Maintain Blog Posting Cadence: Use An Editorial Calendar (Part 1)
We work with businesses to increase their online visibility. While our clients often understand the importance of maintaining a posting cadence, many times they have difficulty keeping up with a publication schedule for blogs or email newsletters. When prompted during conversations, these same individuals are able to convey tremendous knowledge about their industry, including relevant news, research or legislation, and unique ways that their services meet specific needs of their customers.
So why is maintaining a blog such a challenge? Because ideas pop into our heads at inopportune times — while driving, at a meeting, or waiting on hold on the phone — and inexplicably, not when we have scheduled time to create a blog post. When we have fingers poised to create content, the email preview pane interrupts our concentration, the phone rings or our minds run wild with other urgent priorities, and our ability to write a focused article may be lost. We have the best of intentions, but as this pattern repeats, the commitment to adhere to a posting schedule may just drop off our list of priorities.
What can you do? We know that breaking down large tasks into smaller ones can help. It’s easy enough to jot a quick note when an idea occurs to us, but we can’t always take time right then to create a blog post. So how do you avoid having that great blog post idea fly out of your head as quickly as it popped in? It’s a matter of creating a structure to make content publication a simpler task. We use an editorial calendar.
First Steps to Creating an Editorial Calendar
Start with a list of general topic areas, or content themes, that would be of interest to potential clients. These include not just news and services but also content from relevant journals and businesses in a similar niche. As you peruse industry publications or review your morning news feed, you stumble across interesting articles. Other possible topic areas are events, tips, advice, resources, and promotion of your business, including client testimonials. These content themes will translate to Categories on your blog.
Use your list of categories as a place to jot down blog post ideas as they occur to you. If you create a spread sheet with the categories as column headers, add blog post ideas in the appropriate column. As you add ideas, you’ll be able to see which categories will be easier to write about and which ones will require more focused research. You may come up with a blog post topic that doesn’t fit into one of your categories … that’s great; simply add a new category; just be sure that your posts are focused on your core business.
The screen shot below shows categories and post ideas for a nutrition-related company. The categories selected include several that are niche-specific, such as Antioxidants and Germ-free zone, and others that are more generic such as Industry News. Beneath each color-coded category are ideas for blog posts. These posts may be in draft form on your blog or in a Word document, or they may be just an idea.
This post includes homework for you to build momentum around maintaining blog cadence. We’ll post next steps to building your editorial calendar in two weeks. In the meantime, take a few minutes to create your spread sheet and begin to stockpile ideas. If you’re inspired, create a draft post or a couple of paragraphs. Or just take a minute here or there to document the topics for future posts.
Ready to take the next step? Read our follow up post.