How to Make an Editorial Calendar

With my declaration of “A Blog Post a Day Challenge” yesterday, I had to pull out my editorial calendar and make some big adjustments! What went from writing 2-3 posts a week now was full-on 7 posts a week for through the end of the year (in addition to my e-newsletter, Jottings, that I publish every two weeks).

This was also inspiration for today’s post: How To Make an Editorial Calendar that even you, Mr. Contractor, will follow.

Step #1: Make a list of your publications. This list should include items you currently publish and those you plan to launch in the coming months. They will probably include: blog(s), print newsletter(s), e-newsletter(s), and video channel(s).

Step #2: Identify your audience. For some publications, your audience may be the same, but you might also have publications for specific audiences, such as realtors. For example, you may publish a weekly e-newsletter to consumers, and also have a separate e-newsletter that goes out to realtors to stimulate a strong partnership for referral business.

Step #3: Your niches will be your primary subject areas (aka Feature Articles). Your business has niches called “sweet spots.” These are the project you are strongly suited for – and enjoy the most. They may also be your company’s highest profit-margin projects – not necessarily because of your mark-up (although that certainly could be the case), but also because you are just that good at them. You’ve spent years developing your skills in those areas and as a result, have established an efficient and stream-lined system for getting the projects done. For example, a design-build remodeling company’s “sweet spots” are additions and basements. Sure, they’ll renovate kitchens and install outdoor living areas, but their preferred projects are additions and basements.

Once you’ve identified your sweet spots, you’ll want to make these your Feature Articles in your publications. Other topics that homeowners want to know about – everything from sharing Grandma’s favorite fruit cake recipe to how to build a compost pile (perhaps that’s where the fruit cake ends up?) are great supplemental articles (and you’ll want plenty of fun and entertain article such as those), but your feature articles should be your sweet spots.

Step #4: Set your frequency. If you’ve been lackadaisical about holding yourself accountable to a rigid publishing schedule, now is the time to hold your feet to the fire. More important than what topics you choose to publish is the consistency in which you publish. A haphazard publishing schedule will get you haphazard results.

Step #5: Set your calendar. Now that you have everything identified (publications, audience, subject areas and frequency), now it is time to set up your calendar. With your frequency in mind, start slotting in your article topics. Don’t feel as though you need to have the next 12 months planned out now, but a good recommendation is to have the next 60-90 days mapped out. That way you always know what you are going to write about.

What do you think? Is this something that you could hold yourself to?


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