As a marketer, you’re probably in charge of producing and promoting endless amounts of content. When you’re juggling email campaigns, ads, social media posts, blog posts and other wordy media, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and even run out of ideas.
Creating a marketing editorial calendar not only streamlines processes and helps you stay organized, but it also helps better integrate your market campaigns and maximize the content you create.
How editorial calendars improve your life
Think editorial calendars are just for magazines? Yeah right. These handy planning tools are invaluable for marketers working with multiple content-driven platforms.
Planning your content in advance helps you stay organized and efficient so you’re not having to scramble every time you need a new post. When you can see what’s on the horizon for all key media weeks or even months into advance, you can get more focused and maximize the reach of that content. It can be a big waste of time to write content as you go, and it may result in inconsistent messaging across marketing platforms.
Rather than being willy-nilly about it and only writing blog posts when you have a spare 15 minutes, say you plan out your blog posts in an editorial calendar for the next three months. Now you know when your posts will be up and what they will be about, so you can start scheduling social posts in advance. This also helps you know what content you will have available for marketing emails.
How to create your editorial calendar
If you’re a spreadsheet ninja, you may like using an Excel or a Google worksheet to build your editorial calendar. You can make one worksheet per medium, or you can make one master calendar that includes all depending on the size of your operation. At a minimum, you should include the date, medium and topic you plan to write about. Feel free to include more details if it’s helpful, like who’s assigned to write it.
Some people work better with a true calendar format since it’s more visual, so instead of a spreadsheet, you may find prefer to use a calendar (Google calendar is great if you’re sharing with a team). Just create a calendar entry for each content due date, and consider color-coding by medium so it’s easy to comprehend and organize at a quick glance. Consider trying both options to see if one way is more effective for you.
If you want to get a little more advanced, there are online editorial calendar tools especially ideal for those collaborating with a team. Some include DivvyHQ and CoSchedule. Some of these tools connect with WordPress and social media networks, allowing you to plan, schedule and post all in one system. Many of them also allow for an internal content approval process, cutting down on email back-and-forth.
Before you can map out your calendar, you will need to set aside some time to brainstorm and come up with ideas (don’t forget to try mind mapping for that). It’s smart to include other members of your marketing, PR and social media team for synergy. It may help to start with the bigger pieces, like blogs/articles and press releases. Then you can plan to repurpose and share that content in social media, emails and wherever else is relevant. Then you just have to fill in the gaps for those marketing tactics rather than starting from scratch with each one.
What should go in your calendar
Your marketing editorial calendar can include anything with a focus on content. Here are some of the media you should consider including in your calendar:
- Blog posts
- Website articles
- Marketing emails
- Social media posts
- Press releases
- Digital and/or print ads
- Case studies
That’s not everything—feel free to get creative and add anything else relevant for you. You can even include signage or pre-recorded messages played for customers on hold if appropriate for your business.
It can take a little time to set up your marketing editorial calendar and get in the habit of updating and using it. But once you’re in the swing of your new system, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.