Editorial Calendars: Everything You Need to Know

Create a plan, get organized and rock your content strategy with an editorial calendar

Editorial calendars are used to plan and organize content strategically. Creating an editorial calendar may feel daunting, especially as a company grows and increases the frequency of posts and the number of mediums they post to.

Having a plan will give your content a longer shelf life and simplify the creation process! Plus, editorial calendars make content more useful and set brands up for success.

When Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” he was probably talking about editorial calendars.

What is an editorial calendar?

An editorial calendar is a content plan that organizes a brand’s outbound communication in a clear, shareable manner. They also map out ideas, strategic plans and anything that fits into a brand’s content strategy!

“Ed cals” are broken down by month and organized using content buckets, which represent key interests for a given audience. While editorial calendars are typically created during a strategic planning meeting, they are living documents. Start by brainstorming topics, but be prepared to make edits on the fly! Your ed cal should be flexible and keep up with the changing needs of your brand.

What are content buckets?

Your content buckets are essentially a menu of all your brand’s offerings, whether that’s services or industry know-how. Ask yourself, “What is my audience interested in my brand for?” “What can I offer my ideal customer to keep them coming back for more?” Your content buckets should align with your brand’s goals, target audience or company services. Determining your content buckets will help you to consistently address all of your company’s verticals within every content piece.

Each content bucket should be a broad enough idea so that the content remains fresh. If a bucket is too specific, you’ll quickly find yourself scrambling to come up with a new topic for your next blog article. Brainstorm ten to twelve ideas for each bucket––including promotional and informational pieces––to create a well-rounded content plan.

Timeliness and Flexibility

Editorial calendars should map out content ideas and keep a business on track to hit its goals. While having an ed cal will take a brand a long way, a strong strategy is one that adjusts as time goes on and your brand evolves.

Fill out the upcoming year’s ed cal as fully as possible in November and December. Think about your company’s big events and anniversaries, and consider holidays and seasonality so your content is always timely! Check in regularly on your ed cal throughout the year to refine any topics and remove ones that may no longer be relevant.

Your Editorial Calendar’s Success

As with any strategy, you need to check in on your ed cal to make sure it’s working for your brand. Here are the three best ways to gauge your editorial calendar’s success:

1. Are you sharing content regularly?

A successful ed cal will help brands stick to a schedule so platforms are regularly updated and users know the lights are on. If you’re sharing content sporadically or seeing little engagement on certain days, move your content buckets around in the calendar so you’re only posting on days when your audience is online.

2. Are you updating your ed cal?

As new ideas come in, great content should come out. With a flexible calendar, businesses can keep up with the quick pace of today’s online world. Since you can’t predict the future, staying up-to-date on your audience’s needs and your brand’s industry is vital to creating relevant, useful content.

3. Is your content gaining traction?

Check your content insights. Are people commenting on your posts, sharing your blog or clicking through your newsletter? If so, congrats! Your content is succeeding and your ed cal is working! Take a look at your analytics to see what is performing well and what you could improve, and update the ed cal accordingly.

Need help checking content performance? We’ve got a quick guide to measuring content performance to make it easy.

How to make an editorial calendar

1. Review current marketing materials and strategies

What are you currently doing to reach your target audience? Evaluate each item individually to determine what has been successful and what’s missed the mark. Think about why some of your blog articles or social posts may have underperformed and how you can improve upon each. This is also the perfect time to talk about the random “Post-It” ideas you’ve collected!

2. Define your content buckets

Set your content buckets by determining what you’re trying to accomplish with your content. Do you want to build a following? Increase sales? Nurture leads? Using your brand’s services and goals as a guide, identify the key points of your company.

3. Develop content topics

Now, it’s time to fill in the buckets! If one of your content buckets is “Sales,” topics to cover could be “Top Tips for the Modern Salesman” or “How to Make Cold Calling Work.” Your topics should cover a range of subjects within the bucket and serve multiple purposes, like educating readers or converting your audience into customers.

Be realistic when setting post dates and frequency for each platform. Are you able to write a blog weekly, or will you end up writing one every other week?

Now that you’ve built out your editorial calendar, you’re ready to start creating content! We can’t guarantee that you’ll never face writer’s block again, but your ed cal should make it easy to visualize what you need to write and when each piece needs to be completed by. With the details laid out in the editorial calendar, content creation becomes more manageable.

Do you need a hand with your editorial calendar or content creation? Yakkety Yak is here to help! Head over to our website to learn more about our services.

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