How to Create an Editorial Calendar

By now, you’ve probably heard that blogging and creating fresh content for your website is extremely important.

So important, that companies who blog receive on average 97% more links back to their websites than those who don’t.

That’s a LOT of links.

But all that blogging and content creation can get out of hand quickly if you don’t stay organized…so what should you do?

Enter the editorial calendar.

I’ve been using an editorial calendar for the past few months to help stay organized with my blogging for JSL Marketing, and so far it’s been extremely helpful.

So…what is an editorial calendar?

Good question. It’s really just a calendar to keep track of what types of blogs you are writing, the topics you are writing about, and when you are posting the finished blogs on your website.

Some are more complex than others, keeping track of everything from the idea phase all the way through to publication, while others are much more simple. You can even create a workable document if you have more than one person in your organization working on the content – that way everyone knows where the piece is within the production process and what they all have to do in order to finish it by the deadline you assign (more on that later).

There are many ways to set up an editorial calendar – you could use excel or even a word document if you wanted. I personally recommend Trello – it’s free, easy to use, and wonderful for planning ahead.

If you haven’t heard of Trello, it’s basically a giant, online organizational tool that helps you keep track of everything.

It’s awesome.

They have these things called a ‘board’ on Trello. Within the board, you can create as many columns as you want, plus as many cards (the smaller, white rectangular boxes) as you want within those columns.

Since it’s just me using this board, I arranged my columns by months, with topics planned out ahead of time for each week (my goal is to post a new blog every Thursday).

It’s really important to try and plan out as many blog topics in advance as possible – that way, when you get to the day before your blog is due, you’re not scrambling for a topic. You’ve already got some ideas in the arsenal and you’re ready to go. That’s why I also have a “Brainstorming” column. Every time I think of an idea or something I’d like to write about, I create a new card and place it in that column for future use. Eventually, I will assign those cards to a specific month and due date.

You’ll notice the tiny red boxes on each of the cards – these are the due dates. It can be easy to slack off on due dates, especially when you don’t have anyone else to report to, but you have to think about the long term. If you continually slack off, your website isn’t going to have fresh content on a regular basis. And that’s only going to hurt you in the long run. So don’t slack off.

Now let’s take a look at an individual card…here’s the card for this blog post actually:

As you can see, I’m a bit of list person – hence the checklists. But it seriously helps me stay organized. Each week I open the corresponding card, take a look at the topic, and then get started researching. I can attach any of my findings to the card, or even post ideas in the comments below (this is especially useful if you have more than one person working on a post – you can collaborate on things so much easier).

As I work my way through the process, I can check things off the list – research, first draft, edit, final draft, publish, promote – as I complete them. Then, once everything has been published, I can keep track of where I have promoted the blog on social media.

This whole calendar took probably less than an hour to set up, but it’s saved me countless hours of worry and stress. Everything is so much simpler when you have content planned out ahead of time – you just have to do the research and write the blog by the assigned due date. It takes the guess work out of the process.

It took me a little while to get used to using an editorial calendar, and I have to admit it felt a little silly at first because I was the only one commenting on the cards and checking things off the list. But after a few weeks, I really started to love the process. Not only does it keep me organized, but it allows me to spend more time doing other things within the business that I might not have had time to do otherwise.

Overall evaluation = success!

What about you? Have you ever used an editorial calendar before?

7 Awesome Resources for Writers and Marketers

pens-300x300The dreaded writers block.

If you’ve ever written a blog post, or anything for that matter, you’ve probably experienced the dreaded, almost inevitable writers block.

And if you haven’t, allow me to fill you in. Writer’s block looks something like this: staring at a blank Word document or piece of notebook paper for an extended (often longer than you’d care to admit) period of time with absolutely no idea of what to write next.

Sometimes banging your head on the wall or table ensues.

Marketers, too, can experience this same sort of block – marketers block if you will. Basically those times when you feel like you’ve tried everything to market your business online, but nothing is working – you’re just not sure what to do next.

