In the world of content marketing there is only so much you can do yourself and there are only so many hours in a day, we’ll 24 actually but you can’t work all of them. So you need help and that could be from colleagues within your department or others within the company. It could even be from 3rd parties external to your company if you’ve outsourced any content creation.
In order for you to plan and manage the content marketing creation process and to help everyone else involved keep track of timelines and dates, it’s a great idea to create an editorial calendar.
Another advantage of an editorial calendar is that it helps visualize how and where you can re-purpose articles e.g. the eBook due to be published next week could be used as a source of blog posts to be published at a later date, the planned webinar could fuel several enewsletter articles. By including key dates within the spreadsheet on e.g. the launch of a new product or a key tradeshow, this helps plan content activities within the necessary timescales.
How to put together your editorial calendar
Identify key dates that may impact the content you want to create and when you need it. Brainstorm among the team what you want/need to produce (keep in mind the stages of the buying cycle). Identify the best medium for each content type, identify how/where you may want to re-purpose each item. Identify how you will track the success of each piece of content. Write an abstract for each piece, fill in the key fields. Decide who will create the content.
An editorial calendar can act as a “briefing” to those tasked with creating your content. An excel spreadsheet incorporating some of the headers bulleted below with some of the key fields already filled in can make it a much simpler task for an author to get creative juices flowing rather than handing them a blank piece of paper and telling them you need a story or an article by next week.
- Publishing date
- Draft title
- Call to action
Note: the headers may change depending on the type of content to be produced.
Another idea is to have a master spreadsheet which provides an “at a glance” view of all activities with separate calendars for each specific activity e.g. blogging, ebooks, events etc. which ensures nothing gets missed.
Michele Linn over at the Content Marketing Institutes blog provides some examples in her post How to put together an editorial calendar for content marketing. Check it out.