What is an editorial calendar, why have one and how to devise one?

Have you ever heard the phrase: “The cobbler’s children have no shoes”? It means that the shoemaker spends so much time looking after his customers’ needs that he neglects the needs of his own children.

At Straight Marketing we are guilty of this, being so busy marketing for our clients that we neglect using our professional skills to market ourselves. Yesterday we were scratching our heads trying to decide what to blog about (we are, at least very good about keeping to a regular blogging schedule!) and thinking “if only we’ve updated our editorial calendar this would be simple.” Lo and behold we came up with our next blog topic – editorial calendars: what, why and how!

What is an editorial calendar?

Basically an editorial calendar is where you diarise:

  • what content you are going to publish;
  • who will provide the content;
  • what format it will be in (e.g. blog, video, presentation);
  • where it will be published; and
  • how you will promote it (e.g. newsletter, social media).

It doesn’t have to be sophisticated or particularly detailed but should allow some flexibility for when things come up out of the blue.

Why have an editorial calendar?

You might think that spending time putting together an editorial calendar is an unnecessary waste of time but the benefits are numerous:

  • it helps you plan ahead and prevent missed opportunities;
  • you will achieve more from your content marketing strategy as your content will be more considered and better executed;
  • it saves time in the long run as you’ve done all your thinking up front;
  • you can more easily share out the workload;
  • you’re less likely to miss a deadline and can plan around holidays; and
  • no more writer’s block!

How do you put together an editorial calendar?

Preparing an editorial calendar need not be a complicated or detailed process, these are the basics:

  • first off – determine your strategy. You need to know what are you planning to achieve from publishing your content as this will determine what content you publish;
  • prepare a list of relevant categories, for example:
    • tutorials and ‘how tos’
    • company news
    • industry news
    • FAQs
    • more examples here;
  • diarise each category – e.g week 1 ‘tutorial’, week 2 ‘industry news’ etc.;
  • identify specific topics within each category and slot them into the calendar;
  • decide on the format of each topic;
  • assign responsibility for each topic;
  • get started!; and finally
  • update the calendar on a regular basis and monitor it so you know what content is working best.

Consistent content updates thanks to an editorial calendar will lead to more engaged readers and increased traffic, resulting in new clients and repeat business.

For help with your content marketing strategy and editorial calendar please contact us today and we would be delighted to help.

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