Thinking of starting a blog? Welcome to blogging basics, where I share everything I’ve learned about the steps of starting your own blog from setup to posting content.
You have your blog idea all ready to go, have a domain name and even have put up a brand new shiny WordPress or other blog host site. But before you do anything else, you need a content calendar. A content calendar is a daily calendar where you map out the content you plan to post on your blog.
I mean it, before anything else. It’s tempting to just start posting content. When you have all the awesome momentum going, you have the WordPress site up and ready, you know what your first post is going to be, why not put that content up as the ideas come?
Before you start designing your site, before you start posting content, and maybe even before you get a twitter and start growing your social media platforms, take some time to set up your content calendar. You need to make sure you can keep up your content beyond the first three to five posts when momentum has a tendency to run out.
You can wait for the muses of inspiration and run your blog that way, writing when the mood strikes, but more often than not this will stall any potential your blog has. This is blogging no-no, especially if you’re looking to monetize your blog in any way.
An editorial content calendar serves as more than just a schedule for your posts, it serves as your own personal editor. Hovering there and making sure you stick to the deadlines and content you set up for yourself.
Don’t think you can put up a post every day? Don’t sweat it. Try for two or three a week at least. Imagine writing two to three articles a week. What will you write about? What’s past the first 20 days or so? What can you do to make sure you have room in your blog to grow, breathe, relax, and try a new direction?
It’s recommended that you have at least three months of content planned in advance, and a week to three weeks of posts pre-written. This is another reason why an editorial calendar should be the first thing on your to-do list.
Think about how much easier your life is going to be once you’ve written at least a week of posts and all you have to do is publish them, and then you can focus on the other facets of building a blog.
When I worked on my editorial content calendar. I wanted a few themes to stick to. For example, Friday was going to be fun Friday. That meant I could write about whatever I wanted to write about on Friday.
Tuesdays were travel Tuesdays, so I could write about anything travel related. And Sundays are my weekly recap.
That’s three days where I have a basic gist of what I’m going to talk about. Half the week is already planned out right there.
So, what kind of themes would work for you? Do you want to have a budget day, a coupon day where you specifically post coupons? Or will Saturday be your DIY Day, posting DIY’s or recipes?
This is also handy for readers. It get’s them excited about the future content. If Wednesday is always where you post your dessert recipe for the week, imagine how that will boost traffic for that day.
Next, when working on your content calendar. Keep it flexible. You’re going to make changes. Something might come up. A new nail trend might hit Pinterest and suddenly you know you need to include that in your first week’s post. Just shift articles and ideas around so you don’t lose any ideas.
Here’s an early editorial content calendar I did. This is the April portion.
Wednesday 19-Where to submit Queries
Thursday 20-Conducting an Interview
Saturday 22nd Conference
Sunday 23rd-Recap, Conference
Monday 24th– When You Can’t Go anymore, getting out of the slump
Tuesday 25th-Travel Tuesday, Book Review about travel
Thursday 27th– Fiction and Freelance the balancing Act,
Friday 28th-Millie the Pet Concierge
Saturday 29th-Review Writing, let’s talk tropes.
Sunday 30th– Weekly Recap
See how every day has both the day and date. I also sometimes have two or three particular article ideas in one day because I don’t know which one will fit best for that day. And sometimes, I change up the calendar at the last minute.
An editorial content calendar should be your first target. Next, come up with about a month or at least a week of that content on your calendar and see how it feels. Get a taste for writing ahead of the game and see how many articles you can keep adding to your calendar.
Once you know what you’re going to write and when you’re going to post, then you can go crazy with Twitter, Pinterest and designing your website. But a calendar first, always.