Preparation makes you a better blogger.
Preparation requires organization–another helpful practice for anyone creating blog content out there–particularly the blogger who is a one-man show, making things happen by themselves.
[tweetthis]Together, organization and preparation help a blogger rise from obscurity to success.[/tweetthis]
I know many of you don’t plan your blog posts weeks in advance. In fact, truth be told, many bloggers sit down to write their next blog post without a definite topic already in mind…this can lead to hours wasted in rewriting…with the internet, doing this no longer results in a pile of crumpled up papers lying on the floor near a trash can.
You just keep deleting and starting over.
We’ve all been there.
From my experience, I know that planning ahead and having my blog content organized weeks to months in advance has made a huge difference in my blogging consistency and content quality.
What has helped me prepare and organize my blog posts is a tool I recommend called the blog editorial calendar.
Matthew’s Blog Editorial Calendar Recommendation
For those of you who have not used a blog editorial calendar before and do not care about the latest technology available, there’s a free blog editorial calendar available. I’m still using it, I’ve been using it for a few months now, and I highly recommend it.
This tool consists of Excel spreadsheets, which many of you are comfortable using already or can easily learn how…It’s also from a trusted source called the Content Management Institute.
Here’s where I found this simple-to-use tool called the CMI Editorial Calendar: How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing
From right there on the page, you can download the template at no charge.
It has four pages. The two I’m primarily using is the actual schedule page called the Blog Posts – Scheduled, and there’s a handy page called Blog Post Ideas where I store my topic ideas for future scheduling.
There’s also an “Overview” page and a page called “Existing Content for CTA (Call to Action). This can be used to track specific things going on in your sales funnel, if you need it.
Actually, you can add some additional pages if you need them.
Why Use the CMI Editorial Calendar Instead of a Different One?
There are other free calendars out there. Most of them also consist of Excel spreadsheets.
The reason why I recommend the CMI Editorial Calendar has to do with the fact I’ve been following CMI (Contact Marketing Institute) for a few years now. They are a tremendous source of news and advice on content marketing, blogging, and online marketing. They do tend to serve more of the corporate marketing audience (people working for corporations who are responsible for the content marketing of their organization), yet I still find great information on their blog at times for bloggers.
I haven’t met CMI Founder Joe Pulizzi, but he appears to be a stand up guy. In my research, I found this article Pulizzi wrote a few years ago for Copyblogger that’s still helpful. Check out 3 Components of a Content Marketing Editorial Calendar that Works
[tweetthis]Another reason why you should use this blog editorial calendar is its simplicity and lack of technology.[/tweetthis] The folks at CMI have been offering it for five years, so people must be using it and enjoying it.
Now, if you do like using the latest technology and you are interested in a blog editorial calendar that’s a little more “sexy”, I do have something for you too…
Bonus Recommendation! Here’s a WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin You May Want to Use
I asked my Google+ friend Dustin Stout (pictured below) what blog editorial calendar he uses and why? Here’s what he said:
“I’m currently using (and loving) and considering getting it going for this week. I like it because it’s integrated into WordPress so I can schedule blog posts from it. I also LOVE the addition of social media scheduling. It allows me to strategically plan out and schedule social messages and campaigns for maximum efficiency. I’ve experimented with spreadsheets before, but it was just too clunky for me.”for
I mentioned the social scheduling aspect sounded like a time saver (no need to log into a separate tool like Buffer). Dustin went on to say:
“Oh man, and with the ability to actually create post drafts in WordPress from the app– it’s amazing how much it lights a fire under your tail!”
Dustin is an amazing digital marketer who knows a lot about blogging, so his testimony, combined with this Features page on the CoSchedule website, has convinced me to give this plugin a test ride in the near future.
I’m going to schedule in my CMI Editorial Calendar a blog article in a few months that reviews my experience with CoSchedule. 🙂
Blog Editorial Calendar Wrap Up
Before I leave you with some additional helpful articles on blog editorial calendars, I want to encourage you to share your thoughts or experiences with using an editorial calendar for your blog. Have you? Which one? Are you going to now? Why or why not? Let’s talk about it here.
Okay, here’s some other articles on this topic I recommend:
1. This article was written by a trusted LinkedIn and Twitter friend of mine named Sharon Hurley Hall. Check out Improve Content Strategy with an Editorial Calendar: 14 Free Downloads
2. Here’s another blog editorial calendar from Hubspot: Free Template It’s a similar Excel version like the CMI one I use.