Everything About Blog Editorial Calendars You Need to Know
41 min read
Do you have a blog editorial calendar?
How often do you get ready to write a blog post, social media post, or email and you have no clue what to write?
How often have you said to yourself that you’d write a post this week? Or two? Or three?
Yet, it’s difficult to figure out where to start with so many ideas, and so little time.
How do you know which post to write?
What if it flops?
Why spend so much time creating it if it’s going to fail?
Don’t worry! This all happens to the best of us.
Writing blog posts and social media captions and allthethings is HARD WORK!
It just is. But there’s a solution.
The solution to this almost sounds too simple:
keep and curate a blog editorial calendar.
Let’s make your life easier by learning WHY you need an editorial calendar, and HOW to create one.
When you think of a blog editorial calendar, you think of a typical calendar view in your typical planner.
But it’s not!
A blogging editorial calendar isn’t just a schedule for your content.
It’s also a simple but powerful way to organize your content creation and your schedule.
Most importantly, it’s an overall strategy you can use to run your business if you’re using the content marketing strategy (versus outdated print/radio methods).
Because of that, it can be the most powerful aspect of your blog or small business.
But – just because it’s a powerful tool – doesn’t mean it’s difficult!
In this post, we’ll talk about what an editorial calendar can mean for your sanity, why it’s so vital to have for your content creation, and how you can easily get started.
I’ll even give you a free template!
I’ll tell you how to crush your first blog editorial calendar, and how to create the best one for your schedule.
If you don’t want to create your own – you can snag my absolutely free automated Trello Editorial Calendar, too!
Ready to start organizing your content and blog strategy to finally start being consistent and showing up in your business to make that money, honey? (I know, I know, don’t call you honey)!
Let’s do it!
Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links, which helps support our site. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases that go towards supporting this website, it’s content and costs, at no cost to you. Please read our policy here.
What is an editorial calendar or content calendar for a blog?
Simply put: your blog editorial calendar is a plan that outlines your small business or blog content into a cohesive content calendar and strategy.
I believe all businesses today, small businesses, Etsy shops, Amazon sellers, brick and mortar stores and more all need to have a dip in the content marketing ocean.
In the ol’ days, businesses used paper or printed ads, billboards, radio and television.
Nowadays, content marketing is the strategy that people use. That’s because customers now want free information or samples in exchange for the know-like-trust factor that’s so important to us business owners.
Content marketing involves handing out free information to climb into the hearts of customers.
And with a large amount of content being handed out to your customers, you have to have a schedule for it if you’re going to pull it off without being put into an insane aslyum from managing all those moving parts in your business.
It. Can. Get. Crazy.
That’s where the blog editorial calendar (or content calendar) comes in!
Why do you need an editorial calendar for your blog?
Can you imagine a time where you already have a streamlined business running smoothly every single day?
A simple view of getting your blog posts or social posts done, so that you can focus on the higher money-making blog tasks?
Breathe a sigh of relief.
Yes! This can happen! It can be you, and your blog that is all scheduled and caught up.
Take the day off and watch some Office episodes – you got this!
This idea of the blog content calendar is used by large businesses from magazines, to online editorial sites, even television channels.
Everyone needs to have a plan.
If you don’t have a plan – you’re floundering in the great wide ocean without any life rafts, having no way of knowing where your business is headed.
Not only that, but struggling to figure out what to write about can take up that precious energy that could better be used to write said blog post.
So let’s go over the exact reasons a blog editorial calendar can help:
A plan and publishing strategy will grow your business
A failure to plan is planning to fail, right?
So having some sort of strategy of where your business is headed will help you determine if you’re publishing the right content or not.
Determining the direction that your blog is going will be covered later, but for now, just know that your strategy should directly relate to the income that you’re making, or the actions you’re taking to get there.
A blog editorial calendar organizes all of your thoughts and ideas
When I first started blogging, I had notes in my phone’s note program, OneNote, various Trello boards, ideas I emailed myself, and plenty of paper notebooks with ideas in no particular order.
I didn’t have a blog editorial calendar. I was just winging it.
Talk about confusing!
Lesbehonest. You’re most likely never going to go back through those.
