How-To Create An Editorial Calendar For A Blog

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Sample Blog Editorial Calendar?

I love the idea of creating an editorial calendar for at least a couple of the blogs I maintain. For some reason though I get hung up on the idea of it and haven’t been able to fully commit to creating one yet. Does anyone have one of your own that you’d like to share, or tips on how to create one?

Hope Wilbanks asked for an answer. The Helping Bloggers Succeed task force sent out some heroes to help. In the ongoing effort to make the Internet a better place the crowd has found many answers: How To create an editorial calendar

Let me see if we can get out some additional practical advice for you…

Definition

An editorial calendar shows the major editorial features planned for forthcoming issues of a newspaper, magazine, and similar. It is used by the advertising sales function of the publication to attract advertisers. For example, if Newsweek plans to print an editorial feature on hybrid cars, then manufacturers of those cars might want to place advertisements in that issue.

Source: Pretty boring and print oriented editorial calendar definition by Wikipedia.

But “used by the advertising sales function of the publication” may work for blogs too!

Content for an editorial calendar

How to get the right editorial items out at the right time?

  • It is a must to have a look at these search results for editorial calendar! Refine the search for your niche. You might be surprised!

Basic rule

  • Don’t keep the information in your mail program, browser, jeans pocket or RSS reader!
  • Copy & paste editorial ideas and dates into your editorial calendar!

Subject blocks

An editorial calendar is a great tool to organize subject blocks. Try to give every week, weekend or month a motto. A concrete example for December is ‘Christmas calendar – One post and/or photo a day’. On the 5th of July 2008 the ‘Hamburg City Man 2008’ the triathlon world cup will take place in Hamburg. Guess what my motto for that weekend will be?

To-Do list

Having a to-do list is fine but adding the to-dos to a scheduled task list is better. Always carry a small notebook with you and write down every idea you stumble across. The first thing in the morning should be to check and transfer those ideas into your editorial calendar.

On Mondays and on the 1st of a month you should have one editorial calendar item which lists general ideas for that week/month.

Passive sources

  • Create RSS feeds for certain keywords on Google news, Google Blog search, Technorati, etc.
  • Create Google and/or Yahoo alerts
  • Subscribe to newsletters
  • Subscribe to press release services via email or RSS

Active sources

  • Incoming search engine traffic is a great signpost to see where the interest is heading.
  • Read the magazines and newspapers. Try to get informations about their editorial calendars (Did you check the Google link above?).

Involve your readers

One of the most important sources for content ideas are your readers (gasp)! Place a short offer to send tips and infos to you via email or contact form at a prominent place on your blog homepage or in the sidebar.

Quality control

A good point for your personal editorial calendar is to add meta content to reflect on your blog. Create quality control milestones for:

  • Blog design
  • Archive structure
  • Lists on certain subjects
  • Promotion efforts
  • Reach out to your readers i.e send out a newsletter

Be alarmed

Make sure that every item in your editorial calendar has an appropriate alarm to remind you of the upcoming event. I usually set the alarm to 30 to 60 days.

If an editorial date is a repeating event don’t forget to repeat it.

Software and web services

  • Find a nice calendar application. I recommend the simple Palm Desktop software. Not because it is so feature rich but because the database format is supported by many external applications and web services. A calendar software which produces iCal output is also a good choice.
  • Find a nice web calendar service to which you can sync your calendar data. I recommend airset.com because it syncs perfectly with my Palm Desktop database AND airset.com sends me daily schedules and single alert emails right in time.
  • Subscribe to other calendars! There are many public calendars available to which you can subscribe to. In my private and public calendar I have subscribed to about 25 different calendars. This is another advantage of airset.com.
  • Group calendar? If you are actively networking with other people it is great to create a group calendar to collect the single calendars in one place.
  • Public editorial calendar? A public editorial calendar is nothing but a filtered personal editorial calendar. Just post calendar items on more than one calendar. Don’t forget to add a backlink to your published article after publishing.

