Sure, it's nice to have a traditional calendar that has general topics listed for every day of the week. It's even nicer if the traditional calendar is pretty to look at. Who doesn't like pretty things?
However, we're blogging with purpose and unless our purpose with our blog is to be just like everyone else and to be pretty while we're doing it, then we're going to need an editorial calendar that helps us map out our blogging strategy for a certain amount of time in the future. And sometimes that's not pretty, but this strategy will definitely help you to be more organized, will help you to be more purposeful, and will help to distinguish your blog from all the rest in the search engines. [Oh yeah.]
So here's a 3rd Quarter Editorial Calendar. There are no topics listed. [Gasp!] There are no pretty pictures. [Another Gasp! And quite possibly a heart palpitation.] It doesn't even have a very creative name. [Disgrace.]
What it does have are points that just about every blog post you write as a genealogy blogger should have in it. All points I've covered or points I will cover here on BloggingGenealogy.com [just as soon as my Editorial Calendar says I should].
The following are the points it covers with some explanation:
- Date to Publish ~ The date you plan to publish the blog post.
- Topic ~ The topic you've chosen to write on for this particular blog post or for a series of blog posts.
- Title ~ Yes, this needs to be done ahead of time. Can always revise later.
- Question to be Answered ~ Remember: You aren't blogging for yourself anymore. You're blogging for your audience.
- Call to Action ~ What do you want your reader to do after reading your blog post?
- Cliffhanger ~ Preview of what's to come next on your blog. [Why should the reader come back?]
- Format ~ Blog post, article, video, podcast, webinar, white papers, etc.
- Share ~ How do you plan to share your blog posts with others? Other websites, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, blog, email, Google Plus, etc.
- Lagniappe ~ Do you plan to give a little extra gift to your reader? What? Examples: white papers, templates, worksheets, forms, etc.
- Status ~ Planning, In Process, Complete
We could go on and on. For example, if we do webinars, then we might write up a blog post introducing it, and the blog post will be SO compelling that all our reader wants to do after reading our blog post is sign up for our webinar. So, in our editorial calendar we might want to have a column for extra work like needing to add the URL to sign up for the webinar to the blog post. Or we could add that in the Call to Action column.
Or we might want to make a Landing Page for our webinar and sign up. These are all extra tasks. Therefore, we might want to add a column for them. [I didn't because I'm trying to keep this doable for everyone ~ Cousin Hunters, Genealogical Societies, Professional Genealogists, and Genealogy-related Businesses.]
[And here's where I lose the proverbial mouse in my pocket.]
I use the word "column" because this Editorial Calendar is an MS Excel Spreadsheet [Stop groaning.], and my nod to "pretty" is that I added colors to differentiate between weekdays and weekends. Why? Because I don't blog on the weekends. [Usually.] But your blogging purposes might be [Read: Should be.] different than mine, and you can change that up if you like.
So. Are you currently using an editorial calendar? What kind of editorial calendar do you use? Is it helping you to write...like everyone else? Does it help you to write purposefully? [That's the Call to Action.]
And? Oh yeah. I almost forgot. If you'd like a 3rd Quarter Editorial Calendar in MS Excel format with an example sheet [just cuz I love ya'] then download it below. [That's the Lagniappe.]
And? Will you be going to Southern California Genealogical Society's 2012 Jamboree? Well, on Saturday I'll be one of the panelists on Thomas MacEntee's Blogger Summit Panel, Blog Your Ancestors: Read 'Em and Find 'Em. Come join us!! [Kind of a Call to Action. And kind of a Cliffhanger cuz I'll be blogging later about my experience. And kind of a Lagniappe. And definitely a warning. Oops, I mean an invitation. ;) ]
UIpdate: If you don't have MS Excel, then I converted it to Google Docs [which is now Google Drive], and here is the link to that version which is fully editable [That's editable, not edible. Though, I think it's delectable. ;) ]: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsGGFtC_UviedFNZY0tSSmlQUy0xUnJ5NXVvcWtJa3c&hl=en#gid=0