As an essential tool in a marketer’s arsenal, editorial calendars organize content according to a targeted digital channel, audience and desired behavior (product trial, thought leadership, etc.). A well developed and executed editorial calendar will schedule topics in advance (typically 3-6 months) so that you can coordinate the content syndication (publication and distribution through multiple channels) and organize it around specific outcomes. Editorial calendar can segment the flow of content on a weekly or monthly basis and is typically centered around specific promotional events and/or campaigns.
4 Essential Steps
To narrow down your requirements for a successfully executed editorial calendar, the following steps should be taken as it aligns with your content marketing strategy. It is important to keep in mind what works for your company may be quite different than your competitors’.
Brainstorm Ideas & Topics
Content must relate to not just your brand or industry, but it must also be interesting and relevant to your readers. Your goal in creating content is for people to interact with it, share it, and respond positively. Brainstorming can begin by analyzing events that appear on a typical yearly calendar. However, be sure to limit your chosen events to those that are appropriate to your industry. Here is general list of events for reference:
- Business Thought Leadership
- New Product Launches & Upgrades
- Marketing Promotions
- Seasonal & Sporting Events
- Awards Shows and Entertainment
Beyond typical calendar events, consider what information would be relevant and interesting to your audience. Posts that pose questions customers can respond to or that can generate discussions are ideal. Creating themed days for posting can also assist in generating interest amongst customers, and lead to reader loyalty by offering some consistency in your posts.
Assemble a Plan
Decide how each post will be formatted, whether there will be a picture used or if the post will have an attached link. These are details that should be determined before the editorial calendar is completed to make posting quick and efficient. Your calendar should be used as a guide, but it is not set in stone. Be flexible if circumstances change and posts need to be adjusted. It is a place to be creative and have fun by engaging with customers. Explore different themed posts and posting approaches to find the one that connects best with your audience.The easiest way to format a calendar is by using Microsoft Excel. Typically, the calendar should include individual tabs for each digital channel and a column for each of the following:
- Targeted Audience Type
- Targeted Conversion Activity
- Post Date/Time
- Social Channel Name
- Compliance Obligation
- Tracking Token
- Image Attachment
- Notes Section
Based on the content authors assigned in the plan, the content development process involves the researching, writing, gathering, organizing, and editing of information for publication working with the subject matter experts and appropriate team members to make sure your content is aligned with not only the timeliness and correct channel, but has the appropriate brand messaging, compliance, search optimization, and management approvals.Depending on the channel, research the appropriate keywords and hashtags to incorporate in your content using Google Alerts (by topic), Google Analytics (keyword traffic selection), and Twitter (for hashtags).
Tracking your content delivery is the most important activity in the editorial process because it provides insight into what content is engaging, through specific channels with specific audiences. Using tracking tokens and desired outcomes or conversions is a great way to understand patterns of success. The goal is to develop a formula when you know how to organize your editorial calendar targeting the right content, at the right time, through the right channel(s) to the right audience – the 4 R’s to Media Mixing.
If you’re interested in learning more about editorial calendar development as it relates to your content marketing strategy, contact us and we’d be more than happy to discuss the potential opportunities for your brand.
Additions & Feedback
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