Many of the most common worries I hear from people about their business blogs can be solved by one deceptively simple tool: a blog editorial calendar.
If you know you will be launching a new product in a couple of months, you can spend the weeks leading up to it dripping out content that will make your readers crave the solution you’ll be offering—long before you ever show them a buy button.
You can create a visibility campaign with a series of ridiculously useful posts the big wigs in your industry can’t help but share. Or you can put together a series on your blog that will encourage new readers to opt-in to your email list. With a proper plan, the possibilities are endless.
Spending an hour or two once a month (or even less) building or reviewing your plan frees up many hours of decision making time you could be using to do other things—like writing the damned blog posts or even doing actual work. If you have a plan you can trust, you also don’t need to waste time second-guessing your marketing tactics. You just go with the flow.
My good friend Megan Flatt is a to do list ninja. She recommends adding the time it will take you to complete a task to your list so that you can schedule your day even more effectively. (P.S. I’ve got an AMAZING bonus from Megan for people who join us for Blogstorm.)
When building your blog editorial calendar, you could add a column for the average amount of time it takes you to write or research a blog post, as well as the amount of time to publish and promote it—so you never leave those tasks to the last minute again. If you know that you want to write a particularly EPIC post this week, you can schedule extra time to put it together as well as extra time to promote it across the web. Win/win.
The key thing with these predecisions is that they put the cue for action into the environment so that we act more unconsciously in our goal pursuit, hence freeing up our cognitive resources to think about other goals. We don’t unnecessarily perseverate on one goal and how to attain it.
Basically, set it and forget it. Once you have a strategic blog editorial calendar in place, you can focus your attention on other things.
When something exciting comes up that you want to blog about, you can look at your plan and adjust it to fit the moment. If you knew, for example, that you had planned to write an attention-grabbing post this week, but something happens in your personal life that you want to share, you can simply adjust your plan to write that attention-grabbing post next week, or whenever. The important thing is that, even when adjusting, you won’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
When you write everything when inspiration strikes, on the other hand, you’ll never be sure where you are in the grand scheme of things, you’ll never be certain if your blog is working for your business—and what happens when inspiration fails to strike? You’ve got no backup plan.
When you think about having to write 52 posts this year, 52 newsletters, hundreds of Facebook updates, and potentially thousands of tweets, that can feel pretty overwhelming!
But when you can look at your calendar and say simply, “This is the one task I need to focus on right now,” the weight is lifted.This is especially useful when you are working towards a larger goal, like launching a product, getting more subscribers, or filling your calendar with clients.
I’d love to hear how you use your blog editorial calendar in the comments.
Don’t have one? Don’t fret. My popular Blogstorm class teaches you exactly how to put together a calendar that will perfectly fit your needs—and all my best super secret tips for generating brilliant ideas to fill it! Interested? Click here to learn more.