I’ve heard a lot of people dread what is probably, to me, one the easiest tasks in running a website or blog: planning an editorial calendar. I realize not everyone is like me – constantly jotting down notes and to-do lists, and color-coding tasks with highlighters, but devising an editorial calendar will make you feel as if you’re that organized… even if you’re not.
Quick Tips When Planning an Editorial Calendar:
- What Are You Talking About?– You should have a very general idea of what kind of content you want to produce. Worrying about each line of each post for the next few months before they’re even written will just intimidate you and bog you down. Start with overall ideas like
- Contests (monthly), Polls (weekly), reader emails (monthly), interviews (bi monthly), etc.
- Set a Time Limit – Don’t try to plan a year’s worth of content at once. For one thing, that will take up valuable time and for another, no matter what you’re writing about, news breaks, trends change, etc. You’ll end up rearranging and rescheduling anyway. But, with that in mind…
- Predict The Future – You’d be surprised how much of your content will create itself simply by paying attention to the calendar and what’s coming up in the world. If you’re writing about tech news, mark down when some of the heavy hitters are planning releases of new products like the rumored new iPhone or the next big tablet. For years I did television and movie reviews and I knew that the end of each spring was the perfect time for a Top Ten Must See Summer Blockbuster list. If you cover social media, make note of which conferences are coming up and what some of your related topics might be.
A good editorial calendar will not just help you organize your content, it will help organize what you need to do to generate that content. Check it weekly to see what you have coming up and make notes on what is required to get those posts up and running. Peeking ahead a week or two will help you schedule interviews, obtain photos, or do the proper research.
Be flexible. Once you step back and get a good luck at what you have planned for the next three months, a few posts may stick out to you as something that might serve better at a later time. Don’t panic if you have to shift content around. It’s why you’ve devised the calendar to begin with – helping you post the best content at the right time.
You can keep your calendar the old school way by using a wall calendar or dry erase board, but if you like everything right at your fingertips resting on the keyboard, there’s an excellent editorial calendar plugin for WordPress that works really well, especially if you have multiple contributors to your site.
What are some tips you have when planning your editorial calendar? What are some of the challenges?