Editorial Strategy and Editorial Calendars
If you are a five day a week + blogger (like Lucy from The Design Files or Nikki from Styling You) then it’s pretty safe to say that you’ll have a pretty serious editorial calendar pinned up over your desk or hiding out in the dashboard of your WordPress blog. Professional bloggers like these ladies almost always have a clear vision about what they will be posting and when they need to post it.
They try to balance their content so that there’s a good mix of posts flowing through their blog and some variation from day to day. These bloggers have advertisers on their blogs, and while the advertisers would not really influence any editorial decisions (unless they’ve paid to do so), they definitely have an expectation that a certain post frequency and quality will be maintained.
Who needs an editorial calendar?
Editorial calendars are not just for the professional or the prolific. They can also be useful for part time or less busy blogs/bloggers too. The good thing about editorial calendars is that they can provide some structure for bloggers who may be feeling a bit at sea. Some suggested posts or topics popped into a monthly calendar not only gives you something to fall back on, it provides something to work towards and focus on.
Perhaps your blog is a lifestyle focused one like mine? You might have a really LOOSE editorial calendar that suggests a theme (food, health, craft, culture) for various days, and then you post within that topic. You might get even more precise and write down a whole bunch of post titles in your calendar, spreading the load out over the weeks and refining things down even more seriously. This is a great time to consider guest posts, weekly memes or giveaways too. If you look at your blog from a whole month perspective, you can plot your posts so they’re varied, achievable and nicely balanced (for instance rather than 3 recipes posts in a row, you might spread those out over 3 weeks and intersperse them with a guest post, a meme, a story about your life, that kinda thing!)
A good editorial strategy considers:
Varied content that’s true to the blogger
A mix of posts to interact with – things to do, win, learn, feel, see, love etc
A reliable pace that works for the blogger – daily? every couple of days? once a week?
Meeting reader expectations – why are readers coming to your blog? does this matter to you? do you want to meet expectations?
Mixed media – not just writing, but using video and audio to enhance your posts and entertain your readership
A mix of current and evergreen topics – writing about things that are on-trend or interesting NOW and also building in posts which are evergreen and useful in the long-term
Search engine optimisation (SEO) – if you write a couple of posts a month about the same topic (using the same wording/phrases in your post title and within the post) you’ll improve your searchability for that topic. (For me this is ‘granny squares’ – I have written lots about them!)
Social media sharing of posts – planning how you distribute your posts is important and should be part of your strategy
How to do it!
There are lots of ways to plan your content, if that’s what you’d like to do. You can download my printable editorial calendars here. Or you can set up your own iCal or Google Calendar JUST for your blog planning. Or if you are on WordPress.org you could try this Editorial Calendar plugin. Or you could buy a diary that’s just for blogging and add clippings, cards and notes about what you’ve been doing, as well as what you want to write about, to that.
Don’t forget you can schedule posts in most blog platforms, so you can write your posts and then set and forget them, if that works better for you. They’ll pop up at the scheduled time, and this can be helpful if you don’t have time to write daily.
This sounds scary!
Editorial Strategy is not for everyone. Sometimes it’s really nice to blog on a whim and keep things spontaneous. I have always done this for Meet Me At Mike’s. I very rarely schedule posts and I don’t use an editorial calendar for my blog at the moment. That’s going to change in the future though. I’ve decided to get a bit more serious about it.
You might not want to get serious about this stuff. Your blog might be just for you, friends, family and a small community. That’s okay too. Just post on a whim and ignore all the rules. It’s perfectly great to have that approach, if the writing and the blogging is what you are all about (rather than growing a readership and getting big!)
In the comments:
Are you considering planning your content a bit more seriously, as I am?
What are your plans? What would be your ideal topic or post flow on a weekly basis?
How often would you like to blog?