Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why and how to use an editorial calendar for blogging!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group and Sharpie, but all opinions stated here are my own. (disclosure)


Fall is absolutely one of the busiest times of year in my household - and I'm guessing it's the same in your household as well.  School and sports start for my kids, new teachers and new routines take adjusting to, all the things I didn't get to during the summer (dr appts, hair appts, cleaning my house) come back to haunt me and on top of that it is the absolute busiest time for my blog.


Why use an editorial calendar? 
I've long depended on an editorial calendar for my blog, but this time of year it is absolutely necessary.  An editorial calendar helps me stay organized each day for all the different responsibilities I have for my blog - but it also cuts my work time in half (yes in half!) on average.   During the really busy months I am leaving time and money on the table as a blogger if I am disorganized.  Knowing what projects I am working on, with whom and project due dates is essential to maintaining my credibility with brands and clients as a blogger.  Keeping my readers as a top priority with daily posts ready and waiting for them is just as, if not more, important.  So an editorial calendar keeps all the balls I have in the air accounted for.

Organizing my posts in advance makes my time at the computer minimal because the minute I sit down to work I can start researching and pulling together a post based on what is next on the editorial calendar instead of sitting down and trying to figure out what to post.  I sit down to brainstorm once, maybe twice a month and then it is done! It also helps me to work ahead when I have a spare hour or two.  Instead of aimlessly wandering around the internet I can have an extra post written in that time - thus giving me an hour off from the computer in the future.



How to use an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar should be used to plan posts, schedule posts, brainstorm posts, schedule due dates for sponsored blog or social media content, schedule giveaways and to most importantly give you a quick overview of what your blog posts and content will look like over the coming month(s).  This is how to get started:

  • Stock up on a slew of colored markers or highlighters.  My favorite are the "fine point" Sharpies and the new Sharpie highlighters found at Staples.  Come up with a color scheme for how you will label the types of posts you plan on posting.  The categories I use are "client work", "brand work", "outfit posts", "editorial posts", "freelance work" and "time off." Your categories might be similar or different but applying these labels make organizing your content and your calendar super easy.  I am a visual person so I like to see it all at one glance.
  • Grab a blank calendar from the office supply store, I like Staples the best, and schedule in all the non-negotiables first.  A couple examples of non-negotiable posts are posts relating to holidays for example, a post about July 4th needs to be posted on or before that date, other non-negotiable posts would be those with promised due dates for sponsors or giveaways or any days you plan not post (bloggers need days off too!).
  • Next up brainstorm post ideas in the margins (I use the Saturday column on my calendar since I never post on Saturdays) by listing a few types of posts you would like to accomplish this month.  Once you have a list of 6-10 of those, start scheduling them in on the calendar!
  • Aim to have your editorial calendar filled to about 80 or 90% before the month begins.  This calendar here is just for illustration but usually by the end of the month there are scribbles and scratch outs, arrows and more arrows from content switching days or being scheduled last minute and canceled or new ideas written in at the last minute.  There will always be changes but having a clear guide to start makes all those last minute changes much, much easier. 

Starting August 10th all Sharpie Fine and Ultra Fine markers and highlighters will be on sale at Staples while supplies last!  Thank you Sharpie and Staples for sponsoring this post!


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