Do you have a blogging editorial calendar? It’s one of those things that some bloggers swear by to help them stay on track, plan ahead, get organised and grow their online presence. While other bloggers will reject the idea of a blogging editorial calendar because it goes against their creative nature.
It’s lovely to write about whatever pops into your head that morning, but having a clear strategy will help your blog posts have more impact.
I go through stages with my blog where for a few months I’ll be very strategic and I’ll plan all my content to maximise exposure and get the best results. And then I’ll have a few months where I’ll wing it and write about whatever I feel passionate and excited about – I won’t force anything, I’ll just write what I want when I want.
Realistically, I know I should be doing something in the middle of these two extremes.
If I overplan I feel restricted and bored. But if I underplan I feel stressed and disorganised and can end up missing out on great content opportunities because I wasn’t prepared.
If I’ve learnt anything since I started blogging it’s this – everything takes longer than you expect! It can often take weeks to create a new blog post when you factor in the time for planning, buying props or products, visiting somewhere new, writing the post, editing the photos and videos, getting approval from brands, making edits and the possibility of delays! So you really do need to plan ahead and be prepared and this is where a blogging editorial calendar comes in!
Leave space for creativity – It’s a guide, not a set plan
My first tip for your blog content calendar is to leave space for creativity. Let your blogging editorial calendar be a rough guide rather than a strict plan you’ve got to adhere to.
Blogging is meant to be a fun, creative and rewarding hobby and I genuinely believe that the more fun you have with it, the more successful you will be.
If you’re enjoying writing your blog posts then people will enjoy reading them!
If you turn into a copywriting, content creating machine then no one will have much fun with that!
How often will you post?
My second step is to establish a realistic idea of how often you’ll post new content.
I’m currently aiming for 2-3 times a week for a new blog post but remember to be flexible. We’re currently in lockdown in the UK and I’m homeschooling two children and have a baby at home too so I’m not being too hard on myself! But as soon as this situation changes I will aim to post more.
Print out a paper calendar
OK, I might be old fashioned here but I like to print out a calendar for the year and write in my blog post ideas on specific dates. Canva have lots of templates for calendars that are worth checking out!
I know I could use a spreadsheet but something about putting pen to paper helps me brainstorm ideas and feel more creative.
And I also know I could buy a beautiful diary for the year to make my blogging editorial calendar a little nicer and more professional looking but this doesn’t work for me either. When I have a gorgeous diary I don’t want to scribble things out or tear pages out when things go wrong!
With a printable calendar I don’t mind making a mess or even reprinting whole months and starting all over again!
Post one blog per week that highlights your niche/ speciality/ expertise
No matter how many blogs you post per week, I highly recommend making sure that at least one blog post highlights your niche. If you don’t have a clearly defined niche then think of it as your speciality subject and the thing you’re an expert at.
If you’re not regularly writing about your speciality subject then your audience will get confused and won’t know what you blog about. You also won’t have the opportunity to highlight your expertise unless you’re regularly writing about it. If you want to be seen as an expert then you need to prove you’re an expert. Don’t just tell people in your Instagram bio that you’re a ‘cheesecake maker’ or whatever it is you do, you need to regularly show them with weekly updates, tutorials, recipes, inspiration and examples.
Even if you have a broad niche like ‘lifestyle’ you still need to have a speciality within that if you want to stand out from the crowd and carve out a space for yourself online.
My main focus right now is about getting outdoors and being active with children. If you’re reading this in the future, we’re currently in the midst of Covid-19 and we’re in lockdown in most of the UK so my niche has had to adapt with the times and it won’t be this forever!
Remember that nothing is forever
If you’re freaking out about the thought of defining yourself with just one niche then it’s worth remembering that nothing has to be forever. During the Covid-19 pandemic you might want to focus on one thing, but this might change next year when (hopefully!) the world will be a different place.
A lot of bloggers (myself included at times!) get so caught up in defining their niche and picking the perfect niche for them that they forget to create any actual content.
