1 | BRAINSTORM AHEAD OF TIME
It is easier to create a blogging calendar (aka editorial calendar) when you have a list of blogging topics to choose from. Before you fill out your editorial calendar each month take a moment to brainstorm ideas that you can use as blog topics.
Talk to your sales team and find out what questions your prospects are asking about repeatedly aka Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Keep a list on your phone or in your planner and add them as ideas come to mind during your day.
Always be on the lookout for content calendar ideas, make a note and refer back to them each month as you prepare the coming months editorial calendar. You will be amazed how many ideas you can come up with when you are simply more aware that you need them.
2 | PLAN IN ADVANCE
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
A bit of up front planning will make creating your blogging calendar much easier. Think of advance planning like sharpening your axe (see quote above). 20 to 30 minutes of planning at the end of the month, for the next months blogging calendar can save you hours of time and loads of frustration.
I recommend actually scheduling a single 30 minute session each month to plan for the following month’s blog content. I also recommend scheduling time each month to create your blog content. Scheduling time ensures you get your planning done and that you follow through and create your amazingly relevant blog content. Don’t just “squeeze” in time for content creation; I can tell you from experience that you won’t get your quality content created on time.
Although everyone has their favorite tools to use. I find that Evernote is my friend when it comes to brainstorming about and creating content for my blog. If you prefer the pen and paper method I have a PDF content calendar that you can download and fill in as well.
3 | FOCUS ON YOUR AUDIENCE
Although your blogging calendar content should help establish your credibility and leadership within your industry it is important to remember that you are creating content that is designed to capture your audience’s interest. This means that you should be creating content that:
- your audience is looking for
- answers questions your audience may not want to ask
- appeals to ancillary interest areas of your target audience (for example if you sell hunting products you might want to create content that also appeals to your audience’s interests in sport vehicles, conservation and/or recreational vehicles)
- demonstrates your leadership in your industry
- and encourages them to reach out to you
BONUS TIP | USE NEWS STORIES AND INDUSTRY ARTICLES TOO
Remember that news stories and other articles of interest written by leaders in your field can also serve as great filler content for your blog and social media channels. I often post links to articles written by others in my industry that I trust and typically include a short synopsis and opinion as part of that link. This is an easy way to create supplemental content that helps draw the attention of your audience without simply promoting your and your company.
4 | PUT IT DOWN IN WRITING
Now that you have done your brainstorming and planning it is time to put next months blogging calendar in writing. So that begs the question . . . what should you be writing down?
Here is the information you should have for each blogging calendar post:
- Topic to be covered
- Content Title
- Focus Keyword/Phrase
- Additional Keyword/Phrase to be included if applicable
- Synopsis of intended content (What message do you want to relay?)