So, you're convinced that blogging is a valuable tool that will boost your creative business, help you tell your story and become part of your online niche. You're itching to start writing and share your opinions with the world.
But, chances are, a few blog posts in, you'll start to feel like you have nothing left to say. Posts will become more sporadic, and start with the familiar "Sorry I haven't written in a while ...".
The key to avoiding unproductive blogging is to create a blog editorial calendar – simply a schedule of posts that will keep you on track. Planning what and how you would like to blog in advance will also help you stick to your original goals. Here are four tips on getting started with a blog editorial calendar:
1. Keep your eyes on the prize. Remember your reasons for starting a blog – telling your story, reaching out to others, becoming a resource/authority, finding your place in the community – and brainstorm posts that fall into those categories. For example, here are four post ideas that work toward these goals:
- A description of your latest creative or color inspiration
- Interview a favorite artist/crafter
- Tutorial on a creative or business process
- A roundup of resources for artists/crafters in your niche
2. Find the right mix. Think about how often you can post on a weekly basis, and decide how to mix up posts of different styles. Varying styles will help keep people interested. Monday may be the day you blog about you and your business, Wednesday is for reaching out to others, Friday is the day you'll post tutorials. On the home decorating blog Living with Lindsay, Lindsay has a regular feature called Teach me Tuesday, where she re-posts tutorials she likes from other bloggers.
3. Set the date. Using Google Calendar, a spreadsheet system, or just a paper calendar and pencil, start assigning dates to your posts. If you need a little help to get started, Andy Wibbels has a downloadable editorial calendar spreadsheet in Excel that is a great resource. As you go along, think about important days or time periods coming up. If you've designed a product that's pegged to Valentine's Day or weddings, you'll want to make sure people know about it in time for them to order. Check out how card maker BeeDazzles features her Valentine's Day cards on her blog, with descriptions and price details. Also, by looking ahead, you may realize that next month you're booked for a craft show, or going on vacation for a week. No sweat – now you've got time to ask a guest blogger or friend to write a fill-in post for you.
4. Think short, scannable and useful. Many novice bloggers think that posts have to be long and exhaustive to be worthwhile. The explosion of Twitter indicates otherwise. As you brainstorm topics, think about whether they are broad enough to be broken down into several easily-digestible pieces. For example, the subject of choosing a camera is too vast for a single post. "Choosing a camera that's under $150" is better – for the reader and the writer. As you generate ideas, remind yourself that you're writing for a target audience, and that audience is most likely to come back if they find your posts useful. Ask yourself what conclusions or tips you can draw from your own experiences to pass on to others. As an example, decorating blogger Centsational Girl wrote a post listing the pros and cons of using spray paint, based on her experience with home projects. Great idea! That shows the difference between using a blog as a personal journal, and using it as a professional tool.
Plan your posts at least two weeks in advance and enjoy the fact that you can sit down and just get to it, rather than wonder what you're going to write about.
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