The marketing department tells you that your company needs a blog, Facebook and Twitter. This all sounds great, but who will create this fabulous content and how will you keep it organized? How much time will it take and how will you know if any of it is working? How can you make sure that the content you publish aligns with the brand messaging and is focused on your special promotions and offers at the same time?
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” When Benjamin Franklin made that statement, he clearly wasn’t thinking about the Internet, blogs or content marketing. But the statement still applies. Without proper planning, your content marketing efforts are doomed to fail.
This is why an editorial content calendar is so important to the success of your content marketing.
What is an Editorial Content Calendar?
Think of an editorial content calendar as a schedule for your content marketing plan. An editorial calendar can be as simple as a spreadsheet that will help you plan out your blog posts, social media and online events in advance. Or, depending on your business’s goal and content plan, it can also be used to track data, like website visitors, page views, sales conversions and much more.
How to Create an Editorial Content Calendar
You can use an Excel spreadsheet to create a basic editorial calendar. Column headings should include:
- Publishing Date (include the days of the week)
- Type of Content (including a column for each type of content planned)
- Topic or Theme
- Key Events
- Customer Personas or Audience
- Content Creator or Author (who is responsible for getting it done)
- Deadline (content should be available a couple of days or even a week before it’s published)
- Call to Action
- Results or Conversions
You’ll want to create additional columns that focus on your specific goals and columns to include the verbiage for the social media posts you will be publishing to promote the content. You may also want track sales or email opt-in conversions.
Make one page for each month and one page at the end for yearly totals. This will give you an overview to show what type of content works best. I suggest you use one page of your editorial calendar to collect blog post ideas.
Examples of Editorial Content Calendar Templates:
If an Excel spreadsheet doesn’t suit your needs, you might consider using programs like the WordPress plugin, CoSchedule, HubSpot or Divvy.
How to Use An Editorial Content Calendar
An editorial calendar is especially effective when you’re planning a product launch or other special event. For instance, if you know that you’re introducing a new product in the third quarter.
Use the editorial calendar to plan out a series of blog posts, a landing page to sign up new email subscribers or even a SlideShare presentation, and your social media updates. You can use the calendar documenting the different types of content you would like to create for future usage, besides a blog post.
Start by filling in special events, product launches and upcoming projects for the year. Include holidays and other special occasions that may affect your business. Then go back and begin adding in the topic or theme for the month, adding special details about the content you want to create for each week.
Don’t panic. You don’t have to plan the entire year all at once. But having enough content planned for the quarter will help you to avoid the stress of trying to write a blog post at the last minute. It will also help you coordinate your team and allocate writing assignments well in advance.
Are you using an editorial calendar for your content marketing strategy?
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