This week’s post is by one of my secret weapons, my copywriter Sara Barry. She is chock full of advice on how and why to use an editorial calendar, and when it may be time to get some help with your blogging.
I think I’m going to skip blogging this week. I just don’t know what to write about.
I have a million ideas, but I don’t know where to start.
Whether you’re out of ideas or overwhelmed by them, an editorial calendar is your friend.
There’s a lot of resistance to editorial calendars. I know. I’m a writer and content manager, and I was resistant for a long time. I know all the excuses: You don’t have time to set one up. You like to go with inspiration. You don’t even know where to start.
Here’s why I love editorial calendars:
Editorial calendars mean you know what to write about. You’ve laid it all out. You know what’s next. That’s one piece of resistance you don’t have to overcome each week when it’s time to write your blog.
Editorial calendars mean you write with purpose. One of the reasons we get burnt out on blogging is we stop seeing the purpose. Readers don’t see value—and you don’t get results—when you post haphazardly.
But when you post with your readers’ needs in mind, you connect. When you post in a logical sequence that leads your readers along, you convert. Blogging feels worthwhile again.
Creating an editorial calendar isn’t just one more thing you have to do. If you have a 90-day plan, your first step is done. Your business plan leads; your editorial calendar follows. Don’t think of it as another thing to do, but a tool to make your content creation easier.
So you know why, but how?
1. Start with your end goal.
Are you launching something? Promoting something? Building your list? That’s what’s going to drive your blog. Each post should focus on that purpose.
2. Ask these questions:
- What do your clients need to get there?
- What problem do they need solved?
- What friction points do they need to overcome?
That’s what you write about. So take those answers and brainstorm topics. Think about questions you keep answering. Jot down solutions you just created for clients. Pay attention in Facebook groups to see what people are talking about.
Feel like you’ve written it all before? That’s okay. We all need to hear things again and again. And if you have said it before, you now bring a new perspective or a new twist.
3. Put the pieces in order.
Once you have you topics, start fitting the pieces together. You’re setting up a map for your readers. Think about where you want them to go—and where they are right now.
Back in September, I helped Megan plan September Is the New January. We had a lot of fabulous ideas, but Megan kept hearing from Mama CEOs who were a little frazzled and overwhelmed. So we kept the focus on planning and taking steps to move your business forward, but streamlined the program. Fewer messages and more focused action steps let Megan meet her audience where they were while getting them thinking about bigger plans.
4. Get help if you need it.
If you’re still stuck on ideas or don’t see how all your pieces fit together (or just want to focus on your zone of genius), it’s time for help.
Maybe you’ve hired a VA to set up your blog posts or a designer to prepare your blog images or a copywriter to write the posts.
You can can hire somebody to set up your editorial calendar too. Yes, you can get somebody to tell you what to write when.
You’re still involved. You know your business best, but a content manager can develop new ideas for you to write about—and help you sort out the pieces so they make sense. Imagine having the title, keywords, CTA, plus notes to get you started when it came time to blog.
You could batch write. You could outsource your blogging. Or you could just sit down and know where to start and exactly why you’re doing it.
What’s getting in the way of creating your editorial calendar?
Sara Barry is a copywriter and content manager for entrepreneurs. Listening is her secret weapon. She’s been known eavesdrop in Facebook groups to get ideas and to squirrel away things her clients forgot they said to use later in their blogs. She rocks at editorial planning for other people (even if her own website has bad case of the copywriter’s business has no blog). You can find her at www.sarabarry.com.