Putting out fresh and relevant content is a vital step for business success, helping you to engage customers, boost your search engine ranking and enhance your overall branding. But failing to keep on top of what is being published and when, will quickly leave you in a disorganized mess and you’ll find yourself wondering how you’re going to manage it all.
Luckily for you, there is a simple method that can significantly ease the process and that is taking the time to plan out an editorial calendar, (or content calendar). Although it may seem daunting at the outset, providing you use the right tools, creating an editorial calendar can actually be fairly straightforward, helping you to plan out and schedule months of quality content ahead of time.
This post will help you to get started, outlining how to create your own editorial calendar and some of of the best tools you can use to help you along the way.
What Is Content Marketing And Why Is It Important?
The Content Marketing Institute, defines content marketing as ‘a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action’. So why is good content marketing important for your business?
1. It Builds Your Reputation and Attracts New Customers
Providing that your content is well-written and valuable, customers are more likely to visit your site again, or even link to your content on their own websites. The more people that find your site useful and unique, the more people you can attract to your site over time.
Increased visibility means more people will remember your brand and increases your reputation among those individuals. Quality content delivered on a regular basis makes your brand an authority on your subject, in turn building trust, which is usually the main factor customers make purchasing decisions on.
Adding a well-placed call to action in your content can also encourage direct conversations with new and existing customers, resulting in more visitors to your site. You can encourage further site interactions by interlinking your blog posts with other pieces of onsite content.
2. Increased Customer Loyalty
When a customer finds themselves onto your site, having well-written and high quality content can help to secure his or her confidence in your brand.
In order to retain customers and keep them happy and interested, provide them with valued content for following you, such as access to giveaways or special discounts. If you reward people for following you, they are more likely to check in with your brand on a regular basis to check if you are posting content.
For this reason, it’s also a good idea to be consistent with posting, publishing content at regular intervals, for example, 8am on Monday’s. That way, followers know when to check back and customers are more likely to stay tightly-connected to your brand.
3. Improves Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Although some people think that content marketing eliminates the need for SEO, they are wrong. SEO and content marketing go together like PB&J, meaning SEO is all about content marketing, and vice versa.
In other words, there is no such thing as SEO without content. Keywords, for example are a fundamental component of SEO, and the only way you can use your keywords is to use them strategically throughout your content, something which we call content marketing.
Another feature of SEO is linkbacks and the best way to build links is by publishing great content, and letting customers and other websites link back to it. More SEO means more traffic, more business and ultimately, more customers.
Why You Need An Editorial Calendar
So we’ve talked about why content marketing is important, but how does this link back to setting up an editorial calendar? Well, once you’ve produced a range of high-quality content, you need to decide when is the best time to publish it.
Without adequate planning, holidays, sales and other important dates can sneak up on you, leading you to wonder ‘why didn’t I write a post about that?’ By mapping out your schedule, you can plan ahead and look at the bigger picture, keeping you organized and ensuring your customers get the content they want.
As we mentioned previously, a content calendar will get you in the habit of posting consistently.
By publishing highly relevant content on a regular basis, your audience becomes accustomed to the voice of your brand and makes them feel involved as they can easily identify with the content you post. Having a dedicated series of content posts makes it easier for content marketers to build an audience and keeps readers interested by avoiding exceptionally long posts.
Having an editorial calendar also allows you to plan out things other than blog posts, such as email marketing campaigns and social media posts. By including all types content on your editorial calendar, you can ensure different forms overlap to increase customer awareness on a certain topic, for example, writing a blog post about a social media campaign you want to promote.
Another reason to use an editorial calendar is to save the time and sanity of the people in your organization. Of course, it’s not always possible to plan ahead, with some things you have to adapt to at the last minute, but being as prepared as possible will avoid scrambling panic mode.
How To Create Your Editorial Calendar
There are a lot of great content calendar tools out there to choose from, but after experimenting with several, our team at Yocale found the best and most efficient tool for us was CoSchedule.
CoSchedule is a tool to help you publish your content. As well has offering a free plugin that connects to your WordPress blog, CoSchedule connects to major social networks and publishes your content for you. Simply write your blog post or social message and choose to publish immediately, or at a later date with a simple click.
A great thing about CoSchedule is that you can plan everything on a visual calendar, moving it around with drag-and-drop motion, and what’s more, if you you move a blog post, all the social messages linked to it are automatically moved as well.
Additional features of CoSchedule include social sharing stats, the ability to integrate with Google Calendar, Bit.ly, and Google Analytics, as well as team features and helpful task and to-do tools to ensure that your content is being published when it is supposed to.
This helpful video outlines the top five features of CoSchedule and how to use it:
6 Things To Include In Your Editorial Calendar
1. Blog Posts
Blog posts are at the core of the content strategy for many businesses and are a great way to publish content consistently. Also bear in mind the seasonality of content when writing blog posts – it’s a great way to boost your on-trend branding and capture customer attention.
Long-form posts generally stand out among the most shared content forms, since they allow room for keywords, links and engaging images, and most target how-to, lists and questions when tackling a subject. Vlog posts, which are dedicated to using video rather than the written word, are a great way to keep content varied and to keep readers interested.
