Quality and consistency are integral to every content marketing strategy. You can’t publish a lengthy and insightful blog post once every few months and expect to grab eyeballs. It’s crucial to stay alive in the memory of your target audience using various channels by regularly publishing content. However, most content creators know how difficult it is to maintain consistency. If you find yourself constantly struggling to meet deadlines, you’re not alone. The only way to be consistent at publishing useful, engaging, valuable, and relevant content is to plan your content strategy in advance. Seasoned content creators and marketers vouch for the importance of outlining an editorial calendar. Let’s find out what it is and how you can build one.
What is an Editorial Calendar?An editorial calendar is a visual framework that defines your overarching content strategy. It outlines the type of content you’ll be creating and scheduling on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. Additionally, it specifies the themes and subjects you’ll be working on. Traditionally, magazines have been using editorial calendars to design their issues months in advance. It’s equally useful for digital content creators, irrespective of whether you’re a blogger, YouTuber, or influencer. The obvious benefit is that it helps you create a backlog of thoroughly researched and well-written content. Moreover, when you regularly address different subjects, it helps you cater to various buyer personas. An editorial calendar becomes even more valuable when you’re working with a team. It assigns specific tasks to each member and helps them review and monitor the progress of each topic. Additionally, it lets team members plan their schedule for the coming weeks and months. Here’s an editorial calendar example: Image via HubSpot The screenshot above shows the editorial calendar used by Buffer, a social media marketing tool. It’s built using Trello, a project management tool. The content creation process has been divided into different stages (depicted by various columns such as “Idea”, “In Progress”, etc.). Various topics and the corresponding authors have been listed under each stage.
Editorial Calendar vs. Content CalendarA content calendar outlines a day-wise plan to execute your content marketing strategy. It gets into the details of what content you’ll publish daily and how to promote it. Additionally, it specifies how you can repurpose content across various channels. It’s more granular and specific and focuses on the short-term. An editorial calendar reveals the bigger picture of your content strategy. It focuses on the long-term and outlines the themes/subjects you should address on a weekly/monthly basis. This, in turn, helps you generate more relevant content ideas that’ll garner maximum traction. It also helps diversify your content across multiple channels and formats. Thus, even if you already have a content calendar, it’s crucial to build an editorial calendar as well.
Creating a Rock-Solid Editorial CalendarIf you’re a new content creator, developing an editorial calendar can be a daunting task. However, you can use tools such as Google Sheets and Google Calendar to simplify the process. You can also search the internet for editorial calendar templates and use one that suits your requirements. While there isn’t any universally accepted editorial calendar template, here are the steps that you can follow to create one:
1. Collate Your Content IdeasThe first step is to create a spreadsheet using Google Sheets and add all the content ideas/topics that come to your mind. Add other columns such as “Author”, “Status”, “Category”, “Publishing Date”, “Rating”, “Remarks”, etc. in the spreadsheet. Image via Google The “Rating” column denotes whether a topic is ready for publishing. You can have a system where “1” denotes “idea”, “2” denotes “partially-developed”, and “3” denotes “ready for writing”. Initially, mark all the topics as “Idea” in the status column. Image via Google If you create different types of content, you can add more columns specifying the format and the publishing platform.
2. Outline a Long-Term PlanNext, you should identify various subjects that would appeal to different sections of your audience. It’s crucial to ensure that your content strategy incorporates a healthy mix of different subject categories. It’s also essential to determine the frequency of publishing content. Let’s say you want to publish four times a week. It’s a good idea to touch upon a particular subject at least once a week. However, this would depend on the frequency and the number of subjects you want to address. It’s also recommended that you identify a few types of content that can be repeated every week/month. For instance, Fridays could be kept for industry news and updates. Once you’ve prepared a tentative schedule, add it to Google Calendar. Image via Google
3. Identify Specific TopicsGo back to the spreadsheet and sort your entries in descending order of “Rating.” This will give you a list of the topics that immediately go into production. Next, see how these topics fit into the schedule you’ve created on Google Calendar and add them accordingly. Assign an author and deadline to each topic. Image via Google Follow this practice to schedule your content for the next two to three months.
4. Start ProductionTypically, your content will go through the following stages:
- Author assigned
- Review & edit
- Ready for publishing