Building your Content Editorial Calendar

content Jun 27, 2017

If you want to really nail your content marketing strategy then there’s no room for bluffing. Well-thought out content that’s specifically aligned with your brand is the way to create long-term positive outcomes.

And one of the most effective tools in any content marketer’s arsenal has got to be a content editorial calendar. Think of it as the mother ship – recording all of your custom-built content, production processes and your content cycle.

You can’t keep everything in your head, it’s impossible and super stressful, so a calendar helps you to stay organized, accountable and means that you can easily map out your content and make assessments too.

So, where do you start?

1.)   Ask yourself some Key Questions

Before you start building, you need to sharpen your focus and answer some probing questions about your content and who it’s for. This will help you to produce better content and add value to your niche market.

  • Who’s your target audience? Develop some ideas about your typical audience profile and the type of content they’re looking for and what they’re interested in. Keep this at the forefront of your mind whenever you create content.
  • What’s your content objective? You’re creating content for a reason, it might be to generate more leads, build your authority in an area, to educate an audience about a new product – there are so many goals to aim for. Choosing achievable goals will help you to measure your content success.
  • How are you going to deliver content? Keeping your audiences and objectives in mind will help you to work out which social channels you’re going to push your content on and the format it’ll take. Pool the skills of your content creators to produce the best content you can – whether that’s blog posts, video content, infographics etc.
  • How is your content unique? What’s going to make people keep coming back to your content again and again? Work out the angles you’re going to take or the way you’re going to display your content – how will you create exclusive value?

2.)   Building your Calendar

There are lots of tools to help you to create your calendar – ranging from the basic to the more advanced.

Trello can be really useful for beginners who want something that looks a bit slicker. It’s really easy to set up categories and add ‘cards’ and then invite your content team to add and update your calendar. You can help to keep your calendar up to date and view the progress of your content pieces too:

Your content calendar layout completely depends on your goals and objectives, but on a fundamental level, there are a few details that are relevant for most content types:

  • Date you want to publish your content, so your deadline.
  • The headlines or titles for the content.
  • Who is writing this piece?
  • Who is going to check the piece and publish it?
  • What is the status of the piece at the moment?

Microsoft Excel is perfectly adequate for starting a calendar or a sheet in Google Drive, it’s up to you as to what you feel comfortable using. The example below is a template that you can download from the Content Marketing Institute page. It’s multi-tabbed as well – the format below is for scheduled posts, but you can also have separate tabs for content ideas and for posts in progress:

There are lots more trackable elements and metrics that you can add to your content calendar – it depends on the content goals that you’ve put together. Here are some more focused strategy categories:

  • The format your content will take – video, infographic, white paper, blog post, podcast? You can also input information about whether you’re going to be repurposing certain content into other formats.
  • Which channels are you going to use? – Think about the social channels you’ll be distributing your content on. Certain content will fare better with different audiences and channels. Work out where you think you’ll get the best ROI – you can use blogs, social media, email marketing, native advertising, PPC. Experiment and measure your results.
  • SEO info – you can include keyword details, metadata, and descriptions etc to optimize your content. 

3.)   Generating Ideas

Your calendar will be a key part of your idea generation process. When you allow your content team to add ideas for content on an ad-hoc basis, it means that you can keep a running record of your ideas. This is crucial for a strong, ongoing long-term content strategy.

So, create a tab for your ideas – it can be quite a casual list, but make sure that it’s easy to reference to and update.

  • Float some content title ideas
  • Who came up with the idea?
  • Categories this content will cover
  • Who has the expertise to create this piece/collaborate with?
  • When is the best time to publish this content/is it seasonal?
  • Which CTAs will be used?

4.)   Tracking your Content

Content calendars are also a super useful way to track the success of your content and measure results. This can help you to spot patterns and links between successful pieces of content. You will be able improve and fine-tune your content if you have clear data in front of you.

You can turn your editorial calendar into a reporting suite too, with extra tabs that track performance. Input data such as page views, clicks, conversion etc. Or you can take this information and view it in a separate, more dedicated analytics suite – it’s up to you.

It’s a good idea to allow your whole team to access your content calendar, as they can give you fresh ideas from their workflows, event schedule, and customer feedback, so you can create even better content.

Final Thoughts

You can get as detailed and specific as you want with a content calendar and include as many or as little categories as you like. It’s important not to make it too complex and unreadable though, as you need other members of your team to be able to access and easily lift information from it.

A calendar helps to keep your content process and strategy moving forward and allows people to easily take an active role in it.

Want to learn more about smarter content planning? Unlock access to our expert MasterClasses, planners, tools and an entire community of active learners like you by becoming a member of our H2H Human Marketing Club.