Create an Editorial Calendar to Stop the Last-Minute Scramble
Creating regular content is necessary for a successful online presence. That said, most organizations find it an extremely challenging and stressful task. Developing an editorial calendar will help ensure you can execute on a sustainable content marketing strategy.
There are plenty of reasons why creating consistent content is so daunting for so many of us:
- producing great content is a task that never ends
- audiences always want more
- there is great pressure to come up with unique and fresh ideas
- finding the right writer for the job is tough
- creating the right content for your readers is critical
The list could go on and on. But if you can relate to any of the stresses listed above, you need to put an editorial calendar in place that will keep your content and resources organized, on track and aligned with your content marketing strategy.
But where do you start? Here are my steps for creating the most successful editorial calendar for your company and your team:
Create a plan
This step is all about taking your content marketing strategy and turning it into an actionable plan that gets results. Get clear on why you’re creating content, and your expectations around the content creation process. Sit down with your team to be sure everyone is on the same page in terms of:
- goals for creating content
- who the content is for
- what stage in the buyer’s journey the content is for
- frequency of content creation
- themes of content (some ideas are evergreen, some are seasonal, and some are timely based on what’s going on in your audience’s lives at that moment)
- content formatting
- who’s doing what
Brainstorm great ideas
To ensure you’re not scrambling at the last minute with mediocre content ideas, you need to hold regular brainstorming sessions with your team to keep your pool of content ideas fresh. For a breakdown of how to come up with unique content ideas, visit my recent blog post, How to Uncover Fresh Content Ideas with this 30-Minute Brainstorming Process.
Keep track of the content idea/subject, the author who will be writing the post, the status of the content, and the date for publication. It’s important to know which ideas have already been covered so that you can keep ideas original. It’s also a good idea to track what kind of topics your various writers are particularly knowledgeable about or interested in so that they can each write about topics they excel at.
Create a system
To ensure your content creation process is smooth and streamlined, you need a few tools to help you stay organized. My advice is to integrate 3 types of tools:
a cloud-based spreadsheet to store information (like Google Sheets)
an integrated calendar that your entire team has access to (like Google Calendar)
a project management tool (like Trello)
With your new system, each tool needs to have a purpose in the workflow. Consider which tool can best handle each task so that every phase of the content creation process flows effortlessly.
Design a smooth workflow
Most project management tools allow for checklists or tickets to be created for all the individual tasks associated with creating and publishing each piece of content. Use your project management tool to create a workflow for your team—one that assigns tasks to specific team members with deadlines and reminders.
Phases of the workflow to consider include ‘content ideation’, ‘topic approval’, ‘drafting’, ‘proofing’, ‘finalizing’, and ‘scheduling to post’. As you move through the workflow (that every member of your content team should have access to), move the ticket along the queue, or tick off the steps on the task list as they get completed.
What are you waiting for?
An editorial calendar helps streamline how your content is produced—ensuring that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing and when. This will result in a more productive, less stressed team, and better content for your prospects and customers.
How does your team manage consistent content creation? Do you have an editorial calendar in place to streamline the process? Let me know in the comments section below.