Could an editorial calendar be your ultimate secret weapon? Well, if you’re producing any kind of content the answer is YES! If you’re creating and distributing newsletters, blog posts, social shares, graphics, podcasts, webinars, tweets and/or videos—to market your coaching business, you’ll know it can get pretty complicated.
The print publication industry originally developed the concept of Editorial calendars. These were implemented to provide busy editors and publishers an at-a-glance overview of each issue as it developed.
Because magazine issues most often required numerous team members working over several months, editors needed a document that gathered and recorded specific, relevant information. Recording each piece of staff-produced content in each issue and the status of that content’s development gave editors the control they needed.
Content marketers and bloggers began adopting the concept over the past decade and you can do this too. The benefits editorial calendars bring to the table more than justify the additional time and effort it takes to create one and keep it current. A well-structured, thoughtful editorial calendar benefits any content marketer:
- Allows you to take advantage of holidays and special event days;
- Encourages you to stick to a regular publishing schedule;
- Enables you to strategize your content planning; and
- Helps you to target specific content to specific niche markets, among other benefits.
- Makes outsourcing so much easier.
The types of information contained on an editorial calendar can vary from site to site, or business to business, but generally, the editorial calendar should contain the date of each scheduled publication along with the title or topic for each piece of content.
You can take the editorial calendar concept even further with just a little fine-tuning, and turn it into a fantastic planning tool for your digital marketing strategy. By repurposing your content, you can increase your reach without extra effort.
To create this kind of editorial calendar, consider including the following kinds of information for each piece of scheduled content, in addition to the scheduled publication date and title/topic:
- Type of content (i.e., blog post, social share, infographic or other image-based content, video, podcast, email newsletter)
- Channel (i.e., blog, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc.)
- Current status (i.e., research, draft, revisions, published)
- Call to action (Do you want readers to click a link? Sign up for your newsletter? Buy a product or package?)
- Any source/resource URLs (i.e., any previously published information that serves as background or context for your content)
- Team member to which content is assigned (if you’re working with others—employees or outside contractors—to develop content)
What format should you use for your editorial calendar? You have many options here, ranging from a very simple Word or text-based document to a spreadsheet. You can even use your computer’s calendar program. If you’re using self-hosted WordPress for your website, you may want to explore an editorial calendar plugin, such as CoSchedule or WP Editorial Calendar, which will allow you to plan your content in conjunction right from your WordPress dashboard.
A well-designed editorial calendar, especially one that’s kept current, can be a busy entrepreneur’s best friend. Keep yours up to date by devoting time to planning future content on a regular basis (say, an hour or so, a week before the beginning of the next month).
While it may seem like more “busy work,” a well-thought-out and up to date editorial calendar can be your “secret marketing weapon,” helping you to grow your digital presence and, ultimately, get more clients.