In my New Media Consulting business, I am often asked, “How do I get started? What should I blog about? When should I do it?” With most clients, the first place to start in developing some sort of editorial calendar for a blog begins with their very own personal calendar. The milestones in your calendar — those important events — are the beginning of any great blog.
While most people see their calendar as a reminder of upcoming events, each item on your calendar can and should drive various new media activities, as well. There are blog posts to be written and published weeks or even months ahead of the event itself. With such a ready supply of “content” for your blog, why not start here?
Both readers and search engines love a regular flow of content from blogs, podcasts and YouTube Channels. It will make them return again and again. It will lead them to subscribe to your mailing lists, RSS Feeds and Channels. When they do this, they are giving you permission to enter into their lives whenever you have something interesting to say. Do not abuse this permission, but also do not ignore their desire for new information, new content, new videos, etc.
The Calendar Blog Process
If you want to get started with your blog — or add more content to an existing blog — here is a process I use. It all begins with my calendar.
Find the next immediate event on your calendar that you want to share with others. For this event, and subsequent events, do most or all of these steps.
- Look back 1 month, 1 week and 1 day before the event and place calendar reminders to post event information to your blog on these days.
- Create blog posts noting these events. Included further information as it becomes available closer to the event
- If possible, pre-write your blog posts and schedule them to automatically post on the appropriate day.
- If the event is a ticketed/RSVP event, note when ticket sales and registration begin
- It is as important to post this information, at this time, as the information/date of the actual event, as people may need to purchase tickets/RSVP quickly.
- Create a blog post describing the event and linking to the Ticket/RSVP page
- Post (or schedule the post) to appear on your blog 1 day before tickets go on sale or the RSVP list opens. (Watch this blog for an upcoming video on how to schedule posts for WordPress and Blogger blogs)
- If your event is not ticketed, publish your first post about the event at least 1 month ahead or sooner if possible.
- Typically this post is in the form of a “Save the Date” post with as many details as you can provide ahead of time.
- Share photos, video and links from previous similar events, if you attended in the past
- Remember to collect as much content as possible during each event, so that you have plenty of content to include for subsequent occurrences
- Repeat this for every event in your calendar, creating a constant schedule of calendar items to drive regular posts on your blog and promote your activities.
- Make a point of including these blog posting dates (1 month, 1 week, 1 day before) for each event as you add it to your calendar.
- “Working in Reverse” will insure that you do not “forget” to promote your events in the future.
- Schedule Followup Posts
- Add an event to your calendar NO MORE THAN 1 WEEK, after. Post photos, videos and a recap of the event for those that could not attend.
- General Rule: The longer photos and video stay in your camera, the LESS LIKELY you will be to post them
- Followup recaps are, in some ways, even more important than the pre-event announcements, as they contain information and content for those who could not attend the actual event, as well as reminders of the information for those that did.
- Recaps allow attendees to easily share your content with their audience. This allows you to effect an even wider audience.
- A badly promoted event is a waste of time for you and everyone involved
- This is especially true if you are not being paid for the event. In these cases, promotion of yourself and your work may be the only payment you receive. Don’t squander this opportunity by failing to promote well.
- Sometimes you may need to do the majority of the promotion if the event organizers do not promote it fully. It is in your own best interest to do so, even though it is extra work. Don’t rely on organizers.
- Promote your events and activities — even if the public cannot attend — so that your blog readers can at least see and hear about your work
- Post photos, video and notes about these events/share as much as you can
- Give your readers a look “behind the scenes” whenever you can. This is very popular content for most readers.
- Promote your colleagues and friends events using these methods and ask them to do the same with yours
- When someone shares your content, they are willingly providing you access to their entire network. This often includes people who are unfamiliar with your work.
- Everyone involved with an event should make a point to promote everyone else involved in that event. It greatly expands the audience exposed to your promotion.
- Create pre-written blog posts, social media messages that people can cut and paste, ReTweet or Share. Reducing the work/friction involved in sharing makes it more likely that people will share your message.
It should be obvious that events are time sensitive. Do not miss the opportunity to fully promote your events. Put your promotion milestones in your calendar with as much importance as the event itself. Otherwise you may find yourself putting out great effort for very little reward.