By Alt Channel teacher Chris Gardner. Photography by Marcin Wichary.
Maintaining an editorial calendar for your site is essential for two reasons: it helps you create original content, and it helps you make money from your original content. For more on the first aspect, see part one: Creating Consistency and Motivation with an Editorial Calendar.
An editorial calendar gives you a framework in which to plan original content, allowing you to focus on something specific. It also helps you not become overwhelmed with potential ideas. It allows you to find the right guest bloggers, set-up interviews with the right people, and keep track of good ideas and potential posts. Conveniently, having consistency to your content is also what makes it profitable – whether you’re working with advertisers and sponsors, or selling your own goods. When you know what you’re going to write about, your audience and advertisers know what they’re going to get.
Having an editorial calendar as a major feature of your sponsorship packet shows potential advertisers that you’re serious, and that your site is a safe place to invest money and time. Marketing folks have different kinds of money to spend during different parts of the year, and they’re going to be looking for people to work with who are already set-up to be talking about their product offering. If you’ve done the work and planned your focus, you can just tell them, “This is when I’m concentrating on that, and this is what it will look like.” Potential advertiser love when you’ve done their job for them, and they’re happy to pay you for it.
When you’re planning your seasonal focus, think about the products and services that particularly relate to those times. Consider what sorts of roundups or shopping guides might work. Think about the clothing and accessories, the tools and media, and the stores with a similar outlook. Begin to interact and reach out with potential advertisers.
This doesn’t mean you have to sell out and make your blog a commercial for brands. But brands sell products, whether it’s somebody’s else’s blog, a small Etsy shop, or a fashion line. Brands don’t sell lifestyles (that’s what design bloggers do); brands sell products. They’re going to want to see that your content regularly matches the kind of thing that they want to sell. So you have to find some way to discuss consumable goods. This may be with the tools you use to make your art, the designers you trust, or what you like to give people for their birthday. This will be easier or harder depending on the subject matter you cover in your blog. You will need to be creative in finding the right way to engage commerce on your site. You’ll have to do it for free for awhile, but if you keep it a priority on your editorial calendar, eventually it can become a significant source of income.