You already know that content marketing can effectively establish an audience and familiarize people with a brand. However, finding time to publish regularly poses a challenge, even with a dedicated marketing staff. Content marketing can get too expensive if it starts to take too many hours each week, doesn’t have a clear goal, or done too infrequently.
Enter the editorial calendar. Even just a little planning and procedure can go a long way to making your content marketing streamlined and focused.
The Benefits of an Editorial Calendar
Whether you’re a solo content manager or you oversee a large team, an editorial calendar can help. Put your content plan and all your details together in one place. You will keep track of things more easily and likely feel less overwhelmed.
It also cuts down time spent communicating among your team and helps you stay focused on content creation. Planning farther in advance also gives you a much better shot of actually maintaining a regular posting schedule.
The calendar that will work best for you or your team is the one your team will use. Overcomplicate the editorial calendar and you risk ignoring it all together. However, a calendar that’s too simple may ignore essential details. Try a variety of components and formats in order to find the optimal editorial calendar.
Editorial Calendar Components
Regardless of which calendar format you use, it will probably include many of these components for each post:
- Post Goal – You may identify a keyword, key phrase, key inquiry, or specific target audience for each post, especially as it fits into any larger strategic goals or plans.
- Post Promotion Plan – Make notes for boosting the post visibility, including social media, relevant websites or discussion boards, or ads.
- Pre-Publication Checklist – Checklists ensure that nothing essential gets missed before a post goes live. The list may include adding opt-in forms, header images, infographics, and double checking readability and SEO elements.
- Post Stage – Your post will go through a series of established stages along the route to publication. It starts as a potential post idea and proceeding through drafts to the final product.
- People – Note or tag anyone in charge of the post at any given stage.
- Relevant Dates and Deadlines – Note any publication goals including deadlines leading up to the final publication.
A Few Editorial Calendar Options
Typical 30-Day Calendar
Using a calendar view with the seven-day week can work well if you post multiple times a week. Web tools like Google calendar let you assign tasks and create reminders in a clean, simple visual format. Cons to this type of format include needing to click through to see details for each task.
Simple List / Spreadsheet
If you post less often and want to be able to see a lot of content at a glance, you may opt for a simple spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are relatively low-tech compared to the online software solutions available these days. The upside is, you can customize by adding hyperlinks to documents within the cells and code the cells as necessary. You can create columns for the post headline, publication targets, and other info.
Web-Based Software Tools
Perhaps the best option for editorial calendars these days are one of the many online software programs developed to help businesses collaborate and get organized. These are especially helpful for people who have to assign tasks to a team, add checklists within the calendar, add tags and colors, and easily switch between various layouts.
Here are a few web-based software options to consider for your editorial calendar. Many of them are general project management and task management apps that you can modify for your editorial purposes. These tools aren’t all free, but they might be worth the cost depending on your needs:
- Content DJ