Every marketing manager faces an uphill task of coordinating with the digital marketing team for delivering the right content at the right time to the right people. The same dilemma often faces bloggers and affiliate marketers who wish to make a genuine impact on readers.
So how does one go about this vital task? As digital marketing gains greater significance than anytime earlier in history, this is a question that lots of marketers are asking themselves.
The answer lies in creating an editorial calendar for content marketing.
Understandably, not many people are aware about the term editorial calendar. Some might confuse it with content calendar. Actually, the two work synergistically, though they’re intrinsically very different from one another.
Therefore, let me explain in detail what an editorial calendar actually means, to help you better understand the concept and create one.
In simplest terms, an editorial calendar can be compared with a ‘to-do’ list or a planner. Or you could liken it to a busy executive’s crowded schedule.
An editorial calendar consists of what content should go online on what date, supporting social media posts and email campaigns as well as videos, where possible. These work in tandem to create the desired impact on the target audience.
An editorial calendar focuses on long-term goals that an organization wishes to achieve through its website. This is similar to an editorial schedule of magazines, to draw some similarity.
The editor of a magazine will usually have a theme for each issue
Therefore, a marketing manager needs to create a superb editorial calendar for content marketing.
An editorial calendar is important for several reasons.
Firstly, it helps marketers to identify in advance, various opportunities to post newer content that can drive traffic to their websites. These opportunities can include anything from seasons and festivals to trends and happenings as well as events. After identifying these opportunities, it’s easier to hire the team of content writers, Search Engine Optimizers, social media experts and email marketing staff to work in close cooperation.
Since content is always the king for any website, marketers have enough time to visualize the type of articles they wish to see on the website that would prove relevant to readers and help generate leads that can convert as potential clients for the business.
However, content by itself needs a lot of promotion. An editorial calendar helps this purpose too. An editorial calendar therefore enables marketers to develop proper SEO and social media strategies to promote the content.
Furthermore, an editorial calendar is very useful when it comes to introducing newer brands and product in the market. It empowers the sales team on ground to build on a strategy that promotes the business digitally.
Therefore, let’s see how to create an editorial calendar for content marketing.
Now I will describe a few steps to create an editorial calendar for content marketing. These steps can be adapted or modified to suit the nature of your business and location.
An editorial calendar for content marketing is much like that of a magazine or newspaper, as I mention earlier in this article. It focuses on creating a certain image in the mind of readers of a certain company, brand or product and service.
Therefore, to create an editorial calendar for content marketing, it’s very important to identify long term objectives of the organization. Where does the organization wish to see itself after a year or even five years, is the first consideration that marketers must consider.
And what does the organization wish its website to be known for after a specific number of years? These are a few questions that you’ll have to answer before starting to create your editorial calendar.
Once these objectives are clear, the second and most obvious step to create an editorial calendar is to identify opportunities for content marketing. For example, a festival or season are good opportunities that marketers can use for content marketing. Since the entire idea of content marketing is to deliver traffic and get customers, identifying such opportunities where people would be interested in content is very important.
Identifying opportunities to create an editorial calendar provides ample time for content writers to come up with amazing articles. And such ample time allows for your content creation team to do proper research and help deliver articles that contain reliable, verifiable and actionable content.
Identifying opportunities in advance means you can also create a good digital marketing strategy in advance and help know how much a content marketing campaign would cost and the cost per conversion of a customer. As with every business, keeping cost per conversion lower is always desirable. And an editorial calendar helps in this endeavor.
Catering to trends is one of the main tasks of all marketers. Hence, an editorial calendar helps to comprehend emerging trends and create content accordingly. It can actually help you foresee what type of content would be necessary to meet future needs, just like a newspaper editor can foresee breaking stories and arrange their coverage according to importance and relevance to people.
This in turn helps prevent waste of resources of content writers and the digital marketing team. Instead of shooting in the dark over trends that can fade out rather quickly, marketers can look at what would be sustainable in the mid and long term. Hence, they can eliminate work that would unnecessarily consume resources on content creation and digital marketing processes.
At the same time, catering to trends helps create an editorial calendar that’s flexible in nature and can be adapted to needs of an organization and readers within the shortest period of time. This means, while the content team can focus on regular articles, they would also be well prepared to meet any sudden spurts or demands for something. Trends always play a major role in content marketing and a proper editorial calendar that caters to trends will always fetch the desired results.
To create an editorial calendar for content marketing, you can also consider targeting by demographics. This would help in planning and developing a strong content strategy that remains relevant all year long. This is also similar to a magazine editorial calendar, which targets specific ethnic groups or communities at specific periods of the year.
Targeting by demographics means you will have to identify when and why does a specific community or group of people read a specific type of content. And identify opportunities when to do content marketing that targets such ethnic groups and communities.
The same also holds true while you’re targeting the broader spectrum of the society, without any specific ethnic leanings. This can be particularly useful when creating a content strategy that targets the entire population of the country rather than a smaller group of people.
Targeting by demographics also helps in creating diverse content for various countries. This is specifically useful if you’re company is going to cater to audiences in many countries. You can get content created according to needs of that specific country and do content marketing accordingly.
Nowadays you can get readymade templates for your editorial calendar. The best one that I found comes from Hubspot. They have several customizable editorial calendar templates that are easily downloadable and customizable according to your needs.
Google Sheets is also another excellent way to create an editorial calendar. Since it can be shared easily and updated when necessary, it helps keep the entire content writing and digital marketing team informed about the type of content that needs to be created and the deadlines.
Other superb examples of readymade templates are Unbounce and Coschedule. You can examine these templates and select one that best suits the needs of your organization. Remember, whatever template you choose has to be easily customizable and can be updated easily to ensure seamless work flow.
You can also try editorial calendar templates available from Hootsuite and Google Slides. Generally, a good template would consist of resources where you can easily insert text and pictures that deliver the right message to your digital marketing team and content writers. And such templates can also be shared with freelancers without the fear of leaking information since information can be given on need-to-know-only basis.
While many content marketers might believe that an editorial calendar is useless, I firmly believe it helps boost your digital marketing strategy in general. As I mention earlier in this article, content by itself is powerless unless it is strongly supported by adequate digital marketing processes such as Search Engine Optimization and social media. In fact, a proper editorial calendar will also take into account the need to post content on various social media platforms at the right time for maximum impact. Selecting the right readymade template does help a lot in creating a wonderful editorial calendar. And you can back it up with own ingenuity for maximum results.
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