I hear a lot of boss ladies say the same thing, “I don’t know what to blog about!”
I feel you girl! It is hard to just wake up and know what to blog that day, how long to make the post, how much information you should give so freely, etc and etc. I am not going to get into all the reasons why blogging is good for your business because I am guessing if you are reading this, you see why it is necessary, you just need a little help to actually make blogging happen! So today I am going to teach you how I built an editorial calendar and filled it with 3 months worth of blog post topics in one day. Sounds crazy right? Well it really isn’t if you have a few tips to keep you on track.
*This post was updated in September 2017! New notes are shown in blue!
When starting an editorial calendar, first you need to determine how many days you will actually post. On the MMC blog, we are currently scheduling posts 5 days a week… life permitting 😉 I cover a lot of various topics on the blog from real weddings, event design inspiration, branding, small business advice, and a slew of lifestyle categories, so I can keep up with a 5 day a week schedule with all the things I want to write about. Look at your schedule and determine how much time you can devote to both writing posts and sharing them via social media, newsletters and etc. As a guide, it takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to write a blog post. That time frame includes culling through images shot previously for each post or curating images for collages and examples, editing the final images selected and the actual writing of the post. Pick a number of posts per week that you are comfortable with and let’s start the planning!
I don’t post 5 days a week anymore. And I have drilled down into my niche further to fully focus on business advice for creative entrepreneurs and stories of motherhood and running a home while being a biz owner! I post about 1-2 times per week these days. Back when I wrote this post, my main objective was to grow my blog traffic (also I was still planning weddings so I had to give brides content, too!). Posting and social sharing 5 days a week did the trick! Now that I have a steady flow of traffic from all these older posts, I spend more time on each new article with a focus on providing really high quality work for my readers! It takes me about 2 hours these days to complete an entire post. Many of my articles are now at least 3,000 words and also include freebies (like the editorial calendar template that comes with this post!), which requires me to set up forms and sequences in Convertkit for delivery.
This step is what really took me from what should I post about today to my mind exploding with ideas in a matter of hours! Since I had already determined that I wanted to post 5 days a week, I knew I had to get some sort of organized system in place to make that happen. Insert Daily Topics. For example, our daily topics are:
Mondays – Boss Ladies Who Inspire Interviews and MMC News and Updates
Tuesdays – Business and Branding Tips and Advice
Wednesdays – Real Weddings, Event Design Inspiration, and Vendor Spotlights
Thursdays – Lifestyle Posts about Family Life, Beauty, Being a Wife, Home Tips and etc.
Fridays – MMC Darling Finds where I feature other small business shops that I love
By creating these major daily categories, I could break down all the information I wanted to share into small chunks for a single post on each day. This is where knowing your business mission and who you are talking to is really important in your blog. My target audience is pretty broad since I cater to both brides and boss ladies with my company’s services and the everyday woman in my lifestyle posts and social media presence. You have to really know who you are talking to in order to create an editorial calendar of topics that will engage your audience.
As I have learned and my blog has grown over the past two years, I have come to find that the above list has WAY TOO MANY different categories. I still use the concept of content categories in my writing strategy, but I want to challenge you to drill down into your niche and pick categories that allow you to deep dive in your content to truly produce helpful posts. For example: My main focus now is sharing advice to do business well as a mompreneur. My categories are now much more focused on the business part. I have a business tips category, marketing tips category, branding tips category, and motherhood category where I speak from the perspective of a mom/biz owner. Drilling down doesn’t mean you can’t ever share about other things you love (for me, that is home design and decor), but you’ll find that your audience truly craves what you have to offer in your niche.
Aka… Create actual post ideas. If you know how many times you want to post per week and what each day’s topic will be, you can begin to brainstorm actual daily post ideas for your editorial calendar. They key here is small. For example: Let’s say you are an Interior Designer and one of your post day topics is Everyday Life in the Home – Organization and Cleaning Tips and Keeping Your House Presentable with Kids. Instead of one huge post about organizing the entire house, I would tell you to break down each room for one post. And boom! You have weeks worth of post ideas from Playroom Organization, Kitchen Organization, Closet Organization, Kid’s Bedroom Organization, Living Room Organization, and on and on I could go. And if one of those smaller chunks is big enough, you can break them down even further into a “series” of posts that lasts a few weeks. Doing that will help strengthen your bounce rate and encourage your reader to continue reading to establish trust in your ability and brand.
Do this step for each daily topic and you will be on the road to building a full blog editorial schedule in no time!
You can do this step with a paper calendar, Excel sheet, or an integrated blogging online tool like CoSchedule. The goal is to brain dump as many ideas as you can and just get it all down somewhere. I personally use an Excel sheet. It breaks down each day’s post into various categories of information for our team to see from the post date, the post category (topic), to who will be writing the post, the post title, post description and a category for images so I know if I need to shoot something for the post or pull from our library of images we already have. You can go even further with this and include keywords to use in each post, how you will tag each post and etc. I will let my inner nerd out and say this step was super exciting for me! After I wrote down a ton of small post ideas and then started scheduling them in a manner that made the most sense to me, I was literally floored to see over 65 posts laid out over the course of over three months. Gone was the feeling that I didn’t have anything to write about!
I used this Blog Editorial Calendar Excel Spreadsheet for quite awhile until I made the leap to use CoSchedule! I know some friends who aren’t quite ready for the monthly investment of CoSchedule and I get that! When you are first starting out and trying to grow your blog and readership, every penny really does count. Using this Excel Sheet can totally help you get your blog off the ground! And I’m giving you the exact one I use HERE!
Here is the kicker, girl… You actually have to write your posts! Ha! Make sure you schedule time in your office hours for writing. If you don’t, you will find 58759857 other things that are more urgent to tend to. I actually enjoy writing so this isn’t too hard for me. I tend to wake up about an hour or so earlier than my daughter and use that early morning time to write. Other bloggers pick a day of the week and write as many posts as they can in one business day so they can focus on other things on other days. It is really up to you, but you have to actually do the writing in order to build your blog! Then once you have a finished post…. share, share, and share it!! Share it across your various social mediums, send out a newsletter if you want, pin it to pinterest, or heck run outside and shout about it to the world (call me first so I can watch you do this ha!). Your audience won’t know to tune into your valuable information if you don’t tell them to!
Click here to get your FREE Blog Editorial Calendar Template! (and get access to our entire library of free tools!)
So there you have it 🙂 Use these steps to start building a blog editorial calendar that fits your business mission and how much you actually want to write about and share to establish yourself as an expert to your readers and target audience in your small business!
Do you have any tips for building your editorial calendar that I didn’t cover? I would love to hear them!
On to business. With 7 years experience in biz running a digital download shop, speaking at conferences, collaborating with dream brands, & booking 5 figure custom design clients, I share all that I've learned (and what I continue to learn!) about building a magnetic brand, effective marketing, and the science of conversion.
I promise to keep it real and relevant around here to help you make it happen... over a 4 count chicken mini meal. ;)
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