Blogging schedules, or blogger editorial calendars are weird. Most bloggers don’t blog by regular calendar time, but work far in advance. There are some perks to this method….
Many people start looking for tips about holidays and special events early on to get a jump start on their holiday planning. If it’s a week to Christmas you don’t want to just be posting about which gifts are best or how to plan the perfect holiday meal. People have already found that content elsewhere and won’t need it at your blog.
If you are allowed ads on your posts (if you blog for a client) OR if you own your own blogs with ads, again, people are looking to click on them way before, not right before a holiday.
If you blog a topic that requires extra time for tasks, people need tips early not late. One example is a garden blog. You’re not going to post, “How to grow your own Thanksgiving veggies” in late November, you’re going to post something like that in late summer so people can actually do it. Another example is Back to School time. Posting tips about how to save money on college textbooks is less valuable in September than it would be in July.
How to plan your yearly blog calendar…
In January, grab a calendar (or make a list on your computer) of events you’ll want to blog throughout the year. Of course this varies by topic. It’s useful to have an actual list, because when you’re busy blogging and living life, it’s easy to forget about upcoming holidays.
I usually make sure I write down all of my various blogs in my calendar, because the topics vary, as do the holidays and events I should be blogging about. I also write in the holidays or events when I should be blogging about them, not when they actually happen. For instance, I’ve got back to school time jotted down in my calendar in July, not September.
Timely topics you should have on your calendar include…
Note – while all of the below may not relate to your blog topic, there’s almost always a way to make it relate. That said, if you can’t make it relate in a meaningful way I’d skip it.
- All the major holidays – although in my opinion you should blog what you know. For example while I will do a post or two on an eco-friendly Hanukkah, I celebrate, and therefore know more about Christmas, so I tend to focus on that.
- All the obscure holidays and events that apply only to your topic – like Earth Day and World Peace Day for a green blog, National Salad Day for a garden blog, World Breastfeeding Week for a baby blog, Blog Action Day for a blogging blog, or National Breast Cancer Month for a health blog.
- Events that are seasonal but not holidays – back to school, choosing a summer camp, weatherizing your home for winter, getting ready for spring, etc.
How soon ahead should you blog timely topics?
People differ in their opinion on this but for me it depends on the actual holiday/event. I’m mainly a green blogger so Earth Day is a huge time of the year for me. I start blogging about it well in advance; usually about 1.5 to 2 months ahead of schedule. As a parent it’s easy for me to gauge topic time frames for things like back to school or kid Christmas safety, because I’m thinking about it early, so I know other parents must be too. I tend to kick off major holidays at least a month in advance. Smaller events, that are more fun knowledge than useful, like say, national ice cream day I might post a day early or on the day of, because they’re just not as big a deal.
Where to get ideas for your annual blog calendar…
- 2010 Federal Holidays
- 2010 holidays and observances – aka basics and some kooky events too.
- National health observances – i.e. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, World Alzheimer’s Day, and so on.
Eco-minded events and observances
- Holiday insights
- Bank and national holidays for the US, UK, Ireland, & Scotland.
- If you write a local blog, head to your state’s website and look for an events calendar.
- Also pay attention to PR people. They work far ahead of time, so going by the emails they’re sending you is a good idea.
While you’re at it, why not plan your 2010 freelance writing strategy too.