#ContentWritingChat Recap: Editorial Calendar 101 with Nathan Ellering

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Benefits of an Editorial Calendar for Your Content & How to Create One with Nathan Ellering

by | Feb 24, 2017 | ContentWritingChat | 0 comments

Editorial calendars are an essential part of any content creator’s life. They keep you organized and allow you to strategically plan your content (whether that’s blog posts, videos, social media content, etc.) for maximum results.
In this week’s #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about the benefits of having an editorial calendar, plus a few tips on how to create one of your own. If you missed the chat, there’s no need to worry because we have a recap that’s filled with amazing tips. Let’s dive in!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Benefits of an Editorial Calendar for Your Content & How to Create One with Nathan Ellering

Our guest host this week was Nathan Ellering. Nathan is a strategist, a content marketer, and a blogger. He’s also part of the CoSchedule team, making him a great fit for this week’s chat on editorial calendars. CoSchedule is a go-to app for planning your marketing, blog, and social media content, so we were thrilled to have Nathan with us to share his best tips!

Q1: What is an editorial calendar and why are they beneficial for content creators?

To kick things off, we asked our audience to describe what an editorial calendar is. We also wanted to hear why they felt having an editorial calendar was beneficial to their content creation. Here’s what some of the participants in Tuesday’s chat had to say:

As Nathan said, having an editorial calendar allows you to see all of your planned content in one place. It can help save you time and reduce stress when everything is planned out and displayed in a neat way.

An editorial calendar allows you to plan out your content marketing strategies. You can organize any written content, promotional material that’s going out, etc.

Cristy knows it’s important to create content that helps you reach your overall goals. Having an editorial calendar is very helpful for this because you can take the time to be strategic about the content you’re creating.

You should also use your editorial calendar to map out the campaigns you’re running, as well as any other content you’re creating. As Michelle said, it needs to be accessible by everyone. If you have others on your team who are involved in content, they need access to your calendar.

And when you’ve planned in advance, it eliminates that stress of having to come up with ideas at the last-minute.

Q2: What kinds of content should someone plan using an editorial calendar?

So, now that you know what an editorial calendar is and how it can benefit you, what should you plan? Check out this advice from the chat:

Nathan’s advice is to plan all of your marketing projects with your editorial calendar. He recommends planning out your social media content, blog posts, email newsletters, and more. There’s no reason not to plan all the content you’re creating in order to stay organized.

Savannah encourages you to plan everything with your editorial calendar! We happen to agree with her. It’s the best way to stay on track with all of your content creation.

Mallie knows that it’s essential to use your editorial calendar as an opportunity to create content around events and holidays. These are key times for content creation and you’ll need to plan in advance if you want to share something great.

As Lex mentioned, don’t forget to be flexible when planning. If something comes up at the last minute and you want to create a piece of content around it, that’s fine. Be willing to adapt when it comes to the latest news, feedback from your audience, etc.

Q3: How far in advance would you recommend someone plan their content with an editorial calendar?

Is it possible to plan content too far in advance? Is there a sweet spot for planning? Based on the answers we received, it seems like everyone has their own preference! Check out these responses:

Nathan has a very effective plan in place for his editorial calendar. He recommends planning high-level stuff six months out, plotting ideas three months out, and then aiming to have all of your content completed for one month out. It may sound like a lot, but it’s a great way to organize your entire content creation process.

Sarah from ThinkSEM recommends considering your unique business goals. She also doesn’t advise planning more than six months out and also being flexible for things that come up over time.

Lexie from Netvantage Marketing agrees that having wiggle room is key!

For Kristi, she suggests planning your content quarterly. Another great tip she offered was to review and see what’s working every time you plan. You can make adjustments accordingly so you know what to create more of and what to create less of.

Like Michelle said, some content can actually be planned further out. Things like yearly conferences and content around holidays can be planned much earlier, while you may feel more comfortable planning blog posts closer to their actual publication date.

Cristy suggests considering the type of content you’re creating. When you think about the fact that long-form content and videos may require more planning and creation time, you need to give yourself ample time to bring them to life.

Q4: How is your editorial calendar organized? Tell us your secrets!

