Confession: We went years without a legitimate editorial calendar for our blog.
I know. We’re not proud of it either.
Sure, we still got posts out, but it wasn’t strategic at all. Also, we never had a good 10,000-foot view of where we were going.
Then we started adding more blog contributors, held monthly blog meetings and wanted to be more strategic. The most essential tool that has helped us stay organized? Our editorial calendar.
Since we’ve implemented an editorial calendar, we’ve seen our blog traffic go up, our post quality become better, and our topic breadth widen. No longer are we sapped for blog ideas. No longer are we scrambling at the last minute to get a post out.
We are the embodiment of one of those before and after pictures. You know, the guy that was all flabby and gross then got a Soloflex and turned into this shredded He-Man?
That’s us now! We no longer talk the talk about editorial calendars and how important they are blah blah blah. We actually live and breathe it.
What makes our editorial calendar template so freaking awesome?!
Well, nothing really. Like the Soloflex, it’s useless if you don’t actually use it. This is just a place to start. It’s the same template that we use for our blog. We got the original template from our friends at Curata and made some modifications to simplify it.
I can’t tell you how many spreadsheets I’ve made with a million columns and fields thinking “This will be the most organized comprehensive spreadsheet EVERRRR!” only to discover people are using 1/8 of the fields. Through trial and error, we whittled down our calendar to just the facts, ma’am.
BOOM! Each month has its own tab.
We used to have just one tab. For the WHOLE YEAR. And every time I opened that thing I was scrolling to the bottom (then I’d scroll too far and have to scroll back up). Real agony, I tell ya.
Now we’ve made each month it’s own little digestable morsel of planning. That way you can go directly to the month you need and not have to sift through content of days past.
For those late-night blog post ideas that come in your dreams, but you never had a place to record them?
Yup, there’s a tab for that.
We always come up with great blog post ideas and we’re all like, “Oh man, that’s awesome! That’s so funny. Kewl!” [High-fives all around.]
And then the next day, when we try to remember it, we’re like “I think it was something about a guy, riding a buffalo or something? And how that was a metaphor for…something?”
It only took us forgetting dozens of ideas that we finally realized that we needed a place to store our genius. And what better place to put it than in the document where we have our editorial calendar, right? Behold, the “Blog Post Ideas” tab!
Say goodbye to those annoying emails that read: “Hey, can you send me the login for [insert app, site, whatever here]?”
That’s right! We added a login tab.
Logins. The bane of every business.
And nothing’s worse than finally getting motivated to get something done and then you try and login to access that thing you needed and you can’t. And then you have to email IT and wait for a response. And by the time they respond, you’ve lost the eye of the tiger and you don’t get around to doing what you originally set out to do.
We get it.
Now, when I want to get a bunch of images from iStock or use Canva to put a birthday hat on Buddy, I don’t have to annoy someone and wait for login credentials.
Do you know a lot of tools in your life?
If so, we added a tools tab, too.
So many tools. So little time. And no, I’m not talking about your work colleagues. I’m talking about those awesome SEO articles, keyword finder tools, blog idea generator thingies that you find on the web but then forget about them later.
We created a tab for tools, articles, and information that is worth bookmarking (without the bookmarks). Now, if you see a great article, you can simply include it here. Will anyone actually read these articles or use these tools? I don’t know. But like Buck Russell and his hatchet, it’s good to know you have it when you need it.
We harnessed the power of the checklist: the SEO checklist.
Surgeons use checklists to avoid killing people. It’s true. The World Health Organzations asked Atul Gawande to improve surgical safety procedures. He created the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist and reduced surgery complications by 36% and death rates by 47% thanks to checklists.
I’m not saying that content is a matter of life and death. But I understand if optimizing a post for SEO feels like brain surgery.
And if surgeons are smart enough to use checklists, you should too.
We kept it relatively simple with an SEO checklist tab. We gathered some of the best practices in SEO and included them here for you. You can also add any additional SEO items specific to your team needs.
The part on the tab called “Nice to haves” is a reminder to our writers that although we don’t demand it for every post, it’s nice to have internal links to other blog posts.
However you use it, this is a great place to keep SEO reminders for your blog posts.
Except one thing.
I created this in Google Docs. We live and die by Google Docs. If your team is like ours, can upload this seamlessly to Google Drive and everything should sync beautifully.
“YEAH, YEAH. STOP RAMBLING. WHERE’S THE TEMPLATE I WAS PROMISED?!”
Oh yeah. You need that.
Click this link. Then, send us a blood sample (or hair sample) and we’ll mail it to you in 4-5 weeks.
Just kidding. But seriously, you’re a click away.