Ah, the blog editorial calendar. Is there anything more crucial to a content marketing process? Think of it this way: on WordPress alone, there’s nearly 3 million blog posts published every single day. That’s 117,000 blog posts an hour.
In other words: 1,950 blog posts a minute.
That’s insane. And that means your content is fighting against more new content than ever before. Not to mention all of that older content that is still ranking on Google. So what does that mean for your content strategy?
That’s why — despite the fact that most content editors never get around to creating one — a blog editorial calendar is critical to the success of any content marketing strategy.
Remember: a blog editorial calendar isn’t just a bunch of titles and dates. It’s an opportunity for you to evaluate how you’re engaging with your audience. Creating a calendar allows you to populate it with content ideas that speak to every stage of the buyer’s journey. It also gives you the opportunity to add SEO targets to your calendar, and then create content that ranks well on search engines.
A solid editorial calendar will ensure that your content marketing strategy will never include a shot-in-the-dark piece of content ever again.
Why Do You Need an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog?
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 Build a Blog Editorial Calendar (a.k.a. Don’t Just Make it Up)
Whether you already have a list of topics to publish or you’re starting with absolutely nothing, you will need to give each of your pieces of content a purpose. Is your piece designed to perform on social channels? Is it targeting a keyword opportunity for SEO? Will it be early-stage content or late-stage? Are you considering major holidays and industry events you may want to touch upon in your content?
Take time to carefully map 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.
A few questions you’ll want to ask yourselves when brainstorming your blog editorial calendar:
- What questions are top of mind for our customers right now, and how can we answer them?
- Which buyer personas are we focusing on this month, and are we writing enough content for them?
- What content does our sales team need this month? Are they hungry for early-stage content? Do they need late-stage content to help drive sales?
- Which keywords do we want to target with content this month? What type of content should we create for them?
- Are there any business objectives that we need to create content for (an event you’re sponsoring, a new product release, etc.)?
- Are there any pieces of content you want to see on your website or in your content library?
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.
There are pros and cons to planning your blog editorial calendar out far in advance. The further you plan your blog editorial calendar the more time you have to prepare. But planning things out too far in advance may make it difficult for you to be responsive to the changing problems and questions your customer or audience has.
Our in-house content team finds it helpful to plan out larger content projects on a half year or yearly basis, but to address our blog editorial calendar on a quarterly and monthly basis.
What tools do you need to build a blog editorial calendar?
A Google sheet 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
Blog Editorial Calendar 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 calendar for that post:
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 need to consider during your process. 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 clear, purposeful content writing around your brand. You filled out your blog 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 targeting 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? Share us tips below!