One of the most difficult aspects of blogging – next to the ever-present challenge of creating new and interesting content – is scheduling. In a world where the moments from sunrise to sunrise often seem like one mad rush, a well-maintained blog, which requires both stillness and time, may too easily fall by the wayside. However, there is a very simple remedy for this: an editorial calendar.
In all other areas of life, a calendar helps you keep things straight – meetings, assignments, deadlines, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., etc., etc. Where your small business blog is concerned, an editorial calendar helps you keep your blog posts straight. It places before your eyes a schedule of the posts you plan to write and when you plan to write them, and it prevents your blog from dying a slow death – a victim to your own procrastination.
Keeping such a calendar will help you write a blogging schedule that you can actually manage – preventing that human propensity for setting unrealistic goals. It’s also an enthusiasm booster and procrastination stopper. By placing long-term goals before you, it will give you a chance to step back, survey your domain, and see what your day-to-day efforts are working towards.
To give you an idea of what an editorial calendar might look like, let’s pretend for a moment that you own a bookstore. There are at least four basic types of articles that your blog would often feature and should be added to your calendar.
1. Bookstore events/dates – 50% off storewide sale / New York Times Bestselling Author book signing / etc.
Of course, the majority of your blog should be made up of articles interesting to your readers rather than those solely promoting the company. However articles about company events may be (sometimes, should be) written – as long as a fair balance is maintained between promoting business and keeping followers interested.
2. Industry events/dates – Publishing seminars / Writing contests / etc.
You can probably rest assured that your bookstore blog followers are interested in the “world of words” on many different levels. So, give them articles about exciting things that are going on in your industry. Again, do this in moderation, making sure that the posts are relevant and will be interesting to your readership.
3. Local events/dates – Local library program / School book fair / etc.
Befriend groups of readers in your community – book clubs, libraries, schools, etc. Keep up to date on their events, and promote them when it seems fit. Add their dates to your editorial calendar, but be sure to write in advance so that your followers can get involved.
4. “Evergreen” content – How to articles / Guide articles / Tips / General Interest / etc.
These articles are just what their name suggests. They are “evergreen” – ever interesting, ever applicable, ever bringing in interested readers. They are pillars for your blog and remain valuable for a very long time. Making room in your calendar for a couple of articles in this category per month is a good general rule. Some ideas for a bookstore might be:
Top Five Reads for a Rainy Afternoon
A Reader’s Guide to Future Classics
Tips for Making the Most of Your E-Reader
Which of These Fiction Heroes/Heroines Are You Most Like?
….pretty much anything along these lines. Be creative!
Of course, articles from these categories may not completely fill your editorial calendar, but that is perfectly fine. Your personal blog can’t be structured entirely along general guidelines. Your articles must be those that work best for your business and appeal most to your followers. However, these are some good starting points to begin your editorial calendar and send you down the road to consistent blogging.
A blog that grows consistently begins with a blogger who writes consistently. Starting a schedule (and sticking to it) could lead to a bustling blog with lots of happy readers – not to mention an owner with less procrastination headaches and more contented smiles.