|I ♥ My Blog Task 1: Create an Editorial Calendar|
This task is actually multiple tasks rolled into one... simply because it calls for you to do a bit more than just slap together a calendar! Here’s a bit of what putting together an effective editorial calendar entails:
“what’s the point?”
Before you can even begin to put together a working editorial calendar for your blog, you have to get an idea of what your blog is about. What are you trying to do with your blog? One of the big mistakes new bloggers make is listening to folks who tell them, “You’re so [smart/funny/etc.], you should totally have a blog!”
Don’t get me wrong: blogging is in no way only for a select, "elite" group of writers. However, those who go into it without a clear purpose beyond “someone told me I should do it” are more likely to either burn out or quickly run out of things to say. Unless your blog is a personal diary/journal, you likely have some idea of where you want it to go and what you want it to do. Consider that before starting to generate a calendar, and you’ll be more likely to start putting together a calendar that really helps you to achieve that purpose.
Another big mistake bloggers make is thinking they can only talk about one thing. Once you run out of things to say on that topic, what do you do? Stop writing, or start a new blog about something else, or just suddenly switch from writing a personal fitness blog to a blog about your zany family? What if your focus is poetry and you suddenly find yourself on a fiction kick? What if you start writing about architecture but find yourself wanting to share some awesome recipes?
Rather than limiting yourself, be open to addressing multiple topics. Think of how you can categorize the things you want to talk about. Maybe you want to focus on advice one day, personal updates on another, and leave a third day open to whatever comes to mind. Be open to where your blog can go … just be sure that you are carefully considering what your topics will be and how they work together to answer the “What’s the point?” question of your blog!
“Fubsoy” is a phonetical spelling of the acronym “FBTSOYP,” which stands for “flying by the seat of your pants.” Just as you want to have some specific topics in mind, you also need to remember that the key to maintaining a blog long-term is forgiveness: that is, the ability and willingness to forgive yourself if you need to skip a day, or change topics, etc.
Rather than dictating a rigid schedule, an editorial calendar actually encourages flexibility: if nothing else, consider it your “backup plan.” Yes, the point is to come up with topics to talk about on a day-to-day or week-to-week or month-to-month basis … but let’s say you plan an article on, I don’t know, the color of beets and suddenly find yourself more interested in, oh why not, “why everything tastes like chicken.” Allow the switch. Write about why everything tastes like chicken this week … you now have a great idea for a future article, and can come back to the color of beets somewhere down the line. Or maybe you’re not interested in beets anymore. Fine. Scrap it. As the pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean often noted, an editorial calendar is “more ... guidelines than actual rules.”
Your Turn: Create an editorial calendar for your blog this month, or for the next two months, or the year. Consider the following questions:
1. What is the point of your blog? What is it for?
2. What/who is the target audience of your blog? Who is it for?
3. What are some topics you may want to cover?
4. How can you break those topics up into specific posting days?
5. What are some ideas for posts you can come up with right now to plug into your calendar?
Share your editorial calendar, or thoughts on the use of an editorial calendar (Is it necessary? Pointless? Why?), in the comments below! Share, and steal, ideas … let’s help each other make 2014 our best writing year yet!
Want to stay connected? I invite you to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Please also sign up for the free email updates from Our Lost Jungle!
Want to be the first to know about upcoming Jungle happenings? Sign up for the Our Lost Jungle Newsletter for updates, contest alerts, and more! Sign up here, or use the link at the top of the right column!
Check out these other great editorial calendar articles!