Excerpt: The editorial process for a business can be surprisingly complex; it entails establishing content marketing objectives, developing a strategy, and meticulously strategizing all of your content ahead of time in order to generate better results for your business – whether it's an improved search engine ranking, more traffic, more social shares, or more leads and conversions.
In this article, we will explain why and how to create an editorial schedule for your company.
Read Time: 10 mins 30 secs
It's a dirty little secret in a lot of marketing departments, from startups to Fortune 500 companies and everything in between. Some of you reading this don’t have an editorial schedule, and it's making your life harder. There is a slew of reasons why you shouldn't arrange your content strategy. Do these sound all too familiar?
We are pressed for time.
No one is in control (and I'm not interested in being).
It'll be excessively difficult.
That's right. You'll feel a lot better once you get into the habit of using an editorial calendar for content marketing, just like anything else you've put off for a long time (working exercise! meditation!).
What exactly is an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is a list of what content you'll publish when and when it'll be published. Many teams utilise content marketing software to keep track of their editorial calendars, but it may be as basic as making an excel calendar and recording when the material is produced. Some brands go a step further and track the types of material being published on certain days, as well as when it will be shared on social media. Editorial calendars keep everyone on the same page concerning content marketing cadence and topics, from writers to publishers to social media managers and executives.
What is the need for an editorial calendar?
Below are six reasons to build an editorial calendar if you haven’t already.
Save Your Time Writing Content
What if we told you that you could quit making notes to yourself on napkins in the name of content marketing? An editorial calendar allows you to arrange all of your amazing ideas in one spot, saving you time when it comes to writing. If you've previously determined how much and what kind of content you require, instead of always reinventing the wheel, you can just write what you need to publish each month.
Save Your Time Scheduling Content
Scheduling may be a pain, whether you're managing one blog or five social media accounts. Unless, of course, your information is beautifully arranged in a content management system and ready to publish. When you have all of your material and strategy in one location, the scheduling stage becomes more about scheduling than strategizing about what, when, how, and where it should go. Consistency in content publishing is also crucial. According to a recent NewsCred study, 27% of consumers believe that low-quality/infrequently generated material makes a brand seem out of touch or out of step with customer behaviours.
Easier preparation for the expected and unexpected
If everyone is planning ahead of time, that fantastic April Fool's/Super Bowl/company anniversary/new product promotion post you've been thinking of will be easier to carry off. It's a lot easier to cope with breaking news in your sector or around your brand when you know what you can move around to react on it.
Make Your Collaboration 1000 times easier
When you don't have to deal with twenty separate documents across your team, it's lot easier to share, modify, and keep track of what's on the agenda. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to sit down and point to what's coming up in a succession of neatly labelled boxes.
Help You Build Up Content to Recycle
If you wanted to, how much evergreen content could you create tomorrow? Evergreen content is a content marketer's best friend, and having a library of editorial calendars in your pocket will make it a lot easier to tweet and post at the right frequency for your team.
Helps You Figuring Out What Content You are Working On and What’s Not
With an editorial calendar, defining content buckets (categories of content based on objective (product feature, brand awareness piece, how-to, etc.) or genre (holiday blog, Oscar's content) becomes a breeze. It's simple to match categories with days of the week or month and evaluate their efficacy against your KPIs once you know when you'll be publishing.
How To Create Your Editorial Calendar For Marketing Team in 5 Steps?
Establish Your Content Marketing Objectives
Identifying your marketing and company goals is the first step in preparing your schedule.
Begin with your company's objectives: how may content marketing assist you in achieving your objectives? You can then set explicit marketing objectives, such as:
- Driving more traffic to your business website
- Improving your search engine optimization
- Improving your brand awareness and reach
- Building loyalty amongst your target audience and customers
- To generate more leads and conversions for building up your list
- To generate new customers and make more sales
Research possible topics and possible strategy
It's not about coming up with headlines at this point, but rather some broad suggestions for the type of content you should develop to meet your marketing goals; for example:
- To generate more leads, create more content downloads
- To drive more traffic to your website, create content that attracts readers (such as listicles, useful how-to guides)
- To improve search engine optimization, create content that not only brings value to your audience, but that targets specific keywords
- To build loyalty, focus on highly valuable content that provides a lot of value to your audience (e-books, webinars, extensive guides)
- To generate new customers and make more sales, create more content about your products (such as case studies) as well as content that allows you to sell to your audience (such as webinars)
At this point, all you need to do is obtain a general notion of what kind of content you'll need to achieve your objectives.
Content research and understanding your analytics
You may accomplish this by looking at your own analytics (if you've already been using content marketing on your website), as well as using content research tools like Buzzumo and Social Animal to analyse top performing content in your niche:
What forms of material get the most attention?
Which headlines are the most effective?
What content types are most effective with your target audience? Which topics are the most popular? (short or long form material, listicles, how-to manuals, ebooks, and so on)
Which of your articles brings in the most visitors/leads/etc.?
