Life is busy. Blogging is busier.
Let’s face it, blogging is hard work. Daily or weekly you have people looking to you to give them something truly great to read. Readers don’t keep coming back to a blog that constantly posts updates that say “sorry I’ve been busy”. If your plan is to not have a plan, you’re ready to fail.
What do we mean by you’re ready to fail without a plan? You might be the world’s best writer, but what happens when you sit down later than you had hoped on a very busy day and you just need to get a post out? What are you going to write about? What pictures will go along? Do you need something prepared in advance? What is your keyword for search engine optimization?
You might come up with something really great on the fly. But chances are that you’re going to be missing out on a great opportunity to post something truly outstanding because you are missing something. Maybe it’s the graphic that will make the post stand out. Or maybe you’re missing out on having a really strong SEO strategy because you are missing great keywords.
Think about it this way: what if a fisherman went out to fish without inspecting his net? One small hole in the net would let fish escape. What about a huge hole? There would be no fish at all.
Every single blog post is a net to bring readers into your blog. Are you letting them swim through the holes because you’re not taking time to plan?
So how do you mend those nets? A great option is to use an editorial calendar – it’s your plan and map for the future of your blog.
How do you use an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is just that, a calendar but many times it’s also a place to brainstorm and plan out posts.
To get started let’s talk about planning. There’s many different editorial calendars that you can buy, print for free, or even make yourself. No matter which option you choose we recommend that it has a place for brainstorming and post planning.
In the planning section you need to spend time figuring out what the keywords for your blog are and what do you want to be known for. If you’re not sure or you do not want to subscribe to one niche then gather your 3-5 most popular posts and use those posts to brainstorm so that you can build your authority on those posts.
Example: Your blog is a parenting blog and one of your most popular posts, also known as an evergreen post, is “Activities To Keep Children Busy on Summer Break”. To build your authority and be able to develop some really strong deep links within your blog, it would be wise to develop strong ideas that stem from that post.
So let’s start with the keyword “summer”. Here’s the bad news. Unless your site ranks higher than Mashable and Parents.com, your posts with the keyword “summer” will never be found on search engines. However if you break it down to more specific keywords (also called long tail keywords), you have a great chance of coming up on search engines and a wider pool of ideas to pull from.
In the planning / brainstorming section of your planner (or just use a blank sheet of paper) write down summer activities. Now think of 3-4 ways to break down summer activities. Where can you go, what can you see, what food will you eat, etc.
You might want to use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to help you plan your keywords for maximum search engine optimization. No matter how deep you dive into the SEO aspect, after a few minutes you should have 9 posts that will tie together with a central theme and can easily be linked together. It will give you authority and give your readers a trail of relevant posts to follow.
Now that you’ve taken time to plan it out, move it over to your calendar and schedule it.
You can also use those planned posts to pitch companies to sponsor content that would work well with their brand.
Now that you have your calendar planned out work ahead to assure that when you sit down to write you have all the photos and graphics you need to complete a post and have it published on time. Make a to-do list for the week and stick to it the best you can. Editorial calendars are also a great way to keep track of your goals and social media networks.
Using an editorial calendar will help you be more efficient and present better content to your readers.
Here’s the best news – Blog Elevated wants to help you be more efficient. We’ve made a printable Editorial Calendar just for you!
Just print it out and get to work taking your blog to the next level. Plan to succeed and you will!
To print out the pages click on the links below for each individual page. Print out the number of pages for each one that you would like or think you need.
Here’s what we suggest –
You’ll need one calendar for every month of your editorial calendar. You’ll also need one Plan It Out page per month and one Brainstorm Page per month. You will need 1-2 Blog Log pages for your entire calendar. The most of your pages will be the blog post ideas page. If you post several times a week than you will need a minimum of 4 per month. However it all depends how much you blog.
Print out your pages, using a front to back method to save paper. You can then take it to have it professionally bound at a professional printer or punch holes and place it in a three ring binder.
No matter what you do, just use it! It will help you plan and blog better.