When you hit the wall – and it’s best just to face it, you probably will hit it at some point in your career – how will you get yourself out of the rut? How will you find those next words or new strategy?

Personally, I deal with the problem by turning to some of my favorite resources on the web. Reading through their blog posts, e-books and other resources provide me with ideas and motivation to keep going strong. So, if you’ve ever found yourself stuck in your work, check out some of these awesome resources for writers and marketers:

1. CopyBlogger

I love CopyBlogger, and have been a huge fan of this website for a long time. The folks over there provide amazing free resources – including e-books and blog posts – for their readers on topics ranging from headline writing and content marketing to online marketing strategies and tips on copywriting. I’ve read through a lot of their e-books (all free when you create an account at, and I can’t tell you how valuable they’ve been to me in understanding both copywriting and marketing.

2. Creative Penn

In my opinion, Creative Penn is one of the best resources out there for writers – both fiction and non-fiction. There’s such a great assortment of content – from podcasts and blog posts to videos and actual courses on writing. Joanna, founder of Creative Penn, does an awesome job writing on a variety of topics, both motivational and instructional. Seriously, if you’ve ever wanted to know more about writing or how to market your e-books online, you’ll definitely want to check this site out!

3. Men with Pens

Men with Pens is another resource for fiction writers, but even more so for copywriters. I’ve learned a lot from reading their blog, and there is always something new to learn! They specialize in creating websites and the copy that goes along with those websites, so if you’re looking for tips or advice on how to write website copy, definitely take a look through their content. You can also sign up for their email list to receive regular updates.

4. Quick Sprout

If you need advice or inspiration on anything to do with marketing, Quick Sprout is definitely a website for you to check out. The Quick Sprout blog consists of a variety of relevant and interesting topics that will help you build success online. The site also has a number of helpful guides, for both beginners and advanced, on topics like Online Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing, Link Building, Landing Page Optimization, Copywriting and more.

5. Jeff Bullas is the website to check out if you have any questions about internet marketing. The blog covers a lot of different topics, including things like conversion rates, social media, building a brand and platform, and more. I subscribe to his email list, so whenever a new blog is posted, I receive an update (which I love). He also talks a lot about Content Marketing, something that is vital to the success of online businesses today, so if you want to learn more about that, I’d totally recommend checking out the website.

6. Moz

Have you ever wanted to know more about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? If so, Moz is the place you need to go. I love Moz because of the variety of useful SEO tools and their helpful blog, but also because was where I first learned about SEO! They have an incredible resource – the Beginner’s Guide to SEO – that I would totally recommend if you’re looking for a great resource to learn the basics of the skill. It’s seriously awesome, so go read it now!

7. Sandi Krakowski

I’ve taken several of Sandi Krakowski’s online classes, and have learned a lot from them. She also offers several free classes to help you get started. Sandi has been very successful in her career online, and is super motivational. If you ever need a good dose of inspiration or motivation, I’d recommend checking out and following her page on Facebook. She’s always posting useful tips, motivational quotes and other things to help her readers press on and forward.

So, there you have it. If you ever find yourself in a rut, try taking a look at one or all of these resources – you won’t be disappointed, and you may just learn something new!

What resources do you turn to when you’re in a rut?

How to Stay Motivated, Even When You Really Don’t Feel Like It

pens-300x300We all live busy lives; it’s more of a norm in our society than anything else. We’re constantly rushing from here to there, trying to fit everything in even if our plates are already extremely full.

I’ve been through seasons of life that have been completely slow. And by slow, I mean that I really didn’t do much of anything. I made a point of not making many commitments.

Then there have been the crazy busy, chicken-running-around-with-its-head-cut-off seasons that cause life to shift into overdrive.

Life is currently feeling a bit like the latter at the moment, but sometimes I can feel my resolve to do ‘all the things’ cracking and my motivation slipping. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like doing anything at all!

