Hello fellow earthlings. Unless you’re an alien somehow accessing this from outer space, which would be both cool and depressing. Cool because . . . space – and depressing because I can barely get Wi-Fi in my house, let alone off the bloody planet. Virgin Broadband has not done us proud.
I don’t know if I’ve specifically gone into detail about the apprenticeship I’m currently doing before but, if not, allow me to explain. I’m doing a Digital Marketing framework (so my course and coursework is related to all aspects of Digital Marketing), but my job is as a content marketer. This means my specific role and focus is to create content for the business I work in; blog posts, info-graphics, social media etc.
The only reason I bring this up is because the company I work for is brilliant and allows me a lot of freedom; out of every day at work, I would say I spend a good 2-3 hours (not all at once, or my brain would just switch off) reading and learning about content marketing. Which, essentially, translates into blogging. I love it – although when I get home I may not actually have the energy to blog, I have to motivation and ideas in spades. Blogging 101 is due to be bursting at its seams! One such thing that I’ve been researching that I need to share with you all is: Editorial / Blogging Calendars.
This is exactly what it sounds like. Fucking amazing. (Yeah, fine, it may not sound that exciting, but it is. I promise.)
Anyways, this is going to be a little bit of an update post as well as a Blogging 101; I have been around kind of fixing up old blog posts and getting up this year’s gift guides written and whatnot, but not actively blogging. Which, by the way, I’m sorry for. But the thing is that I’ve honestly been so busy that I haven’t had time to get anything in any way shape or form useful up. What I have been doing, however, is planning. I’ve been setting everything for the next few months up so that . . . well, essentially, so that this doesn’t happen again. And I’m a grown up now
nope, not even close fine, I’m trying to be a grown up now yeah, but you’re not even really trying to do that, so . . . I mean that.
How exactly have I been doing this? Well, the same way that I take care of things at work – with a Content Calendar!
What is a content calendar? Literally exactly what it sounds like. It’s a calendar where you plan out where all your content is going to go. It’s very useful in allowing you to see what you need to be doing, as well as motivating you to actually do the things. Imagine this probably very familiar scenario:
“I want to write a blog post. My barren, tumble-weed ridden internet plain is demanding nourishment and I want to heed its call. But what do I post? Okay, let me start a draft . . . oooh, but I have another good idea . . . and I might as well just finish that other draft and-“
Three days later you have fifteen new drafts, four opening paragraphs and maybe a linked item or two in a wishlist that is in all likelihood never going to see the light of day. What don’t you have? A published post. If you’re anything like me, you could even spend weeks sitting in the background tweaking, drafting and idea-creating with absolutely nothing to show for it. With a content calendar, the situation is a little more like this:
“I want to write a blog post. Let me see – okay, so today’s post is My Current Skincare Routine. Nice, I took the photos of that last Sunday and most of it is already written, so let me just finish it up . . . Ooh, I like that song in the background. There’s a playlist post next week, right? Let me just add that in that post draft . . . okay, cool. Skincare Routine post published – but that gave me a good idea for a post: What To Look For In A Good Skincare Product. Okay, let me add that to the calendar; I’ll just draft up the introduction while I remember it. Next post coming up is my September Wishlist? Well, I have some time now – let me get those finishing touches on it, so it’s ready.”
At work, I can end up finishing tasks days earlier than their deadline because you can physically see what needs to be done, do it and move on to the next thing. Honestly, it’s really efficient and it just cuts out all of the procrastinating and time wasting. Hell, even better, it directs it. When I want to procrastinate finishing a post, I procrastinate by editing photos or creating info-graphics or writing part of another post.
So now you know why you need a Content Calendar, you know what they are; how about actually getting your hands on one?
Well, there are two ways you can go about this. You could get a diary, a physical calendar or a planner. Or you could go digital. Now, for me, digital is the best way – because I lose diaries, or I can’t be bothered to run upstairs (hey, don’t judge me, my bedroom is in the attic. It’s like 3 flights of stairs. And I have to run them, because go big or go home.) and just because . . . it’s extra effort. I like paper to generate ideas; I have a lot of list books, post titles and goals written on paper. However, for efficiency, I always go digital because I can have my content calendar in the window behind my blog. So much easier. And practically impossible to lose.
I’ve edited the content calendar we use at work to a more easy-to-use template (without all the marketing stuff and things that typical bloggers just aren’t going to need) for my blog calendar.
The original is here. (And free, with no signup required.) I would share mine with you, but that’s somebody else’s work they’ve shared for free, so I don’t want to steal credit. I will, however, walk you through how I edited it for my tastes.
What I’ve chosen is an excel document because that’s just a lot easier to use; I find the no fluff, distraction-free calendar really works for me. I personally find a monthly calendar to be the most beneficial; weekly is too shortsighted for me and it makes you feel a little cramped. Having 10 blog posts planned over a month seems easy – but having 3 in a week seems intimidating. In reality, the work is the same but having it spread out over that month long period really helps to manage your workload and get it all done.
I changed the headers to ones that I need, which are:
- Type Of Content – here’s where I write my blog post title, if I’m including a video
Jesus Christ, I hope notor an infographic etc.
- Tasks To Complete – where you list things you need to do, like taking the images for the blog post, creating a featured image etc.
- Daily Activities – send out 2 Tweets, follow a new blog, comment on 3 blog posts etc.
- Blog Tasks – this is one whole column for the entire month, so things like fixing your header, upgrading to a .com etc. Things that don’t need to necessarily be done immediately or all at once, but things that can be worked on.
- and Notes.
Anyways, this was just a quick Blogging 101 update. I also wanted to let you guys know that I am still here; it’s just a little adjustment period while I learn to juggle blogging and working full time. I hope this was helpful – I’d seriously recommend getting your own content calendar; it’s a total game changer!