The Power of a Plan: How to POWER UP Your Blogging With a Blog Editorial Calendar

a blog editorial calendar Powers Up your blog plan

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.

  • “I don’t know what to write about.”
  • “I’m worried that the topics I’m picking won’t connect with my audience.”
  • “I want more engagement on my blog.”
  • “I’ve got readers, but I need to convert them to customers.”
The first and simplest solution I would give a client to any of these problems is this: You need a plan.
Having a strategic plan for your blog is like the magic mushroom of content marketing! (Stay with me here!) It can grow your reach, amplify your voice, and make you Super Blogger!

A plan maps out exactly what your next action should be to reach your goals.

A blog editorial calendar maps out exactly what your next post should be about, so you don’t have to worry about what to write. But it also creates a roadmap of your overall blog strategy. Done correctly, you’ll be blogging with a purpose, and you’ll know exactly what the purpose of each blog post is before you ever even write it.

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.

A plan helps you manage your time.

You have to make decisions all day long—especially as a small business owner! So you want to simplify that process as much as possible, because agonizing over decisions will just slow your productivity down to a crawl. (And ain’t nobody got time for that!)
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.

A plan frees up brain cells for the important stuff.

As an entrepreneur, you don’t just have one project or goal going on at any given time—you’ve probably got a bunch! (That’s just how we roll, right?) Well, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that when people committed to a plan ahead of time, it freed up their brain power to focus on other things:

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.

A plan gives you more flexibility.

Some bloggers worry that a plan will lock them into a rigid schedule and they’ll lose the ability to just write as inspiration strikes. But nothing could be further from the truth!

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.

A plan allows you to look at just one piece of the puzzle.

Maybe most importantly, a well planned blog editorial calendar frees you from the trap of overwhelm. I’ve heard people say, “I’m just overwhelmed by the amount of content I have to produce.”

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.

How do you use your blog editorial calendar?

The really beautiful thing about a blog editorial calendar is that each one is unique. Every one is customized to the needs of the individual business and blogger! It’s a one-size-fits-all solution—that’s actually custom tailored to your exact fit.

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.

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock(CC Attribution)

9 thoughts on “The Power of a Plan: How to POWER UP Your Blogging With a Blog Editorial Calendar

  1. I made a personal commitment to myself to blog 3 times a week for the first year of my blog…it is a commitment I really don’t want to break, so thanks for sharing some great tips. I love your reinforcement that a plan still allows for flexibility, but ultimately frees up mental space to concentrate on other things besides developing content and sitting down to write!

    1. Three times a week! GIRL, you need a power up! 😉 That’s a lot of bloggin’, but it can be done, as I’m sure you know. Good for you!

  2. Oh man, I really need to get back on the blog-planning train. I was doing so well for a while, then got busy…and the next thing you know, I’m disorganized again. Thanks for the reminder (and the hilarious analogy!)

  3. This is a great read! Plans help you really focus with purpose and clarity. Thanks for sharing these great tips, I have some takeaways that will be used.

  4. I’ve totally been procrastinating on putting a editorial calendar together… For months! And guess what? I stress over blogs every week and worse, blog irregularly. I can see how having a plan would eliminate stress and set me moving forward blogging on a regular basis. Great post Lacy!

  5. Love this! I would be absolutely lost without my editorial calendar. “Magic Mushroom” I like that! 😀

  6. Just started an editorial calendar 3 weeks ago and am so happy I did; your right it frees up my head so much so I can work on other parts of my business more effectively. Thank you!

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