An editorial calendar is an essential tool that you can use to ensure that you keep relevant content being planned, organized, created, and published, in a way that makes sense based on what’s happening in your business. Think of it almost like a content task list instead of an editorial calendar if you want to.
Here’s how to ensure that you make maximum use of your editorial calendar.
Write What You Already Know
First fill out everything that you already know is happening in your business over the next 120 days or more. If you can be at least one quarter ahead on the work, you’ll be a lot more relaxed about your business and see a greater return on investment with less stress.
Note Your Launches
If you have any new products launching, put those into your calendar right away. Put the launch dates, then work backwards to today for what else needs to be done and who is responsible for doing it. If you know in advance that you need to create content today for something happening months later, you’ll have a lot more success than if you wait until the last minute to throw it all together without a plan.
Add in Your Promotions
If you’re promoting other people’s products and know when you are going to do that, add in these promotions as if it were a launch, too. Work your way back adding in the content you need to create for those products, such as blog posts, videos, memes and so forth, just like with launches.
Include Events That Will Occur or That You’ll Attend
Whether it’s a webinar or in-person event, you’ll want to include it. It doesn’t matter if you’re presenting or attending; make it part of your calendar. And if it’s related to your business, make it part of your content too.
Establish Regular Deadlines for Basic Content
If you know you want to put out certain content every day or every week, then you should add those deadlines in too, along with also working your way backwards to doing just a little bit of each task every single work day.
Include Guest Posts and Other Content from Outside Sources
If you have people who are adding content outside of your work, add that into your calendar along with a way to remind them of their due date to submit the content. That will help keep guest contributors on track as well as keep you on track.
Keep a General List of Ideas
While this doesn’t go in the calendar, someplace near your calendar, keep an ongoing idea list. When an idea comes to mind, you just add it to the bottom of the list. Then when you use one of the ideas, just mark it off the list.
Keep a List of Keywords Handy
When you get your keyword research done, keep the keywords nearby where you work on your calendar. That way you can use keyword titles for the work you want to do, which will help you keep those words in mind always.
If you have a team working with you, always note on the calendar who exactly is responsible for each item. Ensure that the calendar is shared team wide so that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing on any given day.
Optimizing your editorial calendar is an important part of keeping your content marketing strategy in line with all your business goals. The more you can include in the calendar to help you and anyone on your team keep things straight, the better. You can use numerous tools, but an Excel file or Google spreadsheet will work great for this purpose.
Where to Find Templates
Need a free template? HubSpot has a free editorial calendar template that I’ve used in the past. You will have to provide your name and email address to get it, but it’s worth it!
If you can afford a paid option, there’s an amazing option provided by CoSchedule. It’s a plugin that integrates an editorial and a social media calendar right into WordPress. At $10 a month, I find it’s affordable enough for me…and honestly I’m not sure I could run this blog without it.