In part one, I told you how to generate ideas for frequent blog content that engages your readers and keeps them coming back for more.

Now that you have all these great ideas, what to do with them?

You need a planning system, and the cornerstone of this planning system is something called an editorial calendar.  An editorial calendar is simply a publishing schedule for your content.  You can get hyper-organized and detailed with it, or you can use something as simple as a pen and a piece of paper.

My editorial calendar is a piece of blank copy paper, with the month written at the top and 4 lines drawn horizontally across it with a ruler, to create 4 blocks, or “quadrants.”  Each block corresponds to a week in that month; in each block I write the week, the blog topic I’ll write about that week, and the newsletter topic I’ll cover for my weekly e-mail newsletter. I only plan out a month in advance, because it’s important to leave room for creativity and inspiration in case a great idea strikes out of the blue.

Other content publishers use more formal kinds of documents — everything from sticky notes stuck to a big wall calendar, to Excel spreadsheets with a tab for each week, to color-coded Google Calendars, and even a WordPress plug-in that lives inside your blog. (The WordPress editorial calendar plugin gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, and edit posts right in the calendar.)

If you really want to up your game, you can plan out 6 months to a year in advance, basing your blog topics and when you schedule them on your sales cycle, special promotions, product launches, holidays, and other events you have coming up.

What I do is set aside 1-2 hours of brainstorming time at least twice a month, saving ideas from the brainstorm into a Notepad doc on my computer.  As I go through the month, I also save links to interesting articles, blog posts, and social media status updates that spark ideas, adding them to my Notepad doc as well. Then at the beginning of each month, I sit down with paper and pen, go through my Notepad doc, and choose what I’ll write about each week for both blog and newsletter.

So that’s it:  brainstorm blog topic ideas, then schedule them accordingly using an editorial calendar.  How simple is that?

Your system can be whatever you want it to be – but do have a plan. Because it’s consistency that separates the amateurs from the pros online, and regular brainstorming coupled with an editorial calendar will keep you consistent, get killer content published to your blog, and build your brand online.

{Featured image via Where My Heart Resides}