If you’re like many entrepreneurs and business owners, knowing about an editorial calendar isn’t the same as using one. Creating and using this tool is often a tasks that gets put at the bottom of the To Do list — and this is a mistake! So, why exactly should you use an editorial calendar? Well, keep reading to find out. 🙂
Why Is An Editorial Calendar Important To Your Business?
While creating an editorial calendar may seem like busy work that isn’t going to help, The Content Marketing Institute says, “many organizations fail to see ROI from their content marketing because they don’t create a plan for getting everything done.”
- An editorial calendar can help you, and everyone else who’s involved, keep on track to accomplish tasks and achieve goals.
- An editorial calendar allows you to develop and use a big-picture strategy. Reach for the over-arching themes that support your vision, mission, and goals and then develop and/or identify the content for each month, week, day.
Consider why you produce content in the first place and whether or not you are properly addressing your audience’s needs. Ask …
- Do you wish to draw the attention of current or future customers?
- Or are you looking to attract customers to your website for a specific promotion?
Decide what your audience needs and wants and develop content to solve their problems and fulfill their desires.
11 Reasons to Use an Editorial Calendar
Consistency builds trust in your brand. They see you, they hear you, and most importantly, they see you not disappearing. Subconsciously, customers want to feel that if they put their trust in you, you’re not going to disappear on them. A recent study found that 27% of consumers say low-quality/infrequently published content would lead them to believe that a brand is out of touch or not up to date with customer habits.
2) Never Lose Ideas
With a calendar in place, you can continually capture your ideas to create a list of content. A system to capture inspired ideas is hugely important! It doesn’t mean you have to immediately follow up and write on that particular idea topic, but at least with a system, you don’t lose the idea and you can draw on it later when you do need something to write about!
3) Defeat Writer’s Block
Imagine sitting down at your computer and knowing exactly what to write about every time. Let’s face it, most procrastinating happens when we sit down and have NO IDEA what we’re going to write or post.
4) Stay Current
An editorial calendar allows you to plan your content several or more months ahead of time. This means, you won’t forget to promote company milestones, highlight important holidays or cultural events, or planned promotional campaigns.
5) Better Project Management
If you have trouble keeping up with projects — such as a special series on a particular topic — an editorial calendar will keep you on track.
6) Organize Creative Assets
Now that you have your topics assigned in your editorial calendar, you can spend time gathering images, videos, or other content to supplement your articles. List the links, files, etc. in your calendar, so you’ll have everything you need when it comes time to publish.
7) Lead Generation
Now that you’re planning articles with an editorial calendar, you can make sure that the topics you’re writing about meet the needs of your target audience, a.k.a. your future customers. You’ll have a better chance of generating leads from your blog and other social networking sites if you’re strategic and plan well.
8) Create a Social Media Strategy
An editorial calendar also plays a key role in your social media marketing. With your themes and topics planned out, you can ensure that there’s a thread that runs through your social posts linking content and guiding your audience the way you want them to go.
9) Evergreen Content
Yes, you can recycle content — so do it! A calendar can help you build up a library of “evergreen” content you can recycle, saving you a glorious amount of time.
10) Scheduling Saves Time
Scheduling posts is super helpful. If you can get really motivated one day and churn out three blog posts and corresponding social posts it’s ideal for scheduling. If one articles is timely, you can post it right away, and then schedule the other two articles based on your editorial calendar.
11) Reduce Stress
One of the biggest benefits of an editorial calendar is that it can reduce your stress level. As business owners, often wearing too many hats, this is super helpful! Knowing you have a topic in mind before sitting down to write is a much better feeling than just staring at a blank computer screen with no idea what to write. And when you combine this with scheduling, your marketing just got a whole lot easier.
What to Include
Consider including some of these following elements, keeping in mind what is right for you:
- Important dates (events, seasonality, holidays, etc.)
- Posting timing (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
- Key distribution channels (website, newsletter, blog, social media, etc.)
- Tasks, timing, and who’s assigned
- If you have a team, even a team of two, the calendar can identify content owners and assign tasks
- It can also include stages of production (in progress, editing, approved, etc.) with timelines.
How to Create an Editorial Calendar
There are a number of ways to chart out an editorial calendar and it doesn’t have to be complicated. The most important thing is to find one that works well for you and anyone else who may be involved. Keep in mind, you may have to experiment a little to find the right solution for you.
- Notebook Calendar
- Wall Chart
- Excel spreadsheets
- Google Sheets
Two main benefits of using a software/app solution vs a manual solution:
- Changes are much easier to make. There’s much less manual work!
- Everyone can be notified of changes through the app: dates, adding/removing tasks, theme/topic shifts, and/or who is assigned what.
There are tons of app solutions out there. I only have direct experience with Trello and Asana (which is my current solution.) Please note: I AM making a distinction between an editorial calendar app solution from an app solution that publishes your posts.
Remember, the most important thing is to take the time and search for the solution that is right for you!
If you’re brand new to this, I highly suggest joining me on either January 13 or 20 for my free webinar on how to set yourself up for marketing success in 2021 by using an editorial calendar to make your marketing easier!