An editorial calendar, sometimes called a content calendar, is a calendar of what content you are going to publish on your site or blog or social media, and when. Since building your brand relies so heavily on social media and online engagement, you already know that it’s vital that you create or curate high quality content on a regular basis. An editorial calendar is a simple way to help you manage this process.
Editorial calendars can be as old school as a few pages of your notebook, or as digital as you’d like: project management tools like Asana and Coschedule are excellent for this purpose, but you can also use Excel or Google Sheets, or even Google Calendar. And why should you bother? Well…
You know you need to say something, but what should you write? What has everyone else on the team written lately? Have you already covered this topic this year? With an editorial calendar, your blog posts, marketing campaigns, and social media engagements are mapped out ahead of time, so you won’t need to waste time scratching your head or going back through the archives.
If you want a good Christmas campaign, for example, you’re going to have to start to plan it early. Maybe your company has an anniversary coming up which you should make the most of, or perhaps you’ll need to do a lot of promotion around a new product launch later in the year. An editorial calendar takes the headache out of trying to remember and juggle competing dates, easily enabling you to schedule content that maximizes (what will then be) current events.
Regularly published, fresh content is an important part of growing your audience, and audiences love reliability. It doesn’t matter how often you post, whether it’s once a fortnight or every day, but customers will come to expect consistency that from you. With an editorial calendar, you won’t risk missing posts because you can’t come up with ideas, and you can also easily develop themed days of the week or month.
With your content planned well in advance, you’ll have more time to make it more engaging and potentially more shareable. Gather impactful pictures to use or video clips to boost its viral appeal; re-editing content to sharpen the voice also becomes much more doable when you’re not writing it at the last minute.
An editorial calendar will help you to schedule series of blog posts or other content which revolve around one particular customer need. This will increase your customer loyalty and perceived value, and it also makes the task of writing the content that much easier too, when you have a predefined framework in mind.
After a while, your editorial calendar will become an invaluable reference tool for the past, as well as the future. What topics did you cover last Christmas? Have you already done a series of content centered on a given theme? It’s quick and easy to look these things up, turning your content provision into a much more efficient affair.
When combined with your analytics, the editorial calendar really comes into its own. That spike of traffic last week—did it coincide with a particular blog post? Did you get more conversions during one kind of Twitter campaign or another? Look back and see what kinds of content were most engaged with; can you follow up or expand on that content to leverage it more?
Whatever your business model, if you need to produce content for your customers and for social media, you’ll benefit from the organization and streamlining an editorial calendar provides. Remember, though, it’s a guide, not a straitjacket—so you can always move things around on the calendar to accommodate anything unforeseen or a new brilliant idea—but it’s a guide that will prove invaluable as your business grows and your customer engagement soars.
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