Ouh la la!! I don’t have an Editorial Calendar! Well, guess what?…. I’m doing just fine!
I don’t have a clear & defined business plan either, but that will be for another post!
Some of you who are reading this are going to think that I just don’t take this blogging thing seriously, or that I’m resisting changes, or that my goals are not clear or not big enough (ok that one might be true!).
Some of you will send me links to articles or videos, showing me how wrong I am and how much I’m missing out… Thank you in advance for those.
And maybe some of you will have already moved on.
Any of these reactions are valid and I respect your opinion and choices.
But in case you are wondering why I don’t have an Editorial Calendar and don’t feel like having one, read on…
What is an Editorial Calendar?
An Editorial Calendar is a calendar which outlines the work involved in the process of creating content. From zero to hero! Or more accurately in this case, from having an idea to hitting the publish button!
The Editorial Calendar will show all the work that needs to be done because you already know that you should break down any big task into smaller more manageable tasks. On such calendar, you will have written down for example, when you will take the pictures /videos for your posts and when you edit them. When you write the posts, edit them, prepare your featured images, prepare the Pin format images, choose your key words, rewrite the alt text for your images, create an alternative Pin format image, rewrite your intros, check your excerpts, go mad, pull your hair because your images / videos are too big or too small, change the category of your posts, revisit your tags, your call to action… No, you shouldn’t add to your Editorial Calendar your daily yoga practice or your grocery shopping list, but maybe you should add time to breath!
If you want to add one more layer of complexity to your already jammed calendar, you can of course transform it into a Content Marketing Editorial Calendar. In which case you will add to it all the things you have to do after you hit the publish button: publish on Facebook once, twice, and fifteen more times. Publish on Twitter, Instagram, Snap and don’t forget to publish a live story of you hitting the publish button…. Of course, you should also add all the other things you should do before: publish a sneak peek to tell the World that you are about to publish a new post and then reminder to everyone that you really are about to. Publish a picture or two of you working on your newt post including the tea you are drinking and the inspirational quote that you keep on your desk… you get the point!
Don’t get me wrong, I do think there are somme merits in Editorial Calendars and Content Marketing Editorial Calendar. The first one being consistency and the second one being long term goals achievement.
However I think too much emphasis is being put on the planning phase and the strategy (I can’t believe myself for saying this!) and not enough on creativity.
Why I don’t have an Editorial Calendar?
I’ve tried and it wasn’t for me. The main reason is probably because I’m not a robot!
Think about it for a second, why is there so many articles about Editorial calendars and “how to stick to them”? My guess: because a lot of people out there are not robots either. They create Editorial calendars because they have been told they have to have one and and after a week or so, these calendars and all their tasks are like New Years resolutions, dead and buried!
There are a few reasons for that which are not linked to lack of motivation or organization and I’m only going to list my personal reasons as examples. Fell free to adapt to your circumstances.
- Priorities – Yes, blogging is important to me and it has become sufficiently addictive that I need my daily dose. But my family, my partner and my friends are even more important and I will drop any task on my calendar if one is in need. It is indeed a personal choice. But it’s a no brainer choice and no calendar will stop me.
- Inspiration – No matter what my plans are, sometimes I feel inspired by something totally different. Today, I had planned to write about Paphos in sunny Cyprus. While sipping my morning coffee, I read one more article about Editorial Calendars and felt instantly annoyed by the recommended robotic approach to planning and started writing this post! Should I have stick to my plans? Maybe but my brain would have not been 100% on it and the result would have most likely been less than memorable (not saying this post is going to be memorable but at least it is therapeutic!).
- Creativity – I’m more of a morning writer, afternoon artist or DIY queen and evening photographer (for edits!). Obviously I do take this in consideration when planning my days. But sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. I start something and can’t stop myself. Inspiration is flowing and I must make the most of it. If you are a creative soul, you know what I mean. There is no way to know when super juicy creativity will come or go. Sometimes it’s pouring and everything is so easy and sometimes its dry and nothing works. In such cases, forcing it is a recipe for bad creation.
