I always thought the saying “Do as I say, not as I do” was a pretty silly expression. That is until recently when I realized that phrase described exactly what I was doing.
You see, I have been so caught up with explaining to other businesses the benefits of creating targeted editorial calendars for their content marketing that I completely forgot about my own editorial calendar.
I’ll be honest with you; I felt a little ashamed at that realization. Because there is no excuse for it. Absolutely none.
An editorial calendar is hands down your best resource for planning your communications/marketing strategy and building your following. It also cuts down on stress. And I really can’t stress that last point enough (no pun intended).
Still wondering if you need an editorial calendar? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits:
1. Visualize your communications/marketing strategy!
If there is one key benefit of an editorial calendar, it’s enabling you to visualize your communications and marketing strategies and tasks. Think of an editorial calendar as a tool to give you a big-picture view of your communications content, allowing you to coordinate campaigns across all of your platforms.
Start out by creating a calendar for three months in advance. I get that it may seem daunting to think about what you will be working on in three months’ time, but the effort will be well worth it.
- Your future self in three months’ time will thank you for it.
- Once you get started, you will be amazed at how much you’re able to flesh it out.
- You can always tweak it along the way – in fact, you should periodically look over your editorial calendar to make sure that nothing is missing.
Not only will your editorial calendar allow you to make certain that you’re addressing timely issues and key messages, but it will also enable you to keep an eye out for any duplication in content, gaps in posting, or topics that do not align.
2. Set a schedule for your content.
The whole benefit of having an editorial calendar is to work in advance and prevent you from pulling out your hair from unnecessary stress when you realize you have a deadline for content tomorrow at 8 a.m. and it is already 4 p.m. (not that I’m speaking from a personal experience or anything…). Set a schedule for weekly posts and stick with it. Sticking to a schedule for posting new content also helps you build a following. If you have multiple channels that you post content to, don’t overwhelm your audience (and yourself) by uploading new content to all of them in a single day.
3. Get social.
While we’re on the topic of different channels – so you’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat? That’s awesome, but are you using all of those platforms to their full potential? Make sure that your editorial calendar also includes scheduling for social media posts. Social media is an important way that businesses communicate with their audience and it needs to be given the same level of attention and planning as your other content. Having accounts on several social media platforms won’t serve you any purpose unless you actually use them.
4. Get a head start on approvals.
Raise your hand if you work or have worked in an office where approvals seem like a neverending process. A lengthy approval process isn’t uncommon, but it can have you feeling rushed to get content prepared and posted on time. Set aside a bit of time every month to write out the pieces that will require approval before being posted and get the necessary sign-offs well ahead of time.
5. Write better content.
No doubt that you probably already have some amazing content. But an editorial calendar gives you time to identify the best SEO keywords to drive more online traffic your way. You can also keep tabs on what content your audience is engaging with the most and adapt your calendar accordingly.
6. Create themes.
A surefire way to come up with some content during quieter times of the year is by building themes related to holidays and seasons. Christmas, Easter, Canada Day, the first day of winter, World Nutella Day – use them to your advantage when it comes to content ideas for your calendar. And don’t forget about promoting any noteworthy milestones, like your company’s anniversary. Have a particular campaign or promotion coming up? An excellent way to create momentum and interest for an initiative is to build a theme around it with a series of posts.
(And yes, World Nutella Day is a thing. It’s February 5. You’re welcome.)
7. Organize supporting content.
A picture says a thousand words, right? Once you have your written content ready, spend some time finding high-quality, relevant photos and videos or preparing files for uploading. Relying on the same old photos from your company’s archive collection of stock photographs can get overused pretty quickly if you’re always scrambling the day of to find supporting content rather than taking the time to plan in advance for new assets.
8. Team cooperation.
Though an often overlooked advantage of editorial calendars, I can personally attest to how much of an impact they can have on building unity and cooperation across a team. When you are creating your editorial calendar, send out a request for content ideas from others on your team. It’s a fantastic way to build internal support and buy-in for your content marketing endeavours and helps everyone feel involved. Not to mention, it’s an easy way to keep tabs on upcoming issues from other departments.
Keep in mind that there isn’t one set way to create an editorial calendar. Find a system that works best for you – whether that’s Excel, Google Calendar, or just a pen and paper – and get planning your content.
Want help with creating an editorial calendar tailored to suit your business’ content marketing needs? Let’s chat!