You could have a diamond in the rough, a hidden gem, sitting there waiting to be written, but it’s lost in an old notebook you’ve had for a few years now.
It may seem simple, but having one place to go for ideas, especially if it’s in a list where you can add details, images and links, is so much easier.
Not only that, but you can organize your ideas in the blog editorial calendar for blog posts based on SEO strategy, particular keywords you want to target, and to really build out the niche you want to target and become known for.
A blog editorial calendar shows you whether you’re writing about the right content
A few bloggers I’ve talked to have mentioned that they have a few categories that they tackle on their blogs. Because each topic typically has several sub-topics, it can be hard to balance which topics you should be diving deep into or identifying areas you need to fill in more.
With the right strategy, you can see if you’re becoming known to Google or social platforms, or most importantly your audience, as being an authority on that subject.
I learned my own content strategy from an SEO course (join his free bootcamp here!) I loved it so much because of its ability to help me with my content map. It helped so much that I had to write a post on it. Click here to read my review on Stupid Simple SEO, the course that helped me with my content strategy, and how to tackle SEO with my blog editorial calendar.
Creating a blog editorial calendar along with the Stupid Simple SEO course completely changed the entire content strategy I had for my blog. (No joke!)
Helps you stay consistent
When you know what’s on your calendar, you can’t spring yourself on a Thursday night with “oh shoot, I wanted to put posts out on Fridays. Dang it! Oh well, next week? 🤷♀️
No bueno! You are in it to win it, so it’s vital that you show up, on time, and by the way lets make it easy to do that with our blog editorial calendar!
No need to guess anymore on what’s coming up next.
No need to search Quora for questions, or hunt down Facebook threads to see what people are struggling with. You’ll already know!
And you already know that you’ve got posts on Fridays scheduled for the next month (using my strategy :D)
Helps you figure out the direction of your content marketing plan
I mentioned this a little bit already but knowing where your blogging business is going is vital to your success with it.
I’ve taken a lot of courses and learned from very successful bloggers – but I don’t see hardly anyone talking about the direction of your blog.
Unfortunately, a lot of bloggers are left to their own devices when they take blogging courses. We’re taught to choose a post to write at random, and to keep it consistent.
Although this can be a great strategy – it can also greatly slow you down.
If you want to get where you’re going faster than a turtle through peanut butter, you need to have a strategy to get there. You need to know where you’re going.
A content calendar can help with that!
Helps you stay away from shiny object syndrome or squirrels
How easy is it to say you’re going to start writing on Monday, but then by Thursday you’re still struggling to get yourself to do it?
You’re doing other tasks that are necessary, but are they the right tasks?
Content is going to be a huge piece of your success puzzle – so your biz soooorta hinges on the fact that you stay focused.
Having an editorial calendar for your blog allows you to keep reminding yourself of what’s currently happening, and what’s next.
It allows you to focus on what’s currently in front of you, instead of chasing the numerous squirrels that appear out of nowhere
(hey, they just wanna get their nuts man! But they require too much time – instead, it’s best to just pretend that squirrels no longer exist LOL)
The best tools and examples of other blog editorial calendars
Where do all these successful bloggers and/or media websites actually house their editorial calendars? What software do they use?
And what does this magical editorial calendar even look like?
You can have an editorial calendar anywhere. If you wanted a physical calendar, you could go with a paper planner on a calendar, on a whiteboard, on a post it note, or the aforementioned notebook.
But if you want the freedom to move things around easily or to add more details into each blog post, or to access it from anywhere, I recommend a software. Especially if you plan on adding in virtual assistants to help you at some point!
There’s Trello, Clickup, Google Sheets or Excel, OneNote, something like Airtable, or even software specifically meant for content calendars like Coschedule!
Trello is a great tool for housing almost all of your blogs content systems, and it’s perfect for users who don’t want to learn a new software.
Think of Trello as a bulletin board with sticky notes.
Each ‘sticky note’ is a blog post idea. In my blog template I added a blog post template which houses every single action step you need to publish each post. All you do is brainstorm some ideas and add the blog post template to it.
I also included a Calendar Power Up which allows you to see the due dates of each blog post in calendar form. That way you can see at a glance if your posts are being scheduled on time. Easy!
