I like Gilmore Girls, so it’s no surprise that at some point a scene from this show would make its way into my blog. Here it is:

In the episode Hammers and Veils, Rory volunteers to help build a home for charity. While there, she discovers that she’s wildly behind on her extracurricular activities that could set her apart from all the other Harvard applicants. In a panic, she returns home, determined to plan her future extracurriculars which should ensure her acceptance to the school of her dreams. When arriving back in her hometown, her boyfriend excitedly tells her the plan for their date night, so which Rory says “she can’t.” Dean (Ugh… Dean) freaks out because Rory wants to postpone date night. He says things like “You can’t catch up in one night.” Rory insists she needs a plan NOW and goes home alone, causing them to be in a fight.

I can sympathize with Rory here. I NEED a plan to survive at my job. Lists are my friends, because they keep me on track, stop me from forgetting important details, allow me to focus my attention on my current project (knowing the next is safely written down) and makes me more confident about the future. I’m not able to feel in control of my situation unless I have a plan and a list. I hate unknowns. I think Rory was in the same boat. She knew she needed to create a plan for the next few years because until she did so, she wouldn’t be able to focus on and enjoy anything else due to worry.

Maybe you’re not as type A as Rory and me, but there’s still plenty of reasons to create an editorial calendar for your Blog in 2017! Organization is critical to businesses, I have found. A large corporation needs spontaneous creatives AND tactful organizers. It’s the same way in an entrepreneurial business… A lot of work without a plan is never going to be as efficient as work done purposely. Here’s some ways an editorial calendar will aid you in the next year:

  1. Send your readers on a journey and help them learn sequentially
    • Certain posts need to be in sequential order so they make sense to readers, like tutorials
    • You could create challenges from post to post that encourage participation or communication
    • I’ve seen successful bloggers create recurring hashtags and a social media “family”/community through planned posts
  2. Be able to tease next blog
    • What better way to encourage visitors to return than to be able to tell them ahead of time the value you’ll provide next time?
  3. Reduce stress
    • There’s no last minute blog writing or trying to come up with a great idea because the post is due in 10 (or 2) hours!
  4. Create more thoughtful content/variety
    • Do you have a theme for 2017?
    • If you have just a few areas you want to focus on during the upcoming years, you can make sure to intersperse these to keep your blogs fresh and exciting.
  5. Manage burnout and limit creative blocks
    • For me at least, it’s easier to write a blog post when I know exactly what I’m supposed to be writing. In fact, I tend to think all week about what I would like to write about. It’s more difficult for me to pick an idea AND write all in one sitting.
  6. Welcome guest bloggers to your site.
    • Asking others to guest post on your blog is a fantastic way to get more traffic to your website (just ask ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse: http://problogger.com/podcast/37/). However, making the right contacts, asking the right questions and presenting their ideas in a way that grabs people’s attention takes a lot of time and planning. An editorial calendar aids this process.
  7. Plan ahead for vacations and holidays when writing is not possible
    • Consistency is important when maintaining a blog, but with the ability to pre-schedule posts and social media posts makes our lives much easier.
  8. Maintain a digestible ratio of value and marketing
    • I have come across some blogs where the authors won’t post until they have something to sell, and when sales begin their posts are incessant! I have no way to know their success, but building an audience by freely giving valuable content is always the best way.
    • It’s so much easier to ask someone for something when a relationship (at least virtual) has been formed over a long period of time
  9. Start advertising products at the right time
    • I would argue that investing adequate time is as important in marketing than finding the proper avenue to advertise. Especially now that social media monetizes your followers lists, it’s important to give people adequate time to find out about your product launch/new business venture/etc.
    • If you’re launching a new product or business, dropping hints, creating intrigue and gauging interest for a minimum of 6 months is not at all overkill in my opinion. I think it’s important to consider your long goals when making your editorial calendar.
  10. Record scattered ideas ahead of time
    • After making your schedule of upcoming blog posts, you’ll be more conscious when these topics come up at work and in casual conversation. I view it as prepping for a test. If you know the test questions before reading the textbook, you’ll make note of the most important things.
  11. Choose appropriate tags
    • When I first started blogging, someone suggested to me that I limit my WordPress tags to just 3-4 topics. There’s no sense in having a different tag for every post; that would be like using a hashtag no one else has used. Once you know your blog topics, choosing the right tags becomes easier and more intentional.

Check back next Wednesday as I share my calendar for 2017 and detail the process I took to create it. Hope to see you then!

Thank You Kindly LLC

 

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