I’ll be honest. For years I have been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pantser. I kinda did the intuitive editorial board (“Hey! It’s probably time to write an article”) and then would rush to the finish line (or take a detour and miss the finish line all together) and always be in the middle of a bunch of projects, but have a hard time actually publishing any of them. It felt like I was working hard all the time, but not really accomplishing anything.
Which for me, is the equivalent of walking a 5K every day and gaining weight. Completely unacceptable.
But now, with managing blog posts, podcasts, and sponsored content, plus the occasional guest post for two major blogs I write for, it was hard keeping track of All. The. Things.
A few months ago, I decided I needed to get everything I was doing down on one page so that I was able to take in all that I was doing in a month. I gathered up all my different assignments:
Scheduled Social Media
I put all those different assignments on a Trello board using the calendar feature with the date that the item was to be published. This gave me an overall look at what was going out, when it was going out and the steps that needed to be taken to make all of this happen.
But it also became clear that I could eliminate some assignments, streamline some processes, and make my writing process a lot simpler.
There are many reasons to create an editorial calendar, but here are my top four.
I discovered just how much content I was churning out in a month. I’ll be honest. At first it was overwhelming. I didn’t realize how much content I expected myself to produce in a month.
After being totally overwhelmed, I was, I have to say, proud of myself for creating that much original content.
When I added up all the words, just on blog posts, podcast prep, guest posts and social media, I realized I was writing the equivalent of one third of a book each month.
Are. You. Kidding. Me.
I am never allowed to use the word “lazy” about myself again.
It gave me a new respect for my work. This is huge.
I was able to be more decisive about my time. Am I working on writing that isn’t bringing a benefit to my ministry? There are a million opportunities to write, but, as my husband likes to remind me on a regular basis, “Our job is to manage the opportunities.”
I have to make sure that my writing is hitting at least one of these objectives and serving my audience well (and hopefully, it’s hitting more than one at a time).
- Targeted at growing my following
- Supporting another writer in their business or ministry
- Supporting our ministry financially
Looking at what I was writing every day, I spent some time recognizing that not everything I was pouring out was accomplishing my goals. (And I do write every day, except Sundays. Here’s how.) I needed to make sure the effort I was putting out was getting the maximum impact.
I never had to wake up and wonder what I was going to be writing about
Having an editorial calendar means never having to wonder what I’ll write about. I have a calendar of what I need to write about (taking the time to get your subjects thought out is the key to just getting to the writing…)
I can create systems to make my article as impactful as possible
When we are working hard at writing and supporting our communities online, on our blog and elsewhere, recognizing the work that goes into it, and treating those words with the respect they deserve, is vital.
What do I mean “treating those words with the respect they deserve”?
For years, I would write words, throw them up on a post or on social media, and hope and pray that something would strike a chord with my readers. Now, I realize, there has to be a lot more intentionality that goes into making my words have the impact that they deserve.
I need to schedule for the things that will make my words a success. Here are a few things I currently schedule before posting anything on my website or submitting to another publisher:
Editing – Everyone needs a second pair of eyes before they post. Do I have misspellings? Are my concepts unclear? Have I accidentally said something that will enrage an entire group of people? (If you want to enrage people on purpose, by all means.)
Graphics – Your post will only get noticed if you have a graphic to go with it. Either hire someone you love to do the graphics or go onto Fiverr.com and hire someone (for breathtakingly cheap) to make graphics for you.
SEO optimization— My website wasn’t showing up for the term “Clutter Free,” which is the emphasis of my ministry. My book consistently shows up for one of the top five spots, but that leads to an Amazon link and not my website. I’ve been super specific the last two months about SEO and making things as “Google-friendly” as possible:
- Having great titles that are SEO friendly.
- Using a website grader to find out where we were failing (website speed was keeping us from ranking well in anything.)
- Linking to other content on our website to up our authority.
After two months of being ranked on the third (and sometimes fourth) page of Google results, my site is now ranked on the first page. I may have done a Judd Nelson fist pump (like in The Breakfast Club) when I saw it.
By working on optimizing each post SEO-wise, I’m making sure that my hard-written words are getting the attention they deserve by people who are looking for the answers that I give.
Social Media promotion — Once the article has been written and the graphics have been created, it’s only right to share it with the world. This is where making sure it’s on Facebook (and in my case, Pinterest) and getting the exposure that it deserves, is vital.
Are you interested in creating your own editorial board? Join me in the Communicator Academy Facebook group on July 31st at 5:00 p.m. Pacific for my Facebook Live on all the how tos!