Using editorial calendars in content marketing

An editorial calendar: it’s the most important tool for any content marketer. Why? As well as helping to you to deliver relevant and high quality content on a regular basis, an editorial calendar provides a powerful way through writer’s block and helps with the creative process.

It is easy to see how an editorial calendar can help deliver relevance and quality content. But creativity?

Well, the first thing a calendar does is force you to generate a list of topics for your content and assign a publication date to them. And, once you know what you have to write about at a particular time, the big, hard question that destroys so many blogging plans “What am I going to write about today?” has been answered.

And the second thing it does is give you time to consider the topic. The subconscious is a wonderful thing. Face a subject for the first time and your first thoughts about it will dominate your writing. Mull it over for a few days and at random times thoughts will occur to you that improve the structure of the piece and add interesting new perspectives.

A simple process for content development is: 1. generate content ideas; 2. plan content; 3. write content; 4. edit, sign off and publish content. The calendar is intimately bound up with all these stages.

At the innovation stage, when you are generating new ideas, you can use the blank calendar as part of your stimulus material. Dates mean things: Valentine’s Day happens in February, Midsummer in June, Christmas in December. Add important events: the Olympics, Glastonbury, Chelsea Flower Show. And anniversaries: World War 1, Dylan Thomas’s birthday…These don’t have to be topics you write about but they can stimulate ideas and allow you to add some topical relevance to your content for when it is first published.

The calendar really comes into its own in the planning stage. You have identified topics and selected the best ones. Now you need to decide what sort of content it will be (blog, Pinterest board, infographic, whitepaper, video…), who is going to create it, and when it will be published. The calendar provides you with a method of managing the flow of content, ensuring it is regular and that any quality control processes (sub editing, sign off etc) have been followed.

The calendar can help in the writing process too. It should contain information about the target audience of each piece (if you are writing for different audiences), the main themes covered, and potentially the desired SEO keywords. Having this information easily to hand will make it easier to create high quality content that achieves what you want it to for your organisation.

And finally the calendar helps with the management of the publishing process, enabling you to track whether content has been reviewed and signed off and published on time.

Editorial calendars don’t have to be complex. A simple Word document or Excel spreadsheet will suffice for many businesses. This document will specify at least the following:

  • The intended date of publication
  • The topic and key themes
  • The desired purpose and call to action
  • The audience (if more than one audience is available)
  • SEO keywords
  • The designated author
  • The reviewer and/or person responsible for sign off
  • The proposed media outlets
  • Details of any intended repurposing (e.g. blog posts taken from a whitepaper)
  • The actual date of publication
  • A record the responses each content piece has achieved

Having an editorial calendar can’t guarantee business success, or even quality, but without it success will certainly be harder to achieve.

If you would like to talk about how an editorial calendar can help with your content marketing efforts then please call mosoco on 07855 341 589 or email us at hello@mosoco.co.uk.

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