It’s January, the time of year where we all resolve to get organized and stay that way all year long! Now is the time to start a content calendar and keep it going. This is an essential tool in producing quality, effective content that consistently supports marketing and business objectives.
An editorial calendar will not only get you organized, it will make you more strategic in your work.
With a calendar, you 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 you capture great storylines and ideas as they occur, so they can be developed into the most appropriate format for each of your marketing channels.
It even gives you a plan using social media to promote your own stories or curated even curated content. And, this advanced planning ensures your content and activities align with business and marketing strategies.
In addition, an editorial calendar will improve productivity for your whole content team. Writers will sit down with a clear focus for each article which can save time and effort.
It’s a good idea to include your whole team in formulating an editorial calendar. A team brainstorm will result in better ideas and make the plan more creative. It will also help get full buy-in for the editorial direction too.
A content calendar will allow you to be smarter. It ensures the full range of story and content formats are used to full effect. This way no one style, product line or issue will dominate and you’ll be able to reach all your target audiences with stories that are actually relevant for them.
It can also provide flexibility to react quickly to news, trends and issues as they arise. For example, keep it high-level, for example, plan to run an ‘opinion piece on industry news’. This allows the writer to choose a trending subject to attract audiences.
What to track
There are many free editorial calendar templates available online. 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 to avoid duplication and manage workloads.
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 blog posts and websites, email, newsletters and all social media 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, GIFs, 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 tags
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.