In content marketing, consistency is key. In order to keep your readers engaged, it’s important to regularly share compelling blog entries and social media updates—and while it’s not the end of the world if you miss a day, or a post shows up a few hours late, a long quiet spell could cause your followers to lose interest and head elsewhere.
One way to ensure consistent updates is by using an editorial calendar. Basically, this is a document where you plan out future content marketing efforts, such as upcoming blog posts, giving you a road map of where your content creation efforts are headed.
An editorial calendar can be a helpful way to add structure to your content marketing—but what’s the best way to actually implement an editorial calendar?
Start with a Template
A good starting point is simply to create a template you can use for your calendar, allowing you to plug in new entries each month. There are a number of programs you can use to create this template, but one of the simplest options is to create a Google Sheets file; not only is this free, but it’s easy to share it with members of your team.
Include the Right Information
The next question is, what should you actually include on that template? The short answer is that you should include whatever information helps you and your team stay organized and on-schedule. Some specific examples might include:
- The dates when a new blog post needs to be written, proofed, and posted.
- The topic and category of each blog post—more on this later!
- Which team member is responsible for each task—e.g., writing, sourcing images, posting to social media, etc.
- Entries for any other content-related tasks, like webinars, infographics, brochures, website content revamps, etc.
Think in Terms of Categories
Another suggestion is to approach your content in terms of categories. This helps you stay within your niche while also diversifying your content.
Here’s what we mean. Say you own a plumbing company. You probably don’t need any blog posts about knitting, or about favorite lasagna recipes; those things are simply off topic. Instead, you might consider topics in a few different categories, such as: Bathroom Remodeling, Water Conservation, Preventative Maintenance, and Plumbing Repair.
By having these categories in mind—and by including them with each entry on your editorial calendar—you can ensure that you’re staying on topic. At the same time, you can make sure you’re offering a little content variety to your readers, perhaps regularly alternating between these categories.
Plan Your Topics in Advance
This one might almost go without saying, but if you really want your editorial calendar to be useful to you, you can go beyond just scheduling blog posts in advance; you can actually brainstorm the topic or title of each post, making sure to align each one with the categories you’ve created.
The value in this is simple: When it comes time to write the next blog entry, you don’t have to sit and wonder what your topic should be. You can just get going!
Another way to make your editorial calendar effective is to create it with input from your SEO team.
Once you’ve come up with some topics, ask your SEO experts to offer some corresponding keywords; include focus keywords on the editorial calendar itself.
When it comes time to create your content, those keywords will be ready to guide your efforts. Again, this can be a time-saver down the road.
Fill Out a Brief
For a truly robust editorial calendar, you can pull all of this information together into a brief for each and every piece of content that needs to be created. Some items to include in each brief might be:
- The working title of the post
- The blog category
- SEO keywords
- Who’s assigned to write, post, etc.
- Any internal links you’d like to see highlighted in the piece
- Potential sourced images
- Potential resources or references
You don’t necessarily have to go into all this detail, but the more thorough you are in your editorial calendar, the more helpful it will be to you as you seek a focused and efficient content marketing campaign.
Keep Your Content Creation on Track
One thing you can be sure of is that it’s never a good idea to grow slack in your content creation efforts. An editorial calendar helps ensure that you’ve always got something in the pipeline to keep your users engaged.
We’d love to tell you more about the ways we can help you keep your users engaged. Reach out to the team at enCOMPASS today, and let’s talk more about how we can build your online brand.
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