There’s nothing worse when running a company website or blog than realizing you missed—or are about to miss—an important deadline. We’ve all been there: scrambling last minute, stressed and under pressure to create a piece of content. Or, worse, being completely unaware of the opportunity for a timely article.
There’s a simple and better way to plan your deliverables, become more organized and produce higher-quality content. It’s an editorial calendar.
What is an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is a visible schedule that supports work planning related to content production and the editorial department. It ensures you are covering your business strategy and addressing marketing objectives. When you hire a freelance writer or work with an outsourced professional writer, editorial calendars become increasingly important.
One of the first things to do when planning your editorial schedule is to compile a list or a spreadsheet of the articles you want to produce. This list should include specific deadlines and who is doing the work. By looking ahead on the regular calendar, you can plan date-specific content, such as anniversary articles, and prepare for product launches or items around the holiday season. Doing so allows time to research and write material in advance.
For example, a home improvement company might want to think about snow in July to prepare weatherization content for winter. By planning and working ahead, a schedule exists of ready-to-go articles, and you can see where the gaps are so as not to miss those vital opportunities to publish at the optimal time.
Editorial calendars are also a great way to determine how your content will be written. When you assess how much content you’ll need (one blog each month or four), you know if this is a task your staff can undertake or if you’ll need to outsource to freelance writers. When you determine your calendar, you can also prepare to make space in the budget for your content.
What do you need to do?
1. Hold regular creative planning meetings
It’s essential to make time for your team to get together to develop your editorial calendar. Use this meeting as a brainstorming session to focus on ideas and events that are priorities. Discuss new trends and topics, their relevance to your blog or journal and how the marketing and business strategies align. Don’t hesitate to bring your content writers into these meetings, even if your writer is outsourced.
These regular meetings allow everyone to contribute ideas and focus attention on upcoming work. If you are working alone, be sure you are also planning creatively for the future. When you hire a professional writer with a background in your industry, they’ll bring ideas your team might not have considered.
Companies using PowerPublish have access to an editor with experience developing an editorial calendar. With your company’s initiatives in mind, whether it’s 90 days, six months or a full year out, an experienced partner will work with you to creatively help you meet your content goals.
2. Use a blend of content
When developing your editorial calendar, take time to decide what kind of content you want to publish. Some will be short, buzz-worthy pieces to resonate on social media; others could be longer, in-depth features that delve into a subject to enlighten your readers. You’ll also want to consider company personnel profiles and highlight your brand’s philanthropic endeavors.
You also need to assess how much you want to use SME interviews or add curated content that will give variety to your website or blog. Video content and photojournalism are other styles to consider. Using an expert freelance writer will help you produce articles that are beyond your team’s skillset.
Let’s say your hangup about original content using your in-house experts as sources is that you’ll have to “interview” your colleagues. Turning over the process to an expert interviewer helps you get the most out of an interview, which, in turn, will create the best story. Experienced editors can also help you blend your content and arrange it to ensure that similar content isn’t bunched up at once on your calendar unless you really want it to be.
Let’s go back to our home improvement company: they could choose to put all of their information about one subject (roofing) in one month and hype it as “Roofing June” with social media logos and pizzaz. Or they could spread roofing content every four to five weeks so that readers regularly get something a little different.
3. Monitor the response
It’s crucial to monitor the response and feedback to the material you publish. Your KPIs will inform you about what works and what should change.
Use your website metrics to measure the number of people reading articles and the time spent on each page. Evaluate whether your content is generating results. Don’t forget to read and listen to readers’ feedback, so you know what content to plan and produce next.
Also, don’t hesitate to adjust your editorial calendar as needed. If something didn’t work, don’t feel like you have to do it again just because it’s on the calendar. Talk with your dedicated editor about how and when to adjust for reader response.
What are your options?
A robust editorial calendar will save time and allow you to be in control when planning articles for your website. It also will help you avoid missing out on deadlines and valuable content marketing opportunities.
Certainly, you can develop an effective editorial calendar internally with your own marketing department and writers. Companies that partner with PowerPublish are guided through the entire content production process, from planning and scheduling to brand publishing and audience engagement. Expert professional writers are utilized to ensure that your content stands out against the competition.
Using a trusted partner will help you budget for content that matters to your company and prepare you to expand beyond the written story. Consider a variety of content, including whitepapers and case studies, that show how your company connects with your customers and audience.
A properly executed editorial calendar will be your fundamental first step to creating and delivering high-quality content that makes an impact.