What do you recommend?

Related articles

And please check out these related articles on performancing.com. Found by simple search for editorial calendar:

  • Plan Now for 2008

I like editorial calendars because they help keep me focused and prevent me from getting bloggers block. If I know I have to post a certain thing each day of the week, it’s easier for me to plan ahead.

  • Why an Editorial Calendar Can Improve Your Blog

What is an editorial calendar? For print publications, it’s the actual schedule that writers, editors, ad sales personnel and even advertisers follow. Each upcoming edition is mapped out themewise, and content and advertising will reflect this. Because most print magazines will have a year’s worth of content scheduled – a necessity since personnel will often be working 3-4 months ahead – it makes planning much easier.

  • 41 Reasons Why Your Blog Probably Sucks

(Point 26) No long-term plan. Print magazine editors often know what sort of topics they’ll be covering a year from now. An editorial calendar may go a long way towards keeping your blog topics cohesive. It also allows you to devise a plan for increasing visitors, building links, etc., in advance.

A social editorial calendar?

Steve Rubel has the following to offer:

Bringing Editorial Calendars Into the Social Sphere

Editorial calendars break out some, but not all of the major feature articles an outlet plans to publish. This helps PR professionals target their pitches to fit into these stories. However, it’s really intended for media buyers so they can purchase ad space near very relevant articles. These are guides and the information changes frequently. Stories are dropped, others added. The information is usually part of a media kit. They tend to be sparse too.

There’s a lot of room for innovation when it comes to editorial calendars. For starters, why shouldn’t they be social?

Interesting idea!

Bonus: Monetization

And this article is for all the greedy guys: How-To successfully monetize repeating content

Example: Christmas Time: Be Prepared!

Author: markusm

10 thoughts on “How-To Create An Editorial Calendar For A Blog

  1. > “I think I’ll buy a diary and use it as my calendar. I find myself more focused when I have the day’s schedule written in ink”

    The advantage of using a program is that repeating events are repeated automatically. So it depends on the amount of repeating events if using an application makes sense. And every application I know can print daily schedules.

  2. Thanks for the advice, Markus. I’ll do just that.

    For this purpose, I think I’ll buy a diary and use it as my calendar. I find myself more focused when I have the day’s schedule written in ink rather than having it as a file in my computer.

  3. Follow-Up: Desktop Research: Trends 2008 (Bonus: OPML File)

    How-To build some trendy content for your editorial calendar 2008.
    Are you aware of the upcoming trends in 2008?
    Some desktop research tips for finding the hot trends for 2008.

    How-To find the trends for 2008 for your blog? (More…)

  4. A good start is to take a note in your calendar every time you see something interesting but you don’t act on it immediately. Make it a repeating event and the calendar will magically be filled (cluttered?) with many to-do items until you act on them 🙂

  5. Every time I drop by performancing, I’m reminded how much of a disorganized slob I am. lol. I’ll try to setting up an editorial calendar for next year and see how it fits my innate spontaneity.

  6. > “If you can’t make an editorial calendar for a couple months into the future”

    Well, this article took much longer than expected because all the time new issues popped up. As there are so many aspects of creating a personal editorial calendar for a blog I think nobody should feel embarrassed if he/she can’t project so far ahead.

    My (!) editorial calendar for my local news blog contains 90% repeating items and 10% picked up long term dates which I don’t want to forget. After a year or two of blogging you might wonder how many items in your editorial calendar are repeating events.

    To tell you the truth about my performancing.com editorial calendar: It is a note in ScribeFire because for my blogging at performancing.com dates are not important at all.

    We are talking about a productivity tool not a torture rack!

  7. Editorial calendars are great in helping blogs stay focused in long term content. If you can’t make an editorial calendar for a couple months into the future, you probably don’t know your niche well enough to blog as an expert. You can still have success as a non-expert blogger, but expert status does help.

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