Three Good Reasons to Use an Editorial Calendar

By Ali Luke

Do you plan your content ahead of time … or do you just sit down on each “blogging day” to write a post?

While it’s a perfectly good idea to write while you’re inspired, it’s more likely that you’ll end up sitting down in front of a blank post or Word document, scratching your head and trying to figure out a good topic.

Even if you don’t have trouble coming up with ideas, you may find that you’ve run five list-style posts in a row, or covered the same topic in two consecutive weeks.

An editorial calendar is simply a list of what blog post you’re going to write when.

You can use a plugin, like the Editorial Calendar, or you can create a spreadsheet, use a physical diary, or even use a Gantt chart – or whatever works for you!

2014-calendar

Image from Flickr by danielmoyle.

Here’s why planning and scheduling your posts in advance is a very good idea:

#1: It Helps You Stay on Top of Your Blogging

Do you ever find yourself rushing through a post at the last minute – or skipping posting for weeks on end because you never seem to have enough time or enough ideas?

An editorial calendar helps you stay in control. You’ll come up with a bunch of ideas at, say, the start of the month – and then you know what you’ll be writing all month long.

This makes it easier to plan the rest of life around your blogging. For instance, if you know you’ve got a big post coming up that will need a lot of research, you can spread the work across several days.

#2: It Gives You a Better Balance of Posts

I know from experience that it’s all too easy to write the same types of posts day after day and week after week.

Maybe you’ve got into a bit of a list post rut, with “5 ways to…” and “7 tips for…” cropping up every single time. While list posts are great, and numbers make for compelling headlines, it’s good to shake things up a bit.

A calendar lets you plan for a good balance of posts. This might mean having a regular series – e.g. I’m running the Mistakes series on Fridays at present. Or it might simply mean throwing in a few new types of posts – perhaps a review once a month, or a how-to every couple of weeks.

#3: It Allows You to Work with Other Bloggers

If anyone else writes for your blog (either as a guest or as a co-blogger), then an editorial calendar is especially important and useful.

Guest posters will want to know when their post is likely to run. If you don’t have a calendar, it’s hard to give them a good answer – and if you simply run their post as soon as possible, you may find that you end up with a whole lot of guest posts in a row, followed by none for weeks.

Co-bloggers need to know when you’re posting and (unless you always cover different topic areas) what you’re posting about. A calendar will keep everything running smoothly, especially if you edit one another’s posts, or if one person approves them all before they go live.

 

Do you use an editorial calendar, or is this something you plan to do in 2014? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…

 




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7 Responses to “Three Good Reasons to Use an Editorial Calendar”

  • Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I do try to plan a week ahead but my goal is to do a month. I have several categories on my blog and I’d like to hit all of them at least once a month. The only way I can do that is with a monthly plan.

  • Alex

    I have been managing my tasks pretty much on paper up until now, but I can see how using a calendar might increase productivity and sense of accomplishment.

    There is definitely that sense of doing things right by using a calendar.

  • Shawn Gossman

    I use a calendar on my Weekly Writing Challenge blog because I have a co-blogger and I am trying to get more co-bloggers. When working with others, a calendar is very needed for the blog. Now on my blogs where I am the ‘lone-wolf’ blogger, I don’t really use one because I keep an eye on what is scheduled. Great post, Ali and Happy Holidays to you! 🙂

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Really smart stuff Ali! I write multiple times daily. I wake, I write. I snag an idea, I write. So my sked is based when I am breathing lol! Thanks for inspiring us 😉

  • Angelina

    Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I do try to plan a week ahead but my goal is to do a month. I have several categories on my blog and I’d like to hit all of them at least once a month. The only way I can do that is with a monthly plan.Thanks ,,,,!!

  • Monica Womble

    Calendars are definitely the way to go! If you don’t use one, you lose track of what you’ve posted that month. But, your readers will notice! If you repeat topics, titles, or ideas, it may become boring to your readers.

    Plus, using a calendar helps those of us who are great at procrastinating!

  • Angelina

    I do try to plan a week ahead but my goal is to do a month. I have several categories on my blog and I’d like to hit all of them at least once a month. The only way I can do that is with a monthly plan.your readers will notice! If you repeat topics, titles, or ideas, it may become boring to your readers.

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