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Develop an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog [Day 12 - 31DBBB]

This post is an excerpt from the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook

Yesterday your task in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge was to come up with a list of at least 10 post ideas for your blog. The idea was to spend time before you needed posts coming up with ideas. Doing this can release you later on to just write instead of having to brainstorm ideas every day.

Today’s task is to take the list you created yesterday and to plan your posting schedule (or editorial calendar) for next week.

This is something I attempt to do on a weekly basis for each of my blogs (I usually do it Sunday night or Monday morning).

How to Develop a Weekly Editorial Calendar [or at least how I do it]

1. Calculate how many posts you want to post in the coming week on your blog.

2. Set up a spreadsheet or table in a word document that has a slot for each post and the date and time that the post needs to go live on the blog.

3. Take the list of ideas that you’ve previously brainstormed and begin to slot them into the empty slots in the table. As I do this I often get other ideas that I’d not previously thought of for posts that might make good followup posts to those I’m planning. I slot these into the schedule too.

4. For each post that you slot in write a sentence or two about what the post is about (so you’re able to remember later in the week). I often also take a moment or two at this point to brainstorm some main points for the post. If any examples, illustrations, pictures or related posts that I’ve previously written come to mind I make note of these too.

Let me say at this point that what I come up with after going through this process is not always the way that I roll out posts in reality. My blogging style is a little more fluid than this and I tend to add new posts into the mix, reorder posts and extend single posts into series.

However – going through this exercise is fantastic because it means I’ve got a week’s worth of post ideas at my finger tips. It also means that for each post I’ve got ideas that I can use when writing the post – this gives me a real head start and means that I can usually get right down to business and start writing on the days I need to do the writing of posts.

Another Editorial Calendar idea to Consider

Another way that some bloggers approach editorial calendars is to come up with a weekly rhythm for their blog. They assign a different type of post for each day of the week and stick to that rhythm over the long term.

For example Mondays might be ‘list post’ day, Tuesdays might be ‘link post’ day, Wednesdays might be ‘opinion/rant’ day, Thursdays might be ‘review’ day etc. In this way they know the style of post for each day and then just have to slot in topics that fit each style.

The above two methods are only two suggestions of many and there are many variations on the idea of blog editorial calendars that you might like to explore. Here are a few posts that pick up the idea from archives here at ProBlogger:

How did you find this process? Have you got next week’s Editorial Calendar set up? Share in the comments, or join the discussion over at the forum: Day 12 – Develop an Editorial Calendar

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Guillermo says:

    Interesting…. I’ve just realized that my editorial calendar has been submitted in the comments by the readers request during the past week. Nice!

  2. Thanks Darren for another great lesson. I tend to organise my posts by topic or in series (for instance, I have the ‘Culinary Journey’ series, ‘Plane Views’ and the ‘Lone Traveller’ series). I scribble these down as headers and make a list of ideas for individual posts under each header. I don’t usually attach a timeframe of when these posts are going to be written/published, though maybe I should. Instead, I usually allow about a week to pass before publishing a post of a certain series or header. There are always ad-hoc posts in between which mixes things up nicely.

  3. GlendaM says:

    Thanks for the lesson. I have started to do this and it has been helping. I am tending to draft the weekly posts on weekend when I have a bit more time to research and plan. Then that day I just refine and add the details. Of course, you can still add an extra post if something comes up. Often I get more ideas – do more drafts for the coming week. I tend to organize by the categories that I post under, but this new blog is still so new it is a work in progress. I am finding the lessons very helpful! And like many this was the major problem I had with my last blog – planning ahead.

  4. Day 10 and 11 combined was the perfect assignment for this weekend.

    i actually sat out in the sunshine working on this and it didn’t even feel like work! I am excited because I feel like a plan I can work on over the next few weeks which will make the entire process easier

  5. Donna Hull says:

    I use a monthly editorial calendar for My Itchy Travel Feet. And, I have a rhythm to my posts, alternating between lodging reviews, dining reviews, scenic drives, activities, cruise excursions, cruise destinations and making trip preparations. I also mix up my locations, alternating between international, domestic and southwestern locations. My goal is to appeal to a wide range of interests. I don’t want my blog to look like a travelogue. Also, holidays and major events are considered in my editorial planning. For instance, since next week is Earth Day, I’m posting something on green travel.

  6. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
    This is a great idea Darren. Up until now my blog has been an on again off again kind of occurence for me. And I have good ideas for posts and by the time I sit down I have forgotten what I want to write about. This will definitely help keep me on track.

  7. Just had a thought. If you used Google calendar you could plan it straight in there and then you would get an email reminder to go and post to your blog at the appointed time!!

  8. Ligtv izle says:

    thank youJust had a thought. If you used Google calendar you could plan it straight in there and then you would get an email reminder to go and post to your blog at the appointed time!!

  9. kk says:

    Great advice, I’ve read through the other articles on your site and really appreciate the info as a noob in the blog world this really helps…thx

    http://getfreefiles.blogspot.com

  10. Stephanie says:

    Great idea. I actually set a theme for the day, so each day has one post guaranteed, however some days I write more than one post. I keep track of everything through Google Calendar

  11. Jaye L says:

    My most recent blog post is at http://artquiltmaker.com/blog/2009/04/the-aha-moment/
    My blog is about creativity and design with fabric.

    I have a rhythm to my blog that acts as my editorial calendar. I want my readers to keep coming back, so I post Friday-Sunday without fail. Then I post at least Tues, Thurs during the week. Sometimes I will post inspiration posts, which is mostly just an intriguing photo to get readers’ creative juices flowing. You can see an Inspiration post at http://artquiltmaker.com/blog/2009/04/inspiration-tuesday-3/

    My posts are dependent on the pictures that I take of projects in process. They act as my editorial calendar.

