An editorial calendar is an essential tool for anyone serious about content marketing, it helps you ensure you content is relevant, being planned in advance, organized, created, scheduled and published in a way that makes sense based on what’s happening in your business. Think of it like a “content to do” list instead of an editorial calendar if it helps. I know, I am an army of one and I push out content every day and I would be lost without my editorial calendar.
Here’s how you can ensure that you make maximum use of your editorial calendar.
Write What You Already Know
First fill out everything that you already know is happening in your business over the next three months or more, especially if you have seasonal peaks and troughs. If you can be at least one quarter ahead on the work, you’ll be a lot more relaxed about your business and see a greater return on investment with loads less stress.
I personally tend to have my editorial calendar filled up with ideas, blog post titles, etc, a whole month in advance… I then work to keep my content a week ahead of schedule, I know this could be perhaps extended and work out better for me… however this works for me, stops me being stressed about content creation and allows me to know what is happening in the coming month. You need to work out, what works best for you … a quarter is great however it’s a dream to many… a month however should be achievable.
Note Your Product or Service Launches
If you have any new products or services launching, put those into your calendar right away. Put the launch dates, then work backwards to today for what else needs to be done and who is responsible for doing it. If you know in advance that you need to create content today for something happening months later, the content you create will often be better and you’ll have a lot more success than if you wait until the last minute to throw it all together.
Add in What You Want to Promote
If you’re promoting other people’s products and know when you are going to do that, add in that as if it’s a launch too. Work your way back adding in the content you need to create for those products, such as blog posts, videos, memes and so forth, just like with our own launches.
Include Events That Will Occur or That You’ll Attend
Whether it’s a webinar, an in-person event, or some other real life marketing opportunity, you’ll want to include it. It doesn’t matter if you’re presenting or attending an event; part of a news story or just an observer, make it part of your calendar. And if it’s related to your business, make it part of your content too.
Establish Regular Deadlines for Basic Content
If you know you want to put out certain content every day or every week, then you should add those deadlines in too, along with also working your way backwards to doing just a little bit of each additional task every single work day.
Include Guest Posts and Other Content from Outside Sources
If you have people who are adding content outside of your work, add that into your calendar along with a way to remind them of their due date to submit the content. That will help keep guest contributors on track as well as keep you on track and not leave any holes in your content publishing.
Keep a General List of Ideas
While this doesn’t go in the calendar, someplace near your calendar, keep an ongoing idea list. When an idea comes to mind, you just add it to the bottom of the list. Then when you use one of the ideas, just mark it off the list. I tend to use the memo application on my smartphone for this as just like most people, it goes everywhere with me and I can easily add something to this list when I think about it.
Keep a List of Keywords Handy
When you get your niche keyword research complete, keep the keywords, handy where you work on your calendar. That way you can use keyword titles for the work you want to do, which will help you keep those words in mind always.
If you have a team working with you, always note on the calendar who exactly is responsible for each task. Ensure that your calendar is shared team wide so that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing on any given day and so that each team member supports each other.
Optimizing your editorial calendar is an important part of keeping your content marketing strategy in line with all your business goals, in fact it’s imperative. The more you can include in your editorial calendar to help you and your team keep things on track, the better. You can use numerous tools, but an Excel file or Google spreadsheet will work great for this purpose.
As the websites I build utilize WordPress with my own blog based website being no different, I use a free editorial calendar plugin which I would recommend to anyone. It allows me to keep track of things, schedule posts and see in a visual manner what content I have planned and the holes I need to fill.