How To Tame Your Blog With An Editorial Calendar

How to tame your blog with an editorial calendar

My editorial calendar, tucked into the front of my Filofax.

I used to be a very bad blogger. I’d post inconsistently, and every time I tried to post I’d load up WordPress and stare at the screen wondering what I should write about. Even if I had an idea, trying to force out a good post was difficult. I knew that consistently posting quality posts was important – but I found it really hard.

Being introduced to a little tool called an Editorial Calendar was a bit of a lifesaver, and it is something I absolutely recommend for all bloggers. Since using an editorial calendar I’ve found that my post quality has increased (I’m not fighting to put a post together because I feel that I should), quantity has increased (from having a wealth of post ideas written down in advance, with a date assigned to them) and my overall satisfaction with my blog has gone way up.

How To Create an Editorial Calendar

The idea is to spend time at the beginning of the month (or week) coming up with post ideas. This means you’re coming up with great ideas at the beginning of the month and telling yourself in advance when you are going to write those posts (without being in a rush/pressured/etc etc!). Here’s how I do it:

Print Off a Real Calendar

Regardless of how accustomed I am to digital reality, I prefer to plan using paper and pen. At the beginning of the month I print out a blank calendar of the month ahead. This is my canvas, with each day-of-the-month square awaiting to be filled in.

Consider How Often You Want to Post

How many times do you want to post a week? I think that 3 is the magic number, but anywhere between 2 – 6 is perfectly acceptable.

Mark Down Regular Features

My first step is to fill in weekly features, for me that’s ‘Links Out’ every Saturday. The benefits of weekly features is that they create an element of consistency, and encourage readers to return as they know what to expect each week. I am toying with the idea of creating a new weekly, but for now there’s just the one.

Then I fill in features that I do often, just not every week. For me this includes outfit posts, blogging tips, and a feature on New Zealand fashion. Once I’ve filled in all of these, I take a step back and look at the space I’m left with.

Schedule In New Post Ideas

Using the blank space, and keeping in mind how often I want to post, I fill in other ideas for posts. I keep a running list of post ideas in a notebook, but if you don’t have this on hand you may want to spend some time brainstorming your ideas first. Here are some things to consider:

  • Come up with ideas for features/series and schedule in their installments. These can allow you to tackle large topics – difficult to do without some form of plan.
  • Consider areas of your blog that you want to grow, perhaps there’s a category that’s not getting as much love as you’d like it to. Schedule post ideas around those categories.
  • Pre-plan posts that relate to special events – especially fashion week. You don’t have to wait for fashion week to have an idea of how you might write about it! This can also be useful for planning content holidays and other special occasions. Your editorial calendar can help you be more prepared for the event by taking the ‘ack, have to come up with a post idea now!’ part out of it.

Note Down the Contents of Each Post

Once I’ve filled the calendar in, keeping the number of times per week I want to post in mind, I then make a few notes about what will go into each post. This isn’t always necessary (for example, with outfit posts), but for more “in depth” posts having an idea of how things will unfold makes the actual writing so much easier. I do this separate to the calendar itself, but its more because of not having enough room on my calendar than anything else.


How to tame your blog with an editorial calendar

The best part of an editorial calendar is that it gives you the freedom to write in advance, and post it when it’s ‘due.’ I find that writing the majority of a post ahead of time, and putting the finishing touches on when I’m ready to post it works for me.

However, an editorial calendar is not an unrelenting force! I deviate quite frequently, and sometimes the mood does just strike and I bang out a great post without pre-thinking about it. In my view, the true purpose of an editorial calender is to be a backup plan – one that prevents you from having nothing to post about.


Tools for Creating Your Calendar

Wordpress Editorial Calender Plugin

Do you use an editorial calendar? I know that I’m not the only fashion blogger who finds them incredibly useful! In fact, if you do use an editorial calendar I would love to know more about how you use yours.

