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How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Company (and Why You Need One)

montco.happeningmag.com

montco.happeningmag.com

Happy Tuesday, folks! As you may already know, on Tuesdays we like to talk about tips of the trade – to share our wealth of knowledge and help other businesses succeed. We love today’s topic because it is something that we utilize here at The Storyteller Agency on a regular basis and our clients reap benefits of daily. Let’s talk about editorial calendars – how to create one and why your company needs one. If your company is developing and/or implementing a content marketing strategy, utilizing an editorial calendar can be a total game-changer.

The Content before the Calendar

An editorial calendar is like your content marketing strategy’s dream come true – it’s the bread to its butter. It allows you to plug in and visualize your content marketing strategy for the entire month and allows you to organize all of your thoughts and ideas. Speaking of organizing your thoughts and ideas - that is the first step to creating your calendar. Ask yourself these questions before diving in to creating your calendar.

1.       Who am I creating content for?

Discovering your target audience is a large part of developing a plan for your editorial calendar. You have to figure out who your company is trying to reach and which platforms are best for reaching them.

2.       What is the purpose of my content?

marketingland.com

marketingland.com

Are you looking to generate more leads? Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Promote an event? This is where you get into determining the goals of your content. In order to create an editorial calendar you must first figure out what content you want to publish, where you want to publish it and how often it should be published across each individual platform.

3.       Who is in charge of publishing your content?

If there is one designated person in charge of creating the editorial calendar and publishing its contents, that definitely simplifies things. However, some companies require multiple hands on deck, and that will need to be incorporated into the design of your calendar in order to keep things organized.

Creating Your Editorial Calendar

Now that you have a better idea of the purpose of your content, which platforms your company intends to utilize and the audience that your company is trying to reach – it’s time to make the magic happen and organize all of that information into one place!

1.       Choose a Template

First things first, you will need to choose a template for your editorial calendar. Google Docs and Microsoft Excel are both good tools to use and are user friendly for the average techy.

2.       Include the Key Elements

The content that you include in your editorial calendar will depend on your company’s specific goals and marketing strategy. However, there are some basic key elements to be included in any given calendar.

positionignition.com

positionignition.com

·         The date that the content will be published

·         The title or topic of each content piece

·         The author of the content – if applicable

·         The social channels or platforms where your content will be published

·         Key words, meta-data and topic categories

·         URLs

·         Calls to Action

3.       Plug in Your Content

Depending on how your company is choosing to utilize its calendar, you can be as specific as you want when plugging in your content. The more specific you are with plugging in your content, the easier it will be to transfer and publish across your social channels.

5 Benefits of an Editorial Calendar

So, we’ve talked about developing a strategy for your calendar and how to create one – now let’s talk about how your company can benefit from utilizing an editorial calendar.

socialwayne.com

socialwayne.com

1.       Consistent Blogging and/or Publishing

Consistency is key when it comes to content marketing and consistency requires planning ahead. An editorial calendar will allow you to plan ahead and stay consistent with your blogging and publishing efforts.

2.       Focus Your Content Marketing Efforts

An editorial calendar allows you to micro-manage the focus of your content marketing efforts down to a specific month, week or day.

3.       Balance Your Content

Your editorial calendar will allow you to keep track of the content that you have published in past months and that you plan to publish in the future. This will allow you to keep your content topics balanced to avoid pumping your audience full of the same content over and over.

4.       Forward Planning Relieves Stress

walktheavenue.com

walktheavenue.com

We all know that planning ahead makes life a lot easier – it’s just a matter of doing it. Having your content marketing strategy planned out a month in advance will relieve the stress of providing your audience with quality content on a regular basis.

5.       Take a Good Look at the Big Picture

One of the best things about an editorial calendar is the ability to visualize the big picture of your content marketing strategy all in one place, allowing your company to see what is working and what isn’t. 


Is your company reaping the benefits of an editorial calendar? Reach out to us at The Storyteller Agency. Call us at 850.267.0931 or send us an email to info@storytelleragency.com. We can help you develop a content marketing strategy and put that plan into action - utilizing a creative and well-thought out editorial calendar, of course! 

