If you had the opportunity to attend Content Marketing World, or if you’ve been checking out all of the Content Marketing Institute’s amazing videos from the event, you may have lots of ideas on how to improve your content marketing.
However, many organizations fail to see ROI from their content marketing because they don’t create a plan for getting everything done.
This blog post will show you how to get your content marketing efforts moving forward with the help of an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar provides you with a quick overview of your content marketing strategy and outlines exactly what tasks need to be completed.
Here are five things you must do when you create an editorial calendar for content marketing:
1. Know your audience
One thing I mention in almost all of my blog posts is the importance of making your content relevant to your buyers’ needs. If your audience doesn’t think your content is geared specifically toward them, they won’t be interested in it.
Before you develop an editorial calendar, you’ll need to understand who your target audience is, what their biggest concerns are and what types of content they want. You can do this by creating buyer personas, surveying your target audience to understand their needs, or asking your customer service team about the conversations they have with buyers. Once you understand your target audience, you can come up with content that helps to meet their needs and solve their challenges.
2. Identify the gaps in your content
When you make an editorial calendar, you should anticipate any content gaps you’ll have in the upcoming year. For example, if you are planning a major product launch or event, you’ll need content to support these items. It’s better to plan for these gaps early on so that you don’t panic when deadlines are approaching and you don’t have the right content on hand.
3. Plan for special themes
Many magazines highlight different themes each month. You can apply a similar approach to your content marketing. For example, you can pick the top 12 biggest concerns your target audience has and address a different concern each month. You can also make predictions for the upcoming year or tie some of your content into holidays or seasonal concerns.
Themes not only make it easier for your in-house team to develop content, but they are also useful for advertisers and guest contributors. Anyone who advertises on your blog or in your other materials will need to know your editorial themes in advance so they can see if their ads will be a match for your audience at a given time. Guest contributors can also connect the topics of their blog posts and articles to your themes.
4. Decide on your publishing schedule
As you plan an editorial calendar, you’ll need to answer the following questions:
- What are you going to publish and how content do you plan to publish for each effort?
- How often are you going to publish?
- Who will be responsible for researching, writing, designing, approving, publishing, and sharing the content?
5. Keep multiple editorial calendars
Last year, Michele Linn wrote a great post in which she suggested creating multiple editorial calendars. The first one should be a master calendar that provides a quick overview of all the content you have planned, broken down by day and week. The other calendars should focus on tasks for specific projects such as your blog or newsletter. Multiple calendars allow you to see the big picture as well as ensure each project is on track.
Your editorial calendar doesn’t need to be complicated. You can keep it in an Excel file and use different tabs for each project. You can also try Google Calendar or another team collaboration tool to automatically send out reminders when deadlines are approaching.
What about you? Do you use an editorial calendar to keep track of your content marketing? If not, are you thinking about using one? Feel free to share your thoughts below.