How to Create an Editorial Calendar that Works for Your Design Blog

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If you’ve been waiting to start blogging for your design business or workroom, 2019 is YOUR YEAR.

Seriously. That’s why I’m sharing this post with you today. It gives you between now and December 31st to create your editorial (blog content) calendar for the new year and really commit to it.

I also suggest you sign up for the O&B newsletter below to get our Editorial Calendar Planning Guide.

The guide is a companion to this blog post and will give you an outline and some creative space for planning your calendar effectively. So sign up for it and then keep reading below!

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WHY YOU NEED AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR FOR YOUR BLOG

  • It forces you to narrow in on your ideal client

  • It creates a roadmap that shows you where you’re going

  • You can better prepare posts in advance and publish them with consistency

  • You can structure your social media posts around your blog’s content

Need I say more?


5 STEPS TO BLOG CONTENT THAT’LL KNOCK PEOPLE’S SOCKS OFF

These are the five steps I’ll be running through in detail below.

Step 1. Reflect
Step 2. Brainstorm
Step 3. Pick Your Best Ideas
Step 4. Consider Timing
Step 5. Schedule into Your Life

*For the sake of keeping this post a reasonable length, I’m going to assume you already know who your target client is. If not, you can start getting to know your target design client here.

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STEP 1: ASK YOURSELF THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

The very first thing I ask clients during our 1-Hr Strategy Session is:

  • What questions do you hear from your clients every day?

  • What answers have you repeated so often that they’re practically on auto-pilot?

  • What are some problems unique to your population of clients?

  • What are your clients most concerned about when discussing their projects with you?

Really take some time to think about the answers to these, because addressing them will help your clients and help YOU in preparing clients to work well with your team.

I’d love to give you some examples, but I don’t want to put ideas in your head. Only YOU know what your clients struggle with and how you can solve it for them. Dig deep!

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STEP 2: BRAINSTORM BLOG POST TOPICS BY CATEGORY

When I brainstorm ideas for my clients, I start with 4 categories and then pencil in as many ideas as possible,  even “stupid” ones! There are no bad ideas at this stage, so don’t judge any of them. Plus, you never know which “lame” idea will inspire a better one!

Here are the 4 categories and the desired ratio of posts for each. You can rename these categories or add others, of course. This is just a sample foundation. Write your ideas within your Editorial Calendar Planning Guide.

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  • Design Advice, 35%
    problem-solving, explanations, how-tos, guides (no DIY unless that’s your niche)

  • The Industry, 25%
    understanding how the process works, realistic budget, timeline, etc.

  • Your Projects, 25%
    before and afters, just afters, other project details

  • Personal & News, 15%
    company updates, any events you’re attending/hosting, personal or team stories

If you’re TRULY struggling to come up with ideas, these posts will help you get started:

Lastly, when you think you’re done brainstorming, go through each idea and ask yourself, “How could I make this topic even more specific?” Specific always beats broad!

STEP 3: PICK YOUR FAVORITE BLOG POST TOPICS

Now that you have a list, thought web, or other brainstorming map of ideas, you can go through and star your favorites.

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Remember, these ideas should fit two criteria:

  1. They should EXCITE you! If you’re not motivated to write them that lack of passion will come through in your writing and you might not actually ever write it (been there!)

  2. They should provide VALUE to your target client, so ask yourself what your target client will get from each topic.

Remember to stick roughly to the ratios suggested above.

Alright, got some winners on your list? Feeling a bit more excited about this process now that it’s coming together? Let’s continue!

STEP 4: CONSIDER YOUR BLOG POST TOPICS WITHIN REAL-WORLD CONTEXT

Now that you have some ideas you’re excited about, we’re going to create your editorial (blog) calendar.

I like to brainstorm ideas with my clients first and THEN structure our ideas around a calendar. BUT… as long as it doesn’t limit you, you could very easily brainstorm with a calendar in front of you to start.

The main goal here is to fit your favorite ideas into the context of what’s going on in the real world, be it the holidays, High Point Market, back-to-school season, spring cleaning, Paris Fashion Week, etc. Whatever is going on in your clients’ lives.

The Editorial Calendar Planning Guide will help with this.

Q: How many blog posts should I publish per month?

A: For busy business owners, the sweet spot is 2 posts per month, with 1 post per month being the minimum. The best possible way to start gaining momentum with your blog is to publish posts every week on the same day — but that’s unrealistic for most people who don’t have a designated marketing team.

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STEP 5: PUT REMINDERS ON YOUR CALENDAR & SHOW UP

If you’re putting in the work to create an editorial calendar that will turn heads, DON’T let your blog fall by the wayside when the year gets going.

Be realistic about setting deadlines for yourself. If you put “write November post” on your calendar for Friday and you want to publish the following Monday… chances are it might not happen. (Also been there.)

My experience? Give yourself at least 2 weeks to pull together a post.

Strategy:

  • Set reminders 2 weeks in advance

  • Create a folder of images you want to use (I like having Unsplash folders at the ready) but DropBox is usually easiest for project photos

  • Try to write a couple posts in advance if you can… trust me, it’s a rare and blissful feeling knowing you have the whole month’s content prepped

Well, there you have it. These are the 5 steps to an editorial calendar and your 1st toward creating a blog that supports your business and attracts the right clients.

How do you feel about it? Does it feel manageable or overwhelming?

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If you want a second brain to go through this process with you, sign up for a 1-hour Editorial Calendar Planning Session with me.

You’ll leave the session with an editorial calendar that’s unique, exciting to you and your clients, and you’ll have the confidence to put it into action.

Cheers!
Jaquilyn