Business owners working to develop a strong online presence report that their biggest content marketing challenge is finding ideas for posts, followed by the lack of time to write and publish on a regular basis. Creating a comprehensive editorial calendar based on a content marketing strategy will help you to overcome these issues. By making a scheduled time commitment, they can make sure that their content marketing doesn’t end up on the back burner just because they don’t get around to it.
Advantage #1: Publishing Regularly and On Time
It’s vitally important that you publish regularly and on time if you aim to build an online following. Customers expect you to deliver when you say you will, and the existence of a structured schedule for your content marketing makes it possible for you to plan your content ahead of time. If your company is holding a promotion or event in two months’ time, for example, you can devote one blog post per week to the event in the run-up period.
On your editorial calendar, pencil your ideas into slots as they occur to you. Create each post a week before it is due for publication, to give yourself time to review it before publishing, or to do extra research and add information based on ideas that come to you while you’re writing. If your company has an approval process, following your calendar will help you produce each piece of content with enough time for the responsible people to review it before it goes live.
Advantage #2: Gives You a Big Picture View
Creating an editorial calendar that runs for a month, a quarter or even a year gives you the advantage of a “birds-eye” perspective of your online communications.
It enables you to:
- Plan for running features, such as the components of a series of posts on a specific topic
- Schedule content themes based on the time of year, such as New Year, Halloween or the 4th of July
- Maintain consistency of your core messages across a variety of topics
- Work with overlapping subjects to avoid duplication and highlight discrepancies.
The Content Marketing Institute recommends using a monthly editorial calendar worksheet to select monthly topics for the year ahead, and then fleshing out the topics and scheduling the posts three months ahead.
Advantage #3: Plenty of Time to Find Ideas
How often are you out and about and you see something that gives you an idea for a blog post, a white paper or an eBook? But, by the time you’re ready to create your next piece of content, the idea has gone with the wind and you’re left racking your brains for subject matter.
With a comprehensive editorial calendar, however, you can take that idea, look for the best time to showcase it and jot it down for future use. Then you can research it and mull over it for a while before producing it, source input and comments from others. If your content production process involves several stakeholders, identifying suitable topics in advance improves your chances of getting consensus on the ideas, too.
Advantage #4: Synchronization with Other Sources
This applies to advertising as well as guest contributors. Whether your advertising is limited to running AdSense on your site, you have individual advertisers who buy impressions or you just advertise your own business externally, planning ahead using an editorial calendar enables your advertising to achieve synergies with your content. It’s not only in traditional media that special features offer the option to sell ad space at a premium; you can apply the principle online, too.
As for guest contributors, your editorial calendar will help you to manage multiple contributors, give them each specific dates and comfortable lead times, and avoid sourcing duplicating topics.
Making it Work
All too often, businesses experience less than ideal results with their content marketing because of a failure to set aside time or to find ideas. Set up your content marketing editorial calendar with your strategies, content deadlines, some ideas for titles and formats, and tasks allocated to various people. Highlight key messages where you want to incorporate them in the content, to avoid losing sight of their importance. Review the calendar frequently and keep it flexible, so you can slot in content on issues that come up unexpectedly.
You can make editorial calendars a tool to help keep content development on track, and enjoy the benefits of a powerful, vibrant online presence.