Tips on Establishing an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

You’ve decided on a topic for your blog.  You set up your blogroll to ensconce yourself in that particular community.  You’ve connected your Twitter account to your blog and asked your Facebook friends to check out your new blog. You post once, twice, maybe even three times.  Then?  Nothing.

Why?  You’ve run into writer’s block and can’t think of what to write about.  Sound typical?  It is.  But there’s a way around this: establishing an editorial calendar.  That’s exactly what my JOUR 121 students are going to do and that’s exactly what I’m doing, too.  What’s an editorial calendar?  It’s a list of ideas for your posts and, possibly, when you plan to post them.

There are several different ways to organize your editorial calendar:

1. Each day has a different theme (especially good for bloggers who post daily).  One blogger suggests a weekly schedule that might, say, look this: Mondays–tech posts; Tuesdays–writing tips, etc.  Tell your readers about your schedule, and they’ll begin to anticipate your posts.

2.  You could also do monthly themes.  As with the previous idea, once your readers know what to expect, they’ll be more likely to come back to your blog, especially if the themes offer them something they need.

3.  Or you could establish the categories you’d like to create blog posts for.  For example, Pushing Social asserts that bloggers actually mentor people, and that as such, your blogs posts should do one of three things:  1) guide people, 2) inspire confidence, or 3) provide tools.  With this in mind, Pushing Social says, each post in your editorial calendar planning should seek to achieve one of these goals.

You might have your own categories in mind.  For our department blog, I came up with three primary categories:  a) where they are now (for a look at what current and former students are doing now in the field), b) career and major advice, c) tips from professionals in the field, and d) department news.  Once I did that, I was able to easily brainstorm post ideas under each category.

Of course, you can always deviate from your calendar (unless you’ve broadcast it to your readers), should new ideas come to mind.  But one thing’s guaranteed:  Establish an editorial calendar for yourself, and you’ll spend more time writing and less time with writer’s block.

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About Nancy Kaplan-Biegel

I am the journalism program coordinator at Skyline College in San Bruno, CA, as well as the adviser to The Skyline View.

40 thoughts on “Tips on Establishing an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

  1. I ran into ‘blogger’s block’ with my j120 blog last semester. Hopefully establishing an editorial calendar will help me maintain an organized blog with interesting themes.

  2. I think creating an editorial calendar is a good way to keep yourself on track and focus on day to day (or week to week) topics. It helps you better organize your blog and make it more interesting for readers.

  3. The editorial calendar of course sounds like a great idea for organization however I don’t know if it will realistically benefit me, if I don’t commit to it. Just like a planner, you have to keep up to date. But I won’t just throw away the idea, I will give it a shot and try to keep up with it and see how it goes.

  4. I like the idea of maintaining an editorial calendar in order to organize myself, especially considering that for the last month or so I’ve been wholly unorganized and only ended up making a mass of things. So i will try to maintain an calendar in order to remind myself.

  5. I like the idea of using the editorial calendar as a tool for readers to be able to look ahead at what’s coming up. We’ll have to wait and see if the editorial calendar makes me publish regularly or not. Also, side note, but Nancy, you say in your post that your calendar is divided into 3 categories, but you list 4.

    • True that! It may be because I revised the categories after this post, but upon looking at them, it does seem unnecessary to have both “advice” and “major and career advice.” When I get a chance, I’ll change it. thanks for the close look. And remember, the number of categories is your call.

  6. I definitely have blogged once or twice and forgot about it before. This seems like a great brainstorming idea, or tool to generate blog ideas on your subject.
    At the same time I want to agree with what a previous student posted. ” I don’t know if it will realistically benefit me, if I don’t commit to it. Just like a planner, you have to keep it up to date. But I won’t just throw away the idea” My main problem is even after setting this up and doing it I might not stay focused and keep regularly updated GOOD blog posts.

    • True, Thai. It doesn’t hit up every barrier to being a good blogger. But it does help you avoid the whole what-should-I-write-about-today aspect. Good comment.

  7. Cool never really thought of doing anything like this even when I was planning to start a blog some time ago. I could see this being a very helpful tool to use for anyone who could commit themselves to it.

  8. When I first started a blog it was mainly used to vent about random things. Then I started to use it as my own online portfolio. I included my own works such as written articles, self produced videos, projects I was featured in, and my own interesting finds in the web. I still find in a bit random but it all still relates back to me.
    Having themes are very interesting and helpful. For one thing, it would keep me organized and original. I feel like I should create a new blog for this class in order to really try out these different themes.

  9. Making an editorial calender looks quite useful to maintain your blog. I’ve noticed coming back to blogs that I find interesting and noticing that they stopped updating it, and it may be because they did not plan ahead. With an editorial calender, a blogger can avoid feeling hard pressed on meeting a deadline by already knowing what they want to do ahead of time.

    • Absolutely. And if it helps you post more frequently, you will build more of a following for your blog. Plus it helps you to see what it is you want your blog to accomplish. Thanks for the good comment!

  10. another thing that has helped me keep posts at a regular schedule in the past has been holding back on things that are evergreen when i am in a prolific writing period. even if i write a few things in a day i don’t necessarily post them unless they are time sensitive. that way if i am having an off day, i can just pull up something that i have already written, touch it up, and post it.

  11. I like the idea of breaking themes into mini themes dedicated to particular days of the week.Knowing the purpose of a blogger helps to kinda figure out my umbrella theme too.

  12. i think that it really helps me avoid struggling to look for something to write last minute. This forward planning will not only give blog subcsribers consistency but also they will know what to expect. Additionally, it will also help organize the gathering of information, sources and media in advance.

