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When running a small business, keeping up with a blog is just one of the many hats that you have to wear. It can feel overwhelming to make regular posts when there are so many other things to do. It can make the blog take a back burner, which reduces the effectiveness of this powerful marketing tool. An editorial calendar is a great way to get a handle on the process and creates a path to regular blogging success.

What is an editorial calendar? Simply put, it is a list, set to specific dates. For a small business, the list can be fairly simple.

1. Topics: Set a date and time to come up with blog post subjects. Taking time to plan subjects in advance takes the pressure off when it comes time to write. Decide how often you want to publish, and then brainstorm topics with a four to six month lead.

2. Writing: Set deadlines for writing the blog. Drill down further and actually schedule writing time into specific work days. Writing is like any other work, it takes time and discipline. Pick a time when you are less likely to be interrupted, and get the words on the page.

3. Editing: Set deadlines to edit. Blogs are a calling card, and no one gets everything right in the first draft. It’s important to set a time to edit the blog. Better yet, set a deadline for another person to lend a fresh set of eyes.

4. Publishing: Once the blog is ready to go, it needs to be posted. But don’t stop there. Set dates and times to use your social media to promote the blog.

Blogging is not easy for everyone, but in this marketing age, it is an essential tool. If you set an editorial calendar and approach the work with the same discipline you do to paying bills, the effort will pay off. If you truly think that you can’t manage regular blogging, then consider outsourcing to a professional writer. Even then, you will find that an editorial calendar will help you set expectations and keep things on track.