Let me first clarify – it’s important to rest. You should definitely do that. What I’m talking about here are those times when you really need to get something done and you just don’t have the will power to start. Or you’ve got a big project looming over your head with no clear direction. What then?

How do you stay motivated, even when you don’t feel like it?

Set Real Goals

What are real goals? Simply put, real goals are ones that are a. obtainable, b. realistic, and c. things that you actually want to do.

Sometimes when I set goals, I’ll set one thinking, “maybe I’ll get to this” or “It would be nice if I could do this.” No. Those are not the right kind of goals to set.

Your goals need to be concrete. They need to be realistic, because if you have a million and one things going on, and you set a huge goal for yourself during a particular week or month, chances are you won’t finish it. And when you’ve worked really hard, barely sleeping and letting other things fall through the cracks just to reach that highly unobtainable goal, and then you don’t reach it, you begin to feel discouraged. You put off setting other goals because you feel like you failed.

I’m not saying that lofty, huge, slightly unobtainable goals don’t have a place in your life – they definitely do! What I am saying though is that you need to set yourself up for success. And you have to be sure that the goal you are pursing is really something that you want to do. If it’s not, and it’s just a nice ‘thought’ or ‘maybe’ goal, don’t waste your time or energy on it. Focus on the things that are important, and set yourself up for success by developing a plan.

Which brings me to my next point.

Develop an Action Plan

Your goals and dreams don’t just happen. You have to make them happen.

But how?

By developing a solid action plan. Here’s what I mean by that. Say you have a goal to write a book in 2016. That’s a pretty huge goal, one with lots and lots of elements. And it’s so easy to look at a goal that huge and be like, “how in the world could I ever do that? Where do I even start?”

The key is to not get overwhelmed. It’s a big goal, yes, but when you break it down into smaller chunks and you choose to only focus on one chunk at a time, it becomes much more obtainable.

First, think about what goes into writing a book. There’s the writing, the editing, and assuming you are self-publishing, you’ve also got the marketing and the publishing bit to think about.

Now, take a step back and look at each chunk. Give yourself enough time for each. Let’s say you want your book to be 80,000 words. If you think you can write 5,000 words a week (1,000 a day on weekdays), that’s 20,000 a month, so give yourself 4 months for writing. Then give yourself 2 months for edits and revisions. Then 2 months for setting up and growing your author platform, 2 months for publishing, formatting and tweaking, and 2 months for marketing.

The end goal is already looking more obtainable.

You’d also want to break each 2 month chunk down further into specific goals and tasks, giving yourself an even more detailed plan to follow.

Once you have your goal broken down into smaller chunks, commit to sticking with it. But what about those times when you just…can’t?

coffee-300x300Remember Your Why

This is why I mentioned earlier how important it is to really want your goal. You have to be passionate about it, committed to completing it, or it won’t happen. Things will come up, they always do, and you will be faced with a choice of whether or not to keep going.

So, before you even get to the goal, think about your ‘why.’ Why are you doing this? What is your primary motivation? Think big here. Do you want to write that book because you’ve always dreamed of being an author? Think about how it will feel once you’ve accomplished the goal. Visualize yourself as a published author. Remember your ‘why.’

Then, when you get to those times of questioning – which, inevitably you will – you can pull out your ‘why’ and remember why it is that you’re doing this in the first place.

Don’t give up. If you’re feeling less than motivated, remember to set realistic goals, break those goals down into manageable chunks, and then visualize and focus on the ‘why.’ You can do anything or be anyone in life – you just have to be committed and passionate, and you have to want it badly enough!

What are your tips for staying motivated? How do you set yourself up for success?

6 Solid Content Marketing Channels to Try Today

coffee-300x300Content marketing – a unique marketing strategy that’s not likely to go anywhere any time soon.

