The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Kris Cain.
Revamping my editorial calendar is something that has been on my list to do for the last month or so. I giggle that I have a calendar entry on my calendar to work on my calendar. But, it is definitely necessary. I currently write for six websites on a consistent basis and two others from time to time. Yes, it is a lot. And I find myself missing due dates and getting behind sometimes because I cannot remember when posts are due. If you are in the same boat, or strictly maintaining your own blog, you really need an editorial calendar.
Who needs an editorial calendar?
• People like me who write for several sites
• Bloggers that want structure so that readers know what to expect on specific days
• Editors that run collaborative blogs
Why do you need it?
Even if you only run your own blog, an editorial calendar can help you stay on track and keep content fresh and flowing. Having your posts planned out ahead of time will make it easier to write when the time comes. In addition, having set subjects leaves less room for writers block.
How do you get started?
I personally like to use two sources. I use a mixture of technology and good old fashioned paper.
1. I use Google Calendar. I plug in due dates for posts, ad renewal dates, and other blog related dates. My calendar is currently setup but it needs some major updates. I plan to use more color coding to distinguish between the different sites and type of posts I publish.
2. Use an awesome desktop calendar like the myAgenda desktop that has plenty of space for jotting things down. Write everything down in here as well, so if for some reason you cannot get to your electronic calendar, you will still have access to important dates. If you are on the go a lot, get a smaller version like the Mini-Daily to carry around with you.
However, I have one major quirk about writing on my calendar and in notepads. I always write with lead pencil. That way if a date changes, or I need to update something I can easily erase it and move on. This keeps the calendar from getting too messy.
What should you post about?
Posts can come from everywhere. I experience at least one thing every day that makes me want to write. I try to get in the habit of jotting down at least a subject when I think about it to refer to later. Now, I will try to stick that somewhere on my calendar when I think about it instead of just adding it to the list. Many bloggers stick to the same format or meme from week to week. Examples include:
• Manic Mondays
• Tech Tuesdays
• Wordless Wednesdays
• Fashion Fridays
These are some standards around the web, but you can certainly put your own play on each and make them your own. Once you have your editorial calendar setup, sticking with it may be a challenge but is totally worth the effort in the end!
Do you use an editorial calendar? What strategy has worked best for you?
Kris Cain is a member of the Council of Media Moms at momAgenda. She writes about technology and her busy life on her blog, Little Tech Girl. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.