Hello and welcome back to my business blog, I hope that you found customer profiling both useful and interesting.
Did you remember to write a status update for next Friday? What about the Friday after that?
Let’s face it, blogging and updating your social-media status can be hard work - but they don’t have to be.
You have worked hard to develop an online following and you have people visiting your social-media pages and corporate website, they want you to give them something fresh and truly great to read. Your readers won’t keep coming back to a post which reads “sorry I’ve been busy”.
I’m sure you’ve heard this so many times before and from so many sources, but never has a greater truth been spoken;
“plan your work and work your plan” - “they who fail to plan, plan to fail”
What is an editorial calendar?
Editorial calendars are by no means a new idea, they have been used by publishers, advertisers and the PR industry for many years to plan and manage their content ensuring that they meet publication deadlines. From your initial idea through to publication the editorial calendar is the control process used to plan content and ensure the regular and interesting appearance of material.
Using an editorial calendar
You may be able to come up with something truly inspirational on the hoof, but there are times when we all suffer from writers block or due to the pressures of work we simply forget to make that post.
Your blog/social-media status updates can be an important method of communication with your customers. With forward planning and scheduling you will be able to communicate a consistent, precise and relevant message.
An editorial calendar is as its name suggests a calendar. It is however much more than that, it’s a place to brainstorm and plan your updates with in-depth detail.
You might include such headings as;
- Set Posting date
- Set Posting time
- Writer responsible for content
- Mark once you have written the copy
- Mark once you have posted the copy
- Use grouped themes for your posting. i.e fun, technical, sales, information, give away, back room secrets
- Short sentence describing the topic
- The strap line/title of the post
- If SEO is a consideration use keywords to help with search-ability
- Map out your ideas for the post here, dump all of the relevant information into this box on a specific topic - it can be edited and even split into sub topics later. I recommend not throwing away any ideas - just move them for later use
- Image location
- Links to images you want to use in your post, or notes on images you already have along with their location
- Enter here any links you may want to post to third party sites which endorse your product/service, your website, mailing list etc.
- Using an editorial calendar will enable you to plan a month or more in advance. This will take a couple of hours per month to write and post. Once posted check daily for comments and reply accordingly. Use this space to record your findings
Lets get started
There’s many different ways to create an editorial calendar, you can buy one, create your own or use the example I have included in this blog. No matter which option you choose I recommend that it has a place for brainstorming and post planning.
You should spend time in figuring out the subject area you want to be known for. If you’re struggling to come up with a compelling subject, then a good place to start is with your most recent and popular post. Use this as a foundation and build a thread between that and future updates.
Eg. If you write a business blog and one of your most popular posts is “How to create effective Social-Media status updates” then in order to build authority and develop a strong following, it would be wise to develop strong ideas that stem from that post.
The editorial calendar is a strategic planning tool useful for planning a range of media publications. (Facebook - Twitter - Linkedin - video - press releases etc.) It is a good idea to appoint someone, an existing employee with appropriate experience or a brand new position created for the roll of managing the editorial calendar.
The content manager need not work alone, creating a long term strategic plan of your corporate communication with your clients of up to a year, will enable them to enlist the help of other members of staff to create specialist engaging content from multiple departments across your business.
Your editorial calendar is much more than a diary of deadlines, it is a place to brainstorm, organise, collate, encourage collaboration and manage every step in meeting your publishing deadline.
To gain followers and more traffic to your site it is important that you consistently post content on your blog or website. Along with the knowledge gained from customer profiling, discussed in my previous blog, an editorial calendar will allow you to plan when to post different topics and effectively promote your business.
Aside from ensuring delivery of quality copy on time every time the editorial calendar is there to help manage where the content is going to be published, (website, social-media pages, trade publications) and give the content manager a tool to track and evaluate the successes and failures.
As time goes by you will build a clearer picture of the type of content which works best with your audience, the editorial calendar is an excellent tool used to promote collaboration and generate new ideas. By using a feedback/comments section in planning future content your can build a list of FAQ’s and answer your customers needs with both product innovation and the relevant publication of copy.
Above all the editorial calendar, if used within your overall business strategy will relieve stress and give you back time. By planning weeks or even months ahead, collaborating with colleagues or even outside consultants becomes easier by giving writers time to research their given topic and the ability to assign subject matter in advance.
Your editorial calendar will be your guide to content and tracking objectives, however that does not mean it is cast in stone, it can be updated as you go, keeping your content fresh and relevant.
Many social-media/blog publication tools will allow you to write your content and schedule it for publication at a given time in the future. By using my editorial calendar I can tell you that my next blog will be on the topic of scheduling a Facebook status for a future date.
That about wraps up using an editorial calendar. I hope that you find this blog both interesting and helpful. Over the coming weeks I’ll be building on this to include other topics. If you would like to comment on this blog visit our social-media pages and join the conversation. For your convenience I have included a handy PDF template for you to download, use and tailor to your own needs free of charge. If you would like this editorial calendar in numbers/excel format drop me an email and I’ll forward a copy to you.
Click to download editorial calendar