By the way, this is my favorite tool everrrrr.
Clickup is the current software I use to house all of my tasks, to do lists, blog post ideas, checklists, newsletters, SOPs – everything but a few other things.
Clickup is fantastic because:
- It’s free! You can pay for extra features, but free is fine for me!
- It’s Trello + a calendar + Asana all together!
- It houses my SOP’s, aka my checklists for writing my blog posts, my schedule, my content plan for the entire year, business processes, etc.
To use Clickup as a blog editorial calendar, you can simply create a Space for your Content.
Within that Space, you can create different Lists. I have Lists and Folders for blog content, newsletters, and social media scheduling.
I also have a separate List for my affiliate campaign launches and product launches. Doing a separate List for these things allows me to see at a glance on a calendar what I should be working on promoting and diving deep into at any given time.
Clickup has so many fantastic tools to help you with tasks.
If you like the Trello view but are missing some extra features like seeing different views, adding time estimations, or writing posts in a document form, or an all-in-one tool with a much easier visual organization than Trello, this could be the tool for you!
Google Sheets or Excel
So Excel sounds scary at first, if you aren’t a spreadsheet person, and obviously at some point in your life you’ve messed with spreadsheets.
They are versatile in ways that other tools can’t be.
But some of you are internally groaning at the thought of spreadsheets, or even just the scent of boring numbers close by.
Don’t worry – I gotchu!
Excel is paid, obviously, but Google Sheets is totally free, and has some great features (like checkboxes) that Excel doesn’t. Not only that, but you can access it from anywhere.
You can have multiple tabs within one spreadsheet.
You can start to create columns that help outline your various categories on your blog.
You can even do Conditional Formatting which will change the colors of cells to show green for done, yellow for in progress, or red for not started.
The options are limitless!
A few ideas for using Google Sheets or Excel:
- Have each tab belong to each category on your blog, with various ‘columns’ as sub-categories
- Use one tab as your brainstorming ideas list
- Add a calendar in one of the tabs
- Add drop down boxes for the status of each task or blog post
- Use one tab as your finish posts, with links to the post, the keyword, the Pinterest pin descriptions, the affiliate program or opt-in that you used for that post
At the time of publishing this post, I just finished up my Coschedule trial.
I have to admit – after looking at ALL of the social media schedulers out there, Coschedule was the one that made the most sense in my brain in terms of the visual layout.
In terms of all the other content schedulers out there right now.
Also, Coschedule connects to WordPress while most other schedulers don’t even do blog posts.
I did like Coschedule.
But when you’re just starting out as a blogger, you may not be able to afford the monthly bill.
If you are in a position to do so – I believe that Coschedule can be a fantastic tool if you’re making enough money to use another tool to organize your blog and social media posts. It really can help your reach with its Requeue feature, too.
I think this is a great option if you are big enough to:
- Use multiple social media platforms heavily
- Can afford the monthly bill without stretching yourself
- Have content that you want to repost frequently
- Start hiring other people to help you with your business
If you aren’t at this point and you’re flying solo, I recommend another free option
But some users swear by Coschedule, so it’s worth trying out!
Airtable is basically a fancy Excel or Google Sheets program. It’s free up to a certain amount, which I haven’t hit yet.
Guys –this tool is FANTASTIC!
I mentioned that I use Clickup for almost everything – well, the ‘almost’ includes my FINISHED posts.
But – you can put it into a Calendar view, too!
I use Airtable as a database to track all of my blog posts.
Clickup doesn’t have a ‘database’ feature yet, so while I wait for that, I am using Airtable to track.
It’s very similar to a spreadsheet, but the best part about Airtable is that you can link various data together with other data in the spreadsheet.
I have a list of my published posts with alllllll the information I need about that post.
I also have a tab with all of my affiliate programs, and a tab for opt-ins and products.
I’ve got a tab for my sent email newsletters to track open rates, clicks etc.
I can directly link my blog post to the affiliate program that I promote in that post.
Or that product that I’m promoting.
When one is updated, the other is updated automatically.
It’s like having my own entangled atoms. Too far? Okay, okay. *science nerd alert sorry not sorry*
You can also view your data in various forms and features.
