When you first start blogging, you really want to start off on the right foot and get the most from the energy you put into your blog. You take the time to investigate what platform will work for you, which plugins will help you create the visitors’ experience – but you when it comes to putting fingers to keyboard you get stuck. Yup, not everyone is a natural content creator, although with a bit of discipline and practice you can become one.
You’ll find that many marketers who teach this topic are always talking about themes and plugins – and I do too – however, there's a whole lot more to blogging that how pretty your site looks. When it comes time to instruct you on creating content, they’re often just as lost as you are about the process, so you’re left struggling in front of your audience. But don't worry, I've got you covered. You'll find lots of useful blogging information here as well as tools, you'll discover techniques.
It can be embarrassing if you announce your new blog and then cannot think of a single thing to write. It can hurt your blog traffic if you start abandoning your blog on a regular basis waiting for your muse to show up, and for inspiration to strike.
You have to take a three-pronged approach to blogging.
- First, get everything organised. If you’re scattered on your blog, it confuses the readers, search engine spiders – and even you.
- Then you want to map out a schedule for your blogging efforts. Having a deadline for yourself can benefit you and help you work towards a specific blogging goal, not something vague and unmeasurable.
- Last, you want to begin creating your content – and we’re going to cover three options for you to choose from – a series, an individual post, and guest blog posts. Combine these and you'll have enough content to fill your editorial calendar for a year.
Getting Your Editorial Calendar Organised
There are two things you can do to get organized. The first is a planning calendar or diary and the second is an editorial calendar, which is for completed work that you are doing on your blog.
You can either buy a calendar or diary (I use the diary) and or find an online printable. Print one out for the current month, and the month after. There's nothing stopping you for doing one for each month of the year.
This is your planning calendar. You can use this to fill in the days with whatever you’ll be blogging about (and we’ll go over that shortly). This helps you plan what needs to be written, and when.
This is perfect for using yourself or for whenever you’re using a ghostwriter to create your blog content and you want to share it with them so that they can plan for the expected publishing dates.
Once you have the blog posts created, you can use a different type of organiser to help you schedule them for publication. A free plugin called WordPress Editorial Calendar makes this a simple drag and drop process.
As soon as you upload a new post, you can drag the post around on your calendar to wherever you want it to be for it to go live. This can help if you have some timely information that needs to bump a previously scheduled topic.
By using a calendar plugin, you can glance quickly at your blog schedule and see where there are gaps. You want a consistent publication schedule, and we’ll look at that in depth next!
How Often Should You Be Blogging?
Many people want to know how often they have to blog. Well if you feel that way, you probably shouldn’t be blogging in the first place! Blogging should be for someone who can’t WAIT to wake up in the morning and share more information with their audience, who are captivated by what they share.
If you lack this energy and enthusiasm for your blogging activity, it could be a sign that you’re in the wrong niche.
But let’s talk about traffic and authority. You’ll see some leaders in a niche who blog very infrequently.
This is sometimes because blogging is a side tool for them. They primarily use other things like television, radio, webinars and live, in-person seminars to attract and cultivate an audience. They use other sites to drive content back to their blog, and they're happy with that. This isn't for everyone, and it's often where successful bloggers end up.
For bloggers who want to use this platform as their primary source of audience engagement, then you need to make a commitment to show up and share on a regular basis.
The more content, the better – but there’s a caveat to that.
More is only better if there’s something valuable in what you’re sharing. There's only so much holiday snaps, video and emails your readers will put up with if there's nothing in it for them. In other words, don’t blog for the sake of it. Don’t slap up meaningless content that dilutes the truly valuable blog posts you have just because someone told you to blog 3 times a day. You will burn out really quick doing it this way.
What you ought to do is go through and develop your editorial calendars to see how much content you can conceivably create. You’ll be surprised at how many ideas you generate once you know what ideas resonate with your audience.
As far as search engine bots (spiders) are concerned, they like to see a certain amount of “freshness” in your blog. They typically start off visiting your blog once every couple of weeks, but they narrow their visitation schedule to index your site if you blog regularly, and this looks good and helps you get content indexed faster.
It’s also helpful to your blog subscribers if you blog frequently. If this is a topic they’re interested in, then you want to be the go-to authority figure in your niche – the person they know will have continual updates and fresh information.
A daily schedule is best in a fast niche like Fashion and Beauty. Some people post several times and day, and this is great too. However, if you are in the insurance industry you might find 4 times a week is perfectly adequate for you and your audience.
Don’t burden yourself trying to reach impossible goals. Just be consistent.
If you can only manage to post 3 times a week, then do it three times a week. What works for you may not work for a friend in a different niche, and when playing the comparison game (and I strongly suggest you don't) make sure you compare like for like.
However, there is such as thing as blogging too little. When you start going weeks or months without blogging, don’t expect a blog audience to stick around and become subscribers and fans of your content. In fact, they won’t even remember know who you are!
