When you’re creating a great deal of content for your web site, blog, social media outlets and other areas, creating an editorial calendar can help you avoid that “what to write now” panic. An editorial calendar is simply a schedule of content topics that ensure you always have a supply written, visual, and auditory content.

But how do you come up with these ideas to begin with? Creating a topic map can help you think beyond the surface level and find fresh new content ideas. Create a map by drawing a series of circles. Start with one large circle in the middle of the page. This is your main topic. From that circle, try drawing six or more medium-sized circles. These are your sub-topics. From those circles, you’ll draw several small circles on each, which will serve as your supportive base.

Let’s say your main theme is “writing blog posts.” Your sub-theme might be more refined, such as “tricks to writing popular blog posts.” This goes in a medium-sized circle. Then, the small circles surrounding that one circle is content you can produce on that one topic. For instance, create a debate between someone in your office and an industry influencer or talk about trends around the topic or interview an industry influencer. Whatever you decide goes into the small circles.

After just this one exercise, you have your main topic, one sub-topic, and three pieces of content as your supportive base. This makes five pieces of content that help extend your main piece and begin to showcase your expertise.

The other thing this does is help incredibly with your search rankings. Staying with the same topic, the goal is to create expertise around blogging and the types of content one would create to encourage people not to just to read it, but to share it. That main piece of content lives on your web site or blog and the sub-topics and supportive base all link to it.

Now, no matter where your other content lives--on your web site, on your blog, on the LinkedIn publishing platform, on other social networks, or you’ve guest written for another blog or publication--Google knows you are the authority on this topic. It also tells human beings who are reading the sub-topic and supportive base content that you have expertise on this topic and it’s highly likely they’ll click over and read your main piece.

The goal is to create as much content as you can around one topic so both humans and Google know you’re the expert. It takes a little planning and it takes some high-level thinking, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll have an editorial calendar stuffed with ideas that last you a year or more.