In this post I am going to share with you my tried and trusted recipe for creating a blogging editorial calendar for the year ahead. Whether you are a multinational giant or a multitasking mommy blogger, this involves a creative process. You will be creating content out of thin air, mixing mediums and producing digital sizzle. It will not take long. Any longer than two hours and it will be overcooked.
1. Who are you cooking for?
This is the hardest part of the process and the one that most people want to skip because they think that their content will suit anyone who arrives at the table. Even if you blog for yourself (which a lot of people do), creating the same content over and over usually gets bland. If you have a blog already, you know who usually turns up. I suggest you create personas for them. Give them names. Research them as much as you can. Stick pictures of them on the wall, with quotes. Be a regular stalker host.
2. Gather your main ingredients
Create a list of at least 5 topics that your readers are interested in. For example, for a tourism blog, they might be landscape, activities, off the beaten track, culture, food, etc. Throw them all into the pot. These are the basic flavours that you will be working with.
3. Apply heat or pressure
Use questions to stir the topics. Each topic should be broken down into at least 5 smaller pieces. For example, what is it about each topic that your readers are interested in? What problems or concerns do they have about them? What are the trends relating to these topics. Why do some people like these topics and others make that face like they just bit a lemon?
4. Add your sizzle
Now put your own ideas in. What is coming up in the next year that you are interested in? Any conferences, any marketing pushes, new products coming out? What do you want to blog about? This part is about your interests. Yes, we want to hear about you. Not on and on, but if you have something of value to bring to the table, now is the time to add it. This will keep your marketing team/accountant/ego happy and create a few more posts.
5. Think about service
You added the sizzle so do not forget about the style. Or the sizzle will sozzle. This is what separates the cooks from the chefs. Would you serve a soup with chopsticks? Would you put the heirloom cutlery out for burgers? In the heat of the creative moment we can rush to get the food on the table.
A blogpost can be served in a particular way. They can be textual, audio-visual, mixes, lists, guest posts, recaps, reviews, how-tos, best ofs and opinions. There are probably more ways too. What is the best way to frame your content? Thinking about this often creates fantastic new content. It can transform a dry bloated information piece into something that jumps off the screen and flies.
Just like any kitchen exercise, timing is everything. So too with blogging. Get your calendar out and assign each post to where it will be most effective.
Voila, you have an annual blogging calendar that is tied into your marketing objectives/personal creative desires. You have just gone from the dread of creating content to having the bones of at least 25 crafted specialities for the year ahead. You have a work schedule. You have ideas. You have sizzle, and you still have time to add in your on-the-fly pieces.
All that is left is the writing, and that is the fun part.