46 Comments

  1. I’ve been reading many great posts about how to stay organized as a blogger this past week, and this is one of the best! I also read about a blogging binder a few days ago. Have you ever tried to keep one of those? Basically you’re supposed to keep your blogging schedule, inspiration blog posts, ideas and who knows what else all in a binder. I like to keep things simple though. iCalendar has been my best friend to schedule both writing time and blogging time.
    Ashley Lorelle recently posted..Before My Coffee

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  2. wow thank you so much for this great advice. lately i have been somewhat bogged down because I feel as though my posts are becoming redundant and not of my capable quality. this sounds like a great idea. going to set this up tomorrow!

    http://wordbyjessie.com
    Jessie recently posted..Rebecca Taylor &amp Chan Luu

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  3. Joanne, you little GENIUS! What a superb idea! Excellent stuff.

    Reply

  4. No, I don’t use them but I’m definitely going to start. I’m liking all these super posts a lot Joanne. :D DD
    Julie recently posted..Mercedes-Benz DFashion Mexico Day 1- Malafacha

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  5. what a great post! seriously amazing…i cant tell you how many times i stress out when im not able to post, or run out of ideas…this is a really cool idea and definitely something that i will implement. thanks for sharing!

    Fashion Bag 411
    Liana Brooke recently posted..Great Lengths New Haircut

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  6. Yay!
    one way or another I do that stuff! I really had to plan my posts, otherwise my blog would have been so neglected!

    Very good tips, thanx ^^
    Euforilla recently posted..Semiserious Guide to Style- why

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  7. Thx for the tips, just printed out a calendar for myself and started planning my month :) It’s also good to keep some rythm as a new blogger!

    Reply

  8. Ashley Lorelle – I’m glad you found it useful! I think a blogging binder is a great idea. I have a book that I WANT to keep all post inspiration in etc etc but at the moment I have everything spread through the computer, notebooks and real-life files. Sometimes I think I am just an organized mess!

    Jessie & Corrine & Julie & Liana Brooke – All I can say is, give it a go! I have found things so much easier since picking one up.

    Euforilla Awesome! Without planning my blog did used to get a bit neglected (seriously… oops!) :P

    Anja Great! & I really hope that it helps you out too!

    Reply

  9. I had this rough idea in mind, but never actually did it. The most I can do is write blog posts in advance; that is, if I find something interesting, I make a post and post it later. I should definitely be more organized :D
    Rux recently posted..monday quote- Karl Lagerfeld

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  10. you remind me that I should really update my agenda !
    i remember doing it back then, but havent been doing it much this year !

    thanks for these wonderful tips!

    Reply

  11. Hi, thanks for posting. I don’t use a calender yet, but think I should start for having a good mixture of diffrent post (outfits, tips & tricks etc)… also I want to start with a weekly feature.

    Love,
    Kristina

    Reply

  12. This seems so handy, but I’ll just stick with old-skool posting whenever online. I would probably only be able to use this for like a week, because I have no ability to concentrate
    Thanks for visiting!

    xoxo Sootjeelina <3

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  13. Great post Joanne – guess I need to follow these tips seriuosly to be consistent with my blog too. Thanks!

    Reply

  14. I jot down when a post is due to post in a separate calendar in iCal, but the WordPress plugin is perfect! I used to have a paper calendar in my Filofax, but gave up on the Filofax when I got my iPad!
    Hayley recently posted..Flipping Yummy!

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  17. AHhhh. this is so true. I’m really anal about doing my homework and stuff. but I always de-prioritize (?) blogging. But I should use calendars and jazz. Smart thinkin’, gurrrl!

    QUIRKYEXPLOSION.blogspot.com

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  18. This is something that I know I SHOULD be doing and utilizing, but I just haven’t had the time to sit down and do it. Thanks for this post – I think it might be just the inspiration I need to get going!
    Beautifully Invisible recently posted..LINK LOVE with a TWIST- March 7- 2011

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  19. Brilliant. Just brilliant. Thank God for this post (and my new Smythson calendar)!
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    x

    Laura @ theblogofobsessivecoolness.blogspot.com
    Laura recently posted..Blogger Big Up- Fashion Ranger

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  20. That’s awesome you do this! Now I look like a bad blogger haha.

