Good intentions are meaningless. Good actions deliver – that’s why we’re big fans of building an editorial calendar to guide marketing efforts. What is an editorial calendar? Why is an editorial calendar important for your content marketing efforts? Ready to learn how to create an editorial calendar for your business? Here are the answers to your questions!
What is an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is a month-by-month, week-by-week, or even day-by-day schedule for content. Trade publications create these plans to share with advertisers and PR teams so that they know which issues are important for their marketing efforts. But companies have learned the value of content in their marketing plans, and many internal marketing teams have adopted the practice of developing editorial calendars to guide their content marketing efforts.
The best editorial calendars enable your team to have an organized and comprehensive plan for inbound and outbound marketing content, trade shows and events, story placement and earned media, and owned content such as blog posts. Topics are matched with marketing efforts and timed to deliver the bang for your marketing buck.
Why is an editorial calendar important for marketing?
How many times have you and your team said, “Shoot, we should have done a blog post to announce that we’re attending this event/interviewed that cool customer while he was in the office/[insert opportunity here]”? One reason an editorial calendar is important for marketing is to avoid these kinds of missed opportunities. It stinks to know that you missed out on doing something your audience would love, that could share your expertise, or that would further your marketing goals.
Or how many times have you found your team frantically working on multiple content projects for one month, only to have a dry spell the next? A content calendar helps you ID those blank spots or jam-packed months in advance, so that you can spread the content wealth.
It’s also an excellent reminder to actually develop content – it’s so easy for regular blog posting to go off of the radar of the marketing team when things get busy. When you have a plan in place and give enough notice for assignments and deadlines, things get done.
And getting things done is important for content marketing. Your goals with content may be to drive traffic to your site, move prospects through your sales funnel, provide sales leads, or establish thought leadership and industry credibility. Maybe you want to do all of the above. You can, and you also can measure the ROI of your content efforts. Content is too important to manage by the seat of your pants. If you want to get results, you have to make a plan.
How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Business
A good place to start is with the goals you want to achieve with your marketing efforts and work backward. What content will help you meet them? Start writing down ideas. Identify the subject matter experts in your company who have information to share that can position you as a thought leader. Figure out how much time can they devote to developing content, and whether or not they need a writer to develop and/or shape their pieces. Start plugging them into the grid.
Think about other resources you have, and ones you might need. Do you need white papers or e-books? Can you develop them in-house or do you need to find an external resource? How about video? Social media? The list goes on.
Factor in your events, including those you plan (user groups, customer meetings, road shows and tours) as well as those that you will attend (industry trade shows, conferences, customer and partner events, etc.) Work your content around these opportunities to extend your reach.
Think about all aspects of your content reach: direct marketing such as email newsletters to clients, earned media such as bylines you contribute to influential publications or websites, content such as white papers that you use to drive customers through the sales funnel, and social media.
Finally, make sure you have a goal for each piece, whether it is as simple as providing fresh content for website visitors, to something more active such as leading a prospect to sign up for a demo or download a sample. And make sure your content is designed to deliver.
Now you know how to create an editorial calendar – stop playing catch-up and go on the offensive. You’ve got this!
Are you ready to create an editorial calendar? Test our new content marketing planner to see how easy it is to plan and track your marketing efforts. We’re offering free beta accounts for a limited time – sign up today.