Winging it is for the newbies and hacks. Suck it up and create a plan. You'll thank me later. Once you have your editorial calendar created, you'll find that creating more content is easier 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.
Writer Heidi Cohen says, “Whether you’re using social media (including blogging), content marketing, and/or traditional marcom (aka marketing communications,) an editorial calendar is at the heart of your of marketing because, as the saying goes, today, every marketer is a publisher.Like magazine publishing, an editorial calendar helps you to manage the content creation process regardless of your goals.“
I have used spreadsheets and Google documents in the past but I've found that I really love a smart workflow in Trello. There's no need to recreate the wheel when there are good foundation pieces.
You can copy this board template and use it in your own Trello.
I really like starting in the research phase and moving my blog posts across the board until they're published. It is helpful to keep links to research and quotes that you want to add into your finished article so you can cite your sources properly.
Two types of editorial calendars
This is the foundation for your entire social media platform. Consider your blog your home base for your social media plan. Your blog is your own piece of real estate on the web and I feel it's essential to build name recognition or brand awareness. If you don't have your own blog or want to boost your online presence, guest posts are a great way to reinforce your personal brand by reaching a different audience on a new blog. You'll want to add all writing responsibilities to your editorial calendar so you can keep track of deadlines, topics, and other important information.
I use a Trello Board to organize my ideas and blog content.
I use Notes on my phone and Trello to save blog ideas or little phrases that pop into my head that I'll turn into blog posts later. It's great to be able to access it on my smartphone, tablet, or desktop. It's been a life-saver for me!
Additional resources: The Secret to Successful Guest Blogging
I use the editorial calendar WordPress plugin on all the blogs that I manage so you can see what you have loaded on the website.
Social media content calendar
This is will boost your blog and round out all your content. You'll want to share only a small percentage of your own blog content or content about you. The general guideline is 90% other people's content and 10% your own. Being a good social friend and sharing other's content builds your social network. Ultimately, you'd like to be in a position where people are organically finding your content and sharing it because they love it.
I hope this gives you some inspiration to get organized with your content and create calendars to help you create more content. Get to work creating a plan and stick to it! You'll find that being organized helps everything flow more easily including your creative process.
How do you currently organize your content? Any suggestions you'd add for creating an editorial calendar?