We’ve talked about content marketing before on the blog, and we’ve discussed some of the benefits that come along with implementing a plan, but just as a refresher:

Content marketing is all about building a content creation strategy on multiple platforms. Not only does this improve your site’s SEO and overall profitability, but also provides a way for you to give back and really connect with your readers by hooking them up with free resources and content.

Bottom line: Content marketing is about giving back.

But just because you’re the one giving doesn’t mean you won’t reap the benefits. In fact, in could be argued that the more you give, the more you gain in the long run.

So, if content marketing is all about giving back and creating useful and informative content, where should you be distributing all of this amazing content?

Short answer: it depends.

There are a lot of different ways you can produce content but it really depends on what will convert and resonate best with your unique audience and business niche.

Sometimes this can involve a bit of trial and error, especially if you don’t have a grasp on what types of content your audience enjoys, but don’t give up! Take a look at other websites in your niche and see what’s working for them. Ask your audience through a survey, or just try out different methods until one sticks. But always aim to have several content marketing channels going at a time.

So what are some different content marketing channels? Take a look at these examples below:


This is a fairly obvious and rather common option, but extremely important all the same. If you aren’t already blogging on your website, you should start – doesn’t matter what niche you’re in. It’s been reported that companies that blog regularly gain 97% more links back to their websites than those who don’t. (Hubspot)That stat alone should convince you!

Creating relevant, useful and quality content on a consistent basis will not only help you in the search rankings, but will also provide your readers with lots of free information. And as you start to produce more and more quality content, over time your readers will begin to consider you an expert, or ‘authority’ in your field, which only continues to help you in the long run.


We’re all visual people. If you find it easier to communicate with your audience through video, try creating content this way, either through YouTube or another similar video platform.

And while it’s still important to produce text-based content, videos can definitely add value to any content marketing strategy. Consider these facts (Hubspot):

  • 75% of business executives reported watching business related videos on a weekly basis
  • 69% of sales and marketing professionals have used video marketing
  • 67% of people find video marketing successful

You don’t have to create video content, but it’s definitely a good way to connect with your readers in a real, authentic way – let them see the real you!


Maybe videos aren’t your thing, but you’d still like to incorporate something other than just plain text blogging. Consider starting a podcast! Many of the top marketers do podcasts on a regular basis and people love them!

Email Newsletters

Whether you decide to contact your readers and customers on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, be sure to keep in touch with them via email.

Consider these facts (

  • 70% of people reported opening emails from their favorite companies
  • Email marketing has a great ROI – an average of $44.25 for every $1 spent
  • Conversion rates for email marketing are three times higher than social media

Don’t be too salesy – be sure to still provide quality content, and don’t overload your readers with emails. But if you haven’t started building an email list, this can be one of the best ways to grow your business.

Consider creating some sort of opt-in offer for people who subscribe to your list – perhaps a free consultation, e-book or mini course. Whatever it is, be sure to create value around what you’re giving and fulfill a need for your readers. They’ll appreciate you for it.

Gone-Viral-300x300E-books and Larger Resources

These might not be quite as frequent a blog posts and YouTube videos, but if you can, take the time to invest in creating some super-quality resources for your readers and customers.

If you’ve ever read a CopyBlogger e-book, you’ll know what I’m talking about. They have e-books available on just about any marketing related topic – all free for their readers.

Take the time to invest in your readers, and they’ll repay you by sharing your content, promoting your brand and maybe even becoming a loyal customer down the road.

Social Media

Lastly, social media is one of the best content marketing channels. Not only can you share useful information and tips with your readers and followers, but they can promote your content for you as well.

If you’ve done your job correctly and have created amazing content, your readers will want to share that content with their friends and colleagues. And as more and more people share your content, you’ll receive additional link backs and increased engagement within your online communities.

Be sure that you’re active on all social media platforms relevant to your niche, and really make an effort to engage with your community.

Those are just some of the many content marketing channels available for you to use, but I hope you found the list helpful! Remember, if something isn’t working for you, keep trying different options – with all the content channels available today, there’s bound to be a few that fit your brand!