#31WBGB: Develop an Editorial Calendar

#31WGBGWelcome back to another week of 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog!  Can you believe that we are over a third of the way through?  Last week we spent some time brainstorming post ideas.  This week our topic is planning a posting schedule (aka editorial calendar) to keep up with all those ideas.

Benefits of an Editorial Calendar

Putting all your ideas into a schedule may seem too structured or a waste of time, but it really will help you build a better blog.

  • Never again be stuck thinking, “What am I going to write about”
  • Free up your mind to do the actual writing
  • Help you organize your time
  • Give consistency to your blog
  • Allow you to identify trends and lulls in your content

Setting up an Editorial Calendar

Decide how often you want to publish.  Three times a week?  Every day?  Only on Mondays?  You need to know which slots to fill on your calendar.  I shoot for three or four posts a week; it doesn’t always work out that way, but the calendar helps me keep track.

Pick a tracking format that works for you.  I use a spreadsheet, because I’m a spreadsheet kind of girl.  I have columns for date published, day of week, category, topic (and any notes to myself related to the post), and date written (the last one helps me with my To-Do post wrap-ups – you may not need it).  I also color-code my calendar.  Yellow means the post is already published or scheduled.  Pink means the post must be published on this day if at all possible, but it hasn’t been published yet (all unwritten 31 Weeks posts are pink, for example).  White means it’s just an idea or draft at this point.

You could set up a similar system in a word-processing table.  Or you could use an actual calendar, like Google Calendar.  If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, there is even a nifty plug-in that lets you see your posting schedule in calendar format.  (Denise at Moultrie Creek Gazette has a great post on the plug-in here.)

Let me add that just because you put something on the calendar on a certain date, doesn’t mean you are locked into publishing on that date (or even writing it at all).  I move things around all the time, often because I wrote something on the fly, so I pushed a scheduled post back.

Other Ways to Use an Editorial Calendar

  • You may want to set up a weekly or monthly series for your blog.  For example, I publish these “31 Weeks” posts on Sunday, my To-Do posts at the first of the month and To-Do wrap-up posts at the end of the month.  My spreadsheet makes it easy to slot those posts into the appropriate day/date.
  • Do you participate in any of the geneablogger memes?  Slot those in.
  • Schedule by post type – for example, you could write link posts on Monday, list posts on Wednesday, and review posts on Friday, etc.  These don’t have to be weekly, by the way; a monthly schedule works also.

Action Items

  1. Think about how you can implement an editorial calendar in a way that works for you.
  2. Take action on that plan and tell us what you are going to do in the comments.  If you already have a process that works for you, share it with us.

If you are just joining us, then “welcome.” You can read the kick-off post about 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog here.  Feel free to start with this week’s reading and action items – you are not behind!


This week’s prize is a Legacy Family Tree Webinar on CD called “More Blogging for Beginners” presented by DearMYRTLE.  The description of this webinar from the Legacy site (affiliate link) says:

Back by popular demand, DearMYRTLE continues her discussion about free software at Blogger.com to get your message out to the world. This session’s topics include adding gadgets such as links to other websites, add book suggestions from Amazon.com, removing the Blogger search bar and inserting a Google Search box to make it easier for your readers to find previous postings.

If you’d like to enter for a chance to win this webinar, leave a comment on this entry with your editorial calendar plans or process. You must be a US resident to win. The contest ends at 11:59 pm on Saturday, September 24, 2011. Winner will be drawn randomly.

Series Navigation<< #31WBGB: Come Up With 10 Post Ideas#31WBGB: Update a Key Page >>

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  1. says

    I guess I jumped the gun with the last topic, since my comment there was an example of how I use the editorial calendar. I’m a spreadsheet junkie too, and I’ve already set one up.

    One suggestion I have is that I include a column for tags. It keeps me organized and also helps me make sure not to leave a cross-reference out. I will be using the GeneaBloggers’ topics as well, adding one or two of my own.

  2. says

    This was more difficult for me. Pre-determined schedules don’t always work for me. I adopted your idea of using a spreadsheet to organize the potential blog posts. I have targeted #31WBGB posts to be published on Friday. Since my wife and I will be on the road this Friday (going to the Black Hills of South Dakota for a little camping vacation), I wrote the post today, but it will be automatically published on Friday. You should be able to find it at http://geneapoppop.blogspot.com/2011/09/31wbgb-develop-an-editorial-calendar.html
    GeneaPopPop (Bart Brenner)´s last blog post ..#100 – Some Learnings Along the Way

  3. says

    I have a couple of stand-by prompts I use and rearrange other things as the mood strikes me. I need to get better about writing ahead of time, but I’m quite thrilled to find the Geneablogger’s Editorial Calendar to help me out: http://www.geneabloggers.com/genealogy-blog-editorial-calendar-q4-2011/ and I also use the WordPress Editorial Calendar plug-in to help me see it laid out clearly. http://stresslimitdesign.com/editorial-calendar-plugin
    Dana´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday: Harvey & Laura (Lincoln) Cornell

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