Scheduling a Series for Your Blog
A series is a good way to keep people tuning back in for more a few years back I scheduled a series of posts on blogging fears, and then I recently imported them into this site. It's a popular way to keep the audience coming back for more. It works the same way on television – you tune into your favourite shows on a regular basis to see what happens next after you’ve seen a cliffhanger or an upcoming episode snippet.
But what can you do a series on for your blog?
Reviews make a good series. If you buy and implement a digital product, then you can go through the entire process in a series of blog posts. For example, your posts can include blogs about why you bought it and how the order and download or access process went (including a sales copy review).
Then you can break down each step of your implementation process over the next several days. If it’s a text product, do a chapter a day. If it’s a video product, do a video a day.
Always link to the previous and subsequent blog posts so that a new visitor who happens to land on your blog in the middle of it can find their way back to the beginning.
Step-by-step tutorials also make a great series for you to blog about. But only if your ideal reader is at the “tutorial” stage. For example, let’s say someone wanted to know how to start a container garden. You could go through a different topic each day, such as:
- Planning your container gardening space
- Picking which fruits and vegetables you want to grow in each season
- Building your containers
- Getting the soil just right
- The planting process
- Dealing with pests
If someone already had a container garden, they would want to see a different content series. Any series you publish should be based around the type of client you wish to attract in.
Q&A sessions with your audience work well for a series, too. Invite your subscribers to ask any questions they have – you can even schedule certain days to be “Mailbox” days where you answer audience questions.
7 Ideas for Individual Blog Posts
If you’re not doing a series but posting individual blog posts, there’s a whole host of options for you! Make a list of these and try to mix it up on your blog so that you’re not using the same old approach on a continual basis.
- Top tip lists make great blog posts. These are tips you gather and then blog about, explaining each one. For example: 7 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster, 6 Ways to Say No to Sweets When You’re on a Diet, the Top 3 Tips to Help You Save Money at the Grocery Store, etc. Tips like this are easy to digest and people can usually come away knowing they’ve absorbed a few good nuggets, even if they didn’t appreciate all of the tips you presented.
- Reviews were mentioned in the section about as far as series that you can do. But they can also be done for individual blog posts. You don’t have to draw it out if it doesn’t call for it – or if it’s for a tangible item that you want to go over.
- Rants about a topic can generate a buzz for your blog. You don’t want to be nothing more than a person who rants all of the time, but if you find something in your niche that needs to be exposed or discussed, don’t be afraid to talk about it!
- Curated content is something that everyone is buzzing about in the blog world. You can use short snippets where you quote or reference something from a magazine, news site, book or other blog and launch a discussion about it on your blog. Your insights are the value here. Usually, you’ll do something like present a snippet or portion of something someone else created (not a swipe of their material, but a very small piece, with a link back to their site). Then you add your own commentary about it. For example, you might be writing a blog post about hot flashes – and a local clinic has an article about it. You can take a quote from that, link back to the full article, and discuss their findings.
- Categorized posts will help you develop content for your blog. Some people map out the categories for their blog as they go. But if you have categories ahead of time, it can help you develop content just for that purpose. For example, if you ran a health blog, you could do a post on health tips for boys, girls, teens, men, women and seniors. Then you can go through your editorial calendar and say, “I haven’t done anything on senior health this week, so I’ll do that today!”
- Breaking news is always popular among bloggers. Usually, this will help you see a spike in traffic because it’s new and there won’t be as many posts about it as there will be later. Set up a Google Alert so that you get notified when news happens about certain topics. But also go out and search Google and specific news sites for breaking topics instead of waiting.
- Blog posts that are really useful. If someone can't do something and you share how, you're useful. And you can check out this post here for the types of blog post that are useful. There are nine different types in the post and they're all very useful :)
Soliciting Guest Bloggers for Gaps in Your Editorial Calendar
Guest bloggers will often seek you out once your blog becomes a traffic hub for a particular niche. You won’t want to accept everyone who asks to post on your blog, you need to find people with the same values as you and where there's some audience overlap.
But you may want to use a guest blogger from time to time, as long as they continue with the purpose and direction of your own blog. You can approach people or post blog topic jobs – sometimes you’ll pay for the post and sometimes the blogger will be happy with a link back to their own site.
You can ask someone who is an authority figure in your niche to provide a guest blog post – this reflects well on you as a blogger because you’re pulling in valuable resources for your own readers, which they’ll appreciate greatly, however, this isn't as easy as you think.
Or, you can find new bloggers who are eager to get some experience under their belts. Either way, make sure the piece is suitable for your audience and don’t let the topic veer off course.
So there we have it, the way to keep your editorial calendar filled for the rest of your blogging year.
PS if you like this, you will love my 30 day blogging challenge where you can flex and grow your writing muscles. It's free to join. Hard workers welcome.