We all know that content marketing is a great idea, but the prospect of planning and distributing all that content can be seriously daunting. Especially when you’re sharing content on multiple platforms. So you’re ready to start executing your content marketing strategy to boost your business, but you still have a few questions. Ok, lots of questions.
What content should you create? When and where should you post it? How can you meet your content distribution goals?
How can you ensure that you won’t be tearing your hair out due to missed deadlines, unedited content, and a team of stressed-out marketers?
There must be a way to make content marketing easier.
Say hello to the editorial calendar.
Using an editorial calendar can make an incredible difference in the content marketing process. With 85% of top marketing performers implementing an editorial calendar for content production, it must be kind of useful, right?
Wondering how you can develop and make an editorial calendar work for your business?
Don’t worry - by the end of this article, you’ll be an editorial calendar expert!
First things first, though: let’s understand what exactly an editorial calendar is.
What is an editorial calendar?
As with most things in life, planning is an essential part of content marketing.
I like to draw a parallel between using an editorial plan for content marketing and organizing a holiday. If you don’t plan where you’re going to stay, what you’re going to do, and when you’re going to do it - it’s likely that you’ll run out time to see all the places you wanted to in the first place, or you’ll miss out on seeing them entirely!
An unplanned content strategy is a lot like an unplanned holiday - disorganized, chaotic, and more stressful than it needs to be.
Of course, a certain degree of spontaneity makes life exciting - but when it comes to planning your content strategy, having a plan is guaranteed to make life a whole lot easier.
An editorial calendar is a timeline of the content you plan to publish, usually organized on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis.
It answers all the “W” questions of content marketing: what, when, where, why, and who.
You’re probably aware that effective content doesn’t simply appear out of thin air. Content marketing that makes an impact and tells your business’ stories is vital to your company’s success and growth.
After all, there’s more than one reason why 77% of companies say that they have a content marketing strategy.
Content marketing will allow your business to flourish by improving your ability to engage your buyer personas, converting more leads, boosting brand awareness, and connecting with your audience.
Your audience trusts that you’ll share nothing but valuable and high-quality content with them. That’s why it’s so important that you are creating and distributing your content effectively and efficiently, in a way that captures and retains your audience’s interest.
A business’s editorial plan can be complex; it implies establishing content marketing goals, developing a strategy, and strategizing your content ahead of time. This works to generate better results for your business like improved search engine ranking, more social shares, and increased traffic, leads, and conversions.
Why is an editorial plan so important for your business?
Now you know what an editorial calendar is, you’re probably wondering how exactly it could benefit your business, right?
It’s simple: an editorial calendar allows you to strategize your content.
It’s important to remember that having an editorial calendar doesn’t magically equal a successful content marketing strategy.
The calendar is a tool to help you implement your content marketing strategy - but you need to have the strategy in the first place! Luckily, the internet is an endless treasure trove of content marketing advice, where you can discover everything you need to know about how to develop an effective content strategy for your business.
So, what makes an editorial calendar an invaluable tool for your business?
An editorial calendar not only makes organizing your content easier but allows you to optimize it to suit your business’ needs.
Your content will have a new sense of direction, as the editorial plan sets themes over a long period of time. You can plan ahead, giving your content strategy structure and strategy.
Who will benefit from it?
Creating an editorial calendar will benefit your whole marketing team.
Writers, editors, marketing managers, and executives can stay on track and up to date with publishing new content, and everyone in your team will be on the same page about all upcoming content marketing initiatives.
So, an editorial calendar can help to fulfill your business’ content marketing goals by increasing productivity and enabling you to:
- Organize your authors (internal and external) and topics
- Track keywords and CTAs
- Target content for each stage of the funnel
- Improve time management
- Plan which channels your content will be published on
- Track content events
- Understand which topics work and don’t work
- Observe a “big picture” view of your content marketing initiatives
Companies successfully using editorial calendars to plan their content
Let’s take the content strategy of Amazon-owned natural food store Wholefoods.
Wholefoods editorial calendar integrates its products with easy-to-read, entertaining, and high-quality content. They understand that it’s important to only share content that users will engage with, and supplement their 2x weekly blog posts with content gleaned from other valuable sources.
Their editorial calendar is organized strategically to engage their audience with blog posts and only 1-2 social media posts per week.
If we compare this to luxury car retailer BMW’s content strategy and editorial calendar, we find very different approaches to content marketing. BMW schedules its content much more frequently than Wholefoods, posting around 7 blog posts per day, 3 times on Instagram, and 23 times a week on LinkedIn. Their content is dedicated to showing BMW behind the scene, and making their audience feel part of a community,
So what’s the takeaway from these examples? Regardless of the size of your company or the frequency of your content initiatives, using an editorial calendar will allow you to create and schedule content consistently and effectively.
Now you know why it’s important for your business, let’s take a look at what an editorial calendar looks like and how to get started.
What does an editorial calendar look like?
An editorial calendar is much like a regular calendar. Just without the pictures of shirtless firemen or kittens.
How your editorial calendar looks will depend entirely on the needs of your business. Whether you opt to create your calendar from scratch or streamline the whole process with help from a dedicated editorial calendar software is up to you.
Curious about how to create an editorial calendar in excel or google sheets?
Excel and google sheets allow you to align content with keywords and audience segments, connect content to the buyer’s journey, and track keyword usage.
Creating editorial calendars using these programs can be quite fiddly and time-consuming, but we’ve come up with a list of some of the core attributes it’ll need to form its backbone. These include:
- A comprehensive list of content that will be published based on your content strategy; it can include planned future content, existing content, or content that will be repurposed for your target audience.
- Content creation and publishing dates or deadlines to make sure nobody falls behind.
- Who is responsible for creating the content to ensure everyone in your team is on the same page.
- A next step, or call to action that gives your audience an opportunity to engage further with your brand after they’ve consumed your content.
- Content-type: blog posts, social media posts, video, e-mail, infographics, etc.
- Relevant SEO keywords to increase google ranking and traffic towards your content.
- Status menu to show what stage the content is at, for example: not started, in progress, submitted, checked, published.
- Specify which buyer stage the content is aimed at (TOFU, MOFU, or BOFU).
An editorial calendar is always evolving. Check-in with your team and get their opinions and suggestions for how to improve your calendar further. As they say, there’s strength in numbers!
Are you ready to get started and experience for yourself the endless benefits of using an editorial calendar? Download YourTarget’s free editorial calendar template now.