If you’re anything like us, you couldn’t survive without your planner. Although we vary in our methods — some of us prefer a classic paper planner while others live and die by our digital calendars — planners help us all keep track of everything in our busy lives. Client meetings, social events, important dates, birthdays, reminders, appointments, trips, grocery lists, brainstorm doodles — you name it, it’s in there. We love a good editorial calendar for the same reason.
What is an Editorial Calendar?
An editorial calendar is a visual workflow for scheduling content production that helps your team collectively keep track of content types, promotional channels and publication dates.
Much like life, your content production process involves several moving parts, but keeping everything current and centralized can help your business keep track of both the small details and big-picture goals for your content in an efficient, strategic way.
After learning about and trying different approaches to editorial calendars, we’ve found focusing on these six key elements is the best way to keep your content operation moving smoothly.
1. Consolidate All Your Editorial 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 ensure all of these channels and content pieces work together to create a comprehensive content marketing strategy?
A good editorial calendar integrates all your outreach activities in a single place so everyone involved can quickly and easily see where your team is at in the content production process. A centralized calendar ensures everyone on your team can make edits and input changes in real-time.
Most importantly, your content will benefit from a shared editorial calendar. A Marketing Insider Group survey showed that 65% of the most successful digital B2B marketers have their documented content marketing strategy all in place.
2. Integrate Social Media Into Your Editorial Calendar.
Your editorial calendar can help you focus on trends and ideas important to your company over the coming months, which makes it easier to plan social media to support communications initiatives.
Is your CEO speaking at an industry conference next month? Schedule publishing a blog on the topic and promote it with Twitter and LinkedIn — and be sure to tag the conference’s social media accounts to boost visibility. Is there an important product or service launch approaching? Add it to a social media campaign.
3. 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 in-house staff and outside partners. It’s a great way to spot potential bottlenecks if one person has multiple assignments due at the same time and adjust to even out the workload among the team.
4. Remind Yourself of Important Dates.
You may think you’ll remember the date quarterly earnings are released for your company or when a holiday season will affect your customer purchase cycle, but it’s better to be sure. Your editorial calendar should include important dates that affect both your communications strategy and your company overall. You can set reminders to notify you a day, a week or a month ahead of time to make sure you’re on top of everything.
5. Build Performance Measurement Into the Editorial Calendar Process.
Although proving a return on investment (ROI)O is the key to understanding if your marketing efforts are actually making an impact, a shocking 65% percent of marketers are unable to quantitatively calculate the impact of their marketing efforts, according to a 2023 CMO survey.
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. This includes:
- Checking cost per click.
- Identifying the audiences most engaged with your content.
- Determining which pieces are performing best on which channels.
- Ensuring the campaign was approved by the platform on which it’s running.
- Responding and reacting to comments.
- Pausing underperforming ad sets (in A/B testing).
- Incorporating these checks into your calendar so you can obtain real-time feedback on what’s working and what’s not.
6. Ensure All Content is Aligned with Your Brand Strategy.
You already know the importance of creating a set of standardized brand guidelines for all your content. These brand guidelines and strategies should be integrated into every single piece of content you produce, whether it be a 12-page report or an organic Instagram post.
For every piece of content in your editorial calendar, ask yourself:
- Does the creative showcase the look and feel of my brand?
- Does it help position your brand as a thought leader by offering a unique and expert perspective?
- Does it consider the client’s journey and strategically fit into their purchase cycle?
- Is it shareable?
- Does it elevate your brand as a whole?
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. Once it’s in good shape, you won’t be able to live without it.
If you need help with your content, contact us.