Whether you’re a business owner looking to drive sales, or a freelancer searching for a new income stream, you know one thing—blogging can be an extremely effective tool.
However, the key is this: you must keep your blog and content marketing consistent. This is crucial in order to connect with your audience.
Of course, starting a blog is easier said than done—especially if writing and editing aren’t your strong points. Between understanding what your audience will want to read, and, of course, the actual writing portion, blogging can involve a steep learning curve.
Setting yourself up for blogging success starts with careful planning. No matter whether you’re looking to start blogging full-time or simply adding a weekly blog into your overall marketing strategy, the key is to stay organized.
Having an editorial calendar means you’ve taken the time to thoughtfully plan out your blog posts on your overall strategy. It’s a way to keep up with your blog posts at each stage of the blog writing process, from ideation to hitting the “publish” button.
Here are 5 editorial calendar tools that are lifesavers in streamlining the blogging process.
A simple spreadsheet is a great way to ease yourself into using a content calendar, and there’s nothing simpler than using spreadsheets on Google Drive.
This is a complimentary service that comes with setting up a free Google account. You can use an existing template for a content calendar spreadsheet, or come up with your own and include whatever sections you need such as title, date to be published, keywords to target, author, etc.
Once you have the calendar set up, you can simply update it with new blog post ideas and fill in the necessary fields as you go. (If you’re looking for a great starter template, check out this free download from Hubspot.)
This is also a great tool if you have several members on your team, thanks to the easy sharing function.
Of course, a Google Doc won’t update automatically to get rid of old posts or mark them as completed—you will have (or will have to delegate someone) to make sure the calendar is continually up-to-date.
WordPress is an excellent CMS that many bloggers find success with.
Luckily, this simple-to-use plugin is free. You can see each post you’ve already scheduled ahead of you in an intuitive calendar layout. And, if something comes up and you need to change the schedule, you can simply drag and drop a post to a different date.
Additionally, this plugin lets you go in and edit your posts directly from the calendar—no need to waste time going back and forth between the calendar and your WordPress dashboard.
If you often find yourself working on multiple blog posts at once—Trello is a must. Thanks to its intuitive column format, it’s an excellent tool for project management.
Once you’ve set up your dashboard, you can easily add projects and drag and drop them as you make progress. Whether you have a lot of members on your team to coordinate, or if you are used to juggling a lot of projects at once, Trello makes it easy to break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps.
This app lets you break your workflow process into however many steps you need, assign tasks, set permissions for different users, track the progress of a project in real-time, and much more.
It’s great for collaborating, as you and your team members can easily see exactly where exactly each project stands and what’s coming down the pipeline at any moment.
On top of keeping track of an editorial calendar, you’ll also need to work out your social media calendar.
Content DJ is just that: an all-in-one marketing tool that takes care of any organization a blogger would need. In addition to full editorial calendar capabilities, this app helps you curate content to share on your social media channels.
It also analyzes your shared content about performance and gives you insights into what resonates with your followers the most.
This app also lets you track your social media growth over time so you can see what kind of content works, and what doesn’t.
Your editorial calendar is not just about making the process of blogging easier on yourself; it’s about incorporating your blog into an overall marketing strategy.
CoSchedule is an excellent calendar tool that streamlines your blogging process by keeping everything in one place. You can add multiple team members, easily assign tasks and due dates, as well as automatically schedule your social media sharing from the same place as your content schedule.
CoSchedule also offers powerful analytics to help you make your blog content even better.
No matter what you’re looking for in an editorial calendar, the right tool is out there. Start small with a free app like Google Drive before you decide to upgrade to something more automated. You’ll quickly see how much simpler blogging is when you put effort into staying organized.
What other tools have you found helpful?
Ryan Gould is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing, a B2B marketing agency. Ryan helps medium and large brands improve sales and market share by developing integrated marketing experiences distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement, and conversion.
Here’s what to do next…
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