Creating and maintaining an editorial calendar is the best way for your team to collaborate and keep content organized. Editorial calendars can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be and they help everyone from marketing managers, copywriters, and social media managers stay on the same page about content marketing goals.
Before you start building an editorial calendar, meet with your team to determine the audience you want to reach, how frequently you’d like to reach them, and on what platforms. This requires a bit of knowledge about your organization’s target personas. Once you have all of this information, you can start to build out a comprehensive editorial calendar.
Do I need to invest in software?
There are products out there that you can purchase that provides you with a full suite of software meant to simplify the content marketing process. These products are often pricey and can mean a big investment for your company. However, if you have several, large teams collaborating on a complex editorial calendar at once then it might be worth the investment.
If you know your marketing budget can’t stretch to include content calendar software, or you know your team won’t be publishing an unmanageable amount of content, then you can create an editorial calendar utilizing the tools your company already has in place.
For example, our team tries to post 4-6 blog posts a month on Zivtech.com and uses Google Sheets to keep our blogs and social content organized. We also use Google Calendar to make staying on top of deadlines even easier.
Plan in quarters
Trying to plan out all of your content over the course of a year can be too tedious and time consuming of a task. We recommend breaking your editorial calendar down into quarters to make it more manageable.
Planning your editorial calendar by quarter is a short-enough time frame to know what upcoming events you have that you should build content around, but it isn’t too far ahead that your marketing goals might change.
Schedule in advance
Our company’s website is built upon Drupal which is a content management system that makes adding and publishing content very simple. Once we have a piece of content drafted we can set a date for it to be published live on our site sometime in the future.
Scheduling your content in advance allows you and your team to plan ahead and ensure that you aren't scrambling at the last minute to meet a deadline.
Scheduling content in advance is also very helpful for when you’re promoting your content across multiple social media platforms. At Zivtech, we use our editorial calendar to plan our social posts by platform, date, and time. We then draft those posts in a tool called Buffer Publish that automatically publishes content based on a preset publishing schedule.
A scheduling tool like Buffer ensures that the content on your editorial calendar is actually being published and shared when it needs to be. It also eliminates the responsibility of having to remember to post each piece of content manually.
Include the right information
Sure, you could open a new spreadsheet, paste a bunch of content topics into it, add some dates, and call it an editorial calendar, but this method won’t help you understand why you’re writing your content or who you’re writing it for.
A good editorial calendar has to include the right information. Be sure to include information like:
- Persona/Audience (who are you writing for?)
- Deadlines (when are drafts and edits due?)
- Publishing date (when should your content be published?)
- Writer (who wrote it?)
- Editor (who edited it and made revisions?)
- Platform (where should it be promoted?)
This information will help you keep your content organized and aligned with your marketing goals.
Use it as a repository
An effective editorial calendar is useful long after the content within it has been published. Your editorial calendar should serve as a repository for all of the content you’ve published across your website and social media platforms.
Referencing back to past editorial calendars is a great way to gain insight into your content marketing strategy. Perhaps you’ve written about the same topic several times and it’s underperforming, or maybe you wrote something that was received well and you’re looking to repurpose it in some way.
Having an editorial calendar to reflect back upon can help your team for future brainstorming sessions and idea generation.
Ultimately, your editorial calendar should be unique to your organization. These tips provide the foundation for creating an effective editorial calendar that will help you achieve your marketing goals.