Your blogging life is about to get a whole lot easier.
Want to know why?
Because I’m going to show you a simple trick you can use to ramp up the frequency and quality of your blog posts, big-time.
Think of this like an assembly line for your blog.
Right now, you’re probably assembling each blog post one at a time—gathering the various components and putting them together by hand. That’s certainly one way to do it, and it can work for one-off blog posts…
But it’s NOT the most efficient or sustainable method for growing a blog, and it doesn’t scale well when you decide to ramp up your content production.
So what should you do instead?
Well, if your goal is to create a blog consisting of high-quality content that’s updated on a regular basis, then you need a system for creating that content. An assembly line, if you will.
Here in the content marketing business, we call that your editorial calendar.
Here is a sneak peek at DigitalMarketer’s Editorial Calendar.
And if you don’t know how to create an editorial calendar, don’t worry. I’m about to show you the method I use to create one in mere minutes.
This method is fast, simple, and very powerful. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity, though. In fact, this system is effective because it’s so simple.
See, complex processes have a tendency to fall apart at the first sign of adversity. But simple methods like the one I’m about to teach you are easy and flexible enough to adapt and change along with your needs.
Before we dive into it, though, let me explain a little more about why having an editorial calendar is so important for the long-term success of your blog.
Why Having an Editorial Calendar is So Important
An Editorial Calendar is a key component of a successful blog. In a nutshell, it’s what enables you to strategically schedule, systematize, and outsource all the components of your content creation.
When you can see all the upcoming posts in your queue at a glance, along with the most important details of each—like the publication date, the writer, the type of post, the topic, and so on—you’ll find it much easier to make sure your content is covering an appropriately diverse range of subjects in a variety of different formats.
(It also helps to focus your attention on some of the most important aspects of each post, like the headline.)
And the good news is, an editorial calendar doesn’t have to be difficult to create. In its simplest form, it can just be a list of the blog posts you have planned along with a few key details.
Next, I’m going to go through some of the most important dimensions of your online content. These are some of the things that I recommend keeping track of in your editorial calendar.
The 4 Dimensions of All Blog Content
Pro bloggers know that blog posts come in all shapes and sizes. Here are the 4 most important ways to differentiate between different blog types.
Dimension 1: Blog posts vary by medium or vehicle.
- Text—Most blog posts are text-based, so this will probably make up the majority of your posts. Keep in mind, we always recommend including related images to break up the text and keep the content visually interesting.Example: What is Digital Marketing?
- Video—Video is becoming more and more important every year. Of course you should be posting videos to YouTube and Facebook, but your blog is an equally important place to embed your videos for users to see.Example: Answering 11 Hard-Hitting Questions About Organic and Paid Facebook: An Interview with Dennis Yu
- Audio—Most audio content takes the form of a podcast. Podcasts can be a terrific way to increase your reach and grow your audience!Example: Any of our Perpetual Traffic or DigitalMarketer Podcast episodes
- Image—Some posts consist primarily of an infographic. Infographics can be a little more time-consuming to create than text posts, but they’re usually worth it due to the high shares they tend to generate.Example: The Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas
Dimension 2: Blog posts vary by length.
- In-depth, Info-heavy Posts—These are longer, more detailed posts. They can either be a deep dive into a subject, an explanation of a case study, or a Pillar Post. Pillar Posts are often lengthy, detailed posts that explain one of the core messages or subject matters of your blog. These posts are often “evergreen” (which means they don’t age quickly) and are referenced back to frequently.Example: DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2018 (…And 7 Top-Notch Subject Lines Pulled from the Vault)
- Casual Posts—These are typically shorter, more informal posts. They don’t go as in-depth into a topic, but might cover important news or developments in your industry, or a tertiary matter that your audience would be interested in. As a result they might be less evergreen, but they can also be very timely.Example: 7 PowerPoint Tips to Banish Boring Presentations
A good rule of thumb ratio is to publish 1 pillar post or in-depth, info-heavy post for every 5 to 10 casual posts.
Dimension 3: Blog posts vary by source.
In other words, who actually writes the post? Most big blogs get their posts from a diverse group of sources, including…
- Yourself—These is content you create in-house (whether it’s you or someone else at your company).Example: Ryan Deiss on the End of Marketing As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
- Curation—This is content you have aggregated from other sources. Often, but not always, you will provide an analysis of the curated content.Example: How Digital Marketing Will Change: 17 Predictions for 2019
- Guest—This is content someone else created it for your blog (paid or unpaid—learn more about finding guest writers here).Example: Ecommerce + Paid Traffic: How Ezra Firestone Turned $434,256.72 into $1,422,500.15 in 30 Days Using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, and Shopify
Dimension 4: Blog posts vary by topic.
In other words, what category does each post fit into? Just about every blog covers a variety of related topics. These are the large, broad categories that describe your content.
As an example, a fitness blogger might have the following broad categories:
- Weight Training
Here is what one fitness blog uses as menu categories.
And that’s it! Those are the 4 main dimensions you’ll want to track on your editorial calendar. At this point you’re ready to put your blog planner together.
How to Create Your First Editorial Calendar
The first thing you’ll want to do is to decide on a publishing schedule.
If you publish content only intermittently—such as “when I have time” or “when I feel inspired”—then odds are you’re not going to publish very much at all. And infrequent content tends to have little or no impact.
But if you decide on a schedule ahead of time, and commit to it, then you’ll find you’re much better able to churn out content week after week after week—which will result in a steady buildup of traffic and authority.
So decide how often you want to publish. The more often you publish, the faster you’ll see success. However, you definitely DON’T want to choose a schedule that’s unrealistic (this can diminish the quality of content or lead you to feel overwhelmed and possibly stop publishing altogether).
I recommend starting with one of these schedules:
- Once every other week
- Once a week
- Twice a week
You can always increase your frequency once you get the hang of it.
Now Let’s Get Your Editorial Plan Organized…
Staying organized is going to be your best bet when it comes to creating and maintaining your editorial calendar. And to make it even easier on you, we have created a quick way to get started.
First, just download this Excel spreadsheet.
This spreadsheet is meant to help you quickly map out outlines for you content, so you can actually get to writing and publishing.
The first page of the sheet (the Editorial Calendar tab) is where your calendar will show up. You will notice there is already data there, but don’t worry; that’s just an example to show you how to use this sheet.
This page has a column for all the most important dimensions of your upcoming blog posts, including:
- Day of week or month
- Medium (Vehicle)
You may also notice the “Offer” column. If you use calls to action on your blog that go to an offer, this is where those will live. You can also personalize this page to match what you want to track on your own blog (i.e. Keywords, post length, update date).
If you click on a cell, you will see a drop-down menu that has the data you will need for that column. Certain things, like writer, headline, and publish date, don’t have a drop down because they will be different for each post.
All the data that feeds into these drop-downs is in the second page of the sheet under the Data tab.
It is this handy equation built into the sheet that makes building your calendar so easy. We’ve already given you a whole list of post type ideas, and all you have to do is personalize the categories and offers (and any other factors you want to track) to fit your blog, and then get to planning.
(Check out our Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas for more about the post ideas we gave you in this planner!)
Once you get all your category and offer information in the Data tab, all you have to do is select and fill out the information for each upcoming blog post. When you get a single row completely filled out, congratulations—you’ve just scheduled a blog post!
And if you need to reschedule a post, just drag the row to the new spot and change the date.
And that’s it! It really is simple once you get the hang of it.
Just follow this quick process and before you know it, you’ll have a simple yet effective editorial calendar to help guide your content strategy.