Lately, it seems like everyone and their mother is using an editorial calendar.
Not blogging consistently?
No problem. Just create an editorial calendar and you’ll be putting out content like the best of them.
Can’t come up with ideas you want to write about?
No problem. Do some brainstorming ahead of time, write your ideas in an editorial calendar, and you’ll be good to go.
I have no doubt that an editorial calendar works for some people.
But thinking that just writing post ideas in a calendar is going to make you a consistent blogger is like thinking that writing down “Go to the gym” on your calendar will make you a buff gym goer.
It just doesn’t work like that.
I’ve tried an editorial calendar myself. I schedule posts into my WordPress calendar and then I end up having a bunch of unpublished drafts that I thought I wanted to write about.
Yet I’ve been able to create a consistent blogging schedule and stick to it.
Here’s how you can become a consistent blogger, too.
1. Have a clear big picture goal for your blog.
Before writing this blog, I’ve had 6 other ones.
And all of them fizzled out after awhile. That’s because I didn’t have a clear idea of why I was blogging.
I would start out with a lot of joy and excitement in writing, and then after a few weeks, I would lose interest. My daily posts would start to become weekly posts, and then I would stop blogging altogether.
I am all for starting a blog just because it feels right.
But at some point in the process, you have to sit down and decide what your big picture goal is for the blog.
Is it to create a business and make money?
Is it to sell your existing products or services?
Is it to share your story?
Whatever you choose, it has to really, really MATTER to you. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to keep the momentum going.
2. Have clear short term goals for your blog.
So let’s say you chose “To sell my existing products or services” as your big picture goal.
That’s great, but you also need smaller, short term goals to inform your writing.
Having a short term goal will help you create an editorial calendar for your month that you’ll actually stick to because you’ll have a clear and specific outcome tied to it.
For example, if you sell jewelry, your short term goal might be to get your new line of earrings sold.
At the beginning of the month, you can sit down and think of 4-12 post ideas that are tied directly to your new earrings.
You could write a post about how to pick the perfect earrings to go with your outfit, another about how wearing earrings improves your appearance, etc.
You will be motivated to blog consistently because you will be acutely aware of the outcome of blogging versus not blogging. (i.e. people buying your products versus not buying them)
Then your editorial calendar will become a tool to organize your ideas, rather than a motivational tool.
3. Tie your editorial calendar to a promotional calendar.
It’s really hard to keep writing when you don’t know if anyone is going to read your posts.
That’s why it’s essential to have a promotional calendar in place.
For each blog post, I post it on Twitter 6 times over the course of 2 months. I use CoSchedule* (affiliate link) to do it.
I have a strategy for getting more followers on Twitter so I’m not just tweeting to 10 people.
I also share in a number of Facebook groups who have dedicated days for promoting blog posts.
Pinterest is also a huge one for me. For each post, I systematically share on Pinterest in a number of ways.
Having a promotional plan keeps me blogging because I know that when I write a post, I can put it in front of my audience.
So create a plan, and promote the heck out of every post you write. When your social shares, comments, and page views go up, it will keep you motivated to blog consistently.
4. Know when you will blog each week, and see it as a vital, non-negotiable part of building your business.
Choose a dedicated time to blog, and schedule it in, just like a client appointment.
Writing a post into your editorial calendar for next Wednesday will not ensure that you will actually write the post.
Creating a block of time next Wednesday when you will do nothing but blog, and being adamant about it, will mean that you’ll actually write.
You don’t need to write every day. You really, really don’t.
I started out writing every day. Then I scaled back to 5 times a week, and now 3 times a week.
Even though I don’t write as much, my posts are way better than they were before. Because I can put more thought and time into each one.
My point is, figure out what works FOR YOU. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much. If you create an unreasonable schedule for yourself, you’ll do it for a week, and when you realize it’s not sustainable, you’ll feel like a failure and give up writing altogether.
If you work better writing an hour everyday, do that. If you want to write only on Friday mornings, do that.
And if your schedule changes over time, let it. Just be sure you keep some time to write every week on your calendar.
5. Build relationships with other bloggers.
Blogging can be a lonely thing. Sitting at home in front of your computer by yourself producing content is hard.
And not only that. People who don’t blog just don’t get it. They say things like, Can you really make money from your blog? and I know you blog, but what do you do as your job? and How does your blog really benefit the world? (That one was courtesy of my sister. She’s a social worker.)
All of this can be very demotivating.
That’s why you need to get out there and meet other bloggers.
I’ve built really great relationships with other bloggers in Facebook groups.
I met my accountability partner in a Facebook group, and we talk on the phone every single week. He keeps me going and gives me great ideas. Just this morning, he helped me brainstorm my first paid product.
You can also find them through podcasts, on Twitter, at conferences, and by commenting regularly on their blogs.
To stay motivated to blog consistently, you need to put relationship building as high on the list as actually writing blog posts. It’s that important.
If your editorial calendar isn’t working, it’s not you.
It’s not because you’re flaky, or can’t keep to a schedule.
It’s because staying motivated to blog consistently is hard, and it requires more than a list of post ideas.
Instead of only focusing on your editorial calendar, figure out:
- Your long term goal for your blog.
- Your short term goals for your posts.
- How to promote the heck out of every post and get it read.
- When you will blog every week. And stick to it.
- How to build relationships with other bloggers.
If this list seems daunting, it is.
This isn’t an easy, quick fix.
But it is a framework for how to become a consistent blogger. If you are willing to do the work.