The Editorial Calendar: The First Step To Predictable Blog Publishing Success

by Randy Murray on April 14, 2011

Becoming a successful blogger is easy: write interesting things, write them well, and publish with a predictable frequency, all for a specific audience. And have a way for them to find you.

OK, perhaps not so easy. But here’s one thing that can help you get started: use an editorial calendar.

I understand that many people blog at the spur of the moment, whenever inspiration strikes them. That’s fine. It’s also fine to have a curated blog, one that’s composed of pointing to and commenting on interesting things. But businesses and writers who want to share their subject matter expertise or thought leadership need to plan in advance, think deeply about what they’re offering over time, and make sure that they have balance and depth. And they need to publish on a schedule that lets readers know when to come back. You simply can’t do all of that, and do it well, on the spur of the moment.

An editorial calendar is very simple: it’s a plan of what you’ll publish on a specific date. It helps the writer-publisher develop themes, grow targeted readership, and serve specific needs across time. It also helps to manage resources when working with more than one writer. An editorial calendar works best for writers who want to explore topics in depth. And it’s critical for business- or cause-blogging projects.

This tool doesn’t have to be restrictive. You can plan out your publishing for a week or a month or even longer, but here’s the secret: you can change it any time you want. I frequently diverge from my plan and that’s OK. But my plan helps me to work up themes that are too large and important for a single post. My plan helps me to see the shape of my week and month. And if used in conjunction with a study of readership and site analytics, you can see which topics are finding a readership and which ones are not.

I’ve found that writing and publishing this way is the best type of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It works for my clients and for me as well. And from what I’ve seen it’s much more reliable than mucking about with keywords and the black arts that many SEO experts claim to wield. Great content, published daily, or at least every business day, produces the best results. Period.

Start simply. Get out your notebook and a calendar showing the next four to six weeks. In your notebook write down a list of topics and then expand each topic into subtopics. You could even write an outline. Now plug each subtopic into a date on your calendar. Let each theme develop over time. Weave separate themes together to provide depth and interest. Let specific types of content fall naturally on days that work for your readers. Not only will you have a reference for publishing, but you’ll have a tool you can use to help you with your writing.

I’ve written about this before. It’s a really important topic and I find that too few heed this advice. I urge you to do more thinking in advance of publishing. The editorial calendar is designed to do just that.

The The Editorial Calendar: The First Step To Predictable Blog Publishing Success by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

missy April 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I do my editorial calendar in an excel spreadsheet. Love it and I totally agree that you can build themes that way!


Randy Murray April 15, 2011 at 7:16 am

Good for you! Using an editorial calendar shows you’re taking blogging seriously.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: