Editorial calendars and planning
Your editorial guidelines will help keep you on track, but your editorial calendar will help you figure out how—and when—you’re going to get all that writing done.
How you plan your editorial calendar depends on the time and resources you have available to devote to writing—and the types of posts you’re planning to create. Here’s a simple 5-step approach you can try:
1. Determine how long each post will take to write
Take your list of blog posts and think about how long each of them will take you or your writers to create. Remember: In-depth analysis pieces (5,000+ words) will typically take a lot longer than short-form posts (~1,000 words), so be sure to budget your time accordingly.
If you’re new to blogging, you might over- (or under-) estimate how much time you’ll need for any given post—and that’s OK. As you get more accustomed to blogging, you’ll find that you’re more accurately able to predict how long a particular post might take you to write.
2. Determine the order in which your posts will be written
Think about what makes sense for you and your business. Which posts are most important? Is there a logical order that makes sense to follow? Will some posts require additional work or research?
Be sure to consider the actual calendar dates, too. If you’re planning to write something that needs to be published during a specific time of the year—like the end of the fiscal year, the beginning of summer, or the holiday season, for example—it will likely affect the order in which the posts are written.
3. Consider your time constraints
Chances are that you have a lot of stuff on your plate. Be sure that you’re considering your regular responsibilities (along with any other factors that might increase your workload, like upcoming holidays) as you’re planning out time to work on your blog.
Above all else, be honest with yourself and don’t give yourself more work than you can handle. Are you really likely to able to devote a certain number of hours to writing a post in order to hit the desired publishing date? If you’re not sure that you can do it, you may need to rethink the order in which these posts are written.
4. Schedule time to review your progress
Adding time to your calendar to review the work you’ve done is a great way to monitor your progress and determine if you need to adjust your schedule. Some folks like to review progress monthly while others prefer to check in every 3 months, but feel free to choose a cadence that makes sense for you.
5. Write, write, write
Once you’ve got your calendar planned out, it’s time to start writing your blog posts. Here’s a few tips to help you get started.
- Figure out what time of day works best for you. Some people do their best work first thing in the morning with a hot cup of coffee in hand. Others find that the words flow more freely at the end of the day once they’ve had a chance to relax a bit. Everyone’s different, so try out different times to figure out what works best for you.
- Consider your environment. Do you need peace and quiet to write? Or would you prefer working where there’s a bit of background noise, like at a coffee shop or local park? Be on the lookout for a location that not only allows you to focus but inspires you to be creative, too.
- Get rid of distractions. Distractions can stifle your productivity, especially when you’re trying to write. Answering a quick question from a coworker or responding to an email might only take a couple of minutes in real time, but it can break your concentration and cause you to waste precious time trying to get back into the right frame of mind. When you’re ready to write, consider putting your phone on airplane mode, closing any chat windows, and shutting down your email so that all of your attention is on the task at hand.