How to: Plan Your Editorial Calendar

edcal
Bazaar's 2008 Editorial Calendar

The single most important part of a blog is the content.

It might sound like a redundant statement, but without consistent, quality content, readers won't have a reason to come back. An Editorial Calendar will not only help you decide what to post, keep you inspired, but it also helps your readers know what to expect. Magazines use editorial calendars to plan a year in advance allowing time to develop content properly. While most blogs may not need to plan posts a year in advance, having some kind plan for your posts will help save time and curb blogger's block. And don't be afraid, editorial calendars come in all shapes and levels of detail, you can work what's best with minimal effort, and still reap the rewards.

 

Start planning gradually…

I love making excel spreadsheets pretty. I hate data entry. While it's possible for me to spend hours creating a spreadsheet I'll never use, wasting time is not something I have very much patience for. Figuring out what's realistic and comfortable is a process… for everybody. There are many times I have created unrealistic goals for my blog, usually ending up with me scouring the internet until the wee hours of the night, frustrated and upset. Luckily, I didn't give up… I just tried different goals.

Editorial calendars are flexible, they can be changed… even in large magazines, editorial calendars change, even at the last minute.

1. Set your posting frequency goal

My first attempts at editorial calendars was to set a goal of posts per week. My plan was to post five times a week, at the time, I did a post about my daily attire almost every day, so I could post about something else fashion related to make the five posts, then anything else would be bonus. Posting frequency is somewhat fluid, sometimes I attempt to do 10 posts per week, but it's not always possible, nor does it necessarily improve the blog.

2. Determine what types of posts work for your blog (and your sanity)

There are many types of posts, especially with fashion blogs. Here are some I frequently see around:

The Designer/collection
The “Find”
How To
Sale Alerts
What Are We Wearing?
The Interview
The Muse
Trends
Inspiration Collage
Link Roundup

These are just off the top of my head, I'm sure you can think of ones I'm missing… but you get the point. There are lots of kinds of posts, and every blogger has their own specialty. A ‘What Are We Wearing” would drive one person crazy, and another person could happily do it every single day. The trick is finding which posts you like to do, your readers will be able to see this and share your joy. But don't just stay stagnant, always be on the look out for new things to try. I'm always trying new kinds of posts, and new ways of posting… it's what keeps blogging interesting.

3. Set your posting goals by frequency and type

Now that you've figured out how much you can comfortably post, and what you like to post about.. you can start thinking about a more concrete editorial calendar. Like Bazaar's editorial calendar, my personal plan is usually a list I write out every Sunday or Monday morning. There is a rough schedule that doesn't really change too much and then I note a few particular items I would like to post about. It helps to write all the weeks posts ahead of time, but that's not always possible.

Some people work with notepads, calendars, PDAs, or excel spreadsheets, it doesn't really matter what you use as long as you use it. And if you'd like a calendar to work with

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26 Responses

  1. spandexpony

    I’m really glad you joined facebook so I can more easily follow up with these advice updates! I’ve been considering starting a calendar in order to waste less time overall, and to provide more structure to my content. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  2. Jennine

    aw, thanks! facebook is great… that’s for sure, i just have to get around to using it more.
    🙂

    Reply
  3. lisa

    What a great idea! Thanks for an informative and helpful post. I’ve started using the calendar on my blog-specific Gmail account as an editorial calendar, putting in reminders for what I want to post each day of the week.

    Reply
  4. Crosby

    oh jeez. yup – making an editorial calendar has been on my list forever but I get caught up in making it pretty! I think I will probably use google calendar when I do get around to it – since those I can share with my other writers.

    xoxo

    Reply
  5. Edith Purdy

    A couple of weeks ago I decided I needed to have a blogging schedule (i.e. a list of subjects I wanted to write about and proposed dates). I realised that there are days when there are 5 things I want to post about but have no time. And there are occasions when I am blank, I can’t think of a single thing. I figured this would be a good way to always ensure I can update weekly at least.

    I’m not going to call this list my blogging schedule any more though. From this day forward it shall be my editorial calender! I I think I shall create an excel spreadsheet with coloured cells and everything!

    Reply
  6. MizzJ

    Those are great tips! I am definitely considering making a editorial calendar (that does sound so much cooler than blogging calendar 🙂 ) now! Before I used to just use a electronic sticky note app on my desktop where I would list possible topics, but an online calendar would be a great organization addition.

    Reply
  7. Anna

    This is an awesome idea, and great tips. For once there’ll be something to sort out who’s posting what and when. Which means, more regular updates. Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Leah

    Fab tip! This is really one I should try out because, like a few people I’m sure, I find I lack focus on what I want to blog about and therefore am an infrequent poster. Thankyou 🙂

    Reply
  9. JOYCE

    It’s been a challenge organizing myself on my full blown blog, but your advice is surely to help me better plan during 2009. Thank you for the great advice!!

    Reply
  10. Anjela

    Even though I post mainly about beauty and not enough fashion, I found this extremely helpful…so much I’m Twitting about it! 🙂

    Reply
  11. yetmee

    Wow, the editorial calendar is very inspiring and structured…very helpful , keeps the idea fuel burning….

    Reply
  12. Beka

    Great plan! I’ve been meaning to work on an editorial calendar for some time now. I actually created one once, but it was far too rigid, so I never stuck to it. I love your advice, however. I’m inspired! Yay!

    Reply
  13. cassie

    Great article! I tried this recently and never stuck to it but I do like the idea of having a big plan for the year. I often think of an article I could do but it would be better suited to later in the year so having somewhere to write it down where it won’t be forgotten is a good idea!

    Reply
  14. Icy

    I love having the idea that your readers can see what’s coming up. Great post!

    Reply
  15. volum

    I can’t see the calender, I wish I could, but amazing post, I definitely need to plan certain things on certian days, now I know how! Thanks (:

    Reply
  16. Michelle Christina

    Yes, I’ve definitely been trying to get an editorial calendar going for myself. A very loose one, at least. Not so much for my personal blog, but for a more editorial-based bohemian blog I’ve been trying to get off the ground. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply