Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Editorial Calendar-How I Use It-Tuesday’s Tip

imageDo you use an editorial calendar to help you manage the content of your blog? I did not use one for the longest time after I first started blogging. I actually did not know what an editorial calendar was and I'm not sure where I got the idea to start using one for the first time. But now I cannot imagine trying to plan and organize my blog posts without using one.

You can look up the correct definition of an editorial calendar and you'll probably find several. However, for my basic needs I define it as a calendar to help manage what content I intend to post to my blog and when I want to publish that content.

There are several different forms or types of an editorial calendar. A popular type that I have seen and read about, especially for genealogy bloggers, is an excel spreadsheet. There are others that are plugins for your blogging platform, there are even companies that produce editorial calendar type software that you can pay for. I have tried the excel spreadsheet and also tried using my to-do list, toodledo.com. However, none of those really worked that well for me. The spreadsheet was just another document I had to open and maintain. The to-do list approach kind of worked and I still use it a little to manage posts but it didn't give me the overall picture I needed to see what I was going to post. So, I turned to google calendar.

I already use google, as do a lot of people. I have a few different accounts; one for the family, a personal account, and one for genealogy. Each account comes with a calendar and you can set them up to share/edit from your other accounts. The picture above shows my google editorial calendar. It does what I want and need an editorial calendar to do and I didn't have to spend a dime or make another document.

The calendar gives me a visual snapshot of my intended content for my blog. I can see where there are holes so when I am scheduling content I don't post too much in one day and leave other days completely blank. I’m spreading things out and trying to keep the blog fresh with new content and not dormant for too long.

The calendar lists all the posts that I've completed and intend to complete. When you add an event into the calendar, you have color coding options and you can also assign it a specific time (obviously because it is a calendar). I use both of these to help tell manage posts.

  • Red = I have not started writing that post yet.
  • Yellow = I have started writing but not complete.
  • Green with a time = Post is complete and scheduled to post on that day and at that time.

The red and yellow stand out more because they have no specific time assigned to them, that event is an all-day event. I like that because it makes them much more visible; staring me in the face saying "finish me".

I said that I have different accounts on google so I just use the calendar that comes with my genealogy account as my editorial calendar. I use my other google account calendars as regular calendars. For instance, the family account is where we put all our appointments and commitments. What is good with using your google calendars and sharing them is you can view more than one calendar at a time. The picture below is an excerpt from our family calendar with my genealogy calendar activated - both calendars are visible. I like this because I can see what posts I need to work on alongside any family commitments we may have which makes planning the time to work on posts a little easier. This calendar is not that full right now but wait a month or so when scouts and sports start up for our kids - I'll be very thankful I have this setup. image

If you only have one google account or you don't want to use two separate accounts, you can still have separate calendars which work just like mine. Google allows you to make additional calendars within your account. Here is a step by step if you don't know how to do that:

  1. Open your google calendar
  2. On the upper right corner, there is a cog wheel with an down facing arrow, click that.
  3. A menu will open, click on settings, you will now be in your google general calendar settings
  4. On the upper left, there are tabs, click on the calendars tab.
  5. The first section shows 'My Calendars', this is where any calendars that you currently can view and edit will show up. Go under that and click on 'create new calendar'. This brings up the new calendar setup.
  6. Name the calendar, type in a description if you want, make sure the calendar time zone is correct and then go to the top or bottom and hit 'create calendar' again
  7. You are sent back to your normal calendar view and on the left side of the screen, under the heading 'My Calendars' your new calendar should appear. You're done.

imageNow you can see and edit all your calendars at one time. If you want to hide one of the calendars, say you just want to see your blogging calendar, then go to the "My Calendars' on the left side and click on the calendars you want to hide. Click on it again to view it.

As I said, I did not use a editorial calendar at first but now it is a must-have for me. There are several different options to explore when creating one for you, google calendar is just the option that works best for me.

Do you use a different type of editorial calendar? Do you have any suggestions for how I use mine? If so, please leave a comment and let everyone know.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin' for that family.

Chris

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© 2014 copyright, Christopher Shaw

9 comments:

  1. I use a calendar to plan my blog posts. I used to use my Google calendar. But I have found it easier to use a paper calendar because of times I need to move things around. I find it easier to change and rewrite with a pencil & eraser. I would be lost without my calendar!

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    1. I used to live for my paper calendar for all things in life. But my biggest problem was forgetting it or where I left it. I like Google Calendar because nowadays I'm never far from some type of computer, tablet, phone that I can see it and edit it. But, as with all things, it is whatever works best for your situation.

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  2. This is great, Chris! (I'm a big fan of color coding too)

    That's one thing I like about WordPress - it has a built-in editorial calendar so I can write the titles of my posts and it just keeps them as drafts until I publish them. I can drag them around to whatever day I want. It makes it SO much easier.

    I wonder if it's possible to integrate your Google calendar into Blogger for this purpose.

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    1. The color coding helps grab my attention. I don't think blogger is that advanced to integrate with Google calendar - but one thing I like about Blogger is the simplicity.

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    2. I do the same thing, Jenny! I love the Editorial Calendar.

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  3. I started an excel spreadsheet for my blog to keep track of what topics I have covered. I also schedule posts and have a column for both a scheduled date and a completion date. What I like about this system is that I can simply add a sheet each year, so now I have a record of my entire blogging life in one document. However, I like what you have said about the Google calendar. Can it be saved from one year to the next?

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    1. I tried the excel sheet and I did like it for the quick reference of what I've covered but it just didn't work for me because it was another document to update. I'm already using Google calendar so it didn't add anything. Google calendar is saved back as far as I can tell. I just checked our family calendar and it still has our appointments from August 2012. I think I could do another post with the Google calendar capabilities. Thanks

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