On WordPress alone, there’s over 2 million blog posts published every single day. That’s 83,000 blog posts an hour.
1400 blog posts a minute.
What does this mean to you? There’s a constant stream of content being produced on the web. To beat out your competitors, each piece of content you create needs to be organized, strategic, and deliberate.
Remember: a calendar isn’t just a bunch of titles and dates. You need to ask yourself: are you meeting your audience where they’re at in the buyer’s journey? Targeting the right SEO keywords? Picking the right marketing channels?
A calendar will ensure that your content marketing strategy will never include a shot-in-the-dark piece of content ever again.
Why an Editorial Calendar?
Don’t just talk the talk. We all know an editorial calendar is one of those things that content editors always say they’ll do, but don’t. Use a calendar to:
- Keep your content consistent.
- Organize your writers and contributors.
- Visualize and share your strategy with your team.
- Close any content gaps.
- Foster creativity.
- Plan your SEO strategy before creating content.
- Give each piece a clear purpose.
How to Start a.k.a. Don’t Just Make it Up
Whether or not you already have a list of topics to publish or you’re starting with absolutely nothing, you will need to give each of your content pieces a purpose. Is it for social sharing or SEO? Will it be early-stage content or late-stage? Are you taking in account of major holidays and industry events?
Take time to carefully map out your content so you can use your resources as effectively as possible. By now, you should have a good idea of what you and your content team is capable of. Carve out a big chunk before every quarter or month to meet with your team members and brainstorm your content strategy. This is also the time (if you haven’t already) to establish your brand’s goals and personas.
Putting it All Together
Now that you have a tentative list of topics you want to tackle, decide first if you want to organize your calendar by month, week, or — for those ambitious and incredibly organized folks — by year. This all depends on the heftiness of your content strategy and your team’s bandwidth.
A Google spreadsheet is an easy, free, and customizable way to get started with content organization (tip: with multiple tabs, you could even keep track of multiple calendars!). Here’s an idea of the kind of columns you could use on your spreadsheet:
- Type (Blog Post/White Paper/E-Book)
- Due Date
- Publish Date
- Targeted SEO Keyword
- Buyer Persona
- Buyer’s Journey
- Marketing Channels
- Metadata Description
- Social messaging
- Call to Action
For example, let’s say you’re writing a post called, The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Content Mapping. This is how you would fill out your spreadsheet:
Click to enlarge.
Once you have a list of multiple topics and cells filled out, you’ll be able to identify any content gaps. Then tweak, improve, and repeat.
Note: try to not overcomplicate your calendar; only include the elements you will actually take into account. If you’re only writing 4-5 posts a month, you probably do not need to include “marketing channels” or “metadata description.” It’s all about creating an editorial calendar that fits your content strategy – expanding can always come later.
After You’re Organized
You’ve brainstormed with your team. You’ve created a clear, purposeful content writing around your brand. You filled out your editorial calendar. Now what?
A content writer’s job is never really done. An important next step is to check your metrics. Are you meeting your content goals? Are you targeted the right keywords? Is your content calendar understandable to the whole team and company? An editorial calendar needs constant maintenance and strategy.
How do you organize and strategize your content? Give us tips below!