How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing

In this article, you will learn how to create an editorial calendar and how it can help develop your content strategy.

As consumers become more informed, content continues to play a critical role in educating and converting consumers. 

However, not all marketers understand how to properly implement a content strategy. If you don't start with the basics, you risk making content production more complicated than necessary.

To be successful, your content plan must be actionable, and you must publish content consistently. That's where the editorial calendar comes in.

We'll cover the basics, including how to create an editorial calendar, and how it can help develop your content strategy.

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing

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What Is an Editorial Calendar in Marketing

An editorial calendar is a visual workflow that helps a team of content creators plan their work on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Editorial calendars can help you track content types, promotion channels, authors, and most importantly, publication dates.

There is no such thing as a perfect editorial calendar; it depends on the needs of your team. However, there are several questions you should ask yourself to determine what your editorial calendar should look like. Here are a few:

- How often do you publish content? Is your content posted every day? Once a week? Maybe several times a day? Knowing how often you publish can tell you the best way to regularly view your editorial calendar.

- Do you produce more than one type of content? If you upload as many videos to YouTube as you do articles on your company blog, your editorial calendar will need to distinguish between the two.

- How many people will use this editorial calendar? The best editorial calendars allow multiple people to brainstorm, collaborate, and provide feedback on assignments in real-time, right on the calendar.

- What are the different stages that content goes through before being published? How complex is your content pipeline? Does each piece of content go through a significant review or approval process? Make sure your timeline can distinguish between two similar assignments that are in different stages of creation.

- What format will you use to organize this calendar? You will need to choose the system that best fits your goals and your team's workflows.

4 Reasons Why You Need an Editorial Calendar

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing

The main reason an editorial calendar is so important is that it allows you to strategize your content. When you need to create huge amounts of content for social mediafor your blog, for email marketing campaigns, and for any other marketing tactic you use - it's imperative to plan and strategize your content.

It will not only save you time, but it will also help you get better and better results with your content. And surprisingly, even marketers who have a content strategy in place (72%) don't really document it (only 30% do).

Developing a strategy and planning your editorial calendar can help you in several ways:

1- You'll be able to plan your content around your marketing and business goals; for example, if your goal is to generate more leads from your content, you'll need to research what types of content your audience is interested in and how to create targeted content that will drive your audience to convert. This is because when you do this strategically, it's much easier to achieve your goals and, therefore, improve your return on investment (ROI).

2- You'll 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 in advance.

3- You can plan your content to support your campaigns: when you have new products/services or features coming out or any other major change to your brand that requires a campaign, it's always a good idea to schedule content ahead of time to help you create an impactful campaign that gets results.

4-You can maintain a consistent publishing schedule: an editorial calendar can help you stay on top of your publishing schedule and ensure that you're publishing a variety of content to reach different parts of your target audience. You can then utilize calendar tools (such as CoSchedule and Trello) and editorial calendar templates to assist you in planning your calendar more easily.

How to Create an Editorial Calendar

Don't let the idea of creating an editorial calendar stress you out - I promise it's not that complicated once you create a plan. The following section will walk you through how to create an effective calendar, step by step. This is just an overview, so feel free to adapt these steps to your business needs.

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing

Step 1: Set your content marketing goals

As I mentioned earlier, the first step in planning your calendar is to define your marketing and business goals.

Start with your business goals: how can content marketing help you achieve these goals? Once you know this, you can set clear marketing goals, such as:

- Increase traffic to your company's website
- Improve your search engine optimization
- Improve your brand awareness and reach
- Increase loyalty among your target audience and customers
- Generate more leads and conversions to grow your list
- To generate new customers and make more sales

Step 2: Researching possible topics and strategies

At this point, it's not about coming up with headlines, but rather having rough ideas of the type of content you should create to achieve your marketing goals; for example:

- To generate more leads, create more content downloads.

- To increase traffic to your website, create content that attracts readers (list articles, how-to guides, etc.).

- To improve search engine optimization, create content that not only provides value to your audience but targets specific keywords.

- To build customer loyalty, focus on high-value content that brings a lot of value to your audience (e-books, webinars, in-depth guides).

- To generate new customers and make more sales, create more content about your products (like case studies) as well as content that helps you sell to your audience (like webinars).

At this point, it's about having a rough idea of the type of content you need to create to achieve these goals.

Step 3: Research your content and understand your statistics

To be more strategic with your content, you also need to study your audience and the types of content they prefer. To do this, you can look at your own stats (if you've already leveraged content marketing on your website), or use content research tools like Buzzumo and Social Animal to analyze the best performing content in your niche:

- What types of content generate the most shares?
- What are the most effective headlines?
- What content formats work best with your audience (short or long-form content, feature articles, how-to guides, ebooks, etc.)?
- What are the most popular topics?
- What content do you have that generates the most traffic, leads, etc.?

Also, if you want to improve your search engine optimization, it's important to research many keywords in advance and make a list of the long-tail keywords you will use in your content.

Step 4: Coming up with content ideas

At this point, you already have a lot of information about your target audience, their preferences, as well as your own content marketing goals.

This is the perfect time to start planning your actual headlines. If you're part of a large team, it's very helpful to brainstorm content ideas together, as this can generate better ideas and ideas you might not have thought of at first.

When coming up with ideas for titles and topics, before you add them to your calendar, take the time to ask yourself one important question: how is this specific content going to help me achieve my marketing goals?

Because if it doesn't help you achieve your goals, it may be best to discard that idea and try others.

Step 5: Monitor your results continuously and optimize your strategy

No editorial calendar should be completely set in stone. In fact, it's a good idea to closely monitor the results of your content and use that information to optimize your calendar and, therefore, your content marketing strategy.

For example, if you tried a certain type of downloadable goodies and it didn't generate many leads (which, in this example, would have been the main goal), it's important to try to figure out why that happened and how you can improve your strategy and content going forward.

Monitor your results constantly while keeping your marketing goals in mind and adjust your strategy and schedule accordingly.

FAQs About Editorial Calendar

Why do I need an editorial calendar?

An organized approach to content production reduces time and helps you publish better content. From ideation to writing, publishing and promotion, an editorial calendar streamlines every step of the process. 

Do I need paid tools to create an editorial calendar? 

Not unless you want to. Free tools like Trello and Google Docs are great, but there are also paid options like Asana.

What topics should I include in an editorial calendar?

Not everyone's calendar looks the same, but most marketers include headings, publication dates, and the name of the author of the article. Once you've added the most obvious headings, write in the titles that fit your specific needs.

What is the difference between an editorial calendar and a content calendar? 

These terms are often used interchangeably. However, an editorial calendar typically describes each step of the process, while a content calendar typically covers one aspect, such as when articles are published or shared on social media. 

Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing Summary 

Content marketing is a time-consuming task, but it's also very effective when done right. In order to generate better results from your content marketing, try to plan your editorial calendar ahead of time, including focusing on your marketing goals. Not only will this improve your productivity and save you time, but it can even improve your ROI as you focus only on content that gets results - and optimize your strategy as you go to continue to improve your strategy and ROI.

An editorial calendar is essential for any content marketer or small business that wants to get the most out of content production. It allows you to remain focused on your goals and produce high quality content consistently. 

While it may seem like a lot of work, setting up a calendar is not difficult and allows you to seamlessly produce ongoing content while making the most of seasonal trends.

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