Every month, I help fill blogging editorial calendars not just for my site, but for three others. That mean every single month I sit down and come up with approximately 120 ideas of what to write about. Granted, the calendars for the other three sites are a joint effort, but that’s still a lot of content to plan every couple of weeks. Today I’m sharing my secrets to filling your blogging editorial calendar with you, because I just like you so darn much.
First, a little more about my background in content planning. Aside from owning and writing nearly all of Pretty Opinionated, I help plan content for OurFamilyWorld, DogVills and My Teen Guide, all owned by the Olfa Turki, a woman who no doubt will take over the entire internet one day. Notice that all four sites are quite different. Before all that, I was a freelancer for numerous clients who basically came to me with a single key word and said “write something.” Once, I wrote about 10 articles on aluminum roofs. I kid you not.
I absolutely LOVE planning content. I think that’s my first secret. If you love making lists and coming up with new ideas, content planning is a breeze. What if you hate it though? Or what if you just have a hard time with it? That’s where the rest of my secrets come in. Although they’re not really secrets because I’m telling you!
Secrets to Planning Your Blogging Editorial Calendar Fast
There’s no particular order to these tips, I use all of them regularly.
Start with a key word
Not necessarily a Google keyword or anything, I’m not talking SEO here. I’m not really a fan of writing to SEO keywords, to be honest. That’s a whole different post, though. What I’m talking about here is a very general idea. When I wrote about brilliant uses for coffee aside from the obvious, it all began with the word “coffee,” and I branched off from there. Sometimes I fill a whole notebook page with things about a certain word. Kind of like mind mapping I guess? If you’re really stuck, look around your house, at your pets or even to your own weird dreams for inspiration. All you need is one word or random thought to kickstart a post or a series. You’d be amazed at what can come out of random thoughts like “wow, that wall near my door is really blank!” Ten ideas just went through my head. Alas, I’m not crafty enough for at least 8 of them.
Plan based on your social media strategy
Just about every blogger is focusing on getting more Pinterest traffic these days, including me. Pinterest is the new Google, except a million times prettier (sorry, Google, no offense!). I look at what works well for me on Pinterest and plan content based on those types of posts. For many of you, that may be recipes and crafts. Personally, I stink at those things (except beverages and natural bath recipes). I just don’t have that kind of talent. I try, try, try and fail miserably. Yet I’ve had some really weird gift ideas posts take off like wildfire. Don’t think that you can’t rock Pinterest if your idea of cooking is opening a box of mac and cheese, or if your crafts look like something your dog made. Like I said, Pinterest is the new Google, and it’s more than just a place to hoard recipes you’ll probably never make.
Whatever social media network you want to rock, look at what works best on that network for you and plan a few great posts a month (or a week, depending on how often you post) around that strategy.
Set up news alerts
News alerts, like Google alerts, are a great way to keep up with topics related to your niche. On OurFamilyWorld, we focus a lot on bullying and pregnancy. By setting up news alerts and tailoring my various news apps to those topics, I can come up with new ideas daily. If the news is breaking and urgent, we get someone on it right away (or I just write it, since I can write fast). If it’s just interesting yet evergreen, I add it to my list of potential ideas.
Read, read, read
I cannot stress enough how important reading is to coming up with content for your blog. Read other blogs, read magazines, books, newspapers. Right now, I have a Texture subscription (it was half price for a couple of months), so I’m devouring every magazine I can and filling notebooks with ideas. NEVER copy a whole idea (even though you can’t copyright an idea, it still feels slimy to take an entire concept someone else came up with).
Instead, look at content on other sources and think “can I put my own spin on this?” When I wrote about the Zika virus for OurFamilyWorld, Olfa and I knew that we couldn’t compete (nor should we try, since we’re not doctors) with the major health sites for general info, so I talked about it in a way that relates to our content, tailoring it for the pregnancy section.
As you read, keep a notebook nearby (or use something like Evernote or one of the other 5,000 apps out there for organizing ideas) to jot down your potential content calendar fillers.
Get inspired by holidays
I’ve cited Brownielocks as my number one source for finding holidays numerous time, and with good reason: no one does it better than they do. It’s the most well-organized, well-researched site out there for national and international holidays. Every month, I look at the month ahead (I try to plan ahead of time) and see what’s coming up. March, for example, is Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month. My post on how to bond with your guinea pig did REALLY well on Pinterest. I have other posts on guinea pigs here, as well. I was planning to build on that, and this tells me that next month is the perfect time to do it.
Rather than using the holidays to fill your editorial calendar full of “today is blah blah day” type posts, though, I recommend using them as inspiration for evergreen content. For example, I’ll write something along the lines of “what you need to know about guinea pig adoption” versus “It’s Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month! Here’s What You Need to Know!” That way, it’s still relevant in April.
These are just five of my favorite “secrets” for filling blog editorial calendars fast. They’re far from the only ways to find inspiring content. This post is part of the WAHM hop, and I know at least one of my fellow bloggers will be sharing more ways to get inspired. Inspiration is literally everywhere. You just have to open your mind and let the ideas flow in!
Looking for more great blogging posts about content? Here are a few of my favorite bloggers:
- How to Keep Promoting Your Content With CoSchedule by Ellen Blogs
- Tips for Writing Your Real Life Story by Mama Knows it All
- How to Find the Inspiration to Create Amazing Blog Content by Moments with Mandi
- 7 Ways to Add Content to Your Travel Blog by Jen Around the World
- How to Find Content for your Blog by Day by Day in Our World
- Generating Content Ideas by Biannual Blogathon Bash
Do you have any favorite sources of blog content inspiration? Share in the comments!