The editorial process for a business can be surprisingly complex; it’s not just a way to plan a few content ideas ahead of time, but rather it implies establishing content marketing objectives, developing a strategy and carefully strategizing all of your content ahead of time so that you can generate better results for your business — whether it’s an improved search engine ranking, more traffic, more social shares or more leads and conversions.
In this blog, I’m going to show you why and how to build an editorial calendar for your business.
Why you really need an editorial calendar
The main reason why an editorial calendar is so important is that it allows you to strategize your content. When you have to create huge amounts of content — for your blog, for social media, for email marketing campaigns and any other marketing tactics you’re using it’s imperative to plan and strategize your content.
It won’t just save you time— it will also help you get increasingly better results from your content. And, surprisingly, even marketers who do have a content strategy in place (as many as 72%) don’t actually document it (only 30% do so).
There are several big ways that strategizing and planning your editorial calendar will help:
- You will be able to plan your content based on your marketing and business objectives; for example, if your goal was to generate more leads from your content, then you’d need to research what types of content interest your audience and how you can create targeted content that will get your audience to convert. Because when you do this strategically, it’s much easier to reach your goals and therefore it will also improve your ROI (return on investment)
- You will be able to properly research your blog posts and the keywords you use: this will help improve your search engine optimization as you carefully plan your on-page SEO ahead of time.
- You can plan your content to support your campaigns: when you have new products/services or new features coming out or any other big change with your brand that requires a campaign, it’s always a good idea to plan content ahead of time to help you create an impactful campaign that gets results.
- You can maintain a consistent posting schedule: an editorial calendar can help you keep on top of your posting schedule as well as ensure that you’re posting varied content in order to reach different parts of your target audience. You can then use calendar tools (such as CoSchedule and Trello) and editorial calendar templates to help you plan your calendar more easily.
How to plan your editorial calendar in 5 steps
Step 1: Establish your content marketing objectives
As I mentioned earlier, the first step in planning your calendar is establishing what your marketing and business goals are.
Start with your business goals: how can content marketing help you achieve these goals? Once you know that, you can put together clear marketing goals, such as:
- Driving more traffic to your business website
- Improving your search engine optimization
- Improving your brand awareness and reach
- Building loyalty amongst your target audience and customers
- To generate more leads and conversions for building up your list
- To generate new customers and make more sales
Step 2: Research possible topics and possible strategy
At this stage, it’s not about coming up with headlines, but rather coming up with some rough ideas of the type of content you should create in order to reach your marketing objectives; for example:
- To generate more leads, create more content downloads
- To drive more traffic to your website, create content that attracts readers (such as listicles, useful how-to guides)
- To improve search engine optimization, create content that not only brings value to your audience, but that targets specific keywords
- To build loyalty, focus on highly valuable content that provides a lot of value to your audience (e-books, webinars, extensive guides)
- To generate new customers and make more sales, create more content about your products (such as case studies) as well as content that allows you to sell to your audience (such as webinars)
At this stage, it’s all about getting a rough idea of the type of content you should create in order to reach those goals.
Step 3: Content research and understanding your analytics
In order to be more strategic with your content, you also need to research your audience and the types of content they prefer; you can do so by looking at your own analytics (if you’ve already been leveraging content marketing on your website), as well as use content research tools like Buzzsumo and Social Animal to analyze top performing content in your niche:
- What types of content generates the most shares?
- What are the most effective headlines?
- What content formats work best with your audience? (short form or long form content, listicles, how to guides, ebooks and so on)
- Which topics are most popular?
- Which of your content generate the most traffic/leads/etc.?
Likewise, if you want to improve your search engine optimization, it’s important to research numerous keywords ahead of time and make a list of the long tail keywords that you’re going to use in your content.
Step 4: Coming up with content ideas
At this stage, you already have a lot of information about your target audience, their preferences, as well as your own content marketing objectives. This is the ideal time to start planning your actual headlines. If you’re part of a larger team, it’s very helpful to brainstorm content ideas together as that can generate better ideas and ideas that you might not have thought of initially.
As you come up with headline and topic ideas, before adding them to your calendar, take the time to consider one important question: how will this specific piece of content help me achieve my marketing goals?
Because if it doesn’t help you achieve your goals, then perhaps it’s better to discard that idea and try different ideas.
Step 5: Continuously monitor your results and optimize your strategy
No editorial calendar should be completely set in stone; in fact, it’s great practice to closely monitor your content’s results and use that information to optimize your calendar and, consequently, your content marketing strategy.
For example, if you’ve tried a certain type of downloadable goodie and it didn’t result in many leads (which, in this example, would’ve been the main goal) then it’s important to try to understand why that happened and how you can improve your strategy and content in the future.
Monitor your results consistently while also keeping in mind your marketing goals and make changes to your strategy and calendar accordingly.
Content marketing is a very time-consuming task but it’s also highly effective when done right. In order to generate better results from your content marketing, try to plan your editorial calendar in advance, particularly by focusing on your marketing objectives. This will not only improve your productivity and save you time, but it can even improve your ROI as you’re focused solely on content that gets results — and optimizing your strategy as you go along to keep improve your strategy and ROI.
This article was written by Lilach Bullock from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.