If you look at a blank screen and wonder, “what shall I write about today”, you are not thinking like an editor. Editors take their responsibility to publish valuable content very seriously. To plan, manage and track their stories, magazine editors use editorial calendars.
From the 50-foot overview of upcoming story ideas that are planned a year or more in advance, to the last-minute check that all stories were edited and reviewed by the right people, the editorial calendar is one of the most important content planning documents in the editor’s tool box.
If you are a blogger or a content marketer this tried and tested editorial planning technique will help you get organized. And with thoughtful up front planning, your content results will improve too.
Get organized with an editorial calendar
One thing is for sure, if you don’t have an editorial or content calendar of some sort, there is a pretty good chance your content won’t get done.
With dates, topics, target keywords and other details planned in advance you are less likely to miss opportunities. And as an added bonus, when you know what stories are coming up you prime the part of your mind called the reticular activator to look for resources. End result, your content will be more interesting.
If you want to publish regularly and your content is important to your business marketing, an editorial calendar will help you publish on time, on track and on topic.
What should you include in your editorial calendar?
Listing your publication dates, author and story headline is a fantastic place to start.
If you add buyer personas, story purposes and SEO metadata – title, description and keywords – your calendar will take on an even greater value.
You may want to create a master calendar that shows everything or one per platform such as your newsletter, blog and social media.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to these documents. For the most part it depends on what is valuable to you.
I routinely start with the content type, who my reader is and a brief description of what I want to write about. That trick alone has saved me from that “what was I thinking” feeling months later when it is time to put pen to paper.
For most businesses, the basic editorial calendar is an amazing tool. However, there are times when you need strategic planning.
Join me next time when I talk about how content marketers can use a strategic editorial calendar to plan campaigns and content governance.
(Click here to read “Keep the big picture in focus with a strategic content marketing editorial calendar” the first part of this discussion on the value of editorial calendars to content marketing.)
For a copy of my editorial calendar template, sign up here.