Some people are natural planners; others aren’t. Those who consistently write and publish compelling blog posts tend to be planners. They use something called an “editorial calendar” to plan what they want to say and when. Before you undertake this step, you’ll want to answer three important questions about your blogging goals.
One: Monthly themes
Twelve months stretch in front of you and the blank page stares back at you. How do you know what and when to share? Ideas scatter like dandelion seeds. The thought of developing 52 weeks of material may make you itchy to clean out your refrigerator!
To avoid overwhelm, I recommend breaking down 12-months into smaller spans of time. What works for the majority of business owners is to select quarterly and monthly themes, which align to your overall blogging goal.
Here’s an example: a life coach may have an overall goal of helping women live their dream lives. A few example monthly themes for her blog could be Practical Tips for Living Your Best Life, How to Avoid Toxicity, and What Supports You Need as You Grow.
Two: Categories and Tags/Keywords
I’m lumping categories and keywords together, but these are separate attributes and deserve individual columns in your editorial calendar.
Categories are set-up on your website blog section. Typically, you’d brainstorm no more than ten blog categories under which your posts will be organized. Each post you publish will fall into one of your pre-established categories.
Tags and Keywords are similar attributes. Tags are what you’ll type into a “tag” field in your draft post. Tags help index your work in Google. I like to get a two-fer and make the tags in my posts equal the keywords for my business. Two great tools to use to identify relevant keywords are: http://keywordtool.io/ and http://keywordtool.io/google-trends.
In your editorial calendar, notate each posts category and five tags/keywords associated with it.
Three: Tentative Titles
Once the monthly themes, categories, and keywords have been selected, it’s time to brainstorm possible blog titles which fall under each one. A great tool for generating SEO-loving titles is to use a free tool like this one: http://seopressor.com/blog-title-generator/
According to HubSpot, blog articles with images receive 94% more views than posts without. But where do you get images? A word of caution here: just because you find appropriate pictures on Google images, doesn’t mean you have the right to use them. Respect copyrights and invest in Shutterstock or Adobe Stock, or a similar service. If you’re a photographer, great: use your own shots. Regardless of where you get your images, provide appropriate photo attribution to give credit where credit is due.
A call-to-action (CTA) is defined as a marketing activity which entices your ideal readers to take an action. Each blog post you publish ought to include one — and only one — call-to-action. These CTAs can be as simple as ‘subscribe to this blog’ or as big as ‘sign-up today for my academy.’
Most CTAs fall into one of three categories: try risk-free, click here, or respond now. When creating your editorial calendar, but sure to pre-determine what action you want your readers (a.k.a. your potential ideal clients) to take.
By creating a file in Excel or Word or Google documents and planning your editorial calendar in advance, you’ll find that your blog will track the way you want and with whom you want.
Still need some help getting started with your blogs? We’re hosting a two-day blog writing retreat in September 2017 for eight heart-centered, service-minded entrepreneurs to research and plan a whole years’ worth of blog posts and then write their first month’s posts. Join us! https://ripcordcomm.lpages.co/blogretreat/