Similarly, if you want to boost your search engine optimization, you should conduct extensive keyword research ahead of time and create a list of long tail keywords that you will include in your content.
Coming Up with Content Ideas
You've gathered a lot of data on your target audience, their tastes, and your own content marketing goals at this point.
This is an excellent moment to begin thinking about your headlines. If you're working with a larger group, brainstorming content ideas together can help you come up with better ideas and ones you hadn't considered before.
Take time to ponder one essential question when you come up with headline and topic ideas before adding them to your calendar: how will this specific piece of content assist me achieve my marketing goals?
Because if it doesn't help you attain your goals, it's probably best to toss it out and try something new.
Continuously Monitor Your Results and Optimise Your Strategy
No editorial calendar should be written in stone; in fact, it's a good idea to keep a careful eye on the performance of your content and utilise that data to improve your editorial calendar and, as a result, your content marketing strategy.
For example, if you tried a certain type of downloadable goodie and didn't get many leads (which would've been the main goal in this case), it's critical to figure out why and how you can better your strategy and content in the future.
Consistently track your performance while keeping your marketing objectives in mind, and make adjustments to your strategy and calendar as needed.
Editorial Calendar Examples
We've included genuine examples from some of the most successful content teams to help you create an editorial calendar. Check them out below and find out what makes their calendar so useful.
- Hubspot Editorial Calendar
- Buffer’s Editorial Calendar
Buffer, a social media content scheduling platform, has a real-time editorial calendar. Naturally, an editorial calendar is used to support the company's own content. It lists the author, title, publish date, and where the assignment is in the editorial workflow (content can be in the "Ideas" stage, in the "Pipeline," "In Progress," or "Editing").
Each rectangular tile in the above image represents a single piece of material, such as a blog post, a video, or a podcast episode.
Buffer's editorial calendar is built on Trello, a popular project management tool, as you can see. And, while Trello may be used in a variety of ways, Buffer makes the most of its features to ensure that everyone has the information they need in a matter of seconds, regardless of what they do for the company or how the calendar affects their job.
An editorial calendar should be a resource for your entire team, not just content authors. It should be something that everyone can use to see what's coming up and offer content suggestions. Outside of your marketing team, the best content ideas can sometimes come from unexpected places.
Buffer logs feedback as material is created and assessed when you click on an assignment. It's more than just a schedule; it's also a place to communicate feedback, editing notes, pitches, and ideas.
- Unbounce’s Editorial Calendar
Platform: Google Sheets
This is Unbounce's editorial calendar, which is a HubSpot integration partner and a maker of landing pages and related conversion solutions for marketers. Unlike Buffer, this company manages all of their content production through Google Sheets, and the way they've personalised the spreadsheet above would appeal to any content creator.
Unbounce organises their projects by month, but as the first two columns on the lefthand side show, they also sort their content by the campaign they're serving. This allows the company to observe what numerous assignments — listed vertically in the third column — have in common, as well as track content outside of the Unbounce blog.
The Unbounce blog, as seen below, has its own editorial calendar in Google Sheets, which allows it to work in tandem with the company's wider objectives. Nonetheless, the company's growing business has found that employing spreadsheets for both content pipelines is the
"We're a small content team," says Colin Loughran, editor in chief at Unbounce. "Other platforms would definitely overcomplicate things."
Finally, this editorial calendar ensures that Colin's team is on the same page. ""While we strive to lock down dates a few weeks ahead of time," he says, "the fact is that we occasionally need to make changes extremely rapidly." For example, a product launch may be moved to a time window we had planned for something else, or a guest contributor's revised draught may be postponed. Having a single resource that everyone can use is a vital safety net in this situation."
- Digital Authority’s Content Calendar
Digital Authority, a content and social media marketing agency, differentiates between their large picture content goals and their smaller content-related duties.
CoSchedule is used by Digital Authority to schedule blog entries and social media posts. The ability to create social postings across networks from within one portal, as well as colour categorization, calendar and task views, are all advantages.
With drag-and-drop capabilities, the team can stay on track, on the same page, and agile.
- Hootsuite’s Content Calendar
Platform: Google Slides and Hootsuites Planner
Another social media scheduling platform, Hootsuite, has a lot of content to publish on a daily basis as well as far in advance. As a result, their content calendar is an important part of their production strategy.
Because of the volume, the Hootsuite team plans and organises content across channels in advance using Google Sheets. Posts that are ready to be published are represented on Hootsuite Planner once the strategy has been designed and implemented.
When done correctly, content marketing takes a lot of work, but it's also tremendously effective. Try to organise your editorial schedule ahead of time in order to get better outcomes from your content marketing, especially by focusing on your marketing goals. This will not only increase your productivity and save you time, but it will also increase your ROI because you'll be concentrating entirely on material that produces results – and you'll be able to optimise your strategy as you go to keep your strategy and ROI improving.