I have a confession to make. I write without an editorial calendar.
Every, single day, I sit down at 5 a.m. and think, “What should I write about today?”
In some cases, I have blog posts percolating in my head for several days, as I research and learn more.
In other cases, when I sit down at my computer, I have no idea what is going to make it onto the page.
It’s silly. I know. The rest of Spin Sucks runs on an editorial calendar. Lindsay Bell keeps things moving beautifully, from that perspective.
For instance, our theme for January is measurement. I love measurement and data and metrics, but there is no way I could write about it every day for an entire month.
I’d be bored, which means you’d most definitely be bored.
That’s why, when I give you some advice, I do so with a large grain of salt.
Create an Editorial Calendar
Create an editorial calendar.
This will help you avoid that “what to write now” panic and keep you on track.
In other words, don’t slack like I do nearly every day.
An editorial calendar is simply a schedule of content topics that ensure you always have a supply written, visual, and auditory content.
But, there is a better way to plan your content, which is actually what I do at least once a month to give blog posts lots of legs. Think of your content as a millipede. It has a body—the main topic—and it has up to 200 subtopics.
Create your millipede—or content map—by drawing a series of circles.
Start with one large circle in the middle of the page. This is your main topic.
From that circle, try drawing six or more medium-sized circles. These are your sub-topics.
From those circles, you’ll draw several small circles on each, which will serve as your supportive base.
For my speech at Content Marketing World last October (and I’m speaking again this year so come hang out!), I created a content map using a blog post I wrote on how to produce content that gets read and shared.
“Writing blog posts,” then, becomes the main topic.
The sub-theme is more refined, such as “tricks to writing popular blog posts” and “generate blog post ideas.”
These go into your medium-sized circles.
Then, the small circles surrounding that one circle is content you can produce on that one topic.
For instance, create a debate between someone in your office and an industry influencer (Paul Sutton and I like to do this once or twice a year) or talk about trends around the topic or interview an industry influencer (Heidi Cohen does this really well).
These go into the small circles.
Continue that until you’ve exhausted all of your ideas.
Now, after doing this for the example, you have your main topic, six sub-topics, and four pieces of content as your supportive base.
You now have 11 pieces of content that help extend your main piece and begin to showcase your expertise.
An Editorial Calendar Helps Search
Staying with the same “writing blog posts” topic as the example above, the goal is to create expertise around blogging and the types of content one would create to encourage people not to just to read it, but to share it.
That main piece of content lives on your website or blog and the sub-topics and supportive base all link to it.
Now, no matter where your other content lives—on your website, on your blog, on the LinkedIn publishing platform, on other social networks, or you’ve guest written for another blog or publication—Google knows you are the authority on this topic.
It also tells human beings who see your content that you have expertise on this topic and it’s highly likely they’ll click over and read your main piece.
Don’t be lazy like me. Create an editorial calendar. I promise it’s well worth the few minutes of time it’ll take to draw your circles and fill them in.
image credit: Andy Crestodina again. I can’t escape him!