An Editorial Calendar is a key component of any successful blog. It enables you to strategically schedule, systemize and outsource components of your content creation.
Inside an Editorial Calendar, you can see upcoming posts in the queue at a glance along with the publication date, writer and type of post. You can also see if a post is linked to an offer that you have.
By having an overview like this you can make sure that your content is covering the range of subjects you want, and in the formats that are aligned to your business.
In its simplest form, an Editorial Calendar can just be a list of the blog posts you have planned along with a few key factors.
Online content has a few key factors and so it’s worth building those into your Editorial Calendar.
Key Factor 1 – Blog posts vary by format.
Text – Most blog posts are text-based, and so this format will more than likely make up most of your planned posts. Make sure that imagery is used to break up the text so that this keeps the content visually interesting
Video – Video is becoming more important year on year. Channels such as YouTube and Facebook are important for video, but make sure you don’t leave your blog out. Blogs are equally as important as YouTube and Facebook for video content.
Audio – Audio content is usually in the form of podcasts, and these can be a terrific way to reach and grow your audience. Podcasts can be consumed while doing other things, and it is that method of consumption that gives them power.
Infographics – Posts that are mostly image-based are usually in the form of infographics. Infographics are a little more time consuming to produce, but due to the ease of understanding, they are shared more often than text posts. Infographics are best used to convey complex data in an easy to understand format, or they can be used to make sure your audience is entertained whilst delivering key nuggets of information.
Key Factor 2 – Blog posts vary by length.
Deep Dives into a subject are very often longer in length, and they can be about a subject that is aligned to your business, case studies, or what are known as Pillar Posts. Pillar Posts are very often around 1700 words in length and they explain a core message of your business. This type of post is also considered to be ‘evergreen’ as in they don’t age. A good Deep Dive post can have smaller nuggets teased out which can then be used in Social Media with a link back to the Pillar Post. This links to and helps your Social Media strategy.
Casual Posts are typically more informal and shorter. Think of these as an appetiser whereas the deep dive post is the main course. Casual posts might not be able to go into the depth of detail as a deep dive post, but they can be used to cover important news or developments within your industry or something that your audience might be interested in. These posts are not considered as evergreen as the Pillar Posts are, but if you are getting good engagement on a casual post you may consider creating a deep dive post regarding that topic.
Key Factor 3 – Posts vary by source.
Or in other words who writes the post? Most big blogs get their posts from a diverse group of sources. Sources you should consider are:
Yourself – This is the content you create in-house. There is a lot of key information that you have within your business that can be useful to your audience. If you are being asked similar questions by customers or clients, then consider whether those questions could be written as a casual post. Could this then be developed into a deep dive post that informs and educates your audience? This type of educational post is gold as it positions your business as an authority on that subject.
Curation – Content is everywhere, and more content is being posted every day. Aggregating content and commenting upon it is a tool that you can leverage. Aggregating content doesn’t mean copying something verbatim, rather you analyse and give your opinion upon it. You can create posts very quickly by doing this as your comments can be to the point whilst the original content lays out all the groundwork. If you are unsure as to how to aggregate content R55 Digital Media can help you.
Guest – This is content that someone else creates for your blog. It is important to use guest bloggers who are aligned to your business or who are leaders within your field. Guest blog posts can make up the lion share of your content if you have a good writer. You can then concentrate on planning your posts and creating the short form casual posts from information that guest writers might not have any exposure to within your business.
Key Factor 4 – Categories.
Your business has key categories that are linked to your industry. For example, if you were an artisan bakery writing a post about fitness techniques would seem a little out of place, but a post about organic flour types and how they affect taste would fit. Think about the key categories of your business. When planning your content make sure that these categories are covered so that you appear to be a well-rounded business, and knowledgeable on every aspect within your industry.
Those four key factors will help you develop a content plan that is well rounded and gives you visibility on what is needed to be written, along with making sure you are creating the right types of content.
Creating your Editorial Calendar
First, download our handy editorial calendar to help you plan out your content.
Decide on how often you want to publish content. Time is always going to be a constraint and there is never enough time to be able to do everything you want, so make sure that you plan the time to create your blog content. Blogs that are updated regularly and have relevant content are noticed by search engines, they then start to appear in the organic search results, which is ultimately what you are aiming for.
Make sure your schedule is achievable – Writing longer posts and publishing them every day isn’t going to be achievable unless you have invented a time machine to freeze time while your content is created. Also, think of a schedule that makes sense to your audience. If your audience is only capable of reading once a week, then that will help you decide on your schedule. There’s no point creating more content than can be consumed, you’ll develop a reputation of being a ‘needy child’ who wants to be heard.
You can always fine-tune the frequency of your blog posts later as you see your engagement grow.
The spreadsheet that you’ve just downloaded is there to quickly help you map out outlines for your content so that it’s not an arduous or laborious task. The more complicated it is to plan the less likely you are to follow through and produce the content.
The excel sheet is split into the following headings
Publish Date – What date are you planning on releasing each piece of content. This helps you to plan out content from any guest writers and makes sure you have it in time for the publish date.
Writer – Who is going to be writing. Don’t create a mountain of work for one person.
Post type – The types of post are listed in the Data tab on the spreadsheet and can be amended as needed. The types already filled in are examples, and you can keep, delete or add to the types as you need to. It may seem a little overwhelming at first to have a lot of types, so just keep a few types that make sense to you until you gain confidence and want to create content that leads to a new post type.
Format – We have kept the format to the four key types that we talked about earlier.
Category – Again on the Data tab you can enter the categories that are important to your business and industry. This makes sure that when planning your content, you are creating posts that cater for each category type.
Offer – Are there any offers that you could create that would make sense from your business to your audience? You can have a planning meeting to decide what offers you are wanting to have within your business. An offer might be a downloadable PDF regarding something and writing different posts that link back to that one offer is something that can be planned out strategically to make sure your offer is well received.
Headline – Headlines are important and there are times when you might have a headline in mind. Note it down so that when your content is being created it can be incorporated. If a headline doesn’t immediately come to mind don’t beat yourself up over it, it will come when the post is being written. If you have a working headline though make a note of it.
Notes – We have also added a notes column so that if you have any notes regarding your posts you can make them here. This is particularly useful if you have planning sessions for your content and you want to make sure something is covered in the post, or that the post uses a source or reference.
The Data tab on the Editorial Calendar holds the list items. If you want to add or remove items in a list, you can do it within the relevant heading there.
The Editorial Planner is designed so that it brings calm to your planning. You can customise and add in anything extra that you would like. A word of warning though, the more complex you make the planning tool, the less likely you are to use it, then if you don’t have a tool to plan your content you won’t create any content.
R55 Digital Media are here to support you at every stage of your business and in the early stages of your blog writing you might want to use guest writers and we would be more than happy to talk to you to see if we can help you out. As you grow in confidence you will find that writing posts becomes easier and guest writing is used less and less. It is always good to have some degree of guest writing as it helps to widen the ‘gene pool’ of your blog and keep it fresh for your audience.
R55 Digital Media can also help you create the different types of content so that you are not having to invest heavily in equipment or software to produce video, audio, or infographic posts. We are specialists in Content Marketing, and we can help you plan and produce the content you need.
If you would like to talk to us please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get your blog posts planned and created to grow your reach and engagement with your audience.
With an active blog and relevant posts, you’ll soon find that your audience grows and also the leads that come into your business.