An editorial calendar is a long-term content marketing plan that looks at all your marketing channels and content types. But, why should you have one?
Creating relevant and engaging content for your brand is challenging; consistently doing it can be tricky, even for the most talented writers and creators! A well-planned and detailed editorial calendar is the solution to continuously creating exciting and engaging content for your potential and current customers. This year-long plan should support your overall marketing and content strategy and answer your customers’ needs and most frequent queries. It’s also an ideal way to manage the workload with your wider team.
If you’re low on resources (staff, time, capacity), an editorial calendar becomes essential. It will help you be more efficient and allow you to plan your team’s workload in a clear, straightforward and balanced way. It’s the best way to make sure you aren’t overwhelmed and that you stay organised and on track to push out regular, consistent and relevant content.
So, how do you create an engaging and effective editorial calendar?
Define your goals
Knowing your ultimate goal is your key to success. When planning your future content, start with the question: what are we trying to achieve?
Are you trying to build awareness or educate your audience? Is the purpose of your content to generate new leads or build up your subscribers list?
Your content must have a purpose! Setting your goal(s) makes a substantial difference to your editorial plan. In fact, the type of content you create and the frequency at which you push it out will significantly depend on your final objective.
Create your template or worksheet
A good editorial calendar template needs to have several elements. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach here, and you should shape your template based on your needs.
There are various tools and software out there that offer editorial calendar features. However, adopting new software can be time-consuming, and you can quickly build your calendar using a simple spreadsheet. We created ours in Google Sheets and picked the following categories for our spreadsheet:
- Publishing date
- Content Pillar
- Content type
- Status (i.e. drafted, published, etc.).
You can download a free editorial calendar from Hubspot here; this is an excellent place to start from.
Choose your marketing channels and content mix
What kind of content are your customers looking for? ‘How to’ blog posts? Video tutorials? Downloadable guides?
What channels is your audience currently using? Your website? Instagram? LinkedIn? YouTube?
If you have enough resources to manage multiple platforms, publishing your content across different channels is undoubtedly beneficial. It’s always best to prioritise your most important platform and focus on creating quality content for those channels rather than disseminating content across every single account.
Define your Content Pillars and mark essential dates
When planning your editorial calendar, a good tip is to start with the calendar year. Note all the important events you want to mention and talk about throughout the year; this step will also help you plan important seasonal content.
In this blog post on creating a hassle-free social media calendar, we wrote a whole paragraph about picking your content pillars.
Content pillars are essential, as they give you a framework to plan your upcoming content. You could opt for daily topics (e.g. ‘marketing best practices’ Mondays), weekly topics (e.g. ‘marketing best practices’ week) or recurring themes (e.g. you can speak about ‘marketing best practices’ every first day of the month).
Add your content ideas
So, what will you be writing about?
It’s important to always think strategically about your content. Are there any trending themes your audience is currently engaged with? Are there any recurring questions your customers (or potential customers) are asking?
Answer The Public and People Also Asked are two of our favourite tools to get insights into what people are searching for on Google. You can read all about these smart tools in this article we wrote about our favourite tools for efficient content creation.
Bonus tip: Include evergreen content (timeless always relevant content) in your editorial calendar. This content is not tied to any date or specific event; it will always be helpful to your audience and remain relevant over time. This content is likely to receive many visits and clicks over time!
Determine your content workflow
What happens once you’ve identified the title of your next content piece?
What steps will you take to transform it into a brilliant blog post for your website?
Before starting, we recommend mapping out the content creation process and agreeing on these steps with the rest of your team. Having a straightforward and pre-agreed procedure in place will simplify the overall content-creation process.
Here’s how we do it at Saltoria Marketing; feel free to use this approach!
- Research keywords and common searches related to those keywords.
- Write down the title and potential outline.
- Write the article keeping the focus keyword in mind and ensuring it sits in a few H2 headings.
- Select/create the relevant visuals.
- Send it to another member of the team to read/check.
- Edit and revise based on the feedback.
- Confirm final sign-off with your Content Manager (or the relevant colleague).
- If approved, upload to the website and schedule or publish.
Define your content distribution plan
Whilst this step may seem quite obvious, you’ll be amazed by the number of businesses that do not have a distribution strategy in place.
What’s the plan after publishing your blog post to your website or your brand new video to YouTube/Vimeo? What channels will you use to distribute it? How many times throughout the year will you repurpose this content? In what form?
As simple as it may seem, creating a content distribution plan requires quite a lot of thinking and planning. So, take some time to think about this properly before creating your content.
A detailed editorial calendar is one of the most valuable tools for any marketing team or organisation wanting to make an impact with their marketing. It makes content creation, scheduling and repurposing much more manageable and efficient.
Have you found this content helpful? Check out our blog for more exciting tips!