Balancing work, family obligations, time with friends and a bit of quiet time is not as easy as it sounds. I rely on my calendar to keep me straight, to tell me where I am supposed to be and when I need to be there.  At a glance I can tell when I have time to squeeze in time with friends or a quick walk or have to dress up for an important client meeting.

That same structure helps me keep the Roundpeg blog on track.  We rely on the WordPress Editorial Calendar to keep us straight. At a glance I can tell where we have holes in our content, which topics we haven’t touched lately and who on my team needs to get something in the queue.

But there is more to building a calendar then just using software.  A successful blog is built on relevant, robust content.  So how do you start? Whether we are writing for Roundpeg or one of our Indianapolis ghost blogging clients, we follow the same steps.

  1. Build a list of keywords – While not every post will contain every word, this gives you a starting point.  Working with an insurance company, we had twelve phrases they wanted to focus on. We actually featured each phrase for an entire month, then moved on to the next.  Usually we suggest mixing it up, but this concentrated effort was designed to dramatically jump start search on one term at a time.
  2. Brainstorm topics which are relevant to your audience which will feature one or two key words – At the end of the day, Allison and I will spend just a few minutes kicking around topics, talking about questions we have been answering, or pet peeves and suddenly we have 3 – 5 good blog ideas.
  3. Decide how often to blog – At a minimum, you should be blogging twice a week for a business blog. Once you have your schedule and topics, start assigning dates to the topics.
  4. Collect background information – I use Google Reader to search for fresh content on specific topics and to tag content I want to come back to. I really like this tool because it allows me to highlight interesting quotes and make notes which form the foundation of the post when I am ready to start writing.
  5. Work ahead – If you want to publish your content on Tuesday and Thursday, don’t wait till Tuesday morning to start writing.  We usually have several posts scheduled ahead of time. This allows us to reread the content with fresh eyes. I almost always find one or two things I want to tweak before it goes live.
  6. Be flexible –  Don’t be so rigid with your calendar that you can’t take advantage of something new or interesting that happens. Having a calendar and a plan allows me to adjust content so the overall flow of the blog works, even  as we move things around.