Thinking of your blog as a publication and creating an editorial calendar for your content will help keep you on track with your blogging. Being organized with overall themes, post ideas, and using your analytics to make your blog readers happy can make your blogging life more manageable.
Once you have your editorial calendar created, you’ll find that creating more content is more comfortable because you know just what’s coming up next. This takes some of the pressure off of creating blog content and still allows you the freedom to move articles around in the schedule or work ahead in any order that you see fit.
When you're more organized, your creativity will be able to flow better, and your blogging will soar. “Increasing creativity will happen naturally as we tame the multitasking and immerse ourselves in a single task for sustained periods of, say, 30 to 50 minutes. Several studies have shown that a walk in nature or listening to music can trigger the mind-wandering mode. This acts as a neural reset button and provides a much-needed perspective on what you’re doing.
Daydreaming leads to creativity, and creative activities teach us agency, the ability to change the world, to mold it to our liking, to have a positive effect on our environment,” says Daniel J. Levitin for the New York Times.
Let's dig into some background organizational tasks for your blog and editorial calendar that will allow you more time to get into the flow of your writing.
Think like a publisher
Being serious about your editorial calendar starts with thinking like a publisher. Choose when you're going to publish and what your blog niche will be. From Jeremy Victor on Content Marketing Institute, If it is not necessary or relevant to your readership, don’t spend one ounce of resources on it. Your editorial must be for your readers, not you. Create a list of content types you are capable of producing or would like to produce. Draft guidelines describing the requirements for producing each. That’s what publishers do.”
You're a publisher. Be consistent with your quality, posting schedule, and every aspect of your content from idea to hitting the publish button to sharing on social media.
Pump out the ideas
From fantastic blogger Neil Patel, come up with fifty ideas in thirty minutes. The idea is not to focus on the quality (yet) but to get your ideas out in the open so you can polish them later.
Having a backlog of article ideas is gold.
Plan your article flow with Trello
Trello is a gift to bloggers to keep things organized and on track. It provides a solid foundation for working solo or with a team who can edit and add to your Trello.
You can add cards for tasks and add to-do lists on each card, then move it along in your writing process. An example of a blog post workflow:
- Blog idea – add your fresh ideas for blog posts.
- Researching – add your links to articles and quotes for experts to include.
- On hold – park your ideas, so they don't get lost.
- Editing and graphics
- Ready to publish
You can add other people to the cards, add due dates for tasks, and even checklists for the tasks. Once you have the cards set up by task, you can copy them for a new blog post with all the steps and lists.
If you haven't used Trello yet, open your account here. You need Trello! It's like a whiteboard with superpowers. (And it's free!) Copy this Trello board for your own Editorial Calendar.
Additional reading: Using Trello as an editorial calendar
Research your most popular content
You don't always need to recreate the wheel with blog content. If you have a topic or post that was particularly popular, write more of the same! Use your Google analytics to find your most popular keywords and reinforce the organic Google search to your blog with content using the keywords and favorite landing pages. Most people aren't hitting your blog through your homepage – find out where they are coming in and from where.
From Hubspot's knowledge
- Keywords are the foundation of your website content. The topic of every page and what it is about should tie directly back to a keyword or keyword phrase. Since keywords are topics, they are also prevalent when creating offers and emails.
- Keywords help visitors, and potential customers understand the purpose of your page. When reading the content of the page, a visitor will often scan for the keywords they searched for.
- Keywords help search engines understand the purpose of your page. When a search engine crawls your website pages to index them, it will parse the keywords on the page to determine the meaning of your pages.
Keywords should always be relevant to what you do and how you want people to find you in Google search. Start with a plan for your blog and content and be consistent with your keywords for the most success.
“While you worked oh so very hard on making your homepage sparkle and shine, people might skip it altogether. They’re more likely to come through a post via a search engine or clicking a link on social media. Once you know through which pages most people are visiting your site, you can clean them up and add links and info to help them find similar content.” from Xo Sarah.
Additional reading: Understanding keywords
Plan to repurpose your content
If you've created other media, repurpose this into blog content. Some examples of material you can build a blog post around:
- SlideShare presentations – embed them into a post
- Live Streams
- Podcast – a regular show or guest appearances
- Infographics – embed them and add text to share your ideas
- Social media posts – embed tweets from Twitter, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, Google+ posts. Share a heated conversation from social media and write a more extended form post around it.
Creating the richest environment possible by pulling in your content from other sources ensures that your biggest fans, your loyal blog readers, are exposed to your other short-form ideas as well. It can also help build your social media accounts if people click your other content and decide to follow you on Instagram or Twitter.
I hope these ideas for creating an editorial calendar will get you thinking like a publisher and give you more time for writing in the future.
What are your best tips for getting organized behind the scenes on your blog? Let's hear them in the comments!
I was considering learning Evernote to use for managing my blog calendars… and more importantly, my clients’. Now I’m considering Trello.
What are your thoughts on Evernote v Trello for content management?
Peg, I use Trello as well, with different lists for brainstorming different types of blog post ideas. But for my editorial calendar, I recently started using CoSchedule, and it’s the best service I subscribe to for blogging. I can finally get an overview of my blog from month to month, and best of all, I can schedule my social network posts right from within WordPress or my CoSchedule account. Thanks as usual for you useful and practical ideas.
