Free editorial calendar for bloggers

 

Today’s guest post is by Mariah Coz of Femtrepreneur.co

200

“Hi! My name is Mariah. I started three profitable creative businesses while I was in college and I love talking with other femtrepreneurs. I’m here to help you build your own empire. “

You can also find Mariah here!   Twitter / Google +


PS ­ There’s a FREE printable 12 ­month editorial calendar that I created for you at the end of this post. Don’t miss it!

Crafting an editorial calendar sounds boring and useless (my eyes used to glaze over when I read this term). Planning out your content months in advance? Why?!

Creating an editorial calendar sounds time consuming, but it actually makes the entire process of blogging SO MUCH EASIER. I used to really labor over coming up with topics, blogging regularly and consistently was a joke. I only posted when inspiration would strike. That’s a good way to lose readers and quickly seem untrustworthy.

Now I’m addicted to my editorial calendar. It’s my friend. I look at it first thing when I get to work, it gives me direction for the day and week ahead. Blogging has become way easier for me since figuring out how to really use my calendar.

I use Google Calendar to plan my editorial calendar, because I like being able to drag and drop when things don’t go exactly as planned (whoops ­ missed that post, drag it on over to next week).

I have multiple blogs so I have multiple editorial calendars in parallel on the same digital calendar. I organize everything by a color coding system (that only I can understand).

Here’s a simplified example of a good editorial calendar:

How to craft an editorial calendar that works for YOU!

Okay, so let’s break it down.

This is how you figure out how to plan in advance and what you should write about for the month ahead.

1. Goals:
What are your top 2 or 3 goals this month?

Is it reaching new readers? Getting more subscribers? Selling more stuff from your blog?

I personally like to choose ONE priority goal. (There are then little mini­goals that are actually the actions I need to accomplish to reach the primary goal.)

You need to come up with blog posts that will help you reach that goal.

For example, if you’re goal is to grow your list, you’ll need to write an article that directly corresponds to your opt­in offer and make your readers want to sign up to get the offer while reading your post.

If you’re goal is to reach a new audience, you should write an article about a topic related to your niche, from a unique perspective or about how it relates to a more specific or related audience. If I blog about food and recipes but I want to reach other food bloggers, I would write a post about food photography.

If you’re goal is to sell more of your products or services offered from your blog, write posts that lead up to a soft sales pitch for your product. The post should be informative and awesome on it’s own, but should end with the idea that “if you want to know more about this topic in detail, check out my (product) or hire me for my (service).”

(Don’t forget to get your FREE printable 12­month editorial calendar right here ­ it will help you plan out your blog posts in a snap).

ACTION:
Come up with 4 blog post ideas that will DIRECTLY get you closer to your goal for this month. Plug these into your calendar at regular intervals (1x/week works for me). If these posts are a little more “sales­y”, it makes sense to spread them out over the month and put other types of posts in between them.

2. Categories:
Once you’ve come up with a few blog post ideas that get you closer to your goal, you can use the Categories method to fill in the rest of your editorial calendar. I have THREE main categories for my blog. Sometimes four. I like to keep it simple and it helps you niche down when you choose fewer categories.

Now come up with a blog post idea for each one of your categories. Each month, I rotate through my 3 or 4 categories to make sure I’m touching on all of my topics and to address the different needs of my audience.

This makes it easy to come up with content for my editorial calendar. This week I need a post in Category X, next week I need to blog about Category Y, and then the week after that will be about Category Z. This means you won’t get burnt out writing about the same category for a long time, and you won’t neglect other categories either.

3. Guest Posts:

You should ideally be guest posting as often (if not more often) as you post on your actual blog.

My rule is to have one guest post go live on someone else’s blog, to someone else’s audience at least once a week. I then try to post on my own blog once or twice a week.

So the third item that will flesh out your editorial calendar is your guest posts. If you can’t secure a guest post for every week, don’t worry! Just create another majorly beneficial post for yourself or leave that day open.

ADVANCED PLANNING:

Once you’ve gotten used to planning out content in advance, you can use your editorial calendar to plan more long­term events like launches, ongoing series, and more.

Launches:

If you’re launching a product or new service/offering in the coming weeks, plan out your editorial calendar around that. Make your content relevant to your new product or offering.

You can plan out your blog posts a month or even 6 weeks in advance, and craft your blog posts to “lead up to” and promote your upcoming offering, while still providing awesome value and content to your readers.

For example, you’re about to release a new eBook of Slow­Carb Recipes. So each week for a month, you publish a blog post that is a recipe from your upcoming eBook. In the post, you mention that this is an excerpt from your upcoming book and that more great recipes like this will be included in your new offering. You can incorporate posts about the benefits of Slow­Carb eating and other posts relating to your new offering.

Series:

A blog series is an ongoing or multi­week feature. It could be interviews, a How­To series, or something else with a common thread. I’ve got the Style Blog Experiment, an ongoing case study series.

I like to do an update every other week. So right there, I’ve got another thing I know I need to plug into my editorial calendar. Every two weeks I plan on posting an update on how my case study business is going.

You might have a series that recurs every single week, once a month, or just every week for 4 weeks. It depends on your series, but the editorial calendar can help you plan out your long­term blog posts.

I’ve created a beautiful, printable 12­month editorial calendar for you so that you can put all of this into practice in 2015. Get your FREE editorial calendar HERE.

Blogging doesn’t have to be frustrating and full of last­minute “What the heck should I write about?!” freak outs. Having an editorial calendar that works takes all the stress out of blogging. You’ll know what to do next, where you’re headed, and that your’e working towards your goals one post at a time.

Recommended Reading: