Content creation is a key aspect of business development and marketing strategy in today’s world. Across industries, organizations are seeing that creating relevant content in a variety of mediums can move them up in their fields, from increased website traffic and higher online search rankings to new client collateral and customer point-of-contact materials.
However, that’s often easier said than done. Content creation can be a strategy fraught with potential downfalls and negative consequences, if it is not done correctly.
That’s where having an editorial calendar is a must – an editorial calendar will help put you on the right path now and in the future to ensure your content hits all the right points and resonates with your audiences. Here are a few reasons why your business needs an editorial calendar:
1. You Can Develop a Content Strategy – and Stick With It
Building an editorial calendar allows you to cover both the big-picture strategy and the day-to-day creation that is needed to grow a strong content marketing strategy. With a well-planned calendar, themes and messaging overviews can be seen at a high level, ensuring that your organization’s mission, goals and brand voice can be incorporated successfully into your content strategy.
An editorial calendar is the most efficient and effective planning tool when going through the steps needed to create meaningful, impactful content. Once your key audience groups are identified, the calendar transforms into the planning step of the content creation process. Going out as far in the future as is possible, an editorial calendar will highlight key dates around which content can be created, show which topics are touched upon and how often, and spread out longer-form content to create balance.
This long-term planning and future outlook allows for change, as well. From time to time, be sure to check your key metrics to find out what has worked and what hasn’t. And if need be, evolve your content strategy. With an editorial calendar, tracking what has been posted and what is planned to be posted is easy, so if you do need to update your strategy, the posts can be included to ensure that strategy is given time to succeed.
2. Frequency, Consistency and Efficiency
Everybody wants a blog – or wants to be known as a “thought leader” who creates content that moves the needle. But it takes work to build a readership and a reputation. A blog where the last post is four months in the past, a content page littered with articles that could have come from five different brands, or a process that wastes time and energy without much to show for it? Those are the scenarios that can easily become reality without a plan.
That plan takes its shape from an editorial calendar. With this tool, you should never run into a situation where too much time passes between posts – once the content is planned out with the calendar, you will know exactly when it goes live (it must be said, however, that the best content or editorial calendar will go nowhere without the ability to stick to the plan. Putting posts on the calendar is great, but creating those posts is vital).
Additionally, the overview characteristics of an editorial calendar will ensure that posts carry enough variation to remain interesting while also keeping a consistent brand voice. Each content piece should be focused on your key audiences in similar ways, whether it is through a persona, style of writing, etc. This will allow for your readers to recognize the content as your own and begin to build toward recognition in the content space – a big step toward becoming a thought leader.
Time is always in short supply, and often when it comes to writing content, so is finding topics and authors. When trying to create content on the fly, much of your time will be spent trying to brainstorm topics in a vacuum and on a deadline, which can often lead to uninspired and too-short posts. Additionally, if you plan on using subject matter experts within your organization to create content, they will need sufficient time to fit writing into their schedules – not to mention time on the back end to get the content ready to go live. With an editorial calendar, themes emerge, and posts can play off each other to help planning, and with effective future planning, SMEs will be notified of upcoming posts in plenty of time.
3. Plan Ahead to Help Share the Content
The best content in the world will have no impact if nobody reads it. Some companies can bank on a loyal readership to consume and spread their content, but for most, sharing must start from the source. Whether it is through social media posts, email blasts, or customer newsletters, the content must be put in front of as large of an audience as possible.
With an editorial calendar, the planning extends beyond the content creation aspect, but also to the sharing step of the process. Writing out social media posts ahead of time allows for future scheduling and quick posts once the content is finalized. Also, tracking which social media platforms are best for your audience are made can help narrow future social focus.
Sharing and scheduling doesn’t just mean using social media; it can also apply to scheduling when a post goes live on your site or is sent directly to the audience. You may have two posts ready to go, but with a calendar you can spread them out strategically to hit when your audience is most likely to be online. Also, if you have posts that found especially strong reactions, use the editorial calendar to plan to repost in the future and re-up the audience opportunities.