One of the most essential components to successful content marketing is a plan. Planning is often overlooked, resulting in marketers and editorial team pulling content together weeks, days, or hours before it goes live. This method is madness because it doesn’t allow for strategy, which enables marketers to pack the biggest punch with audiences. In a world where content proliferation and distractions are everywhere, marketers can’t afford to nothave a strategy.

To be useful, editorial calendars should be planned well in advance. Photo credit: Rawpixel

To be useful, editorial calendars should be planned well in advance. Photo credit: Rawpixel

What is an Editorial Calendar?

First, it’s important to understand what an editorial calendar is and how to create one. An editorial calendar is a detailed plan for what content to produce, for when that content will be published, and on what platform(s) the content will be published.

Editorial calendars can be planned as far in advance as you’d like. Ideally, you’ll plan for at least 1–3 months in advance, but you can always plan further. The editorial calendar should also include a plan for when the completed content will be produced. Again, you want to have at least a month’s worth of content prepared before the month it is due to go live. This allows for you to make sudden changes, to add, or to take away from the plan as social and cultural events in your brand area dictate.

A strong editorial calendar often encompasses many parts including content, creative, keywords, and more. It’s also important to know who will handle what aspect of the calendar and when. Photo credit: Sebastien Bonneval

A strong editorial calendar often encompasses many parts including content, creative, keywords, and more. It’s also important to know who will handle what aspect of the calendar and when. Photo credit: Sebastien Bonneval

What Goes into an Editorial Calendar?

There are several components to a quality editorial calendar. At the heart of it, understanding what the audience is interested in, what they want to view or read, and what they are doing is critical to coming up with excellent content.

  • The content: Content should be focused, based on your brand and audience’s needs and interests, and consistently produced. Other considerations for content include:

    • Theme and audience: For example, if you are a restaurant, meatless Mondays, taco Tuesdays, and wine Wednesdays are an area where you can create consistent content. You can feature recipes, restaurant features, or promotions depending on your brand and what it does.

    • Social and cultural events. Work special events and holidays into your marketing. Whether Christmas or coming, it’s National Grammar Day, or time for summer vacation, these events can be woven into your marketing in a meaningful way. Planning to gear your content toward events and holidays that get a lot of attention can help make your brand more visible to new audiences.

    • Special features including interviews, new releases, guest posts, etc. All of these things have to be planned, scheduled, and produced in advance. They should be part of your content calendar. Getting these items coordinated early will help you look for errors or plan for new content should something fall through.

  • The creative: Plan the creative side of your content. Determine what images or videos you need to find or to create to produce the content.

  • The keywords and key phrases for SEO: Find keywords and key phrases that will be used for SEO marketing. Doing keyword searches that give you a variety of long and short keywords and phrases will boost your post’s searchability and SEO. This is an often-neglected component of content creation that’s left to the last minute, which is often detrimental to brands.

  • Meta descriptions and social media copy: Meta descriptions are the phrasing that appears on searches. Again these are important to structure in a way that inspires audiences to click on your content when they search online.

Know Your Who, What, and When

Lastly, whether you have a team of one or one-hundred, it needs to be clear who is responsible for what and when on the editorial calendar. Ideally, you will have calendars that plan content at least three months in advance of publication. The content itself should be produced in advance as well. The further ahead you work, the more your editorial calendar benefits you and your brand.

Editorial calendars keep brands from scrambling. They enable you to be strategic and to produce meaningful content that is audience-focused. You can come up with keywords that make your content more SEO friendly and therefore more accessible and impacting to your audiences.

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Editorial calendars allow you to plan your content. Planned content is quality content. We at The Storyteller Agency understand that, which is why we’re all about planning and quality (hence this past post on organizing editorial calendars with a free calendar template). The Storyteller Agency wants to help you produce the best possible content in the most stress-free manner. Click this link to contact us to see what we can do for you and your content.

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