How NOT to Create an Editorial Calendar

Imagine the scene.

You stand up and stretch, make yourself a cuppa, set a timer and sit down ready to write a brilliant blog post.

Two hours later your enthusiasm is waning as you have surfed all over the net looking for that perfect headline, great opener, a subject you feel qualified to give advice on and you actually find yourself bouncing from Upworthy to Ted Talks to the Huffington Post and watching videos about teenage insights into parenting, why that car chase was the funniest thing ever and sliding through pics of celebrities who married ‘normal’ people and had terrible plastic surgery!

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Can you empathise??

If not, you’re my hero!

If yes, then read on.

Here’s my goal and I suspect the goal of many reading this post.

I want to grow my blog. I want more visits, more engagement, more reach and more conversions to my email list and to sales of my products. As someone who drives traffic and generates leads through social media on a daily basis, I feel very confident in my mission.

The first thing I need to do though is ensure I’m posting high quality, engaging and valuable content regularly on my blog.

I love writing and I love creating content, so this should be relatively easy right? Well, my issue is that I like to do things in a chronological order. I am one of those people who even if I can see instantly how to put one of my daughters toys together, I will still painstakingly go through the instructions to ensure each part is set up correctly.

God forbid I rush ahead and leave something out!

I’m the same with courses I take or training I buy. I like to start at Video 1 and work through to the end. What’s worse is if I watch Video 1 and then get distracted and don’t go back to the course for a couple of weeks, I have to watch Video 1 again to make sure I’ve understood everything before I move on to Video 2.

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Couple that with a seriously low boredom threshold and you’re bound for trouble. You want to do things in order and do them right, but if it takes you too long you get bored and give up.

So, as crazy as this might sound, I actually find I’m always more productive when I throw caution to the wind and just act without too much thought going on.

It’s scary because Brian Tracy told me 90% of what we do is planning, but seriously, I feel the 263 spreadsheets I’ve already created for my blog content schedule might be a plan too far!

So here’s what I’ve been struggling with:

  • Should I have a weekly theme for my posts?
  • Should I write my posts in order of how things happen, for example: 1. How to make a cardboard dolls house, 2. How to decorate a cardboard dolls house, 3. How to add furniture to a cardboard dolls house etc.?
  • Should I post everyday and if so, how can I create a blog post in less than an hour (as that’s about as much time as I can spare if I post every day)?
  • Should each post lead to a call to action?
  • What subjects are likely to get the most engagement?
  • Should I post a specific type of post on the same day each week, for example – How To’s, Lists, Interviews, Case Studies?
  • What length should my posts be?
  • Should I use Google Docs, Excel, or maybe some fancy software to create my calendar (believe me, if there is ever an excuse to start searching through the app store and seeing all these wonderful tools that make your life so much more productive I’m on it! Forget the four hours it takes me searching for the tool that saves me so much time!
  • And many more questions starting with the worst word in the dictionary – ’SHOULD!’

How many times do I tell others – There is NO SHOULD! You’ll end up shoulding all over yourself (Thanks Tony Robbins for that little gem!)

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So, having been ‘playing’ with content schedules for, good god, probably a few months now, I found myself once again today on google, looking for the perfect solution.

When the fact is, there is no perfect solution.

There is no absolute on lengths of posts, frequency of posts, order of posts, subject of posts. Every blog, market, author, reader etc is different and therefore will get different results.

The only guarantee is that if you do not create and publish content, then no one will read it!

So, here is my new content schedule:

  1. Post minimum once per week.
  2. Through the week, make notes of interesting questions my target market, customers or subscribers have asked on social media, on forums or via email that I feel I can answer knowledgeably.
  3. Answer their questions in a blog post, whether it takes 300 words or 2000 words!
  4. Monitor which posts tend to get the best engagement over the next few weeks / months
  5. Start to create a content schedule based on experience and what I know my readers want.

That’s it. A lot less complicated and a lot easier to stick to than all the spreadsheets and google docs I’ve created, that cause procrastination in and of themselves!

As a good friend of mine always says – ‘Get it Done, Then Get it Right’!

So the moral of this story is to find what works for you and your personality. The main goal here is just to ‘get it done’, stop thinking about doing and just do it, even if it’s not perfect. Because the more you do it, the more perfect it will become.

Whatever it is you’re currently working in. Whether it’s your blog, a giveaway to build your list, a book, a product, highlight what it is that’s been holding you back, stop thinking about it and just make a decision and move through it.

To all the over thinkers out there, I hope my story has inspired you a little to take some fast action in your business.

In the meantime to all those who work super well off of a plan, here is the list of resources I have been using to help me plan my content schedules. Use them with caution, there’s a lot of colour coding and spreadsheet creation going on here so you could be lost for hours!

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May the force of fast action be with you….

 
 

No 1

My all time favourite blogger and blogging tip giver, Darren Rowse. His 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Ebook is a very worthwhile investment.

http://www.problogger.net/how-to-write-great-blog-content/

No 2

A great post from the content marketing specialists, showing you how to create your schedule on a google calendar.

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-robust-editorial-calendar-ht

No 3

Excellent content in it’s own right, from another A+ content marketer. A good few hours of setting up involved with colour coding and all sorts.

http://www.quicksprout.com/the-advanced-guide-to-content-marketing-chapter-3/

No 4

These chaps talk about having High Level Goals, Topics a Master Calendar and then stories. Lots of planning to do there, could keep you busy for a few weeks!

http://contently.com/strategist/2011/05/23/content-strategy-101-how-to-create-an-editorial-calendar-for-your-blog/

No 5

A YEAR IN ADVANCE!?? Nuff said..

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/05/how-to-plan-your-posts-in-advance/

No 6

Yippeee, free templates to play with!

http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-strategy/how-to-build-a-content-calendar-plus-a-free-template-for-2014/

No 7

Crikey, some serious spreadsheet action going on here, this could easily add at least another hour or two of ‘busyness’ to your blog posting process!

http://www.smartsheet.com/blog/how-create-content-calendar#.U46DwliSwZM

No 8

WARNING: Plugins playtime!

http://unbounce.com/content-marketing/blog-editorial-calendar/

No 9

Even Bigger WARNING! Apps & Plugin playtime

http://blog.crazyegg.com/2013/10/18/content-strategy-editorial-calendar/

No 10

Some good questions to ask yourself about your market (when you have some downtime!)

http://randomtype.ca/blog/create-purposeful-blog-plan/

Thanks for reading! What are you struggling with right now? If you’re looking for a kick up the bum, comment below…. :)

 

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