I hear it often: “I need to write a blog post this week, but what do I write about?”
If you have shared that sentiment, don’t worry. You are not alone. Despite all of your best intentions, the deadline for you to publish a piece of blog content on your newly created blog has creeped up. To honour and meet this commitment of your blog publishing schedule, you scramble to write a blog post just so you can check the box and say, done.
This isn’t uncommon. In fact, it’s very common – even in professional marketing industries, small to large organisations with full-fledged marketing teams. If you’re thinking “Hey, those guys are going through this, I guess it’s okay that I am too” – then that’s where you’re wrong.
This overarching approach of using content is known as content marketing. Content marketing isn’t new, in fact, it’s been around a while now but only gaining momentum in the last decade or so. It’s not a quick gain tactic for overnight conversions. Instead, content marketing is a long term strategy. The kind that you have to be in it for the long haul.
As a long term strategy, content marketing is 3 times more efficient in terms of leads than outbound marketing with 92% of marketers and businesses reporting content as a valuable business asset.
So, if content marketing is so important, why do so many struggle to optimise and streamline its creation and distribution?
In this post, I will share with you tried and tested templates and tools that have helped me and my clients work smarter, more efficiently, and meet their content deadlines.
Getting started with an editorial content calendar
To get started with your editorial content calendar, you are going to need a couple of tools. These tools are free to use – especially handy for budding blog business entrepreneurs like yourselves!
The tools you are going to need are:
- Google Sheets
- Google Calendar
An introduction to your editorial content library
The first thing I will walk you through is your editorial content library. I call it a library but it really is a backlog of content ideas that you have written down on Post-Its or notebooks.
Using the editorial content library template on Google Sheets, list out every single content idea you have – uninhibited. This is important so you are not stifling your thought process for now.
With the content library template, you’ll record all the ideas you have that may one day go on the blog. Whether they make it into actual blog posts – is irrelevant. Think of this as a content ideation sprint. Even if some of the ideas do not get written and published, it can always be a seed of inspiration for a different angle.
So, let’s get started. Open the editorial content library template here and let’s break it down.
In the first column A, Title, list down all your content ideas that you have. If you have been storing ideas in other cloud-based document solutions like Evernote, or even Notes on your phone, move them into this sheet as well.
Column B, Content angle / details, is where you can elaborate on your content piece. This column is optional however I have found it useful to flesh out angles that first come to mind.
In the following column C, Status, you will see a dropdown of available statuses. As you are just getting started with the template, select Idea. The Status column will be useful as you progress with using the template and will help you keep track of where your content is at.
Use column D, Notes, to make any notes to help keep you on track. In the example below, I’ve made a note to remind myself what research still needs to be done.
The awesome part about using Google Sheets to organise your editorial content is the ability to sort your content according to its statuses. This way you can see which content pieces are still in the ideation stage, or ready for publishing.
So, now that you have a library of all your content ideas, it’s time to look at how to organise your blog content to be published.
Setting a blog content publishing schedule
When it comes to content marketing, consistency plays a huge role in ensuring the success of your content marketing strategy or blog business strategy.
When it comes to how often to post, simply put there isn’t a magic number.
My advice to clients is to always come to a consistency that is sustainable.
For example, if you are the only person behind your blogging business at the moment then it would be unrealistic to commit to publishing 16 posts a month. A sustainable number when starting out would more likely be 4 posts a month.
This is why the editorial content library is so important! Having your content ideas planned out will help save you so much time. Organisation is key.
It can be difficult to brainstorm, create, write, post, and promote almost every other day when it is just you. The goal is to keep it sustainable and manageable. After all, the last thing you want is a burn out.
Setting up an editorial content calendar for your blog
Once you have your editorial content library and determined a posting frequency you are comfortable with committing to, it’s time to plan your blog publishing schedule on a calendar.
I recommend planning and looking at your blog content 4 to 6 weeks ahead. A month or 4 weeks is long enough to provide opportunities for variety and flexibility, but short enough to manage easily.
When setting and planning out a blog publishing schedule, I like using Google Calendar. It’s free, easy to use, and available on my smartphone for easy checking.
How to create a new editorial content calendar for your blog
Go ahead and sign in to your Google Calendar with your Google account.
On the left hand side next to Other calendars, click on the plus + sign then selected Create a new calendar.
On the next screen, fill in the Name and Description fields. In the example below, I’ve titled it as Editorial Content Calendar, and included a description too. Click on Create calendar once you are done.
You have just created your new Editorial Content Calendar – it is available on the left hand side of your Google Calendar screen.
Setting your overarching blog content calendar
Now that you have your calendar created, it’s time to plot out your blog publishing schedule.
Pick a day you intend to publish your blog content according to your committed frequency.
In the example below, Sunday is the designated day for publishing blog posts. If your blog caters for a spectrum of audiences within your blog niche, my advice is to alternate your blog categories weekly. For example, if you are running a blog on baking and offer varying recipes to cater for dietary needs, choose to publish gluten-free recipes one week followed by dairy-free recipes the next, and so forth.
Alternating your blog categories doesn’t just give variety to your blog readers, it also ensures that your blog isn’t eliminating a significant portion of your readers.
The editorial content calendar in action
Now that you have the template and tools set up, it’s time to put it to action. In this section, I’m going to show you exactly what it looks like being used.
First, content ideas are added to the editorial content library on Google Sheets. I visit this sheet at least 3 times a week to keep track of my blog content. As I add more details to a content idea, the closer it gets to the In-progress status. Once a content idea reaches the In-progress status, it is ready for writing.
At this point, I schedule the blog post in the editorial content calendar on Google Calendar using the blog title itself. As we are working 4 weeks in advance, the next available slot is in 5 weeks.
It’s added to the calendar, and then I pop in the publication date back in Google Sheets.
In a nutshell, if you want to start creating and sharing your great content on your blog on a regular basis, grow your blog readership and traffic, and start building a community, you need a system and a great editorial content calendar.
Putting in the time and effort to plan and set up processes for your content creation will be worth it as you start growing your blog.
- Consistency of posting will help boost your blog rankings, traffic, and readership
- Streamline your content creation and scheduling using my editorial content library template and Calendar templates
- Working smarter and more efficiently will be key to running a sustainable blogging business
- Work in advance – look at least 4 weeks ahead so that you do not panic when it’s time to post