Blogging is an undeniably useful way of increasing your business’ visibility and positioning your brand as an authority. However, the actual task of writing and releasing content on a consistent basis can be quite problematic for small businesses who tackle blogging in-house.
If you’re struggling to keep to a regular schedule, read on for a methodical approach to working out an editorial calendar that’s right for you.
1. Define What You Want from Blogging
Let’s stop and ponder for a moment – why do you want to blog in the first place? What tangible benefits do you want from blogging? More website traffic? Better search visibility? Increased social following?
As with any marketing endeavour, you need to exactly specify what you want to achieve, and assign SMART goals to your blogging adventure. This means you need a goal that’s:
- Specific – Specify exactly what you want to achieve from blogging (e.g., 100 new website visits a month on average)
- Measurable – Make sure you’re setting a measurable and quantifiable goal, not something that’s open to interpretation.
- Achievable – Keep your goal realistic. Keep your feet on the ground and don’t shoot for things totally out of reach.
- Relevant – Ensure that your goal is directly relatable to your blogging efforts and doesn’t rely on any outside factors.
- Time-Bound – Set a realistic deadline by which to achieve your goal.
2. Take Stock of Other Commitments
Next, you need to look at all of your other commitments and see how much time that takes from your average week/month. Take stock of your current business responsibilities; such as commitments to your clients, managing your team, and your internal business processes.
Be realistic about how much time these tasks take and see what time you have left; then you can identify any regular pockets of time that you can put towards blogging.
3. Put Yourself to the Test
Put some time aside to get to grips with your inner writer. Brainstorm a few blog post ideas (see step 6 for some inspiration) and start writing blogs about them, one at a time. Time yourself writing each post (tools like Toggl might help here) to see how long it takes you on average to comfortably create one post from start to finish.
The aim with these “test” blog posts is to get an honest picture of how long a single post will take you to create. Don’t try and rush yourself or “beat your own record” – you need to know how long it realistically takes you to write a good quality blog post.
4. Don’t Forget the Non-Blogging Parts of Blogging
Remember that blogging doesn’t just involve writing the textual content; you need to take time out to decide on blog topics; research new ideas; make or source images to go with your posts; promote each post on social media; respond to blog comments and social replies/shares; as well as analysing performance and traffic.
All of these things go into creating a great blog, but they also take time; so when you’re writing your test blog posts, allow time for these activities too. If you are unfamiliar with these extra factors, your test posts might be a useful opportunity to do a “dry run” of these activities and become more acquainted with what’s involved.
5. Schedule Time to Blog
Once you’ve got an honest idea of how long it takes you to create a post and a realistic picture of your other commitments, it’s time to work out where you can fit blogging into your schedule and how frequently you’ll be able to create posts. It’s also imperative to give yourself set deadlines for each post too – and stick to them!
6. Decide Your Topics Beforehand
There’s nothing worse than sitting down to write with no set topic in mind. Allot time away from your agreed writing schedule to think up and research new topic ideas. There are a number of ways to find great ideas for blog posts, but here are 3 of my favourites:
- Use tools like Ubersuggest, Answer the Public, and Google’s Keyword Planner to help you identify frequently searched terms within your industry and address any common questions that crop up.
- Head over to Q&A sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers to see if there are any industry-specific questions that people need clarity on.
- If you have a good following on social media, you can always ask your followers what kinds of topics they would like to hear about.
Once you have a list of around 10-15 topics ready to be written about, it’s time to pull everything together.
7. Create Your Editorial Calendar
Take your fresh list of awesome blog post ideas and allot each topic to an available blogging slot in your diary. This can act as a basic editorial calendar; you should end up with a crystal clear idea of what topics you’ll be tackling and when, and an idea of what times those posts will be going live.
8. Solidifying Your Routine
Now it’s time to start work. Try following your editorial calendar for a handful of posts. Are you able to keep to your routine? If not, you may have to adjust your blogging frequency to something more achievable. Keep checking in with yourself like this every so often until you are 100% comfortable with your blogging routine.
Though there may be plenty of research and experts online extolling the virtues of a given blogging frequency, a lot can be said for a schedule that works for you, your team, and your workload.
Extra Tip #1: Scheduling
Familiarise yourself with the scheduling tools provided by your website or blog’s content management system. Rather than setting a post to go live as and when it’s finished, There’s usually a way to tell it to go live at a time in the future.
Extra Tip #2: Batching
Once you’re familiar with the scheduling options open to you, you may benefit from “batching” your posts – effectively creating a few in one go, then scheduling them to release over a set period. For example, say you’re quiet at the beginning of each month but busy near the end. You could write a month’s worth of posts during your quiet time and schedule them to release at regular periods throughout the month. This way, when you reach your busy period, you haven’t got to worry about blogging too.Struggle to blog consistently? Follow these 8 steps... Click To Tweet
So reader, what does your current blogging schedule look like? How do you maintain a regular habit of writing? Do you have any additional tips that are worth a mention? Please share your thoughts down in the comments!
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