Math and blogs? Aren’t we mixing the right and left side of our brain? As a math and computer science geek, I find that laying some organization over a task makes it less daunting. In this post we will look at how to create an editorial calendar for your blog posts so that the only activity you will need to worry about over time is writing the post itself – you will already have your “writing prompt”. So here we go, blogs by the numbers!
Part 1: How many Topics Do You Need?
The formula is
Number of topics = Posts per month x 1/discard percentage x number of months
Let’s break this down:
Posts per month: How frequently do you want to post. Consistency wins over frequency so pick a number you can live with for at least 6 months.
Discard percentage: Its a fair assumption that we will only keep 25% of the topics we come up with. If we are being true to the process and not filtering as we brainstorm our blog topics, then we will end up with great ideas, mediocre ideas and ideas that don’t make the cut at all.
Number of months: Getting topics for 6 months will give you breathing space to work around busy times of the year.
For example, to post every other week (2x per month), with a 25% discard rate for 6 months:
We need an initial list of 2 x 4 x 6 = 48 post topic ideas
Part II: Get the topic list
Use any of the ideas in this blog and any of your own to brainstorm as many topics as you can. (It’s ok if you have too many.) Now refine the list.
- Evaluate topics for potential of containing keywords (i.e., terms directly related to the business) in the title or the content of the post. Rate them as A (best), B (mediocre) or C (minimal chance of keywords). You can also place topics in the C level if subjectively, they just don’t work as well for you.
- Remove the C-rated topics
- Run the remaining topics by anyone else who might want to weigh in (or for whom you need approval). Ask them to rate as A (best) B (mediocre), or C (do not like them).
- Whittle down to a final list
The actual number of posts we can need is posts per month x number of months.
For example, to post every other week (2x per month) for 6 months we need a final list of
2 x 6 = 12 post topics
Now label all of your topic ideas with one or two (yes, two is ok!) of the 4 W’s (WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY). You will want to keep your final list balanced.
You can now curate the final list starting with the A’s making sure to balance your W’s.
Part III: Create an “Editorial Calendar”
The last step is to decide when each topic will be published. You can write the posts any time, but you want to spread out the publication dates to keep your site fresh. Mix up the 4W’s so that you do not do too many in a row of one type. Allow for special topics to be inserted that may be timely for holidays or special industry events.
You now have a solid “todo” list to help you organize your blog publication and you have topic approval going out several months. You should be able to accomplish this process in a few days. The two roadblocks are often getting topic approval, determining important keywords for the site, and in some cases, doing some research to check the viability of topics.