustainable Online Marketing Plan

  1. Create a list. Again, make a list of the online marketing activities that you need to carry out on a daily basis.
  2. Organize your list. Put the most important items at the beginning of your list, and the least important items towards the end. Sort them by importance.
  3. Create some boundaries. Figure out how long it takes for you to finish all of your online tasks. Set a daily online time limit.

Not sure how to get started on your online marketing checklist? Not sure what you should be focusing on?

Don’t fret, that’s what I’m here for. I offer one-on-one online marketing consultations for musicians. If you’d like to figure out how to maximize the results of your online marketing efforts, make sure to get in touch with me, and we’ll talk it through.

Musicians: What is Your Social Media Strategy?

Musicians: What is Your Social Media Strategy?Social media strategy is one of my key areas of strength. In fact, those who are keen on using soical to market their music often ask me what I would do if I were in their shoes.

More than anything, you have to play long ball with social media. The return on your investment (ROI) probably won’t show up right away.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth doing.

Many musicians have used popular social networks to accomplish a variety of different goals. Some have established key connections that helped to move their music career ahead, while others have built an online following and a loyal fan base that buys everything they put out.

At this point, let me turn this around on you. Do you have a social media strategy for your music?

If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for, I want you to go through the following list and carefully consider if you are doing all of these things or not.

Facebook

  • Do you have a Facebook Page (and not just a profile)?
  • Are you sharing new posts on a daily basis?
  • Are you using a variety of media, including photos, audio, and video to connect with your fans?

Twitter

  • Are you telling a story with your tweets (i.e. are you posting something other than ‘check out…’)?
  • Are you using pic.twitter.com to make your tweets more engaging (instead of just cross-posting photos from other platforms like Instagram)?
  • Are you connecting with others (i.e. @mentions, retweets and favorites)?

Instagram

  • Are you consistently posting new photos, at least on a weekly basis?
  • Are you creating and organizing a photo series using hashtags?
  • Are you encouraging your fans to take Instagram photos of you at your live performances?

Google+

  • Are you using an attractive profile and cover photo on your profile page?
  • Do you have a Google+ page for your music?
  • If you have a blog, have you set up Google Authorship?

Other

  • If you have a WordPress blog, do you have it set up to publicize to sites like Tumblr and Path (i.e. by using the Jetpack plugin)?
  • Are you using a social management tool like HootSuite or Buffer to schedule out posts for your social networks?
  • Do you have your own dot-com domain name and website?

Social Media Strategy: Conclusion

If you answered ‘yes’ to 10 or more of these questions, you are well on your way to becoming an effective social marketer.

If you answered ‘no’ to six or more questions, your social media strategy definitely needs some work.

The good news is that I am here to help. I offer one-on-one social media consultations for musicians, chock-full of useful ideas and actionable tips.

If you aren’t happy with your social media ROI, I would encourage you to get in touch with me. Let’s talk it over, and see if we can come up with a plan to overhaul your online presence.