Think back to junior high. (You know, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.) You had a long day at school, but the night is winding down, you’re watching a VHS your mom rented from Blockbuster, and all of a sudden, it hits you.
You have a book report due tomorrow.
And you haven’t read past Chapter Two.
Of “War and Peace.” (It’s an advanced junior high school.)
Panic sets in. What are you going to do? You are SO not prepared! You’re gonna be up all night with your nose in a book so you can write 1,000 words on Leo Tolstoy! This is the worst feeling in the WORLD.
A lot of entrepreneurs still experience this feeling all the time.
How? By not coming up with a plan for their blog.
Everyone knows by now that you need a blog for your business. It gives people a reason to link to your site on social media. It increases the know, like, and trust factor that turns strangers into customers. It’s even good for that ever-elusive SEO value. But knowing that you need a blog and actually maintaining one are two very, VERY different things!
So imagine another scenario for me, okay? You had a long day at work, but the night is winding down, you’re watching some Netflix, and all of a sudden, IT HITS YOU.
You have to post your weekly blog tomorrow.
And you have NO idea what to write about.
(This feels a little familiar, right?)
Panic sets in – or at the very least, frustration! What are you supposed to do? What are you gonna write about? It feels like you’ve already written everything there is to know – and who’s reading this stuff, anyway? This is a SERIOUS pain in the rear!
This is what we call “panic blogging.”
Panic blogging is that familiar sensation you get when it’s time for you to write a blog entry and you just. Aren’t. Prepared. Maybe you like to post a new blog entry every Friday, which doesn’t sound that stressful – until Friday rolls around and you have so much on your plate that you can’t even think of an idea!
This is why panic blogging affects everyone – NOT just beginners!
You could keep up with that Friday routine for weeks and weeks on end, but one of these days, you might just draw a blank – and last-minute panic won’t be far behind.
Panic blogging leads to bad things – whether it’s missing a post or publishing one that reflects badly on your business. The only way to avoid panic blogging is to PLAN AHEAD.
This is why you need to start using an editorial calendar.
Now, the idea of using an editorial calendar may make it sound like you’re making things more complicated than they need to be – actually, though, using an editorial calendar makes your life way, WAY easier.
If you were going to the store to buy your groceries for the week, would you make a list first? Or would you get there and just start randomly grabbing whatever looked good? (That’s a great way to end up with a cart full of Oreos, by the way.)
Using an editorial calendar is the exact same idea – it’s just your way of staying organized so you know exactly what you need, when you need it. Here, take a look at mine:
You can see that I have it all laid out for myself – when I plan on posting something, when I need to have it written by, and all kinds of other details that are just out of sight (hey, a girl’s gotta have SOME secrets).
My calendar is filled out like this WAY in advance, so I never have to wonder what I’m going to be writing about from one post to the next – and that saves me a LOT of headaches!
Your editorial calendar is only as complicated as you make it.
Nobody ever said you have to go as crazy in-depth as I do, though. As long as you can keep yourself organized and plan ahead, your editorial calendar can be as simple as you want!
Literally ALL you have to do is make a calendar, decide how often you feel comfortable blogging (remember, quality over quantity), and plot out what you’re going to post and when.
Even if you put off the actual writing until the day you publish your post, it’s a million times easier to actually sit down and get your post written if you already know what you’re going to be writing about!
So here’s what you’re going to do next.
It’s time to put a stop to panic blogging. It’s not good for your business, and it’s NOT good for your blood pressure!
Instead of assuming that you’ve got things allllll under control and waiting until the last minute, you’re going to start thinking of blog topics now. You don’t even have to put them in an editorial calendar yet – though I’ve got some in-depth guidance for you when you’re ready for that step.
For now, just start keeping a list of possible topics. Put a notepad by your computer, or next to the cash register, or on the bathroom sink – they say you can get some of your best ideas in the shower! Anytime you think of something that’s worth writing about on your blog, jot it down.
Before long, you’ll have a nice, long list of topics to choose from – and no matter how often you’re blogging for your website, you’ll be glad to have them!
Got any tips of your own for finding blog post inspiration? Hit us up in the comments below and share your creative wisdom!