If you are into content marketing make 2014 the year you start an editorial calendar and keep it going all year long. This is an essential tool in producing quality, effective content that consistently supports marketing and business objectives.
An editorial calendar not only improves the organization of content marketing initiatives overall, it provides the broad overview required for smart strategy.
With a calendar, content marketers can see, at a glance, what and when original content needs to be produced, which channels should be supported and who on the content team is responsible for each task
A calendar will help capture great storylines and ideas as they occur, so they can be developed into the most appropriate content format, whether text, video, photos, podcasts, etc.
This tool will provide a plan for social media distribution for each piece of original content and even for curation of other’s content and general social media community engagement. Advanced planning ensures that content and distribution aligns with all business and marketing objectives and tactics such as planned events, promotions and campaign.
In addition, an editorial calendar will improve productivity for the whole content team. Writers will begin with a clear focus for each article which will reduce time and effort in both ideation and research.
It’s a good idea to include the whole content team in formulating an editorial calendar. A team brainstorm will make the plan more creative and broader reaching. It will also help get full buy-in for the editorial direction from the whole team.
An editorial calendar will allow you to be smarter about the types of content that is published, ensuring the full range of story and content formats are used to full effect. This way no one style, product line or issue will dominate thereby increasing appeal for a larger target audience.
It can also provide flexibility. By leaving a little slack in the plan, content marketers can react quickly to news, trends and issues as they arise within the framework of the editorial calendar. For example, planning to run an ‘opinion piece on industry news’ allows for the writer to choose a topical subject that will provide the currency necessary to attract new audiences.
What to track
There are many free editorial calendar templates available online, but the most effective ones are those configured to the specific of the user. Key items to track include:
After all calendars are all about dates, so tracking deadlines for the delivery and publishing of all content is a core function of the tool.
Keeping track of who is contributing what content will avoid duplication and improve productivity both for the individual and the overall content marketing team.
An editorial calendar will let you plan the topics covered within your content. For example, industry issues, trends and practices, products, company news, community news, customer testimonials and case studies.
Which stories will run when and where? Track blogs and websites, email, newsletters and all social channels.
Track story formats such as opinion articles, how to, news stories, interviews, op eds, Q&A, reviews, lists, etc. Track content formats such as text, photos, infographics, video, audio, gif, etc. Also track the mix of story styles such as promotional, thought leadership, informational, curation, etc.
Links and resource
Keep links to source materials in the calendar to ensure they are properly referenced in all resulting content.
Keywords and hashtags
Although quality content is now more important in SEO, keywords do still play a role. Choose one or two keywords as the focus for the content and use them in headlines, subheads, lead sentences, photo captions, etc. Track important hashtags that will help push content further through social channels.
This article was originally published on Thornley Fallis.
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