- Life – Life tends to get in the way! I’m a consultant and I have clients who’s needs I need to tend to. Thinks happen, good or bad which sometimes require my immediate attention. Yes good planning includes planning around those, but it’s just not always possible.
Those are just 4 examples. Nothing spectacular, just explanations of what it is like to not be a robot.
Now if you read this a little bit carefully, you might have understood that I’m still planning my content but I’m extremely flexible about it. For exemple, maybe I’ll do my post on Cyprus next week, maybe not.
The worst part about having an Editorial Calendar?
Look, I get it. Editorial Calendars and Content Marketing Editorial Calendars are just tools that are here to encourage you, to help you get things done, to reach your goals, to define your strategy and slowly but surely apply it to reach the sky!
But the approach to implementing and using these Calendars is usually dehumanizing. This can lead to anxiety, a sense of failure and demotivation.
As mentioned, Life gets in the way, as well as creativity, inspiration and a all range of other factors.
Do you really need another calendar to:
- remind you that for every task you managed there are 3 or more that you didn’t ?
- send you more emails, text and beeps to tell you that you need to do this or that?
- pressure you on producing something by a certain deadline?
- ‘force’ you to published a piece even if you knew you could have done better? “But at least it was on time!”…
Guess what, you probably don’t!
If you wish to implement an Editorial Calendar, by all means, do so. Again it has some merits.
But if it makes you feel pressured, if you have nightmares at night because of all the tasks ahead or if feel like a failure because you can’t even get that right, know that it’s ok to not follow this trend.
What you can do instead of a Editorial Calendar
Well that depends of you! OK bad answer, but really it does.
I’m pretty organized and focused so I don’t need too many reminders to do things. When I do get reminders from my phone, I tend to ignore them anyway and I end up forgetting to deal with them. Like yesterday, when I forgot to call my Dad for his Birthday… I know shame on me!
There are a couple things that I do which have helped me tremendously lately.
1 – A general list
I have a note pad next to my computer where I list the things I need to do, sometimes with specific deadlines, most time without.
My list has 3 sections: Blog – Work – Personal and I try not not have more than 5-6 items in each sections. As soon as done, I cross the item vigorously and with a great sense of accomplishment even if the task was small!
When it gets too messy, and only 1 or 2 items are still to be done, I start a new page without forgetting to include those 2 items on top, in their respective section.
Crossing off a tasks once done with a pen on a piece of paper is far more rewarding than deleting it from a virtual calendar!! And the joy of a fully crossed list at the end of the week!!! Aaaaahhh!!!!
This may reminds you of Bullet journaling but I guarantee you that I do not loose time making my lists look pretty!
2 – A Morning Ritual
Every morning, as I wake up, I linger in bed and plan my ideal day. There, I decide which 3 tasks I want to achieve for that day. 3 seems to be a good number. Not too little, not too big. There is a sense that it is manageable, especially since tasks on this list can be very simple, yet necessary and sometimes even satisfying!
For example today, I decided to 1- blog, 2 – prepare my suitcase as I’m leaving tomorrow and 3 – clean the apartment! OK I also have to pay my VAT and a few other things but those are 5mn tasks.
In addition I also schedule time to work on my medium terms plans. I don’t have time everyday but I keep those plans in mind everyday and try to do at least a little thing that will get me closer to finalizing such or such project.
3 – I have a normal calendar!
A significant portion of my blog includes evergreen content so I don’t worry too much when I post. Part of my blog is more seasonal, like my last post on Valentine’s day gifts. How did I manage to post it on time for Valentine’s day without an Editorial Calendar?! I checked my regular calendar and as I was looking for inspiration for gifts for M. A, I decided to do a post! Simple!!
And guess what?! My regular calendar also shows that Easter is approaching!!
You see nothing fancy, nothing too complicated, nothing I spend a huge amount of time just populating…
So if you too feel pressured into having an Editorial Calendar or doing anything else because it is the latest trend, then my recommendation is simple: don’t do it, if you don’t feel like it!
Thank you for reading such a long post!
Keep It Simple Stupid,
it might be the key to success and happiness after all!!