I’m always looking for inspiration on building and using an editorial calendar. At year end, a tweet from Kasia of the travel blog kasiawrites.com made me smile:
Of course I had to reach out to learn more about why she set that goal, how she build her calendar, and what results she achieved from using an editorial calendar for the full year. Following is our conversation:
Tell me a bit about your blog, Kasiawrites.com, including the reason why you launched it and your content strategy / frequency.
I started my blog two years ago as an outlet for much needed creativity. I intended for it to be a hobby for sharing my favourite travel destinations, guides, travel tips, and so on. For the first year, it was sporadic and done without much thought. I would write whenever I had time and inclination. Many things kept getting in the way and I didn’t get a lot of writing done. I knew that I needed to get more organized, hence the editorial calendar.
You tweeted at the end of 2018 about having stuck to your editorial calendar for the full year. Awesome job! When did you start creating an editorial calendar and why?
Having a background in communications, I am very familiar with editorial calendars. It made sense to start one for my blog to keep myself organized and to start creating regular content. I knew I had ideas and things I wanted to write about, but I would put it off when I didn’t feel like writing about something in particular. Having a schedule helped me organize my thoughts and forced me to write.
What elements are important for you to keep track of on your calendar?
I started my calendar in January. My first step was to identify how many posts I wanted to do and how often. That helped me decide how much writing I needed to get done. Having the topics ahead of time and knowing when I was going to post them allowed me to better plan my time.
I opted to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I wrote out enough ideas to fill four months. I would review the calendar regularly, especially if another idea came up or I felt I needed more time to put the info together. Before I knew it, the content kept filling up way to last until end of the year.
What changes have you noticed since you started using an editorial calendar?
I always have ideas so writing them down helped organize them in a cohesive outline. The calendar helped keep me organized and disciplined about writing. I noticed that I became better at writing since I was doing it regularly, and it came easier to me. There was more traffic to the blog simply because I had regular content that brought in the viewers. I also noticed an increase in followers and people interacting with the posts.
It looks like you accept posts from contributors. How does that factor into your editorial calendar?
I never approve guest posts without first having a general discussion and agreement on the topic with the writer. Since it is my calendar, I am able to decide if a post can be moved to a different date so I can easily fit guest posts into it.
Share any tips you use to keep your editorial calendar on point and useful.
For me flexibility is key. Over the year, there were a number of factors, beyond my control, that forced me to adjust my calendar. My schedule was to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but there were few times I posted on Wednesday and Friday. To me, getting the two posts per week was a priority and I didn’t want to miss out just because I couldn’t get it done on that day.
As the year progressed, I adjusted my calendar to accommodate vacations and the changing needs of my blog. I’m happy with the way last year went so I’m not wishing I did anything different. Deciding on the content always takes priority since I have the posting dates already set.
I used a large printed calendar and I simply wrote topics on the days I wanted them done. Writing in pencil allowed me to easily change the order and move things around if needed. Once the post was done, it was checked off. It felt good to look back on the year and see all the checkmarks. [Editor’s note: we’d love to see you try an online editorial calendar … may we suggest PlanITPDQ?]
What other benefits have you found from using an editorial calendar?
I decided to adjust my calendar for this year to post once per week. This allows me more time to go back to existing posts and edit/update them. I feel I have enough content now to promote and drive traffic to my site. Focusing on the backend of the blog requires more of my time so having an editorial calendar that sets when new blogs come out vs. updating old ones is a great help. I don’t think I could run my blog without one.