Why not make a New Year’s resolution that’s actually pretty simple to achieve and results in improved, high-quality content for your clients? According to a recent study put out by the Content Marketing Institute, content marketers report that they continue to struggle with creating engaging content. One of the best ways to overcome this challenge is by whipping your clients’ editorial calendars into shape. The benefits to doing so are tremendous:
- You know far in advance the content topics you need to cover and the dates they need to appear.
- You can track possible connections between content.
- You’ll see what content can be repurposed or spark ideas for new content.
- You will ensure you’re including key information in the content such as SEO, etc.
Planning an Editorial Calendar
Each editorial calendar you create will differ depending on the type of content your client needs, and what they consider is important to track. Many content marketers find it helpful to have two separate editorial calendars: one that serves as a master, at-a-glance scheduler, and another that tracks specific activities. If you use Excel for your editorial calendars, you can achieve the same goal by setting up multiple tabs.
From Humdrum to Brilliant
The best editorial calendars are those that coordinate ideas from every department in a company. Plan a brainstorming session and from the results create a roadmap to integrate the diverse ideas into one cohesive marketing strategy. Here’s how to make that happen.
Target Key Dates
- Track events, holidays and seasons, and if your audience is a global one, be sure to include those dates as well.
- Use a site that lists fun, unusual or obscure “national days” to help plan unique content. Lists like these will also yield celebrations or observances that directly apply to a client’s line of business.
- Think about how you can repurpose content. Look for connections throughout your editorial calendar and look for ways to tie blog posts together, or better yet, create a white paper or eBook based on one particular event or a topic series.
Here, we’re talking about evergreen content, a key component in any marketing endeavor. Not every item in an editorial calendar needs to be time-sensitive. Evergreen content allows some breathing room in the content creation cycle and can help secure your client’s reputation as a useful and knowledgeable year-round resource.
- Take a look at where gaps appear in the editorial calendar and use those times to schedule publication of evergreen posts.
- Create timeless copy that can be used repeatedly and that attracts links: tutorials, FAQs and how-to guides are all great evergreen content that only require occasional updates.
- Track the impact evergreen posts have and regularly re-post those that get the most interaction.
Consider the Audience
Don’t lose sight of the reason for creating an editorial calendar in the first place: to gain readership and convert potential leads into long-term customers.
- Content marketing is first and foremost about providing a service to your audience. If a brand is looking to position itself as a thought leader, it needs to know who its readers are and what they want. It then needs to deliver material that is of value to those readers.
- Plan an editorial calendar that focuses on what will most appeal to and entertain the audience. If humor works for a particular client, use it, but space it out for best effect. If a client operates on a seasonal calendar (think fashion retail), create themes that keep that in mind.
- Keep it fun for the reader and never forget that it’s the audience who determines a company’s success or lack thereof.
A Roadmap to Success
Great content that produces real results takes time and preparation, so make sure an editorial calendar reflects the amount of time it will take to create each element, such as writing and editing. It can be quite the juggling act, but if you make sure everyone is on the same page you’ll find you develop a system that keeps content production on track.
As in all things marketing, content creation can be unpredictable. Last-minute updates, guest posts, viral moments or outside events all can force changes to the best-laid editorial plans. To plan for such surprises, leave some space in the editorial calendar to accommodate them.
Editorial calendars are a great tool that will set your clients up for success. Those who make the time to plan and execute a content publication schedule are far more likely to succeed.