By: Chris Gardner Image by: Barbara Miers
An editorial calendar is a useful and necessary tool throughout
the year, but it’s absolutely essential during October, November, and December.
Creative inspiration is everywhere, your traffic will be up, and you want to
set yourself up for the season as best you can. Here are five tips to follow to
help you stay productive:
1) Plan them all at
once. Set aside a day, an afternoon, a weekend, and layout the rest of the
calendar year. Why? Because a lot of your content will interact with each
other. A fall DIY tutorial can work for during October and November, and you’ll
want to know what’s coming up so you can reference a Halloween-time harvest
post around Thanksgiving, for example. A table scape or centerpiece project can
work for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, or even New Year’s, etc.
2) Get started early. Everyone
knows the grump who always remarks that the Christmas stuff comes out
immediately after Halloween, and grumble, grumble, grumble. Ignore them.
There’s a reason the media (that’s you) needs to get a head start on the
holidays. The content has to be ready and accessible in time for your readers
to find it, engage with it, and (hopefully), do something with it: make the
projects, try the recipes, buy the goods, use the designs, etc. You want your content
to be shared on social media and reblogged on other sites, etc, so give your
peers time to find it.
3) Order things
logically. Think about the ways holidays progress. What’s the order most of
your readers will live into the season? Which elements come first? Decor?
Clothing? Gifts? Costumes? Event planning? Food? Plan your content so that it
publishes a week before you think your readers actually need it. For example,
your December gift guides need to be done before Thanksgiving, but your wrapping
tutorials and ideas can come a little later. Your cookie recipes can happen in
mid-December, but the majority of your garland, wreath, and other decor tips
need to happen at the beginning of the month.
4) Reuse and interact. The
biggest benefits of planning all your content at once is that you can repurpose
and reuse. So, if you publish a great gift tag idea, find several more, and
publish a DIY gift tag idea roundup the following week with yours as an entry.
If you make an ornament and a tree garland tutorial, you can photograph the
feature images (i.e. on the tree) at the same time, and then reference the
other tutorial in your post copy. Publish your own handmade gift ideas, and
then share your giving list, linking back to your project, etc.
5) Promote. Like
crazy. Make sure all your images are Pinterest friendly, and take the extra
time to create collages, add text to your photos, and include a couple feature
photos that other bloggers can use. Try to do a content exchange with your
peers. And most importantly, email blogs that are bigger than you and share
your original content. Trust me: they want it this time of year. In fact, if
you come up with something amazing, I invite you to share it with me for
consideration on my site, Curbly. Just send along a photo and a link to Chris@curbly.com.
On October 7th,
I’ll be teaching a whole course on content planning and editorial calendars,
with special attention to using your calendar to grow your blog. Come join us.