Again, the possibilities are endless!
OneNote is a free Microsoft software; you might already have it on your computer if you have Windows. It’s essentially notebooks built in all together.
You can draw, type, insert images, tables, etc.
You can also access it on any device like your phone!
With an editorial calendar for your blog, it can be useful to have a table with each column being a topic on your blog.
Then, you could copy from your brainstorming list into the topic column.
You could have a brainstorming list and add new ideas as you come across them.
You could even do a table based on dates or insert calendars to make sure your posting is scheduled on the right days.
Then, use highlighters and tags to organize your ideas!
Some people use OneNote as a bullet journal, although I find it a little hard to go that deep with the program.
I use it as various notebooks, ideas, progress, course notes, a tickler/swipe file, sales pages I like, etc., but you can totally use it as an editorial calendar too!
In a Facebook group I’m in, here’s what one blogger said:
“I actually love OneNote for my brainstorms and editorial calendar.
It keeps my brainstorm sessions all in one place and on any device, anywhere I am. Often times the inspiration for a post will randomly strike me but if I don’t write it down it will be lost to the mom mind. So I grab my phone usually and drop it in my brainstorm page. So it’s there when I’m ready to do a brainstorm session or just planning out more content.
I insert tables to act as my calendar and then use the colored highlighters to highlight my different categories and use tags to help me find topics. The colors help me see visually how much of each category I’m using and how often so I can rotate them more efficiently.” By Erin Santangelo
PRO TIP: give whatever tool you choose some time to work. If you take the time to set everything up, and you use it twice then forget about it – it’s going to be a waste of time for you and your blog. You want to dedicate at least a few weeks to testing out the method you choose.
Ask yourself why you don’t like it. Is it the layout? Does it not make sense to the natural form of your brain? Does it just take some adjustment? Don’t give up too early – keep trying!
Now if you’re a pen and paper gal…
You can grab a big desktop calendar and a few small sticky notes, or even a whiteboard with a calendar view printed on it. You can also use just a simple notebook.
I love pen and paper, but I’ve found that I like to move things around a lot, which is hard to do without looking chaotic with crossed out ideas everywhere. It’s also a drawback that you can’t put in your notes or fill out your idea with more details on a post it note, which makes it more difficult to get back to the original idea when you first had it.
Ideas slip away quickly – write them down as quickly as possible!
I recommend using some sort of tabs, or different notebooks, and scheduling a time to go back through your ideas.
You may also want to go for a bullet journal method, so that you can use a calendar view to place your posts into a schedule.
What you’ll need to get started – TRELLO BOARD
Okay, so we’ve discussed the importance of having an editorial calendar.
You know the tools available.
The next step is to set one up!
How do we do that? Let’s dive into it!
How to create and plan and fill up your content editorial calendar
Choose what tool or method you’re going to use for your content planning
First – if you want to skip all the various steps to create your blog editorial calendar from scratch – you can snag my free automated Trello editorial calendar here or click here to read my post on step by step how to create your own Trello editorial calendar that automates your checklists!
If you’ve chosen another tool, I recommend signing up for the software at this point.
Determine what content you’re going to put in your calendar (like sm, blog posts, emails etc)
Do you want to house just your blog posts? Or do you want to have emails and social media posts as well?
This might depend on your tool, and what sort of calendar views you have available in the tool you use.
But for now – just decide which content you want in your editorial calendar!
Determine your blogging schedule
How often do you want to put out blog posts?
As a new blogger, I recommend doing 3 posts per week.
The goal is to get out as much in-depth content as quickly as possible. Once you’re up to maybe 50+ posts, you can slow down.
Doing that many posts very quickly will allow your blog to grow very quickly, as long as it’s content people are searching for.
After this, I recommend doing 1-2 posts per week, and starting to focus more energy on social media and marketing.
Then, what days do you want to publish?
This is the day that you’re going to publish, but not the days that you will write!
It might be easier to choose what days you want to write based off of your schedule, and then choose what day you’re going to publish.
I highly recommend you make sure you build some extra time in between publishing and writing, because things happen!
What you could do is focus each week on a different topic, to make sure you’re coming up with a balanced schedule.
