Before I became a Content Manager, I was a “fly by the seat of my pants” type of gal when it came to blogging and social media. I was reckless, aimless, and spontaneous, because I did it for fun. I certainly never considered the need for an editorial calendar.
Back in the days of social media’s beginnings, I managed the community for a small non-profit. Sure, the postings were integrated with our marketing efforts on some level. But for the most part, it was without rhyme or reason.
Content marketing has changed since those innocent days when we all used to frolic around the internet, without a care in the world. According to Content Marketing Institute, “70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago.”
Now we marketers understand content marketing’s true powers—awareness, education, lead nurturing, advocacy, traffic, engagement, thought leadership—you catch my drift.
Once I wrapped my brain around content marketing’s significance, I was a deer in headlights. I stood frozen in the middle of the road, awaiting my doom of being run over by a grimy semi truck with mudflap girls.
Then I realized what I was missing from my content management arsenal. And, I went on an editorial calendar quest.
Oh, let me count the ways. Well, we don’t have all day…so I’ll just count three ways.
1. Align Your Content
In the deep sea of content marketing, it’s all too easy to drown. That’s why providing value is key, marrying your content to each stage of the buyer’s journey. Around here, we live and breathe the A.C.T. (Awareness, Consideration, Transaction) Model.
We fashioned a Marketing Strategy Calendar back when we were creating our content strategy for the year. Besides dividing our tactics by the A.C.T. stages, we also set quarterly and monthly themes to keep all of our content aligned.
Our Editorial Calendar template works in partnership with the Marketing Strategy Calendar. The themes are listed throughout as an ongoing reminder of which topics we have planned.
2. Integrate Your Content
Having monthly themes is a beautiful thing when you’re halfway through the year, racing to meet your revenue goals, and pumping out quality content. The themes give you inspiration and focus—not only for your blog posts but also your social media.
For example, one month we tackled a lead scoring theme. All blog posts explored lead scoring—whether it was a guest writer discussing implementing a new lead scoring program, or a predictive lead scoring infographic we created.
The entire month we used #leadscoring on Twitter to search for sharable content that connected with that monthly theme.
3. Systematize Your Content
Are you posting too much early buying stage content on your blog? Are you forgetting to mix in company culture fun on social media?
The right calendar will help you realize where the gaps are in your content. While having an overarching content marketing strategy is amazing, as you get deeper into each month, you may need to reevaluate what you’re publishing and why.
While I was on my editorial calendar quest, I tried many options out there. I found that I liked bits and pieces of a few, but not the entire tool.
I also needed something I could update quickly and regularly. And though it’s not the prettiest, Excel is still the best (in my opinion).
Blog Promo Checklist
Come on, admit it. You love the satisfaction of checking things off.
Here you can make sure you’re amplifying your latest blog content. Though all social media channels are listed, feel free to customize the Excel calendar with your focus channels. Also, it’s a good reminder to communicate the latest blog internally as well as any LinkedIn groups you are active in (just don’t be spammy).
At a glance, this sheet is awesome for seeing which posts you’ve written and which you have planned, along with your monthly focus themes.
Blog Idea Bank
That amazing topic that came out of a company meeting and those random idea emails that your coworkers send your way, and the brilliant post you masterminded while you were brushing your teeth all now have a humble home.
Keep it all together in the idea bank.
Monthly Content Schedule
This is like your favorite blankie when you were a kid. You won’t want to do anything without it.
The cadence for how often you release a blog or share on social is entirely up to you. As just one example, on the Editorial Calendar we have a cadence of a weekly blog post and daily social sharing at various times.
There are multiple reasons why the monthly sheets are lifesavers:
There are many content marketing tools we can use to make our lives easier. Having a go-to Editorial Calendar will complete you—so you can get organized, stay consistent, and be productive.
Alright, content trooper…ready to schedule your little heart out?