If you use a blog as part of your freelancing marketing strategy, then you may have already faced that common question that many bloggers eventually struggle with: What shall I write about today?
Even if you started your freelancing business blog with a ton of great ideas, eventually the day will come when those ideas will run dry. This struggle, often referred to as writer’s block, can be at least partially avoided through the use of a blog editorial calendar.
In this post, I’ll explain what an editorial calendar is and discuss how it can help you keep up with your blog on your freelancing site.
What Is an Editorial Calendar?
Editorial calendars got their start in traditional print publications like newspapers and magazines. By planning the content of their publication in advance, publishers were able to make sure that they consistently published high quality articles that were of interest to their readers.
Blogs (and especially larger blogs) have adapted editorial calendars for their own uses. By planning content in advance of publication, blog editors and owners are able to coordinate daily (and sometimes hourly) posts from multiple authors while avoiding duplicate information and still keep the material consistently fresh and interesting.
Why It Is Important
The main purpose of your blog may be to attract potential customers to your freelancing business. However this will not happen if you do not provide your readers with up-to-date (note that I did not say daily) high quality information on a regular basis. Websites that are updated regularly also tend to rank higher in the search engines.
Worse yet, a potential client may happen upon your freelancing blog that hasn’t been updated in a while and conclude (wrongly) that you are out of business. You may never even know what business you have missed because your freelancing business blog has not been updated.
You don’t have to own a large blog to benefit from using an editorial calendar. In the next section, I’ll discuss how you can create your own editorial calendar for your freelancing blog.
How You Can Create Your Own Editorial Calendar
Freelancers can also benefit from the use of editorial calendars. After all, you’re probably pretty busy with project work and blogging takes time. However, if you already have a whole list of topics that you know you can write about ready and waiting you are much more likely to keep your freelancing business blog updated.
Depending on your blog, your editorial calendar can be extremely formal with an exact topic assigned to each day that you normally blog. For most freelancers, a much less formal calendar consisting of a well-developed topic list will work just as well.
To create your own informal editorial calendar, follow these steps:
- Set aside an hour or two when you know that you’ll have time to focus.
- Grab a notepad or open a blank document on your computer screen.
- Jot down (or type) as many ideas for post topics as you can think of (at this point, write down the good ideas along with the bad).
- If you get stuck for ideas, think of posts you’ve recently read that you’d like to elaborate on (or even disagree with).
- Another great source of ideas is the questions in the comments on your published posts.
- Finally, don’t forget to include seasonal problems and other recurring events such as holidays.
- You can even ask your social media contacts what they’d like to read on your blog.
- Keep going until you have jotted at least two dozen (preferably more) ideas down.
- Now it’s time to refine your ideas by tweaking them in ways that you think will interest your readers.
- If you absolutely can’t salvage an idea (and you’ve really tried), it’s okay to cross it out now.
- Towards the end of your session you should have at least a dozen ideas for posts for your
- Type your topic list into a document that you can access easily (we use a Google Docs Spreadsheet for Freelance Folder).
- You may wish to add a sentence or two after each idea to help you remember it.
- Repeat the process when you have written posts about nearly all of your topics.
Now, even when you are really busy with projects, you should always have a topic to write about for your freelancing blog.
More Tools and Resources to Help You
Do you think you’d like to try keeping an editorial calendar? Here are a few more tools and resources you might want to try:
- WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin. If you use WordPress for your blog, this plugin can help with scheduling.
- WinCalendar. This tool will allow you to create and customize calendars for your blog months, or even years, ahead using MS Word. Especially helpful if you don’t have WordPress.
- The Benefits of an Editorial Calendar to Keep Your Community on Track. Great post from Social Media Today. Many of the points apply to freelancers as well.
- Use an Editorial Calendar. Chris Brogan’s review of the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin.
- Adapting the Traditional Editorial Calendar to Meet Today’s Content Demands. More tips on how to create an editorial calendar from the folks at Small Business Trends.
Share Your Tips
Do you maintain a freelancing blog? If you do, how do you decide what to write about?
Share your own tips for creating an editorial calendar.