Have you ever planted a fruit tree?
If you buy them by mail you’ll get something that looks an awful lot like a bundle of dead sticks.
If you stick those sticks in the ground correctly and you don’t make too many mistakes you’ll end up with your very own fruity orchard. Once your orchard is going you need to do some annual tasks but pretty much it becomes a delicious deal for your farm, a place that dependably provides food year after year.
Editorial calendars are exactly the same as orchards.
When you first open up that spreadsheet or word processing document and stare at all those blank holes you can’t quite believe one day this is going to be good – that’s a lot like the day that bundle of dead sticks arrives. You want me to do what with this?
Some folks say you should plant your fruit trees along your driveway, some say they belong over the hill – and dag nabbit you’ve never even grown a fruit tree and all this advice is just frustrating.
In editorial calendar land some folks say monthly, some say weekly, some say social should be integrated, and some say it should be done separately.
Guess what? Everyone is right.
If you plant a single fruit tree – aka make one editorial calendar commitment – you’ll probably get something out of it. You have some chance of fruit no matter where you put that tree (don’t forget that part, be a do-er and you’ll be happy) but of course it is true that fruit trees given sunshine, nutrients, water, and love will produce way more food for you.
To start making an editorial calendar choose 3-12 general themes.
Here are mine for 2018:
- Web Design
- Web Content
- Web Functionality
- Paid Marketing
- Simple Analytics
- Budget & Cost
- “Social” Media
- Holiday Season
- Video Content
- Web Strategy / Annual Plan
Once you have your general themes in mind lay out some topics. Consider how often you publish and how to integrate your general themes with titles – eventually all of this goes in a big giant circle. More about that fruit orchard in a second.
I publish weekly, so I use my general themes as a monthly guide and then make four or five articles titles within that theme.
So my four topics for Holiday Season in 2018 are going to be:
- Christmas by Halloween
- Checklists – Delivery Dates
- Gift Certificate Cha Cha
- Holiday Web Display Tips
And I need five topics sometimes, there are indeed that many Friday’s in August. Here is my editorial calendar for August 2018 where the theme is Budget & Cost:
- WWW means we are one: why ‘rule of thumb’ is so elusive
- Spending too – little & much
- How Much is the Doggie?
- Advertising vs Rent
- Risk vs Reward
Then the last thing we do to make a delicious editorial calendar is think about all of our channels.
Web Enlightenment is a weekly publication. I republish my newsletter on LinkedIn the Monday after I email and I try to put on my videos on Wednesday’s.
That makes something that look like this:
Now back to our friend the fruit orchard.
The first year you do an annual editorial calendar it is a lot of work and you won’t get much.
Year two is better, but also has a lot of danger that you might kill your baby trees on accident.
By the time your trees are 3-5 years old they are mature and will go on to live that long productive adult tree life unless something really bad happens – keep up the regular fertilizer and pruning and all will probably be well.
Here’s the bottom line for Internet Entrepreneurs: an editorial calendar is one of the very best investments you can make in your business. It is boring, it is not very interesting, and it is proven to work.
In the meantime I think I am going to go research what kinds of nut trees might be happy here in Augusta Maine.