One of the most important things you can do when thinking about growing your business is to create a calendar where you schedule your upcoming content. This processof deciding what content will be created on specific dates is called creating an Editorial Calendar.
In this article I will walk you through the process of creating an editorial calendar.
Keep in mind not an editorial calendar can also be called a content calendar, or an editorial content calendar, or even a marketing calendar.
One other note before we get started is that the term editorial usually refers to a major or important piece of writing on a newspaper or website. However, the term editorial calendar just means that you’re scheduling all the content that’s going to be created into a calendar that your team can share.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that every single item is going to be a long and detailed editorial piece.
Keeping Your Editorial Calendar Flexible
Before we get started planning your calendar, one of the most important points is that you will have a chance to update the calendar overtime. So don’t feel like you’re going to be locked in to the ideas that you schedule at the very beginning.
Some reasons why you might need to make changes to your editorial calendar overtime include:
- changes in business strategy
- changes in your content marketing approach
- or getting new input from your product marketing team
- Or requests to prioritize specific current topics from your leadership
Your editorial calendar will help you to make decisions about scheduling content in a more systematic and stable way.
You can share the editorial calendar with the rest of your team. Then discuss and decide together which items to move into the future.
Managing Your Content Creation Workload
You order to produce high-quality content you’ll need to make sure you have sufficient time to do the research, and then have the article drafted, as well as edited and approved.
Frequently every single piece of content will go through several phases:
- Draft Article Writing
- Editor Review
In the steps above I’ve included publishing the article as well as promoting it. We will discuss in a separate article how to promote your article to get the most value from all the work that goes into creating the content.
Having an editorial calendar means that you can schedule each of the content creation steps and make sure you have enough time to have them completed with the right degree of quality.
Generating ideas for your Editorial Calendar
One of the questions that comes up frequently is how do we get new ideas for our editorial calendar? And this is a very important question because the quality of input can make a big difference in terms of creating content that your target readers will appreciate.
There are several different ways that you can generate ideas for your editorial calendar. These include 1) keyword research, 2) input from your internal team members, and 3) input from customers and partners.
It is considered a best practice to combine these different inputs to arrive at the best list of ideas for your editorial calendar.
1 – Keyword Research & Search Demand Data
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is ignoring search demand data. Even if you have a list of keywords it doesn’t mean that people are searching for all those keywords equally every month.
One keyword might have only 10 search volume per month, but still might be very important to your business because it’s so specific and indicates a strong desire to buy your product.
Meanwhile another keyword might have 10,000 search volume but might be very general and might not indicate that people are ready to purchase your product right away.
Therefore when you’re looking at search demand for each keyword you should also consider what phase of the buyers journey this keyword represents.
Note: We have a full guide to understanding the buyers journey for your buyer personas which you can also obtain by emailing us.
No matter where you get the ideas from, you will always want to make sure that you obtain search demand for each keyword before you put it on your editorial calendar.
I will walk you through how to do this in a separate video tutorial.
2 – Gathering Input from Your Front-Line & Leadership
One of the most valuable sources of ideas for your editorial calendar is going to be your front line team members who interact with customers.
Your sales people are often times talking to potential buyers and have a good idea of the types of questions that they would like answered in both written, as well as video and social media content.
You can ask your sales people what kinds of questions they’re getting, and what kinds of content would be most valuable to potential buyers this will mean that your content is much more likely to be utilized not only by first time visitors but also by potential buyers who are in the final stages of purchasing.
In addition to getting input from your sales people, you should also talk to your product development and customer service team members to get input for your editorial calendar.
Your customer service team members often times your concerns or problems that you could incorporate into your Content Calendar.
This might lead to more of your current customers choosing to purchase repeatedly, or stay with your service for a longer period time. If one person has that concern, it’s possible that many people do.
Talking to your product development team or your senior leader ship will give you ideas about where your products and services are going in the future.
This can often be helpful to make sure that you’re anticipating upcoming new releases or improvements in service that you can schedule in your calendar for upcoming weeks and months.
3 – Input from Customers & Partners
One area that we see many people overlooking is asking customers what topics they are most interested in.
Most businesses have a very good list of current customers. So it’s a matter of thinking about different ways to include their input in the editorial calendar planning process.
One way to do this is to send out an email asking people which topics they are most interested in. Alternatively you can also put a survey as a pop-up on your website.
Summary of Getting Inputs for Your Editorial Calendar
Keep in mind that as you’re getting inputs for your editorial calendar you might hear some common themes. It’s important to keep track of how many time certain requests were made – as this can indicate strong demand for this content on this topic.
Also make sure to schedule regular input sessions from your internal team as well as from your customers. You might want to do this every quarter.
As far as search demand data you want to be looking at updating that at least monthly because things might change as far as seasonality and also in terms of your current content rankings.
Note: You can get our guide to understanding search demand data here.
Updating Existing Content vs Creating New Content
Your editorial calendar will contain both updates for existing content, as well as new content ideas..
There are several reasons to monitor and update existing content in order to improve the effectiveness of your overall content marketing results.
1 – Content Might Become Out of Date
2 – Content Needs to Be Expanded
3 – Content Quality Needs to Be Improved
I have encountered many cases where the company had content which was producing a lot of relevant traffic, leads and generating sales. But they never went back and updated it.
Overtime their competitors produced fresh content which was more relevant and up-to-date. Meanwhile, this amazing content from the company started to produce less and less results.
This is why it’s important to understand your existing content, and monitor your ranking each month as part of the updating your editorial calendar.
Note: You can see our guide to understanding your current content ranking here.
Summary you will always have both updates of existing content and new content scheduled your editorial calendar.
Social Media Editorial Calendars vs Blog Editorial Calendars
How should you coordinate your social media editorial calendar versus your blog editorial calendar?
If you’re asking this question you’re already ahead of the game. Many people have separate teams working on their social media strategy versus their content marketing strategy.
When you read the articles that are coming out on their blog, and then you look at their social media you feel like you’re talking to two completely different brands.
What’s the solution to this conflicted messaging?
A good approach is to develop an over arching editorial strategy where are you coordinate both your social media posts as well as your written article and blog posts.
If you start with your written content first then whenever you create social posts you can always link back to the longer article.
This will provide both a boost in terms of your SEO, and also increase the value of your social media posting because now people will have an in-depth article that they can read if they are interested in what they found on social media.
You now have a clear idea on how an editorial calendar can be put together. Specifically we looked at different types of input, and then we also looked at making sure that it’s flexible and updated on a regular basis using new search engine demand data as well as your current content rankings.
More importantly we incorporated input from our internal sales, customer service, and product development teams. We also obtained input from our current customers on the type of content that would be most helpful to them.
Feel free to reach out to us if you would like to receive a copy of our social media calendar template, or are editorial calendar templates.
Feel free to share this article with anybody in your team or your colleague for whom you would think it would be helpful.