How to use an editorial calendar to improve your blog is one popular topic that you will always see whenever you go through posts covering tips for improving one’s blog. How useful are these editorial calendars? Do they really make a difference?
I will say it depends on you and how serious you are about blogging and getting your content out there. An editorial calendar is a necessity for any blogger serious about improving their blog contents, blogging in general and time management.
Let’s be honest, blogging is time-consuming and even more when there’s no proper planning. For a long time, i put up posts without planning ahead, i spent hours editing outfit photos, creating collages and typing up contents of blog posts i wanted to post in the same day that i wanted to publish them.
This was always stressful for me because i spent hours putting together blog contents, plus the time that i also had to spend taking care of my personal life, managing emails, my social media and of course my school work.
Most of those times, i ended up publishing posts with errors that i had to correct after they were already published just because i didn’t take time to research my content, read through my drafts and make necessary adjustments.
This also affected how these posts fared on social media. I thought of creating an editorial calendar several times but somehow i never got to it till this year. As some of you already know, I’ve been sick off and on for the last 2 months (i’m all better now and will be resuming outfit posts soon), coincidentally I’ve had a long break from school too. Within this period, i was able to redesign and reevaluate my blog. I had time to assess most of the challenges i faced while blogging last year with the majority related to time management, blog content management and sharing.
I came up with different ideas and ways to improve them this year, i tried out most of them to find out the most effective and all of them still pointed towards having an editorial calendar. I casually created one on my notepad and so far blogging has felt easier and i spend lesser time now creating posts with enough time to proofread and optimize them days and weeks ahead. I’ve also decided to create and stick to a posting schedule (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays).
Don’t get me wrong, i don’t have it all figured out, i’m still new to using an editorial calendar to manage my blog so, my tips on how to use an editorial calendar to improve your blog contents are based on my 1 month trial and a lot of research on successes of using editorial calendars to manage blog contents.
You might be wondering how to create an editorial calendar in the first place before thinking of how to use an editorial calendar to improve your blog. So, let’s take a look at simple, free and paid ways of creating one.
Ways to create an editorial calendar
- DIY (Good old notepad and pen): If your love writing, keeping journals or already used to writing down your weekly activities, you are one step closer because you are already organized enough. All you need to do is get a separate notepad for all things blog related, divide it into different sections like blog posts ideas, blog content structure per week (example: 1 outfit post, 1 beauty post, 1 review, 1 sponsored post, 1 guest blogger post, etc), blog collaborations, things to improve on the blog and more sections according to what you need.
- Electronic notepad: If you prefer to type than write, you can type out your blog ideas, content marketing strategy and all other sections you need the way you would write them down on paper.
- Spreadsheets: Some of us prefer collecting and organizing data with spreadsheets. If you love having your work on spreadsheets then google spreadsheet or Microsoft excel would be a good idea for listing your blog ideas, blog contents, links and so on. Note that this option might not be the easiest to create but if you are already familiar with spreadsheets then you should be fine.
- Applications: There are a lot of desktop and mobile applications that help us manage our everyday life, the same applies to blogging. While you can use web versions of some applications directly on your browser, there are also mobile versions available for download on your mobiles for both android and ios like the google calendar and sunrise calendar or even your regular phone calendar and scheduling apps.
- Boards: If you already use pinterest to create and manage boards with different categories and ideas then you would know how effective boards can be for content organization, management, flexibility and accessibility. Trello looks good for organization using boards.
- Plugins: One of the advantages of using WordPress; there’s always a plugin to solve a problem. Some come at a cost while some are free to use with and without restrictions. You can download the WordPress editorial calendar plugin if you want something simple to see and manage your posts. Ofcourse it has it’s limitations which might not be a problem for you based on your own needs.
- Blog planners: While you can totally have a diy version of your own blog planner with a notepad, truth is; most of us love when things are already outlined for us and all we have to do is fill in the blanks. Thankfully blog planners are also sold online with the increasing number and popularity of bloggers. You can try the badass blog planner by blogger Sarah Morgan. Cassie (featured on the blog) recently launched her own version – the Cassie Daves blog planner currently sold for #5000 naira (less than $15) in Nigeria.
- Coschedule: You must have come across this tool especially if you use WordPress because of the possibility of integration. If i were a mega blogger babe (i.e making a steady income from blogging), this would probably be my go-to tool because it’s the complete package. It lets you schedule both blog posts and social media posts all in one place, letting you share your contents across your social media at different times without even being online. Imagine tweeting all day without actually tweeting, pinning to pinterest all day without even being online. I really like all the features of coschedule but sadly it’s out of my blogging budget range for now.
Now that you have all the tools you need to create an editorial calendar if you don’t already have one, let’s take a look at how to use an editorial calendar to improve your blog after you’ve put one together.
How to use an editorial calendar to improve your blog
- Make a list of your categories: It’s advisable to keep your categories as few as possible, i currently use 6 but i will reduce them to 4 soon as I’ve noticed that my contents fit into 4 main categories perfectly. Keeping your categories few is a good way to clearly define and stick to your niche while keeping your content relevant to your categories.
- Make note of blog post ideas according to your categories. It’s easier to spin posts to fit your blog when you have your main categories mapped out. You can even make notes about your outfit posts,best poses, shooting locations, best settings for your camera with different lighting, etc.
- Use your blog analytics report to analyze your current blog stats and traffic, compare blog traffics of different days and months to figure out the best times to publish your posts. Schedule your blog posts accordingly.
- Make note of your social media sharing patterns, times, useful hashtags, blogger shoutout accounts, call to action headings and phrases, etc. Switch them up, share at different times and take note of best performing times, hashtags and posts to better optimize and organize your posts on social media. This not only helps you get the most from your social media but also helps you to be consistent.
- Once you’ve gathered all your best performing times in a day, decide on how many times to share your blog posts on social media and create a content sharing strategy for sharing them evenly and effectively.
- With your blog analytics report you can find out your best performing posts and keywords bringing in the most traffic to your blog and create more posts similar to them.
- Take note of frequently asked questions on your blog, other blogs and social media, create a post answering these questions because these are what people are actually searching for.
- Make note of bloggers and brands you come across daily, research relevant topics to topics covered on your blog and take useful notes because you never know when you would need them.
- Take note of your monthly blog post performances and make improvements where necessary. Analyze your growth.
- If you run a blogging series weekly or monthly, scheduling blogging series for a particular day and time of the week helps your readers to know exactly when to come back for a fresh post in the series and also increases engagement on your blog, for example blog link up parties.
These tips on how to use an editorial calendar to improve your blog won’t start to work overnight but with better content planning, management, distribution and consistency, you will definitely see a change and be surprised at how much time you will save. The key is in taking note of all things related to your blog, creating great content and staying consistent!
Are you currently using an editorial calendar to improve your blog? Share your thoughts and results with us in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by as always