How to set up an editorial calendar for content marketing?
In order to determine how to set up an editorial calendar for content marketing, we first have to know what such a calendar is exactly. A content marketing editorial calendar is a planning schedule that provides an overview of your campaign plan. It is used by a content marketing team to control the creation of content, from idea through publication across different media, such as newspapers, websites and social media platforms.
In addition to offering an overview of the content marketing schedule, the editorial calendar should also:
- provide a place to generate post ideas and key topics;
- assign writing and other editorial tasks to key members of your team;
- create a publishing schedule that helps you maintain a consistent presence;
- allow you to make in-process adjustments with drag-and-drop ease;
- visualize your marketing strategy in a way that everyone can understand;
- act as a communication point to team members.
Tools for editorial calendar
There are four different kinds of tools that are often used for drafting an editorial calendar:
- Pieces of paper and a file folder
- A paper or digital calendar
- A paper or digital spreadsheet
- Editorial process-tracking software in publishing software.
Even though we live in a digital era, people still like to use paper calendars or spreadsheets for their editorial calendar as they provide a clear overview, for example when hanging it on the wall in your office.
However, digital tools are also gaining popularity and many CMSs already have an editorial calendar plugin. Another example of a digital tool that you can use for your editorial calendar is Google Calendar:
Building an editorial calendar
Before creating an editorial calendar, there are a few things to determine in order for the calendar to be a success. For instance, it is very important to create a foundation of different topics and themes. When your company focuses on several areas of expertise (such as a newspaper, which has several sections, including domestic news, regional news and sports), it is wise to include these in your calendar as it will make your calendar clearer and improve its quality. Once the main topics have been determined, you can continue with the sub-topics. These should relate to other specifications, such as season, maintenance, geography and campaign themes.
In addition, when creating an editorial calendar, you have to make sure that it is not just an overview of dates when the content has to be created and when it will be published. A proper calendar takes much more into account, such as how the content should be published and what channels should be used. Elements to include in your calendar are:
- Story title
- Publication date
- Media Outlet (such as newspaper, website or blog)
- Status (such as active or inactive)
Even though there are many different paper and digital editorial calendars, they usually contain a number of general sections in which the content activities can be tracked and grouped. An example of such a grouping is:
- Story ideas
- Content creation
- Content published
- Glossary of terms/style decisions
The idea is that content will move forward from the first section onwards, while the glossary and style decisions make sure that the content continues to be consistent with the relating decisions made earlier.