How about two Tuesdays from now? The third Tuesday of next month?
You may or may not, but we do here at Your Marketing BFF because…
-I have a Type-A personality maybe a little OCD,
-Want to create and publish content more consistently,
-Ensure that we have a good amount of variety on our blog,
-Want to reduce writer’s block that often comes as a result of having no clue what to write about
-And it’s way less stressful in my opinion!
Trust me, I may not have every day or detail planned out for the year, but I do have some idea of what’s ahead. It just makes my life a whole lot easier. And it can make your life a whole lot easier too!
Google Calendar is the editorial calendar tool I use to organize, track and plan my blog content, stylized photo shoots and possible Instagram posts (centered around unique holidays).
This post will show you how to use Google calendar to plan out blog posts, but you can also apply the same principles to plan out your Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media posts and marketing strategies.
Why I Use Google Calendar as My Editorial Calendar
I’ve tried a lot of different tools for my editorial calendar, but I landed on Google calendars for the following reasons:
• Google Calendar is free.
• I can access the calendar from any computer or mobile device that has an internet connection
• I can share the calendar with others on my team
• I can have multiple calendars for different purposes inside my one account
• I can color code each entry on the calendar
• I can put detailed information in the description area
• I can incorporate ‘tasks’ into my calendar
• I can attach images and other items to each entry
• I can easily move (drag and drop) any entry to a different date if something comes up and I need to adjust my schedule
7 Steps to Use Google Calendar to Create Your Editorial Calendar
Step 1: Create a separate Google calendar for your editorial calendar.
The first thing you need to do is create a Google calendar.
Step 2: Determine your posting frequency.
There are a lot of different opinions on how frequently you should post on your blog. Some may choose to blog one a week, others 3x’s a week, or daily. I have a posting schedule of up to 2x’s a week…but always Tuesday mornings.
Step 3: Brainstorm a list of blog post ideas.
It’s much easier to add information to an editorial calendar if you first brainstorm a list of blog post ideas.
There’s nothing worse than sitting down at your computer, opening your calendar, and having a blank mind. That’s why it’s best to do some brainstorming and come up with a solid list of blog post ideas, before you even open your calendar.
Side Note: Next week I’ll give you ways to come up with some blog post ideas!
Step 4: Start plugging your blog post ideas into your Google Calendar.
A good tip is to start with broad categories and then later you can go from broad to more specific.
Step 5: Use the description box to go from broad to more specific.
One of the things I love most about using a Google calendar as an editorial calendar is that I can put everything I need for the blog posts into the calendar entry! Use the description area to keep track of ideas, thoughts, resources, etc. that you want to include in your post.
Here are some of the things that I might put in the description box:
• The basic idea of what I want the post to be about.
• An outline of the post.
• General thoughts or main points I’d like to touch on in the post so that when I look at it weeks later, I’ll remember what I want to include.
• A task list of things I might need to do before writing the post, a.k.a Prep Work. Things like interviewing someone, things to make for a DIY, images to photograph, etc.
• Links that I’ve come across while researching the subject matter and may want to use in the post. I also jot down previous posts (of my own) that I want to be sure to link to within the blog post.
The image below shows part of what I put in the description box for the upcoming post ‘how to brainstorm a list of blog post ideas’:
Step 6: Use the attachment option to upload images and other items right to your calendar.
Just as the description box helps me to keep track of ideas, the attachment option in Google calendar helps me to keep track of things that I want to add to the blog post such as photos and/or videos.
Step 7: Schedule time to write.
Having an editorial calendar does absolutely nothing for you, if you don’t actually take action and physically write the posts.
Good tip: Treat your scheduled time to write the same way you do other important aspects of your business – only reschedule your time to write when it is absolutely necessary.
Do you use an editorial calendar? Please share your tool and/or tips for planning your blog posts in the comments below.
UPDATE: After my friend, Kelley Nan, read this blog post – she took things one step further and created a free download for printable planner labels! You can find her post and free download here. Thx Kel!