    I prefer not to add to the to do list by creating a spreadsheet of what I want to write about next and on what day, though I do note down topics to write about.

  12. Chasta says:

    I write about hockey and the Washington Capitals. I developed an editorial calendar. I enter all thoughts and ideas as they come to mind then develop stories. I scour headlines and research holidays, events and observations for suggestions. For example, January is National Book Blitz Month so I would recommend hockey books. I also publish articles around the NHL schedule, holidays, events and observations to make them timely.

  13. Betsson24 says:

    i’ve loved this article. thanks for everything.

  14. outsourcing says:

    Great idea.
    The post about editorial Calendar for Blog is very helpful for me.
    Thanks for posing this…

  15. Amy says:

    It’s funny how after a couple of months of blogging the editorial calendar sort of became intuitive. I fell into a rhythm, realized I didn’t have time to blog every weekday, so decided to have dedicated days, three times a week, as in Recipe Mondays, This Just In (food news) and then a rotating roster of Eat Here and other ideas. Makes the planning, much, much easier.

  16. gabybali says:

    Using Day 11 task for 10 Post ideas, I’m using my 3rd Recent Post : 5 Tips to Enjoy Bali NOT as a Tourist http://www.beeamazing.com/5-tips-to-enjoy-bali-not-as-a-tourist/ , but so far I could only develop 3 new post ideas, and have created an Editorial Calendar, and found it VERY helpful to create new post, LOVE it so much!!!

    Thank you, Terima kasih Banyak, Darren Rowse!! You have been very kidn to help all of us here. Whenever you come to Bali, I’ll show you some beautiful beaches here, or you probably have visited my island? It’s a second home for aussie here :) Cheers!

  17. Hello people! This article was very usefull to me. I will come back frequently.

  18. I like this idea. I will recommend this article to my friends. Thank you

  19. Tony says:

    Having a news background, I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this before. Another great idea!!! Now all I have to do is figure out how to create a spreadsheet on my mac.
    Just kidding.
    Sort of.

  20. thanks Darren!

    Having a weekly rhythm to your blog posts is certainly a great idea. For new bloggers it’s kind of hard because you’re still finding your voice and vision. But once you find your groove and the ideas start flowing, having a weekly editorial plan is a complete necessity. I’ll be sure to pass this along!

  21. dawnaurora says:

    This exercise will definitely help me get more consistent with my posts. Some weeks I barely get one post out and some weeks I have 3 or more. I do not like doing that to my consistent readers.

  22. Meikah Delid says:

    Darren, this is again another inspiring reminder (hope the phrase is acceptable ~ lol)! I actually do this in my blog and sometimes I just don’t follow. I especially like that part where you set a “theme” for each day, e.g., “Mondays might be ‘list post’ day, Tuesdays might be ‘link post’ day, Wednesdays might be ‘opinion/rant’ day, Thursdays might be ‘review’ day etc.”

    Question: Do readers appreciate this? Like they also anticipate that day because they want to see your list post or review?

  23. Carl Nelson says:

    This is probably one the biggest things I struggle with. I’ve made one editorial calendar by using categories by day for one of my blogs that I co-author but for my own I haven’t.

    Probably one of the soundest pieces of advice yet.

  24. Laura says:

    I’m a little behind on the challenge after a holiday but these planning tasks have been really helpful. All my planning and brainstorming sessions are linked to what I’m creating and this is the first time I’ve really sat down and planned my blog posts, has worked a treat as I have a big list of potential posts now! Cheers!

  25. Chris Somers says:

    We love the idea behind this task although it is challenging for us as some of our days can get very very hectic which leaves no time for blogging. Also, I can get inspired on a certain topic on one day which could mess up the “planning”. I love the idea though and we will do our best to incorporate it !

    http://activerain.com/blogsview/1049739/Building-a-Better-Blog-Challenge-Update-on-3-Tasks

  26. Conrad says:

    I already feel less stressed out about getting things to write about and when to post them. My editorial calendar has been made.

    I like the idea of a different type of post for each day of the week. I’m listing the category next to each post in my editorial calendar in order not to do too much of one type of post.

  27. I like the second .. I think it gives changes types of blogging at the same table .. I think reader may like that

  28. I just planned my posting through June! This is a great idea and I love the organizational aspect of it. Thanks, Darren!

  29. Heathen Mom says:

    Woohoo, an idea I was already doing! I have been planning out my posts for each week as well as the geek side of blogging tasks that need done.

  30. Oh, you are a blogger after my own heart; I love making lists! I can’t believe I never thought of doing this. Since I have more than one blog, this is really going to save me some time (this and the mind mapping). (:

  31. James says:

    Brandon,
    Thanks for the great idea! I’ve been using Google Calendar to put what sites/writing I’m going to do each day, but needed a more refined plan for each one and this does the trick for me!
    Cheers,
    James

  32. I use the weekly rhythm plan for my blog and it works really well for me. One thing I’m trying to avoid is burnout – I have a ton of article ideas, but I find that many of them are in-depth and require a lot of research.

    After reading How to Develop a Niche Blog Content Plan I see that I need to do more small posts and less features. My editorial calendar task therefore is to come up with post ideas for each theme I write on and to have 2 lists, small posts and features, for each theme.

    Great assignment as always :-)

  33. Paula says:

    Wow, I love the idea of having a schedule of post ideas available.

    I’ve downloaded Andy Wibbels Editorial Calendar spreadheet (from the editorial calendar and professional blogging post) and like the idea of an editorial timetable, although, I’m not sure I will stick to such a strict structure. I’m sure my own system will evolve over time.

    Great suggestion, thank you.