2. Social Media Posts
Although you may be sharing your content on social media, you may not have a plan to use it to its best advantage. With CoSchedule, you can create your social media messages while you blog, with messages being scheduled once your blog post goes live.
Combining social media with your editorial calendar makes it really easy to connect with your audience, since it’s where most people spend a lot of their time online. As well as being a great channel for content distribution, social media works really well for establishing relationships with your network.
3. Email Marketing Campaigns
Your editorial calendar can be used to plan out a full year’s worth of email marketing. An editorial calendar lets you coordinate all the different elements of your marketing, for example, by sending emails to announce a product launch, webinar, or new blog post, as well as making everything easier to coordinate.
With email being such a huge marketing tool for a lot of businesses, often, there are too many updates to keep everyone from your team in the loop. An editorial calendar is one central point where everyone can check what’s due and when it’s due, which saves a lot of meetings and confusing email threads in the long run.
You can also use your editorial calendar to decide how many larger pieces of content you’ll produce each month or year, for example, ebooks, which are usually created as comprehensive guides on a particular subject. A lot of businesses create an ebook landing page describing what the ebook contains, before asking for an email address in order to access it, which has the additional benefit of putting them in your email marketing stream.
Having a visual editorial calendar where you can see all of your content in one place may also give you ideas for topics and help you think about how you can repurpose content in multiple sources. For example, if you’ve written five or six blog articles on the same subject, you could compile them into an ebook and then put it up on your website. Microsoft Powerpoint and Adobe InDesign are both great tools for producing ebooks.
Although ‘editorial’ generally refers to written content for publication, your editorial calendar is equally fit for assets, like webinars, for example. As well as being a great way to build your email list and keep your subscribers interested, running webinars can show a little personality behind your brand.
As with other types of content, you can use your editorial calendar to find connections between different forms, for example, running a webinar about a series of blog posts that have recently been published on your website, or expanding on a subject you briefly touched on in a short-form blog post. You could also use social media and email marketing campaigns to promote your webinar.
As with webinars, your editorial calendar can be for more than just blog posts and written content. Infographics are great for presenting data in a visual way and tend to take a dry or complex topic and turn it into something colourful and engaging, whilst drawing on facts and statistics.
Also bear in mind that not all readers of your content learn in the same way, with the learning style of some individuals leaning heavily towards visual content. Infographics can be incorporated into blog posts, social media posts and email marketing campaigns, and glancing over your editorial calendar will help you to identify which topics could benefit most from using them.
Tools You Can Use To Curate Content
So you’ve planned out your content using your content calendar, and scheduled your social media messages using CoSchedule, but what other tools can help you in the process? Below is a list of some of the content curation tools we use to make the process a little easier and help you to save time during the content creation process.
Pocket is a content curation tool that allows you to save something you want to read, watch or share later. Integrated into more than 1,500 apps and available for most major platforms and devices, Pocket is a great save-for-later tool, and what’s more, it’s free to use.
- Allows you to save articles, videos and other forms web content in one place
- Once the content is in Pocket, it’s available on your phone, tablet, or computer, even if you don’t have a web connection
Buffer is a great content curation tool that shares your content at the best possible time throughout the day so that your followers can see your updates more often. Choose either to post the same message to all social media accounts, or add context by customizing each message. An individual account is free and includes one social account per platform. Additional plans can be found here.
- Allows you to schedule, publish and analyze all your posts in one place
- You can select which accounts you want to post to
- You can choose to keep all posts in the same format or customize each
If you’re struggling to find topics to write about, ContentGems is an easy to use platform which gives you access to a variety of valuable content on a particular subject that you can then incorporate it into your own ideas. ContentGems’ basic plan is free to use. Additional plans can be found here.
- Monitors the best online sources, including more than 200,000 news sources, blogs, and social media accounts
- Filters results based on your keywords, social signals, and more
- You can share commentary and curated content to social media or your website
Storify helps content marketers use the web to tell a story, allowing users to find, collect, and share content from nearly anywhere on the web, and then leverage social media to share the curated content. Storify as a basic tool is free to use, contact Storify for an Enterprise Plan quote.
- You can use Storify tools such as the bookmarklet or Chrome extension to capture content on the web
- Drag and drop anything into Storify’s story editor to embed it instantly
- Built-in features help to put your story in front of an audience to increase the chances of it going viral
A great visual tool, Flipboard serves as a social magazine, collecting quality content and presenting it in a magazine format that is organized and easy to view. Flipboard is free to use and is available to use on most devices.
- Collects high-quality content from trusted sources
- Showcases content, including articles, videos, photos, and audio, and brands
- Content is portable, shareable, and valuable
A tool that gives users the ability to find, create, curate, and share fun listicles on the web, Listly is a great way to increase audience engagement. Listly is free to use, and features a WordPress plugin for embeds.
- Chrome extension, WordPress plugin, and bookmarklet available
- Collaboration features
- Easily create and then make your lists social
If you have any tips on creating an editorial calendar and curating content, we’d love to hear them. Leave us a comment below or tweet us @yocalenetwork