    Wida
    Missing Amsie Blog

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  21. wow, the plugin idea is great. i actually do an editorial calendar for my posts, and i post about 3-4 times/week. i have features that i do all the time so i always plan those out. and it’s definitely a great idea to plan ahead–makes blogging more fun.

    Reply

  22. This is incredible. Planning does save time, I’ve found it most helpful whilst travelling… I am trying to post more frequently though, but 2-3 times is a start until I make more time. Great post!
    Thanks once again.. still learning! :)
    Madison recently posted..Extraordinary- Measured

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  23. your ideaology was great about creating an editor calendar.Really it was a wonderful post.
    Calendar Template recently posted..Yearly Calendar Template

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  25. I love posts like these! Keep ‘em coming :) The Editor is working great, but your way is a lot less money :)

    Reply

  26. Okay, thank you so much for this post! It’s amazing, I can’t even tell you. I was starting to feel somewhat unmotivated with my blog over the weekend and this really inspired me. I think it might be useful for me to have a written/spreadsheet calendar in edition to the WP plugin, as it will give me a little more freedom for adding ideas, etc. I’ll definitely be coming back to this post to keep up with all the great tips you gave out.

    Reply

  27. Pingback: 30 Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Next Post Joanne Faith.com - Joanne Faith.com

  28. Casee Marie – Your comment really made my day. I hope that this does help to inspire and motivate you too!

    Reply

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  31. Great post!! This is what I need to really get my blogging organised. I am a bit of a procrastinator so I need a definite deadline to work to. This gives me that deadline. Keeps me organised.
    Thanks,
    Kirst

    Reply

  32. This is an awesome post Joanne with so much useful information! I am definitely going to try right away, as in, I’m printing my calendar right now for April! Thanks so much for sharing your tips! :)
    Nnenna recently posted..On Nnennas Needles 11

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  33. >How To Tame Your Blog With An Editorial Calendar http://t.co/VzhXrEy6 via @joannefaith Awesome blog post!

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  34. I have some abstract thoughts about having editorial calendar. Except, I didn’t call it editorial calendar – just some “plan”. And in this post you pretty much summarized and organized those thoughts PLUS add some insightful simple tips (like print out real calendar hellow!) and make it sounds very easy for us to follow. Thank you :)

    Reply

  35. Thanks for sharing this, I have had an editorial calendar but never really utilised it properly – I think I’m more of a ‘digital calendar with reminder messages’ kinda girl. I’ll definitely have a look at the calendar app on wordpress, thanks! Miri.

    Reply

  36. I am completely in the same situation now – full of ideas, but no real structure or consistency. My task this weekend is to start an editorial calendar for my blog, with your post being my inspiration and guideline. And I agree with you when you say you prefer to plan using pen and paper, it seems more personal.

    Great tips that stay completely relevant even after more than a year since you published it! :)
    Kiara King recently posted..BOYISH PAST

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    joannefaith Reply:

    Yay – I’m glad to hear it. I hope it works for you!

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  37. So far I’ve been inspired by @joannefaith’s ‘How to Tame Your Blog with an Editorial Calendar’ – http://t.co/Kuf6qMiq

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  38. I know you posted this ages ago now, but I just wanted to say great tips! I like thinking of it as a ‘backup plan’ as you said, rather than a strict schedule. Ever since I started using a calendar for my blog, my content has definitely gotten stronger.
    Jessica recently posted..Asturias: How to Lose Your Voice & Make Friends Anyway

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  41. Article writing is also a excitement, if you be familiar with after that you
    can write or else it is complex to write.
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  43. Highly descriptive post, I loved that bit.
    Will there be a part 2?
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  44. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is
    time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire
    to suggest you some interesting things or advice.
    Maybe you could write next articles referring to this
    article. I desire to read even more things about it!
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  45. Is there another link to use to download the editorial calendar? The link provided no longer works. Thanks!

    Reply

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