Many bloggers make a mistake by feeling a sense of gratification only when their post is posted online. I guess it’s a human nature. It’s like shopping as spending on instant gratification. We get a sense of absolute satisfaction when we finally get a hold of a product we desperately wanted. But pleasure is usually only momentary. Soon a reality checks in and we want other new things.
Likewise, when blogging, when you live from a post being posted on your blog until the next one is posted. You are relieved, get satisfied only when it’s posted online, not so much when it’s being written, or thought out or even planned ahead. I think it’s very hard to build an audience or community of followers in this manner. Because blogging shouldn’t be only about you, it’s about them, your readers. You should see your posts as dots on a continuous line on a graph, as a planned storyline. I am talking about a big picture – an editorial calendar.
Planning helps getting more and more readers
A lot has been said about editorial calendars lately, mostly because of the content buzz. In content marketing, it’s almost impossible to get results without a content editorial calendar. It is the foundation of strategic blogging. You’d be amazed how planning goes a long way toward getting the most audience reach from your blog content.
Let’s be honest! Continually developing good content for your blog is a very difficult task. If you don’t plan ahead, or write down ideas the moment you come up with, you will certainly find yourself in “trouble” every time it’s time to post a text. “What should I write about today?” Even if you started your (business) blog with tons of great ideas, eventually the day will come when those ideas will run dry – writer’s block. An editorial calendar, on the other hand, encourages blogging as a habit and makes sure you never miss another deadline.
Editorial calendars originate in traditional print media, such as newspapers and magazines. Can you imagine an editorial board meeting just a few days before print when the editor asks everybody around: “Ok, what should we write about in our mag this week? Any ideas?” By planning the content of the publication in advance, publishers make sure that they consistently publish high quality articles relevant to their readers.
It’s a small, subtle thing, but you’ll be surprised at the difference it can make. I even believe that planning content ahead doesn’t hinder your creativity, if that’s your excuse for not having an editorial calendar. It will make your job easier with regard to writing, more enjoyable, less stressful and above all you’ll see better results – the community of your blog getting bigger and becoming more loyal.
Different methods of planning blog posts
An editorial calendar is basically a fancy name for a blogging schedule. There are different methods of planning your posts. The simplest is a spreadsheet, which outlines what you’d like to write about for the next two weeks/months or more. Keep in mind that an editorial calendar should be flexible. Life is unpredictable, right?
You don’t even need to be geeky with all the gadgets and apps available. If you prefer paper, make a paper calendar. Or as mentioned above, use an electronic spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel or Google Docs or Google Calendar. If you use WordPress for your blog, their WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin can help with scheduling. There is also WinCalendar that allows you to create and customize calendars for your blog using MS Word; this one is useful if you don’t have WordPress.
An editorial calendar allows you to blog in advance, so that the flow of content keeps going when other things in life get in the way. Thus, it can’t get any simpler than following a very simple rule: never hit “publish”, always “schedule”; this way, when you have time, or when you’re on a creative/writing roll, you can end up with weeks’ worth of posts. Your mindset will be shifted to different gratification.
To sum up, keeping an editorial calendar will help you become more organized. Instead of wasting time worrying about what you will write next, you will already have a schedule. However, keep in mind this should be a schedule of when your post is due to be posted on your blog, not necessarily when you should write it! Keep writing, cross posts already written and left on the Dashboard to be published as scheduled. Do not concentrate only on writing when it’s due to be posted (like if you were back in school).
What kind of editorial calendar works best for you? If you don’t have it, can you tell in the comments below why not?