I’ve been trying for the past forty-five minutes to write this week’s article. You want to know the problem? Too many ideas!
I’ve had fits and starts with everything from promoting your book once it’s written to WHY you need to promote your book; an analogy that books are to marking today what websites were to marketing (and credibility) in the early 2000’s. And another analogy about how books are like life rafts! I even managed to work in a plug for a new teleseminar I’ll be offering later this year.
None of those fits, starts, and ideas actually BECAME an article though.
Because I am not working from a plan!
In the publishing world we call it an editorial calendar. It’s where you sit down and outline the next [BLANK] articles. I think most people are familiar with an editorial calendar as it relates to magazines. But they’re dead-useful for blogs, newsletters, and articles as well.
An editorial calendar takes a list of articles you COULD write one step further and makes it into a timeframe. For example, I publish an article here every Tuesday. An editorial calendar takes into account what topics I want to cover, any news or events I know are on the horizon, and then helps me merge it together.
I don’t use my editorial calendar as gospel. Sometimes, research doesn’t come together, exciting events take place that I’d rather write upon, or when I get to an article’s topic I find I don’t want to write about it, it’s no longer relevant, or I covered it as part of another topic. But having that calendar gives me a framework for my next six weeks (the time frame I use) AND keeps me from “wasting” nearly an hour on the night of my deadline!
I’ve used editorial calendars to great success in the past with my other business, TheOutdoorPrincess.com. Notice the sparseness and irregular posting recently? Yep, I got away from using the calendar and the quality and quantity of articles has suffered.
I recommend this free resource PDFcalendar.com for your editorial calendar. (And yes, go old school and HAND WRITE it out!) Just print out a month at a time, landscape, and outline the articles you want to cover in the next month. Be sure to build in time to research articles and/or line up guest authors! It also helps when you’ll be searching for stock images or taking your own to know what you’ll need when!
Oh, and all those ideas I had? I’ll be working them into the calendar over the next six weeks!