I think editorial calendars are almost as fun as regular calendars (see previous post on my love of calendars). So I am excited to be working on this blog’s calendar for the second half of the year.
Why? Because it gets my thoughts on paper. It allows me to look at the big picture and see holes in my content, or to identify content that doesn’t fit the purpose of this blog. Even with those benefits, putting together a calendar requires a little bit of thought and work. I find that people like to make up excuses for not thinking and not working, don’t you?
Excuse #1: I like to be spontaneous and post fresh each day Awesome – you should do that. And if you want to create some quality content with substance, you should also have an editorial calendar. I’m not saying that you need to plan each post out in advance or with a lot of detail. Think big picture – quarterly even. List events that you know will likely happen in that quarter or things that you would like to cover, even if you aren’t sure. You have plenty of space to post spontaneous content, but you’ll also ensure that you address the big stuff – giving your social media outreach some structure and a foundation that supports your brand.
Excuse #2: Editorial calendars are too much work I would counter that coming up with content each day, week or month also requires work… plus it can be stressful. Investing some time up front where you can put your thoughts down on paper will take away a lot of that stress. That up front time ultimately requires less work than rushing to make sure you have content at the last minute.
Excuse #3: The client didn’t ask for one This is my favorite excuse. Did the client hire you to do their social media or web content? Are the words “content marketing” in your proposal? Then you need an editorial calendar of some kind, even if you never show it to your client. Let them believe that you come up with all of your great, cohesive, brand-supporting ideas without an editorial calendar if you want to. But your work will suffer if you don’t have a plan in place.
Convinced? I hope you are at least a little bit. Unless you are running an actual print publication, there are no rules for coming up with an editorial calendar for yourself. It can be as loose as big picture thoughts listed by quarter, or as specific as individual posts scheduled by the hour. The goal is to have a plan to keep your content on track. Dustin Stout has a really detailed post about building a calendar from scratch if you need more guidance.
Personally, I just keep a rough excel file for my own use. But there are some great resources out there, here is another one of my favorites:
Share your thoughts and resources with me on Twitter @RachelLColello!
And speaking of our editorial calendar for the rest of the year – what kind of posts would you like to see? More of the same or more of a specific type of post? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to DM me if you are shy 😉