You could choose writing on Mondays when you’re fresh, and then publish on Fridays – but have everything done and scheduled to publish on Wednesdays. It’s up to you!
BIG PRO TIP: keep it flexible! If you’ve ever made an editorial calendar, scheduled out two months of posts, and then tried to stick with it only to find yourself writing posts as inspiration hits and ignoring the editorial calendar – do the method I describe in this post about choosing categories. Keep it open to change!
Identify who you are blogging for
So we’ve all heard of ‘picking a niche’, right?
And we’ve all heard of choosing a customer avatar to focus on.
Sometimes, we have multiple customers in your niche that you need to write content for.
For example, I could have women entrepreneurs, I could have women who aren’t yet entrepreneurs, I could have women entrepreneurs who are also mamas, or I could have men entrepreneurs reading (if you are, shout out in the comments! Entrepreneurs unite!)
This will help you decide what topics you’re going to focus on, if you haven’t chosen yet.
Determine your blog categories and topics
What problem are you solving for your readers?
What topics do you specialize in already?
What mad skills do you have?
What do you love talking about, and could talk about for hours?
Choose your topics and start mapping them out.
I recommend mind mapping your content out. Whatever topic you write about, there’s tons of subtopics that you can dive into. Whichever topic you’re going to specialize in needs to be fully covered on your blog from all areas. To start mind mapping, you can check out the best software for mind mapping here!
From an SEO standpoint, my favorite SEO course creator, Mike Pearson, calls these different topics ‘silos’. He recommends filling out your silos as fully as possible before moving onto the next topic.
Hubspot also recommends writing your topics in what they call ‘topic clusters’.
These ‘topic clusters’ make sure that you have content for years to come, if you wanted, and that you will write about that topic enough to become an authority in that topic.
Brainstorm blog post ideas
Alright, got your mind map of your topic clusters?
Next, you’ll need to choose specific blog posts!
If you’re a new blogger, brainstorm a few blog posts per each blog category you have. By the way, I only recommend having a MAX of 3 categories on your blog.
The reason for this is to show Google that you’re very knowledgeable in ONE area, not that you are a jack of all trades master of none. To rank higher, Google wants you to show that you’re an expert in that topic.
The goal of Google is to show the searcher the absolute best content for that topic to answer their search inquiry. Show Google that you’re the pro for that topic. Don’t write about everything.
PRO TIP: don’t just write ‘blog idea about coupons’. You won’t remember what that means when you go back to that idea. When you’re writing down an idea, you’re usually inspired to write at that time. So write as much as you can about that idea, an outline, bullet points, even if it’s only one middle paragraph of your future post. Just write as much as you can to flush out that idea. Your future self will thank you if you come back to a half-written post!
But how do we know what posts to write?
Here’s what I do.
Meera Kothand has taught me in her various awesome books and blog posts that our content needs purpose. That might sound obvious, but let’s dig a little deeper.
Remember when we talked about the direction of your blog or small business?
We talked about why we need to know the direction of your blog.
Each and every single piece of content needs to be directly related to moving your business forward in that direction.
If you’re willy-nilly choosing blog posts of brainstorming them – my friend, you need a strategy!
If you’re randomly choosing what blog posts “sound good” to write this week, we need:
- a path to take you down that we know is going in the direction of what you ultimately want to be known for
- what you want to sell in the future
- and what you specialize in.
This is covered more in another post, where I talk about how to come up with a sturdy and strategic blog business plan!
Now, the blog posts we write should be helping your reader with useful information, but they should all be one of these things:
- Targeting a keyword for SEO to get more traffic
- Focused on reviewing an affiliate program to start monetizing your blog
- Teaching about your specialized topic while promoting an opt-in to grow your email list
- Or talking about your product to create more money in your blogging business
If you aren’t sure about what posts you should be writing, use these as a guide, and consider taking an SEO course, like Stupid Simple SEO.
The SSSEO course makes doing research on what your customers pain points are incredibly easy, as well as giving you valuable information to know what the topic you’re writing about is leading to.
Not to mention that it will give you alllllll the blog posts in the world to write about for years to come!
Identify holidays and special events
Throwing back to Meera’s information I talked about in the previous step, you want to make sure that each piece of content aligns to something.
