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Whenever I work with clients to help them pitch media better, look better on camera or set up a system to produce more of their own content, I always ask, “What are you producing now?”
Common answers include:
- “A blog post every few months”
- “A video here or there”
- “I did a FB Live once”
To be interesting to the media, to your potential clients and your current fans, you need to consistently create content.
So how do you do it?
With an editorial calendar, of course!
This is a trick I’ve learned from nearly 20 years as a television producer. Everyone in the newsroom knew what stories were coming up in the next minute, five minutes, five days, five weeks, etc.
An editorial calendar keeps you consistent
Managing a small business or side project can be quite difficult. I would know, for the past eight years I’ve run Listproducer.com, which has become part of my business. And for the past five years I’ve had the help of my fabulous editorial assistant Nicole. Until recently, Nicole has lived in the UK while I’ve been in the US. Plus for most of that time we both had full-time jobs!
Having an editorial calendar has been a lifesaver when it comes to keeping my website content fresh and consistent.
Working with someone else keeps you accountable and also allows you to plan ahead.
This planning is something I encourage all my clients to do for their own content. Otherwise it won’t happen.
When I first started my blog at ListProducer.com I tried to be “easy breezy” and not keep an editorial calendar.
And guess what happened. Nothing. I didn’t produce content consistently. I would feel in a panic to “produce something.”
As I learned through the years it’s important to resist doing everything yourself. That will quickly lead to burnout or will cause you to abandon ship on your ideas.
Remember audiences rely on consistency. If they know you post every Monday, for example, they are more likely to check in. Remember tuning into The Oprah Winfrey Show every day at 4pm? Yeah, me too. See. Consistency.
It’s a central place to keep all your ideas
The other problem with the ‘inspiration’ method is that you can run out of ideas quite easily. Publishing content every week can sometimes leaves you lacking in ideas. Jotting down your ideas as they come to you is a better way to work.
From there you can schedule your posts in advance. Nicole and I would always make sure to have a brainstorming session when we had less than four weeks of post ideas in the calendar. And we assign each week a new blog post. You don’t have to post every week but find a system that works for you and keep to it.
As much as I like to plan, I also like to leave the room open for something timely. This is what happens in a newsroom when breaking news happens. The crew has to be ready to switch gears quickly. Look at your own content creation in the same way. If something is newsworthy and it’s not in your editorial calendar – feel free to move something.
For instance, I wrote this post about a documentary about Mister Rogers and wanted to publish it for a certain date. But then I realized a new movie with Tom Hanks was coming out also about Mister Rogers so I saved it for that time. It’s a more timely post now because I can relate it to the new movie.