The Mueller Writing Blog

Blog posts, eBooks and other content marketing resources written by Heather Mueller

How to Build a Blog Editorial Calendar

Blogging for business is a great way to generate leads, engage with customers and feed the search engines high quality content.

But, let’s face it: Continually updating your website with posts that are fresh, timely, original, useful and interesting—it’s not an easy feat.

Most people start a blog this way:

  1. Log into website content management system
  2. Hit “New Post”
  3. Enter a headline
  4. Stare at a blank screen
  5. Enter a new headline
  6. Type a few paragraphs
  7. Delete a few sentences
  8. Enter a new headline

And on it goes….

There is a better way

One that makes the process of writing fast and fun, and keeps you ahead of schedule. My recommendation is to get yourself organized before you type a single sentence.

How? Use a process similar to the one used by newspaper reporters and editors: The editorial calendar.

If you’re blogging for yourself via WordPress, the easiest way to stay on track is by using an editorial calendar plugin. (Just keep in mind that once you schedule a specific date in WordPress, it’s set to publish—whether you remember to finish the post or not.)

But what if you’re ghost blogging for your boss? Or managing a business blog with multiple contributors? In either scenario, your copy may face a long approval process before it’s published.

In this scenario, you’ll want to create a publishing calendar outside your website’s content management system. Below are a few ways you can do it:

3 Easy Editorial Calendar Creators

You’ll need a system that works best for your company. I manage calendars for multiple clients, and interestingly, each one uses a different system.

Excel Editorial Calendar
It’s still a tried-and-true tool. Here’s how a sample editorial calendar in Excel might look:
Sample blog editorial calendar
If you need to easily share it with team members at multiple locations, you can also use this same method to create a Google doc.

Google Publishing Calendar
I love all things Google, including calendars. In fact, I’m building an editorial calendar for a client using Google Calendars right now.

Hubspot has a great step-by-step “how to” here.

Project Management Software
Does your company already use project management software? Use it to build your calendar! I’ve used Toodledo, Basecamp and Smartsheet ( among others) and all work great.

What to Include in Your Editorial Calendar
At a minimum, I suggest the following:

  • Topic
  • Top keyphrase
  • Key points to make in copy
  • Call to action (i.e. “Contact us for more info” or “Join the conversation on Facebook”)
  • Draft due date (the date your rough draft is written)
  • Revisions due date (when your boss and others must provide edits)
  • Publish date

If your company has an in-depth approval process or you just want to be super prepared, you may want to include other elements like a draft title tag, meta description, featured image and other not-to-be-forgotten blog post elements.

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