D Custom conducted original research on the issues facing marketing directors and managers when it comes to their digital and content marketing strategies. We wanted to find out what information would be most valuable for our clients and prospective clients. This blog is the first in a series based on the topics we uncovered from our research.
Content marketing is complicated, and there are a lot of moving parts. You need to create, post, and promote content regularly to make an impact. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day and lose sight of strategic objectives, or conversely, get so caught up in planning and strategy that you neglect regular upkeep. An editorial calendar for your social media campaigns can help you keep track of both the big picture and the details, but it’s important to use this critical tool effectively. Here are five ways to manage your editorial calendar for maximum impact:
Consolidate all your calendars into one: You’ve got a blog, a Twitter handle, a LinkedIn profile, a website, a series of white papers, a schedule of speaker engagements, and a calendar of corporate events. How can you make sure that everything works together? Many companies don’t. In fact, our most recent survey of marketing directors and managers found that 15 percent said that information silos were a major hurdle in researching marketing results.
An editorial calendar can help by integrating all your outreach activities in a single space. That way everyone involved can see, at a glance, what other people are doing. Because people can input changes in real time, a centralized calendar ensures that everyone on your team can make edits and it gives you an instant read on where your communications strategy stands right now, how it’s changing, and what you should be preparing for in the future.
Our 2016 survey found that 53 percent of marketing directors and managers said the biggest challenges to their digital or content marketing program were producing engaging content and doing it consistently. A recent Kapost study found that 92 percent of companies that ranked as top performers when it comes to content marketing have “a shared editorial calendar for planning marketing initiatives.” Boom! Hard to argue with numbers like that.
Integrate social media: Your editorial calendar will help you focus on trends and ideas that are important to your company over the coming months. That makes it easier to plan social media to support communications initiatives.
Is your CEO speaking at an industry conference next month? Schedule a blog on the topic and promote it with Twitter and LinkedIn. Is there an important product or service launch approaching? Make it a part of your social media campaign.
Manage workload for you and your contributors: An updated editorial calendar should show you, on a week-by-week basis, what’s due for each of your team members, including both in-house staff and outside contractors. It’s a great way to spot potential bottlenecks if one person has multiple assignments due at the same time — and adjust to spread the workload around.
Remind yourself of important dates: You may think you’ll just remember the date that quarterly earnings are released for your company, or when a holiday like Black Friday impacts sales for your stores, but it’s a good idea to make sure. Your editorial calendar should include important dates that affect both your communications strategy and your company as a whole. You can set alarms to remind you a day, a week, or a month ahead of time to make sure you’re on top of social media tasks specific to the date.
Build performance measurement into the process: Nearly one in five (19 percent) of the marketing professionals we surveyed said that measuring ROI was a critical challenge for them. Incorporating performance measurement into your editorial calendar can help your company make ROI analysis a regular part of your schedule. Set up a weekly time to review the performance of social media initiatives and put it on your calendar. That way you can obtain real-time feedback on what’s working and what’s not.
The right kind of editorial calendar — one that’s comprehensive, collaborative, and integrated into your workflow — can enable you to stay on top of strategy and the execution of your marketing program. Use these tips to manage your editorial calendar like a boss.
If you need help with your content strategy or editorial execution, contact me. We love to share our opinions and experience. And keep an eye out for more blogs based on our original research by following our social media channels here, here, here, and here!