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How To Create a Content Calendar

Just starting out with a Content Marketing strategy? Or maybe you've been producing content, but you've been working without a plan or schedule. The best place for you to focus is on creating a well-planned editorial Content Calendar. When you're facing a blank template, it's easy to stare into the void and wonder how in the world you're ever going to come up with enough content to keep your audience interested. But with Content Marketing being critical for business marketing today, you have to bite the bullet and start creating...the first step being the creation of your company's Content Calendar. We'll try to simplify this process for you.

If you don’t know where you are going,
you’ll end up someplace else.
— Yogi Berra

Why Do You Need a Content Calendar?
Imagine trying to plan a wedding without any sort of real plan or direction, or think about trying to take a vacation without putting some time and thought into the trip. Or just picture you are a magazine editor and you are producing publications without researching, proofing or scheduling. None of these would work out in your favor, and the same applies to Content Marketing. Your business is hoping to be successful with Content Marketing, so you need to have a plan, a schedule, a calendar.

How Does a Content Calendar Help You?

Your content should be planned for the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals, and organizing it all into a thoughtful calendar can make it easier to:

  • Fill your content plan with upcoming events, holidays or industry gatherings.
  • Create a logical flow of content, allowing for themes and overall messaging and branding.
  • Touch on all channels.  A Content Calendar assures you don't forget to Tweet out that great company news or ignore comments sitting on your Facebook wall. This also lets you identify any holes in the plan - what is missing?
  • Stay current and relevant with your audience. If it's down on paper and scheduled to happen, you're much less likely to slack off in your Content Marketing output.


How Do You Build a Content Calendar?

  • Gather your information and invest some time in good research. There's no point in producing great content if no one is reading it, so identify your target audience, and gather facts about their interests. 
  • Think about your team. Do you have enough staff to produce a blog post everyday? Is there someone to man the social engagement, or do you need to bring in outside help? The amount of content you can share with your audience is entirely dependent upon the team you have assembled to help, and the more content, the better.
  • Examine any existing content. What do you have already in your arsenal that could be re-purposed as a blog post or company video? Be mindful to avoid duplicate content, and think outside the box to gather content that's not already living online. Press releases, newspaper stories, internal podcasts and hangouts...the sky's the limit.


What Do You Include in a Content Calendar?
You should be producing a mixture of content through a variety of channels, and each should be organized in your calendar. Some examples of content you should include are:

  • Blog Posts (strive for at least 2 per week)
  • Social Media Posts (each post should have its own space on your calendar. Include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+, also adding on Instagram and others if these are working for your type of business.
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Hangouts and webinars
  • White papers and free guides

How Do You Format a Content Calendar?
As with any other calendar, you want to start with days and weeks, allowing monthly views as well as yearly. Use a formatting that allows you to see the big picture as well as day-to-day. Include spaces for the following:

  • Content Title/Details
  • Author's Name
  • Due Date
  • Publishing Date (and time, if you want to be very thorough)
  • Meta Data
  • Any linked social channels (ex. a blog post could be shared on Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn)

What Do You Do with Your Finished Content Calendar?
First, never think of it as finished; it's an ongoing work of creativity and flexibility. Positive company news should always have a place even at the last-minute, just as trending topics are only trending for so long, so take advantage of those as well when appropriate. Now that you have your calendar, here's what to do:

  • Share with your team and divide the work. It's great if your group can be together during preliminary brainstorming sessions so they can share their own ideas for their writing.
  • Track your content's performance and run a quarterly analysis of your calendar against the success (or non-success) of the content when it is published.
  • Start planning for the next round. Your Content Calendar should always be growing, and don't be afraid to be creative and try new strategies. If Content is King, then Creativity is his Queen.

Remember that careful planning now can prove its weight in gold with your Content Marketing efforts, and we are here to help you with the research, strategy and/or creation of your calendar. Don't waste any more time trying to reach your audience without a plan!

 

 

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