I always thought “Do as I say, not as I do” to be a silly expression. That is until recently, when I realized the phrase described what I was doing to a T.
You see, I got so caught up with explaining to other businesses the benefits of creating editorial calendars for content marketing that I completely forgot about my own editorial calendar.
I’ll be honest with you, I was pretty embarassed when I realized that. Because there is no excuse for it. Absolutely none.
An editorial calendar is hands down your best resource for planning a communications/marketing strategy and building your audience. It also reduces a ton of 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 a big-picture view of your content, allowing you to coordinate campaigns across all of your platforms.
Start 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 three months from now, but, trust me, 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 ensure that you’re addressing timely issues and key messages, but it will also help you to keep an eye out for any duplication in content, gaps in posting, or topics that don’t align.
2. Set a schedule for your content.
That benefit of working working in advance means avoiding situations where you suddenly realize you have a deadline for content the next day at 8 a.m., and nothing is written (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything). Set a schedule for weekly posts and stick with it. It’ll give you peace of mind, and help build a following with a regular and familiar schedule.
3. Get social.
So you’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, 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 a prime way for businesses to 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 do you any good 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 rounding up approvals is about as enjoyable as a root canal.
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 the pieces that require approval before being published and get the necessary sign-offs well ahead of time.
5. Write better content.
No doubt that you probably already have some amazing content. However, an editorial calendar gives you time to identify the best SEO keywords to drive even 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.
(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 your written content is ready, spend some time finding high-quality, relevant photos and videos or preparing files for uploading. Relying on the same old images from your company’s collection of stock photos can get boring pretty quickly. Rather than scrambling the day of to find supporting content, take the time to plan 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’re 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. Plus, 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!