  13. I think making a habit of keeping an editorial-calendar is key to maintaining peace of mind while blogging. It’s a great way to keep your thoughts straight and as long as you haven’t advertised a specific topic you were going to post, you can deviate from your calendar all you want. Let’s face it, sometimes we get inspired on the spot. I look forward to reading all of your posts.

    • Oh yeah… And to piggy-back off of Dave Newland’s post about holding back “evergreen” stories; Once you’ve laid out your editorial-calendar, follow it and still write all of those posts and save them. That way you’ve got plenty of content saved up to post after you’ve posted your “on the post” ideas once they “leap-frog” your organized calendar fare.

  14. Editorial calendars sounds like a good idea especially to new bloggers such as myself. This tool certainly helps with categorizing your posts and helps maintain a steady flow of blog posts, which ill be using for my future blog.

  15. Making an editorial calendar seems like a great way to organize what you will eventually write on. For me, I like to stay organized and sometimes writers block does get to me, so this is a good tool that could develop into a good habit of writing lists or important ideas.

  16. I like the idea of themes for every month. I personally feel like if you have something new to talk about everyday, if you do the weekly calendar, you’ll run out of ideas faster. If it is a different theme every month it gives you the opportunity to talk about things in detail. Also if the topics are things you are really passionate about and really into, you would want more than a day or a post to talk about it.

    • I’m curious about the month versus week split you describe. I agree that you may have an idea that needs more than one post. But I think you can build readership if they know that every Monday, you’ll be discussing X.

  17. I think writer’s block is definitely something that a lot of people experience and I believe that the editorial calendar will help with that. Setting up dates will have your reader’s looking forward to something and have them follow you more. It should be much easier to come up with different ideas to write about with the editorial calendar set up.

  18. When starting to consider my editorial calendar, I was immediately struck by how difficult it is to come up with a cohesive blog theme and to select the types of categories that would most effectively promote that theme. My first ideas were far too broad and it was impossible to narrow down any categories. My second ideas were too specific and I could only come up with a few categories and posts. Finally, I started with the categories I felt I could come up with posts for and that ended up sparking the idea for the overall blog theme. Sometimes it can be effective to work in a different direction to clear up writer’s block.

  19. This is something I’ve been meaning to do, not only for myself but for evergreen ideas for TSV. I sort of struggled to come up with a theme because the ideas I had were either too broad or I couldn’t think of enough ideas. I think that creating an editorial calendar is definitely going to be beneficial to me. I should’ve started last semester!

  20. Coming up with a theme was the easy part, but when I started thinking about what I will be posting on a daily basis, or at least close to daily basis, was a much harder task. I’m really liking the idea of having either a weekly or monthly theme. It would narrow down what I should be talking about, which hopefully will help with writer’s block. Stepping stones are great.

  21. I think having a weekly/monthly theme for a blog is a great idea when it comes to writer’s block. Daily might be a little much for the average writer who doesn’t have enough to talk about on a particular subject. I think utilizing a broad topic over the span of a week/month is a perfect way to (potentially) have a lot to say.

    Also, I’ve found stepping away from the written work and coming back to it after a couple hours (ideally – a day or so) can do wonders.

  22. It really helps to work at el blog under the idea that it will operate with the purpose of being uber-inspirational. Rocket science–knowing why I’m doing things makes it a lot easier to go and do them. Having an overarching theme for a month seems like a good way to establish regularity, so people will know to come back, and also to help keep you (ie: me) from veering wildly off topic.

  23. Because of the theme of my blog, it is a helpful advice to have a schedule for your post. It would either make you like your blog or hate it and finding out about how much interest you have on your blog is important early on. The schedule will also help you improve your writing since you can map out your content accordingly. The scheduling thing will definitely be my weapon on writing on my blog.

  24. I’ve been thinking about (although not doing anything about my interest) blogging about music ever since I was making lame websites on Geocities/Angelfire. However, I never really did anything about it, mostly because of being lazy. But I always had a pre-conceived notion that my blog wouldn’t gain any traction in the blogosphere – especially once it started booming. I can see how an editorial calendar can assist someone with ideas if they’re diligent about posting. My main problem with blogging (so far) has been consistently posting. I have a lot of ideas for posts but it’s been an eternal struggle to sit down and write. And when I do, I’m constantly editing my work as I’m writing it. I always think that I can write a sentence/paragraph better and then I get frustrated and stop working on it. But I am planning on utilizing Thanksgiving break to finally start being productive and start showing my blog some love!

    • Good! I look forward to reading what you do! And, yes, the more you post, the more “traction” as you said you get.

  25. It’s interesting to see that all of the suggestions laid out all have an emphasis on themes, whether it be monthly or weekly, and it seems like having a rotating schedule of different, but somewhat related topics is the easiest way to do that. What if you run into a snag, such as running out of things to say for that particular theme?

  26. I like the idea of having a theme for the month. It keeps your content together, and not jump all over the place. Dividing the blog up into different categories also organizes the blog so that readers can easily find content they’re looking for.

  27. The idea of an editorial calendar is extremely helpful. Especially having a weekly or monthly theme- it not only helps your readers but you as well. This really ensures that you’re maintaining your blog and organizing your posts.

  28. Helpful article. I have easily come up with three primary categories and five entry post ideas. This feels like I have picked a good blog idea that I will enjoy building. It sounds exciting but daunting as I have never had a blog.

  29. I just reread this and I’m glad I did. I feel that creating an editorial calendar will save me time and prevent me from straying into random areas and confusing my readers. If my readers are unclear of my blog’s direction, they may lose interest and not read it. That would be sad.

  30. I really enjoyed reading this article. Editorial calendars do seem helpful and I really like the fact that the we can write different themes for the blogs.

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