Whilst the idea of having to plan anything may put a lot of people off – the organisation and forward thinking required can give even the most experienced professional a headache – the fact remains that creating a fully-formed and detailed content/editorial calendar is pretty much an essential part of the marketing mix nowadays. As more and more businesses begin to appreciate the value of content creation and sharing, the need for a content/editorial calendar becomes more crucial for the success of the strategy.
So, for those in the business who groan at the notion of having to organise or plan anything in too much detail, it looks like your luck has run out. Thankfully, as more people are coming to the conclusion that they need a content/editorial calendar in place, there is now a wealth of information available on creating one. Here are some of our top tips on how to create a calendar that’s going to truly maximise the impact of any content strategy:
Firstly, understand the basics.
A simple start to a not-so-simple task, but important all the same. Every marketer or marketing department needs to have a concise answer to the following questions: Who is the target audience of the content? Why are we creating the content? And, what can we do to stand out? These three basic introductory questions will form the basis for the calendar and give a good foundation to work from. Figuring out who the content is for will inform when and where it is published; figuring out why the content is being created will inform what kind of content is produced; and considering what can be done to stand out will inform the individual and unique set-up of the calendar.
Secondly, narrow down the topics.
This relates back to the question as to why content is being created – is a new product or service being launched that requires advertising, for example? Or, is the business simply looking to increase online engagement and draw people back to a main website or retail page? The answer to the above will determine whether the content is information or insight based; long- or short-form; evergreen or news-focused. This information should be shared with the writers so they know what needs producing. They will also be able to provide details on how long it will take to produce, which links to the next point…
Thirdly, work out the specifics.
With the information garnered from steps one and two, next comes the nitty-gritty fine details – deciding when content is going to be published, including the date, time and site/s it will be published on. Also, the different topics being covered and their headlines, if possible. Who is writing the content (if there is more than one content creator on the team) and who is in charge of putting it live. All these details, although tedious, are essential in ensuring the strategy runs smoothly. Other things to consider specifying include the content format, keywords to be included and visuals to be used, if applicable.
Whether a business is just starting out with content creation or planning to improve upon their current offerings, content/editorial calendars are a sure-fire way to increase the professionalism of the strategy and maximise its impact. But, it can also be used for various other means, too – such as acting as a guide to encourage prospective customers through the purchasing cycle (content urging them to take the next step could be published in order, subconsciously leading them towards a sale); or even dedicating focus to special events or themes throughout the year (whether it’s a national holiday or chosen-themes by the company, calendars can help everyone involved get creative and avoid duplicate content being created).
With so much riding on the need to be organised, professionals really need to take their head out the sand if they believe a content/editorial calendar should be given anything less than a high priority. The above steps should help with the initial set-up, but holding regular meetings with editorial and content-creation teams – as well as sales, marketing, and anyone else who may want to have their say – will help make its creation all the smoother and more detailed.