Are you suffering from that syndrome called copycat blogging, where you’re just regurgitating what other bloggers in your niche have already been saying? Note that there’s nothing wrong with discussing the same topics, but unless you’re adding something to the conversation, you’re just “polluting” the blogosphere with redundant content. I’ve done my share of this, but am actively trying not to. How do you get around this?
Copycat blogging is sometimes the result of not knowing what you really want to blog about, or even worse, knowing but denying yourself.
If instead you could present topics with some cohesiveness, you have a motivation for taking the time to produce better content. By scheduling themes or topics for specific weeks or even days, you can give your blog more structure – even if it’s just subtle and you only loosely follow your schedule.
This is what an editorial calendar can do for you. 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.
Unfortunately for blogs, it’s a little harder to schedule articles for given dates because they don’t work on a periodic basis. While there are a few websites that openly state that they’re “weekly”, they’re of course the exception, not the norm. Blogs in general are expected to be spontaneous.
Nevertheless, you can use some semblance of an editorial calendar and gain a number of benefits:
- Schedule for article series.
- Have a loose schedule for any future evergreen content, and a framework for topics.
- Have a basis for “theme weeks”, so that you can still write spontaneous “news” content that integrates nicely with feature articles themes/ topics.
You don’t have to follow a blog editorial calendar to the tee. However, if you ever have a day where you don’t know what to write about, check that calendar. Use it as a backup for ideas, if you feel it’s too restrictive.
On the other hand, an editorial calendar can serve as a great reminder to you to cover seasonal topics – which you should write about weeks before an event or holiday, to give yourself a better chance of ranking in search engines.
If you want to know more about how editorial calendars can be used for a blog, see my article Better Websites: Use an Editorial Calendar for Better Articles.