Hey Peggy, I won’t be able to answer your question for another few weeks. Before using CoSchedule, I wasn’t blogging consistently, but now that I have it set up, and having my calendar automatically download three times a week, I’m starting to plan, write, and get posts up. Being able to make and schedule Twitter posts from within CoSchedule should help with traffic, because I’m posting several times a day, whereas in the past I could go more than week or two without posting. For me it’s worth every penny. I’m finally getting organized. I’m monitoring performance, and I’ll report back in a few weeks. Thanks for asking. Also, I’m still jazzed about Canva, and am glad you’re a part of it.
By the way, what do you use to organize manage your blogging images? Mine are sitting in my downloads folder and on Canva . I need to get them organized for quicker access.
Andrea Beltrami says
Soooo many takeaways. I really need to get my ass on Trello! I’ve heard great things about it, I’m just naturally hesitant to add new tools to the arsenal unless it really, truly makes some aspect of my day/job easier….without adding more work to maintain it.
Thanks for the kick in the ass I needed, Peg.
Dr. Rin Porter says
I know I need to do the things your post suggested. I just need a kick in the pants to get going on an editorial calendar. Maybe your post will be the one that makes me take action. Thanks for the thorough discussion!
Scot Newbury says
Thanks for sharing some great ideas. I had looked at Trello in the past, guess I need to take another look.
How do you use it for multiple blogs? Do you lump all the posts together or break them out into separate boards?
Scot Newbury says
Woon Lan says
Great post! Immediately implemented your Trello format for the editorial calendar. Thanks for the great idea!
Dharam Bindra says
Peg, good “peg” full of information but I’ll swing only when its intoxication crosses my blood -brain barrier and start producing results. Then, I’ll dance for whole night carrying sleeping couch on my head. Like a drunkard dance and sing without a reason and purpose.
An awesome post, thank you so much Peg! I’ve signed up and moved all my hand written notes in to trello. I’ve been looking for something like this for ages and am so happy to have come across this. I’ll still be keeping hand written stuff for ideas I get when out and about unless there’s an app for that?
Peg Fitzpatrick (@PegFitzpatrick) says
You can use Trello on your iPhone or iPad to grab your ideas. I also use Evernote to grab ideas on the go.
Thanks for this great overview on thinking like a publisher, Peg. I am really taking my blog seriously in the last 2 months and this was the right article for me to continue to fine tune a few things to keep on the growth pace I’m tracking towards. So far I’ve just mentally committed to doing 5 posts a week, but having a project plan will make it easier to tackle and easier to follow through. This right here is what is going to make me start using Trello – I have an account, I just never got rolling with it.
OH and I’m sad to hear you’re not officially with Canva anymore…. you helped them grow incredibly fast!
Hugh Culver says
Brilliant! I was just working on my Ed Calendar so this is great timing. Plus I think adding Trello would be great for a visual guy. Thanks Peg!
Peg Fitzpatrick (@PegFitzpatrick) says
Great Hugh! Let me know if you come up with any ways to improve on my calendar!
Jared Easley says
This is good advice for podcasters as well 🙂
This is awesome! Trello is just what I’ve been looking for to manage my blog posts ideas and get my thoughts organized in one place. Right now I have stickies, notes on my phone, notebooks…you get the idea. Thanks, Peg!
BTW, ByRegina’s ebook brought me here.
Julie Corbett says
Wow! This post has me more excited about my editorial calendar than I’ve been in a long time! Thanks for the inspiration, Peg! I’ve tried Trello, and I also like KanbanFlow (similar to Trello) because it has a built-in Pomodoro timer feature, which helps me stay focused on tasks.
I’m just getting started on Trello (thanks Peg!) & I love the idea of KanBanFlow with the Pomodoro timer feature.
When I checked in the App Store (I have Apple everything), I found quite a few KanBan apps but not one specifically called KanBanFlow…is it part of a general KanBan app? If so, I’d really appreciate knowing which KanBan app you use specifically.
Many thanks ladies…getting organised is always safer in numbers!!!
Valérie Demont says
Great post Peg !
Some really useful tips … I love when you say think like a publisher ! That’s exactly what I say in my content trainings : “you want to blog : think like a blogger”.
Trello is a very powerful tool I used it in the past on some collaborative projects.
For my editorial calendral I simply share a Google Drive Sheet with my co-bloggers and collegues. The file has a sheet for the planning and one dedicated to ideas and futures articles.
A totally agree to have a deep look at analytics : since I did it (last year) visits doubled in less than 6 months and I began to receive contacts from other french speaking recognized bloggers (which actually help -as well- to get more visibily…).
Thanks again for your article, your passion and your energy !
I adore Trello. I’ve used it with an assistant and creative team in order to manage daily/weekly/monthly tasks. It helped me remove the need for a million sticky notes and the fear of having tasks getting lost in an abyss of emails!
This is an awesome article. I’ve been on a blog learning hiatus and this is definitely a good one. I will keep this as one of my reference articles when things start to feel frazzlely.
Meg Kissack says
Thanks for a great post Peggy! I’m just signing up to Trello now and excited to use it – never heard of it before. Thanks!
deb mitchell says
Peg…You are such a Rock Star! Just discovered Trello and am loving it! It is working great for a new client project I just got!
Xavier Tan says
Trello is a great tool! That’s what I always preach to my clients – use it to plan your social media content strategy. Gives you a bird’s eye view of your whole strategy, and allows content to be coherent to the brand.