One of the biggest complaints I hear from bloggers is that they don’t have enough time to devote to blogging. If you are juggling a full or part-time job or parenting, it’s challenging to find extra time to devote to writing and promoting your blog. I totally hear you on this– with 3 kids under the age of 10, it’s hard to find time for a lot of things!
Over the past 6 years of blogging, I have found a few things that have helped me to maximize the free time I do have. Even though my blog is my job, I still find it hard sometimes! Developing an editorial calendar has been a lifesaver!
What is an Editorial Calendar?
An editorial calendar is a plan for your blog posts (and social media if you choose) that lets you see your content for the coming weeks and months. Not only does it save time when it comes to creating content, it also helps to keep your content organized and themed for different times of the year. Since posting consistently is key to driving more traffic and retaining readers, I recommend choosing your schedule and trying your best to stick with it, whether it’s once, twice or three times a week. Some bloggers like to post daily, but I caution against doing this because it’s REALLY hard to maintain over time (I speak from personal experience)!
An Editorial Calendar Helps You to be Strategic with Your Content
What’s your blogging goal for the year? Take a look at what you are trying to accomplish with your blog and set a goal for the end of the year. You can break down that content into months and then into weeks. This will help you determine what you need to post and when you need to publish it.
You may need to tweak your calendar over the course of the month/year, so keep tabs on what seems to be working and what your readers are responding to and sharing. This will be your guide for future content creation. Once you are tapped into what your readers want to see, your traffic and social media activity will start to skyrocket!
Where to Find Editorial Calendars
There are different options for editorial calendars, both hard copy or digital.
Hard Copy Calendars
A regular desk calendar or Erin Condren style calendar (I love the layout and colors!) can work just fine for planning out your content and promotion. Keep in mind that you want to plan on publishing seasonal content a month before since it takes Google a while to index it.
There are sites that have downloadable spreadsheets for planning editorial content– HubSpot has a free editorial calendar! If you like Google documents, it can also be helpful for creating an editorial calendar. You can color code items according to the category, publication date, etc. If you work with other collaborators or guest posts, it’s easy to share too!
Online Editorial Calendars
There are a variety of different online platforms for tracking editorial content and social promotion, though some get quite pricey! Here are a few to check out
I used CoSchedule when it first came out, and while I love it, it’s gotten quite expensive. It’s currently $39/month ($30/month if you pay annually). If you have the extra money, I think they make a great product with a ton of resources! You can try their app free for 15 days with no payment information required at sign up.
I recently discovered and started using Loomly, a newer online editorial/social media calendar. It’s a great service that’s a lot more affordable at $15/month. You can try it for free for 15 days through my referral link (you don’t have to provide any payment information upfront!).
I like that it gives you prompts for social media posts and gives feedback specific to the different social platforms. For example, if you’re formulating a Facebook post and it’s pretty long, it will give you a suggestion to make it shorter, include a picture and consider what time you are posting it for the best engagement.
There are a number of WordPress plugins that you can use to plan your editorial content. Here are a few of the more popular ones:
This editorial calendar plugin offers a simple calendar in a monthly format that will show you which posts have been published and which ones are scheduled (with hyperlinks to the specific post). You can drag and drop posts and even edit them within the calendar.
PublishPress is great for a blog with more than one contributor. You can assign content to different team members and it generally makes collaboration between team members easier and more seamless. They are premium add-ons you can purchase for additional features.
WP Content Calendar
This content plugin is similar to the Editorial Calendar, offering the drag and drop features, quick edit, and publication and management of draft posts.
I hope this helps you to find more time to blog consistently, and if you are new to blogging or looking to grow your traffic, you may want to check out these posts as well as my favorite blogging tools!