- Are you running any promotions this year/quarter?
- Are you promoting anything?
- Do you plan to create a product anytime soon?
- What holidays do you want to write posts for?
- Do you have any opt-ins you want to write a post for?
- Any current events happening in your niche that you want to write about?
Make your blog editorial calendar
It’s time to write out your actual editorial calendar!
At this point, it’s quite simple:
- First, label your writing days.
- Second, start placing in your holidays and special events blog posts.
- Third, fill in a nice balance of blog topics for the rest of the days.
- Fourth, if you want to add in social media and newsletters, make sure to add in those days, and the promotion schedules for those posts.
Your calendar will fill up fast!
You’ll be surprised by this, and it might feel intimidating or overwhelming. That’s okay!
When the time comes, you’ll be glad that you have a schedule planned out that you can lean back on, even if you don’t follow it to a T.
PRO TIP: If you struggle with calendars, schedules or the pressure of having multiple posts planned out – I highly recommend batching. I totally get it – I have a rebellious streak in me (according to all those personality tests) and I hate schedules. I struggle with having a “rule” to get a post out every week. The way I get around this is to batch my blog posts! That way I only have to do it once a month – and once a month is reasonable for me.
It’s still important to keep consistent schedules, not only for your audience but mostly for Google. Your audience isn’t likely staring at your page every Friday to see if you have a new post out, but Google definitely watches.
That way if you can find a combination of batching, maybe building in rewards, and flexibility – you can still keep a consistent schedule on your own terms.
This is also why you need to keep it flexible! You need to give yourself the freedom of choice. If you want to learn more about how to work with your personality, check out Gretchen Rubins The Four Tendencies. I’m a rebel 😉
Write your blog posts
I knowwwww, it’s finally time to write them. Ya gotta do it!
However, I think I can make it a little easier.
My top-secret method for writing blog posts is twofold.
First, it’s to take a look at what’s out there. Do a quick searchy-search with that Google-Fu and Pinterest-Fu, and see what’s currently out there.
Based on the popularity of the post, you can tell what readers are resonating with.
BuzzSumo is good for this sometimes, but I recommend manually searching as well to get more accurate results.
Do NOT steal their content. Do NOT copy their headlines, words, photos, etc.
Simply see what the layout of their content is. What subtopics are they explaining?
And here’s the kicker…
Make it better.
Have you ever heard of the Skyscraper technique?
That’s what we’re aiming for.
You want to show Google that your content is better, more in depth, and more helpful to your reader than the post at number 1 in the search results!
This is now your holy bible for writing blog posts!
Final tips for setting up your amazingly awesome and fully profesh editorial calendar:
Check and update your blogs editorial calendar
Now that you’ve got your content calendar laid out – it’s time to take action!
You may have enough ideas at this point to fill your calendar up for an entire year, but things will shift and change. Your niche will shift and change slightly as you go forward, as well.
You will start getting new data that shows your most popular content – so you will want to update your calendar with reposting those posts, or creating new social media posts for that content.
The key is to keep checking and updating your calendar or schedule. If you can’t make that blog post, shift it.
Life won’t be perfect, and life won’t slow down for you to write your posts – only you can make time for that.
But if your blog business is important to you – you will find the time to shuffle things around, maybe let some things go, or find the inspiration to write.
You got this!
The best thing to do is to get into a routine as quickly as possible. It will be hard at first, but if you don’t have a routine in place, it will always be hard.
Once you have a habit and a routine for checking your calendar, writing your posts, publishing and promoting – it will be so much easier. And it will go so much faster!
You will have periods where you feel like you can’t write a single word. You will also have times that you feel like you could write 20 posts because you’re feeling very inspired.
My best tips for this are to keep that routine going, but also to take advantage of that inspiration and write as much as you can during that time.
You will have days where you need to push through the tough parts. That’s okay. It’s normal for all of us writers.
You can do this.
I hope my post on how to create a blogging editorial calendar has helped you not only to set up a schedule for writing content, but to map out the vision you have in mind for your online business. Let the passion drive you when you’re ready, and let the determination drive you when you’re not.
So…are you ready?
Let’s get writing!
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