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Are you always scrambling to get your blog posts up + out into the universe?
If you said yes, then the scramble stops today. We’re going to talk about EXACTLY how to plan + schedule blog posts.
The solution: An editorial calendar.
If you are not familiar with an editorial calendar, it is a plan put to dates for your content topics. When you create an editorial calendar, it eliminates the need to scramble because you know in advance what content you need to produce + schedule.
How to Plan + Schedule Blog Posts
Schedule one day on your calendar to plan your editorial calendar. (No time like the present!)
Sit with a calendar + any information you need on holidays or events going on in your business or in the world in general. Decide how far in advance you want to plan.
I’d set your sights on planning 90 days at a time, but pick what feels right for you.
(Maybe 30 days at a time. Maybe the entire year all at once!)
At the end of each year, you can sit down to plan your content for the next year. When it’s the end of 2021, you can work on the content for 2022.
An editorial calendar is a guide, so it can change + be moved around as necessary.
This is how you can schedule content for an entire year in about 1 hour.
Pull Out the Calendar
First, pull out your calendar. You can use a paper + electronic calendar. You can also use blog planning sheets. Essentially, you can use any system that works best for you.
If you pull out a paper calendar, you can see the dates for each month + make note of any holidays you might want to cover in posts.
It also allows you to pick out a publishing schedule for your content. Pick the day or days of the week you wish to publish new content.
Weekends or weekdays during lunch might be primetime for publishing posts that reach your audience. You can figure out what a good publishing day or days are for the clients you’re trying to attract.
This might require some testing on your part but don’t worry too much about it during the planning process.
Grab a Headline Cheat Sheet
Have a running list of headlines + headline templates (a headline cheat sheet). Put this on the side of your computer screen while content planning.
This allows you to run quickly through the list as you start to create content topics you want to cover.
Create Content Draft
As you think of a topic, add a new blog post draft directly in WordPress. Grab the headline cheat sheet, decide what the title is going to be + type it right into the headline of a new post. Then, save it as a draft.
You can do this 51 more times so you have one new post per week.
OR…here is where the magic happens.
You can recycle, repurpose + reuse content you already have to fill in the other 51 (or even all 52 weeks of the year).
Recycle, Repurpose + Reuse Content Like a Boss
The easiest way to create new content is to put a new spin on old content.
Let’s say you have a guide with seven sections. You can easily break down these seven sections into seven blog posts, which means you now have seven weeks’ worth of blog posts ready to copy + paste into your blog.
If the sections of the guide are long enough, it may even be possible to turn these seven sections into 14 blog posts.
Voila! Now, you have 3 months worth of blog posts all from content that you already have.
Maybe you have video content.
Transcribe the information you’re sharing into a blog post. Add some formatting, such as title, sub-headers, an intro + closing. Now you have a blog post for each video.
You wrote a few 2,500-word articles for Huffington Post. Break these articles down into 500-word chunks + do some rewriting of the existing content to create four or more blog posts.
Another place to look for content to recycle, repurpose + reuse is in the Top 10 blog posts or content that you’ve already published. Your most popular pieces of content are popular for a reason — people are interested in reading them or watching them.
You can turn your most popular content into a new form of content (ie., video into a blog post), put a new spin on an old topic, update or expand on the topic + more.
The point: You don’t have to start from scratch every time you need to publish a blog post. It is likely that you have content that is ready to share or that with a few minutes of work can be ready to publish in no time at all.
Some of the items on your editorial calendar may be:
- Blog posts
- Weekly emails you send to your list
First, plan all the dates. Then add the individual content pieces that pertain to each item to your editorial calendar.
For example, for the webinars, write out the topics for each + schedule the dates you need to write the script, each email blast that goes out to invite attendees, autoresponders that go out to registrants with the log-in information, the press release + each of the follow-up emails for the registered attendees.
After the calendar is complete, then you have to schedule a time to write the content. Again, how you schedule this is up to you.
When you block out time to batch write your content, pull up your editorial calendar + write all of the content for the following week (or as much as you can during the block of time).
Scrambling to write content at the last minute tends to come through in your message. Not only does it cause your message to be off, but the timing of getting your information in front of your dreamiest of dream clients may be off too.
When you create an editorial calendar, you remove the need to scramble at the last minute + you’ll find that your messaging + delivery becomes much more effective.
You can DOWNLOAD an editorial calendar to help you get started.
Plan + Schedule Blog Posts with WordPress
Another option for creating an editorial calendar for your blog is to use an editorial calendar plug-in for your WordPress site.
This creates a calendar layout so you can plug + chug when it comes to scheduling your blog posts.
You don’t have to plug your entire blog post in yet (I haven’t told you how to write those blog posts yet, but it’s coming), but you can put in the headline or the topic + any notes you want to add for now on the date you want to post.
Then, you can come back to it later when it is time to write!
Here’s how to download the Calendar Plug-in:
- From the dashboard of your WordPress, click on plugins along the left side.
- Choose Add new plugin.
- Type “WordPress Editorial Calendar” the keyword search box in the upper left corner.
- Click the Install button next to the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin.
- Click activate + the calendar is installed.
To access + use the Calendar, click on posts + choose the Calendar option.
Decide on a Posting Schedule
You can post as much as you like. DAILY posts are divine (for SEO purposes + for sharing info with audiences that are information hounds).
The best practice in choosing a posting schedule is choosing one that is right for you + your audience. The best way to determine the best days + times to post your blog posts is to test them.
Post once or twice a week for a while. Post on the same one or two days a week. Check your stats to see how your traffic is doing.
Either increase your posting schedule or switch the days you post. (Don’t change both at the same time or it’s not a true test.) Check your stats. See if you’re receiving more traffic, less traffic, or the same amount of traffic.
Once you decide which day(s) of the week you’re going to post then decide on themes for your posts. It’s probably easiest to choose monthly themes, but, again, choose what works for you.
You can start with broad themes + then narrow down the focus of the theme for each post.
Narrow Down Topics to Match Themes
Once you have your themes, then slot in topics for each posting that match the theme.
Let’s say your February theme is wedding venues. You’ve decided to post every Saturday + Sunday. Assign more specific topics to each Saturday + Sunday for the month.
Week 1 Saturday: 5 Secrets to Finding Wedding Venues that Fit Your Needs (+ Wants)
Week 1 Sunday: 10 Questions Every Wedding Couple Should Ask Their Venue
Week 2 Saturday: Wedding Venue Comparison Chart: How to Compare + Choose the Right Venue for Your Wedding
Week 2 Sunday: 25 Ways to Make Your Wedding Venue Your Own
Weave Your Content
While this blog post is about blogging, I’ll give you a BIG HINT. You can expand your editorial content to include columns for your social media accounts + newsletter/emails you send to your list.
We’ll talk more about how to promote your blog posts in another post. So adding these columns to your editorial calendar (if you use a spreadsheet like the one I shared earlier) can help you weave the theme you’re blogging about into your social media updates + the info you’re sharing with your list.
It might look something like this:
Once you have your editorial calendar ready, you no longer have to scramble for a topic to cover on your blog post that day. You just whip out your calendar, go to the date you’re writing content for, find out your topic + start writing.
Now that you have topics galore, it’s time to actually write the blog post. Discover the step-by-step process of writing your blog content.
Are you like, Kristie, pump the brakes, I don’t even have a wedding biz blog yet?
Check out How to Start a Blog (Do it now. Seriously, stop what you are doing + start your blog right now).