Sunday, August 22, 2010

Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Social Media Presence


A calendar like a clock
Image via Wikipedia


Magazines, especially the ones that print once per month, have pretty much laid out what their content will be from month to month far in advance. It takes a great deal of work to write the articles, hire the models, shoot the photos, design the layout, and all that. Unlike your blog, on which you can basically pound out an update whenever you feel inspired, magazines require a great deal of lead time. So, they have editorial calendars.

We are not talking about personal blogs where you talk about your cats and pet peeves. If your blogging has a business purpose of some sort, then this is whom I intend to reach. Trying to come up with something creative and original every day or every week can be difficult. It is especially so without a plan in place.

I realize it sounds contradictory to say that you need to have a plan in place so you can be creative. It really does help. Many times, when we don't know what to write about, it is because there are too many options. If you narrow it down to certain topics or even points far in advance, it gives you time to formulate your blog post. This way, when the time comes for you to sit down to write, it just flows out of you. You know what needs to be said, it's just a matter of saying it creatively.

Even if your editorial calendar does not change too much from year to year, there are many ways to say the same thing. The value in this is that stated one way, you may reach certain parts of your audience; stated another way, your content will reach another part of your audience. You can vary the tone, style, relate it to a recent experience, and so many other options.

Planning ahead can keep your social media message on track; but furthermore, gives your creativity some direction. Yes, we all have days in which we don't particularly feel inspired. This can be overcome by not having to make things up out of thin air, through an editorial calendar.

So, how do you get one started? The easiest way is to create a spreadsheet with months and days ahead. Start filling in the blanks with ideas. You can be as granular as planning every single day. Or, you may want to give each day of the week a theme. Some people even give a theme to the whole month.

Whatever your preference, having a plan can help you churn out content consistently and at high quality.


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