Professional publications use editorial calendars to plan features and stories for future editions. Steve Rubel talked about this a while back and I know a few people who thought it was a great idea for running a more professional blog.
Why? Because it forces you to think about what you’re posting in advance and to try to structure your writing. You might consider writing a series of related posts and running one every Tuesday. Or possibly having a theme for certain days. I know a couple of bloggers who have “Friday Links Round Ups” or “Ask The Author” days where a dialog is started between the blogger and readers and plays out in the comments of a post.
Who Would Benefit From An Editorial Calendar?
Bloggers, because the calendar would introduce an element of consistency into their blogging, and would encourage them to think about the bigger picture. You don’t have to be locked into the calendar – if a topical news item breaks, then you have a duty to cover it if it’s important to your readers.
Readers would also benefit, because posts would appear more regularly, and by using themes they know what type of content to expect on any given day.
Some Ideas For Blogging Themes
There are tons of techniques that you could tie to particular days in your blogging calendar. Here are a few:
- Link round-ups – put together a list of the best posts you’ve read within the week (always good for Fridays)
- Interviews with other bloggers in your niche
- Reviews of products/services/websites in your niche
- Tutorials or how-to articles – pick a day where you’ll share your expertise with your readers
- Ask Me – create a post where you answer open questions from your readers in the comments section.
- Blog Carnivals – host a blog carnival on a regular basis.
I’m sure there are other ideas you can use (share them in the comments if so). I have some ideas that are specific to the sites I run that I’ll be experimenting with soon.
You don’t have to have a plan for every day of the week either. There’s nothing wrong with spontaneity in blogging. But sometimes it’ll help you if you have to think ahead – you’ll see themes and relationships between your posts that will give your blog more flow. Forward planning rocks.
Editorial Calendar Resources
You can create a basic editorial calendar in a number of ways – tables in a word processor, or a spreadsheet. Steve Rubel used a Google calendar for his, on the basis that prospective advertisers could see what was upcoming and purchase ad space.
If you’d like an editorial calendar template, Andy Wibbels has a spreadsheet version available for download which is worth a look.