Ever wondered why you should create a content calendar or editorial plan? If you are meeting your marketing goals without one, then feel free to skip it. But if you are struggling to meet your marketing objectives or want to grow your business, here are five editorial plan benefits to motivate you to get started.

One way to adjust your mindset is to think of your content marketing as a project. Proper project management enhances the likelihood of success, and the bedrock of every project management effort is a plan. Building an editorial plan is your path to positive outcomes.

#1 Get Your Team on the Same Page With an Editorial Plan

Surprisingly, small teams often struggle the most to communicate. Big companies have processes in place, but startups and small businesses move fast and can forget to keep everyone in the loop. Add in the growing number of teams that collaborate virtually and you have a recipe for disaster in executing your content marketing. And no, your Slack channel isn’t enough.

Teams work best when they have a specific direction, goals, and focus. Improving team performance ranks high in every metric for project management best practices. An editorial plan is a great way to ensure that everyone on your team knows what you’re doing each week, and who’s in charge. It also can be an excellent place to gather ideas for future content, projects, and events.

#2 Prioritize Activities that Matter

Small businesses and startups have a to-do list that never ends. The only way to make progress is to set priorities, and an editorial plan can force you to focus on the ones that matter. Design your content to meet your objectives, and create a plan for execution. Content marketing is not a quick fix; it’s all about building a library of content that helps your customers and highlights your strengths. It takes motivation and discipline, but like exercise and diet, you see positive changes over time when you focus on what is important. An editorial plan can provide a rare spot of clarity in small business marketing. Embrace it!

#3 Accomplish Goals

An editorial plan forces you to consider each element of content marketing – frequency, subject matter, channel, and contributor. And it places a marker on what you need to deliver, when, and by whom. Your content still will not create itself, but with an editorial plan in place, you have a roadmap for how to accomplish your goals. Rather than ending each week in a panic because no one has managed to generate a blog post, record a podcast, pitch a byline opportunity, or send the user email, you can start your week knowing what needs to happen.

#4 Don’t Miss Opportunities

It is a terrible feeling to see your competitor featured in a story when it should have been you. It stinks to miss out on promoting National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, Agile Developer Week, or whatever holiday you could capitalize on. It is incredibly frustrating to attend a trade show with your best prospects knowing that a simple email the week before could have helped you set up some one-on-one meetings. You can prevent this by happening when you create a content calendar or editorial plan. You know in advance when these things will happen, and can plan for them.

#5 Be (More) in Control

Marketing can be a crazy roller coaster ride where you are hanging on for dear life. It attracts a certain kind of crazy – raise your hand if you and your team came up with a great idea one morning and were executing by mid afternoon – but it doesn’t mean that every aspect of your day should be nuts. When you create an editorial plan, you can manage the predictable aspects of the job and leave space for the crazy.

I freely admit that I am a planner, and that when I feel overwhelmed, the thing that sets me straight is to make a list. I gravitate toward creating a content calendar or editorial plan, but the benefits are clear for people who don’t naturally want to go this route. Still skeptical? Try it out for six months, and see if it makes a difference in your life. I am willing to bet that an editorial plan will be a net positive for you and your team.

If you need some help setting up your editorial plan or sticking to it, give me a shout. I would love to help!