Pick something to focus on but don’t let it take up too much headspace.
Do the 100 post ideas challenge to enhance your blogging editorial calendar
If you’re thinking that writing a weekly blog post about your speciality subject will be tough then fear not! I highly recommend doing The 100 Blog Post Challenge!
It’s something I talk about in The Blogger Course a lot and everyone who does the course does it and finds it so useful!
Basically, sit down with a notepad and pen and write down 100 blog post ideas that will strengthen and emphasise your niche and your expertise. It sounds like a lot but once you get going you’ll realise you have so many ideas and potential ideas. One blog post idea will spark another idea and another. Think about how you can elaborate on that original idea with multiple blog posts that really get into the nitty gritty and explain everything.
An example I always use is writing about a weekend break. Let’s say you spent a weekend in the Cotswolds and you’re planning to blog about it. Write a review of your accommodation, a post about where you ate, a post detailing your entire itinerary, one post dedicated to your favourite activity, one post with tips you discovered while planning your trip, a post about what your wore and packed while you were there and maybe one that reads more like a diary or travel journal. There are so many potential ideas!
If you come up with 100 blog post ideas then you can narrow it down to the 52 best ideas to keep you busy throughout the year!
Expand on what’s already popular
Another way I come up with new blog post ideas is to write more of what is already popular on my blog.
Look at your top 50 blog posts from the past 12 months and think about more posts you could write about the same topics. It’s likely to perform well if you’re already ranking for something similar and you’ll be able to link to your new posts from the popular ones you already have which will boost traffic and keep people on your blog for longer.
Alternate between SEO posts and engaging/personal posts
When planning your content you need to find the balance between creating posts that will perform well in search engines and posts that will engage your established following.
You need the SEO-friendly posts to attract new people and provide evergreen content that will keep your pageviews consistently high (particularly if passive income is an important income stream for you).
But you also need those personal, engaging blog posts that are more interesting to your established following who follow your blog to follow YOU.
Here’s an example of an SEO- friendly post: My Danner Boots review
It’s a new post but I’m confident it will perform well in Google searches after a few weeks and it should attract a lot of traffic. But will my followers be interested in reading it? Some of them will, I’m sure, but only the ones who want to buy a new pair of walking boots!
So here’s an example of a personal and engaging post: My plans, goals, hopes and dreams for 2021
This performed really well when it first went live because my established following were interested to see what I’d be doing in 2021. But will anyone read this in 3-4 months time? Probably not!
In an ideal world we’d create blog posts that are both SEO friendly AND engaging for established followers. An example of this for me was How I lost my baby weight which was super popular when it first went live and is starting to rank well in Google searches now too.
Some bloggers will create 100% SEO friendly blog posts that might attract lots of search traffic but won’t necessarily convert people to become loyal fans. This will mean that people will come to a blog and read 1 or 2 posts and may never come back again. But if your blog has some personality then people are more likely to feel like they’re getting to know you and they’ll come back next week to read more.
Plan in seasonal or topical posts
Seasonal content will be different for each niche so think about which seasons or holidays and events will be important for your blogging editorial calendar.
It could be the obvious ones like Christmas or Easter or more specific ones like festival season, the winter ski season, fruit picking season or International Donut Day (June 4th in case you’re wondering!)
Also think about the times of year people do things. January is often the time when people start healthy eating and exercise regimes. January-February is when people start planning their holidays. March is when people start gardening. May is when people start buying their summer wardrobes.
If you aren’t sure about the seasonal trends for your chosen niche then simply Google it to find out more!
Add to your blogging editorial calendar the dates you need to start prepping
Not only do I have seasonal dates and content ideas in my calendar, I also write in the dates I need to start planning and prepping for seasonal content.
If you’re planning seasonal content for days like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas etc, you really need to start planning it about 6-8 weeks in advance. It’s really weird to start thinking about Halloween in August so I find it really useful to have a date in my calendar which reminds me to start planning.
If you’d like more blogging advice, you can find all my blogging tips here.