Planning your editorial calendar for the year doesn’t have to be nearly as intimidating as it sounds! With some focused effort, you can get this out of the way in January and benefit from it all year long. These 5 steps are integral in developing and maintaining an editorial calendar:
Knowing what you want to get out of your content is an important first step. Determine what your goals are and who your audience is to serve as a base for your ongoing efforts. Then, as you plan and develop content, go back to this first step and ask yourself if your content is helping you reach your goals. If you can’t connect an idea with your business objectives, scrap it.
2. Generate Placeholder Titles
With your goals set, you can move onto actually planning your content for the year. Sit your team down and get their brains racing (caffeine may need to be involved). I know what you’re thinking, “Come up with enough content for a whole year all at once? Yeah right!” But before you decide it can’t be done, read our article from last year Generating 104 Blog Post Titles During Lunch – It Can Be Done. If I can fill a year’s calendar with content ideas over lunch break as a one-person writing team, you can too!
3. Tie into Seasons/Holiday
Once you have a giant list of content ideas, fit them into a calendar paying attention to seasonal and holiday-related opportunities. Some seasons lend themselves better to certain themes – like January being a month of starting anew, February being a month of love, etc. If you don’t have topics that fit well into these molds already, you can take ideas and reword them into titles that tie into seasonal themes. For instance, “Beginner PPC Advice” can easily become “PPC Advice from The North Pole."
4. Leave Room for Breaking Industry News
Inevitably as the year goes on your industry will change and evolve, so your editorial calendar should leave room for current events and breaking news. Specifically leaving one spot open each month for timely updates will force you to stay on top of industry trends and provide you with a place to pass on your knowledge to your audience. If your industry typically has big conferences or tradeshows, you may want to leave a couple spots open to review new material that’s unveiled there as well.
5. Allow Plans to Change
No matter how good your editorial calendar plan is, it has to be flexible! Rigid plans don’t allow you the opportunity to address pressing customer questions or industry updates, which means that your content may seem out of touch with your audience. Being able to modify your calendar as you go to respond to the current climate ensures its success moving forward.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!