To run a marathon, run one step at a time. To write an article, write one word at a time.
Fired by our passions to do well and achieve, we rush to get started – running two, three steps at a time – only to trip and fall hard. Slightly dazed, we’ll look around and ask ourselves: “What happened?!”
Slow down! Take your time to plan and organize before you begin in order to take one assured step at a time. One tremendously successful method to plan your writing efforts to create an annual Editorial Calendar.
By keeping an annual Editorial Calendar, you can easily keep track of your monthly, weekly, and daily activity throughout the year. This allows you to track your overall article goals, plan the number of articles you want to write, make sure your social media efforts stay on track, and even pre-plan for holidays and other news-worthy events (e.g., presidential elections, award shows, etc.). In turn, you will always be ready to provide the content your audience wants when they’re craving it.
Plan Monthly Themes and a Strategy
First, get a 12-month calendar. If your calendar doesn’t have holidays or observances in it already, add any that are relevant to your audience. Add annual events that your audience recognizes or participates in (e.g., tax season, seasonal farmer’s markets, banned books week, big sporting events, etc.).
Next, create a list of the months and brainstorm relevant themes for each month that are relevant to your niche and in the hearts and minds of your readers.
Finally, coordinate your goals with your monthly themes by planning weekly topics that relate to the month’s original theme.
Let’s say you write for the Health and Fitness: Weight Loss niche and your goal is to write 200 articles this year. If you write 4 articles every week, you will have achieved this goal and more. Using your Editorial Calendar, pre-plan your writing strategy.
The following is an example of an Editorial Calendar breakdown for January:
January Theme: Weight Loss Resolutions
Week 1: Setting weight-loss goals and making resolutions
Week 2: Exercise Plans
Week 3: Food and Diet
Week 4: Integrating into routine to get results
Monday: Idea generation day! Set aside a specific amount of time today to research and outline the 4 articles you plan to write this week. Share any articles published last week on social media, websites, blogs, etc.
Tuesday and Wednesday: Write 2 articles on both of these days for a total of 4 articles this week.
Thursday: Proofread and edit all 4 articles (thoroughly). Submit articles.
Friday: Look to the next week. Find out what your audience is talking about by researching the web for news-worthy events or trends as well as find buzz-worthy books. Consider how you can implement those topics into your niche and keep a notebook to capture ideas whenever they occur.
As they say, rinse and repeat. Once you make this strategy a part of your routine every day, every week, and every month, it’ll become easier and second nature.
Planning helps minimize uncertainties, makes your goals and objectives clear, reduces stress, and gives you a competitive edge. Keeping an Editorial Calendar will help you stay one step ahead of the competition by laying out a clear short and long-term plan for your article writing success.
Do you use an Editorial Calendar to plan your writing efforts? Are there any other methods or strategies that you use to make sure you hit your writing goals and stay on track? We’d love to hear them, please share your comments!