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.
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.
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:
- Author: if there are multiple writers for your blog, you may want to create a section for contributing writers.
- 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.
- Status: if you’d like to mark finished posts as ‘complete’, ‘in progress’ or ‘incomplete’, you may find this heading helpful.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.