Great content doesn’t just appear. Powerful content is strategized and planned so that each topic has a purpose and value in the marketing of a brand. The right amount of words, style, and timing are crucial to the content truly hitting its mark with consumers. Whether you have a personal brand or are working to promote a commercial brand, your content determines the success. Is that enough pressure for you to create amazing content? Don’t get overwhelmed with these types of requirements as you are probably more capable than you know of making this happen.
Strategizing & Planning for Your (Successful) Editorial Calendar
Getting Started with Great Content
It’s no secret that planning helps promote success and one of the simplest tools behind a great writer is a content calendar. Do world-renowned chefs just cook whatever they want for their guests? Do athletes exercise and train in a haphazard way? No way. Those who are experts at their craft, make a plan. In writing and content creation, an editorial/content calendar is the way to achieve this. It doesn’t have to be complicated but any type of plan will work. Before you start planning, take a minute to analyze your writing. Here are some things to consider:
- Why do I write? – this will guide you to determine the style of writing. If you write for fun, think about fun topics. If you write for current trends and news, think about recent conversations you’ve had in your sphere and jot down those topics. If you write for informational purposes, read as much as you can about the markets and keep your ears open for juicy stories and details pertaining to that topic.
- How often will I write? – every writer starts off their plan with lofty goals. “I’m going to write three times a week” or “I’m going to have my team produce a new blog on a daily basis.” Be realistic with your writing routine and keep in mind if you or your team produces a lot of content in a week or two, it can be saved and spaced out.
- Will I add media to the pages? – this isn’t a huge deal but if you have to take the time to search for pictures, word art, or other media to go with every piece, you need to have enough time and sometimes monetary resources to purchase the media. Some websites will only hold a certain amount of pictures so if you are constantly implementing media to your blogs, it may clog up your site or cost you extra.
Benefits of the Editorial Calendar
Now that you know you want to write and why, it can be tempting to just make a note on your phone’s notepad as topics come to your head. This is a form of brainstorming and it can be helpful but in the end, this “willy-nilly” approach to your
content strategy will not be effective. Still not convinced, what if you saw facts about why a calendar will be invaluable to you:
- You and your writers can work ahead. Just like in school, when you knew an assignment was due and you wanted to go out with friends that night, you could study ahead of time and still get a good grade. The same is true with an editorial calendar. Your content can be done ahead of the holidays, during downtime, and can be changed as necessary.
- Your content strategy will be current. When you plan ahead, your content can be moved around. For example, if you are writing about the similarities of the Superbowl and business success, you may want to plan it for January/February time frame when the game actually occurs. More people can identify with it during that time and may even find it through an unrelated search.
- You can measure the content success. As with any list or documentation, referring back to it can give insight on your marketing plans at that time. If you can look at your content titles, media used, keywords that were successful, it could be duplicated for another campaign. Past success and failure can be measured when there is an editorial calendar to guide. According to Beth Kanter, this is the main key to successful blogs and marketing. It allows team members to collaborate and also to work on the same page with topics and marketing tools.
Setting up the Calendar
Don’t make it complicated. Think about your editorial calendar like a menu for the month. Mondays you are offering one thing, Tuesdays another, and so on. Check out Contently’s blog with very useful tips about this. It can be helpful to have a brainstorming session to establish the tone and writer for each of the various topics. Some writers work better with other topics than others so finding that niche for you and your team is crucial.
Set up the calendar as a way to keep everyone organized and moving forward; your writers will appreciate it and in the end, will probably stick closer to the deadlines. After all, what good is content if it doesn’t get out on time?