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How to Create a Strategic Editorial Calendar for 2022

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If you haven’t already done so, creating a strategic editorial calendar for your business is a key priority, as managing your content can otherwise be overwhelming. You may have what feels like a million ideas, but perhaps you’re not organized in how you bring those ideas to life. Maybe you don’t know what content to post or how to ensure that your content is in line with your strategic goals.

Good news: there's help for you right here!

An editorial calendar is an actual calendar that outlines how your content will be scheduled throughout the year.

You can start with the basics when you create an editorial calendar, or what’s also  called a 'content calendar'. For example, if there are any 2022 national awareness months or holidays that are relevant to your business, go ahead and start building your calendar there because you know those will stay static.

Other than planning the dates for time-sensitive content, your calendar is your starting point for everything else you do as far as planning your content. It helps you look first at the big picture and then more narrowly to the details. You’re going to be able to organize and categorize your content, and it’s ultimately like a blueprint, not just for what you’re going to create, but who’s responsible for what within the process.

We do often see content and editorial calendars used interchangeably. If you wanted to get more specific, a content calendar tends to be more granular, while an editorial calendar gives a higher-level perspective, but both ultimately achieve similar goals.

The following are some more specific benefits and tips to know about creating an effective editorial calendar in 2022.

The Benefits of an Editorial Calendar

When you know the benefits of having an editorial calendar, then it can help you structure your own because you’ll have a better idea of the specific directions you want to achieve. Some of the benefits of this type of calendar include:

  • You can figure out what project roles will look like. Everyone on your team will have calendar access, and they can transparently see who does what within a role. Then, if anyone has questions throughout the course of a project, they’ll better know who to go to with those.
  • Editorial calendars create accountability. This can be especially valuable if team members are working remotely. You’ll see due dates for specific tasks, and each of those tasks will ultimately affect someone else on the team throughout the process to reach completion on a piece of content.
  • With an editorial calendar, it’s easier to see what steps and procedures need to be included.
  • There’s a centralized place to track projects, and this can be helpful for remote team members and also if you have freelancers or contractors.

Choose your Format

There are several main ways you can start to create an editorial calendar.

You can use online calendar software or content calendar software. You can also simply use a spreadsheet, or some apps are specifically designed to facilitate the creation of editorial and content calendars.

A project management system is another way to set up an editorial calendar. These are good if you have multiple parties who are responsible for different aspects of creating any given piece of content.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Before you start creating your calendar, there are certain questions to ask yourself, including:

  • How frequently do you plan to publish content?
  • Are you creating multiple types of content—for example, videos, articles, and infographics? You may need an editorial calendar for each or one that distinguishes between the types of content effectively and efficiently.
  • How many people are going to be accessing the calendar?
  • What stages does each piece of content go through before being published?

Establish your Objectives for your Content Marketing

Once you have a basic understanding of what you hope to achieve throughout the year, you can get more specific with your goals. What are you hoping to accomplish with your content marketing this year? Are you hoping to drive more traffic, improve your SEO, or boost your brand reach and awareness?

Maybe you have different goals like building loyalty or generating more conversions.

Research Topics

After you’ve identified the goals that are specific to your organization, you can start to research. You want to research topics and come up with headlines and some general ideas of the content you will create.

Every single piece of content you add to your calendar should have a goal attached to it.

While creating an editorial calendar, you also want to do research on your audience and how you can speak to their needs. You'll also want to use your own analytics, external data, and competitor research.

Learn, as it pertains specifically to your audience, the types of content that tend to generate the most shares, the most effective headlines, and the content formats that work best.

If SEO is part of your content creation, you should do your keyword research around this time.

Adding the Details

After you’ve completed the steps above, you might feel ready to begin to actually plot your calendar.

Start with your ideal publishing date and work backward. The dates and milestones you want your calendar to include are:

  • Confirmed topics
  • Author assigned
  • Content piece draft completed
  • Piece edited
  • Piece approved
  • Piece uploaded or submitted for publication

You’ve now created a firm timeline for creation. Everyone knows what’s expected and where they fit into the bigger picture.

The work doesn’t end when your calendar is done. First, you need to ensure everyone on your team is practicing consistency. Otherwise, without consistency, the entire idea of an editorial calendar no longer works.

While consistency is key, so is flexibility. Things may come up at the last minute that you want to add or integrate into your calendar, so build in flexibility as well.

Look at your editorial calendar as a framework, but also a living document.

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