We asked our chat participants to spill all their secrets behind their own editorial calendars. Here’s what they had to say:

Nathan said the team’s content is fully completed at a minimum of two weeks out, which is very helpful. (There’s no need to stress about getting things done at the last minute!) Ideas are planned a minimum of three months out while strategy is planned about 12 months out.
They also like to color code everything, which makes it clear what everything is and keeps the calendar organized. Social media posts, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and more all are planned on the editorial calendar.

Cristy relies on Google Sheets to keep her content planning organized. She includes the category, the assigned writer, a deadline, and a publish date. She even has a separate document for storing ideas, which is great for keeping everything all in one place.

For Tony, it’s all about a combination of Trello and Google Drive to keep everything in order. He includes copy, images, and links and has content organized by dates.

Q5: What’s your advice for filling an editorial calendar with amazing content your audience will love?

When creating your editorial calendar, it’s important that you fill it with content ideas your audience is going to enjoy consuming. How do you figure out what they want? These tips are guaranteed to help you out:

Nathan recommends having a brainstorming session. Try his strategy for coming up with amazing ideas the next time you’re struggling.

If you really aren’t sure what your audience wants to see, don’t be afraid to ask them. Ask what they’re struggling with and figure out how to create content that solves those problems. They’ll love you for it.

Check your analytics! See what performed well in the past and consider creating more of the same kind of content since you know it has already worked for you.

You can also use the data in your analytics to take that content that has already performed well and repurpose it. Michelle said to repost or update the content you already have. It’s a great way to get new eyes on your content.

It’s important to know and understand what your audience wants. Deliver content that is educational, informative, inspirational, or entertaining.

No matter what, you need to keep this advice from Bill in mind. Don’t just try to fill your editorial calendar with content for the sake of publishing. Everything you create should serve a purpose by providing value to your audience and helping you achieve your end goals.

Q6: In what ways can an editorial calendar help you improve your content marketing strategy?

How exactly can an editorial calendar help you create a winning content marketing strategy? Here are some answers from Tuesday’s chat:

Nathan said editorial calendars force you to publish. Set a deadline for yourself and stick with it because it’s the best way to ensure you’re consistent with your content. Don’t stress about making things perfect. Create your content and unleash it on the world.

Mack said an editorial calendar helps you to make sure the content you create is aligned with your overall content strategy. Ask yourself if you’re hitting your goals. If not, it’s time to make a change.

An editorial calendar helps you focus on your strategies and goals so you can achieve major things with the content you create.

When using an editorial calendar for your blog, it ensures your website is staying updated with new content. (That is, if you’re actually sticking to those self-imposed deadlines!) This is key to staying in front of your customers.

Cristy knows that planning provides much better results than just winging it.

In the end, having an editorial calendar is a great way to hold yourself accountable.

Q7: Do you use any tools to create your editorial calendar? If so, which ones are your favorite?

Whether you’re a fan of pen and paper or a dedicated app, there are plenty of options for creating an effective editorial calendar. Check out what some of our chat participants rely on:

Being part of the CoSchedule team, it’s no surprise Nathan raved about it. It’s a great tool to keep you organized, whether you’re planning blog posts, marketing, or social media.

The Netvantage Marketing team keeps it simple with Google Drive. They’ve also used Basecamp when working with clients and like Sprout Social for social media scheduling.

Trello is a go-to for both Lex and Jessy.

Jeremy relies on a combination of a variety of tools to stay organized. He uses Google Docs, Evernote, and iCal.

Color coding in Google Calendar is a must!

Q8: What are your best strategies for using and maintaining an editorial calendar?

Before you rush off to create your first editorial calendar or to touch up your own, read these final tips from this week’s chat. They’re sure to help you create a calendar that’s effective and helps you to stay organized.

Nathan’s advice is to communicate as a team. If you have multiple people involved in content creation, keep them in the loop and discuss ideas together.

Cristy also knows it’s important to bring the team together. Have a weekly meeting to brainstorm and discuss ideas. Allow everyone on the team to have a voice.

When it comes to creating content, strive to be consistent. Not only does it help keep you on track, but your audience will appreciate it as well.

Cheval agrees that consistency is key!

Sara’s tip to batch your evergreen content is sure to increase your productivity when it comes to the creation process.

Be realistic about what you can accomplish in the time you have. Don’t spread yourself too thin or take on more than you can handle at one time.
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

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