Solid Planning Improves Your Content’s Effectiveness
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What is an editorial calendar?
The editorial calendar lists key topics of future blog posts, e-newsletter articles or content marketing items. This planning tool also creates a production schedule and identifies the writers or resources.
A basic editorial calendar will include:
- A list of topics to publish based on your audience research and your industry experience
- A publishing schedule of topics by month (or week) depending on your posting schedule
- A defined of level of effort required to publish each piece of content (perhaps a target word count)
- Sales and marketing objectives for the content. Describe how you will connect specific articles to your sales, marketing, or lead generation process (example: to promote a March Webinar, you might publish a related article in a February post)
- Content acquisition plan (where will you get the content, who will write it by what date, etc.)
- Cross Promotion Opportunities. In addition to publishing a post in your blog, you might also place summaries of the post in LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, etc. or in your company’s e-newsletter.
Why You Should Use an Editorial Calendar
Editorial calendar planning allows you to improve the business-building results of your content marketing activities.
An editorial calendar keeps you and your team on track. By taking time to plan your content topics for the next year or quarter, you make the writing process smoother.
Pre-planned topics make it easier to assign freelancers or staff writers.
Below are some of the key benefits or creating an editorial calendar for your blog and content marketing efforts.
An editorial calendar allows you to:
- Overcome writer’s block. By waiting until you have a deadline to think of a topic, you increase the writing chore. When you plan topics for weeks or months in advance, you can focus on just the research and writing during the production phase.
- Schedule resources. You do not need to write every post in-house. We have had great luck in reaching out to strategic content partners for guest posts for clients. A strategic content partner is a company selling a complimentary service. With an editorial calendar, you can approach your strategic partner with posting opportunities months in advance.
- Remain topical. If you are in an industry with seasonal trends, you can plan to write for the season. For example, accountants can write about tax tips in early January or HR consultants may write about on-boarding new college hires in May.
- Identify creative assets. It is important to include graphic elements with each blog post. Searching for the appropriate graphics for each post can be very time consuming. If you have a list of several future blog topics, you can pinpoint graphics for multiple posts in the same research effort.
- Improve your lead generation. By planning article topics in advance, you can insure that the topics meet the key needs of your target prospects. You can also think about the calls-to-action you could include to encourage visitors to engage with your company’s lead-nurturing system.
- Optimize social channels. You can use your social channels to promote upcoming posts, to take surveys for posts, to promote existing posts. With the correct analytics in place you can see which social channels bring the most qualified prospects to your company.