Like many things in life an editorial calendar is one of those things that we should have or should do, but time and time again we see so many business owners of bloggers who failed to implement an editorial calendar.
Of course editorial calendars are not just the new latest fad, they have been around for decades and have been used by print media such as newspapers and magazines.
In fact many of your much love newspapers and magazines have taken the time to plan out the editorial calendar weeks, months and sometimes even years in advance. While we understand that many will not be writing for newspapers or magazines, the lessons to be learned from an editorial calendar are still as important to a blogger as they are to a newspaper editor.
The idea behind an editorial calendar is the give you not only an overview of the content to be published over the coming weeks and months, but it will also help you keep track of all of your articles, from conception, writing, editing to publishing. With an editorial calendar in place you are giving yourself the best chance to make deadlines, plan the best content and not least of all stay consistent with your publication.
And of course as we have all learnt since the introduction of the now infamous panda updates, Google loves fresh, unique consistent content.
So not only will your readers love you for being consistent, but there is a very good chance that the search engines will show you some love too!
While many people get overwhelmed at the thought of creating an editorial calendar the truth is once you get started it will become part of your routine and second nature to you.
The easiest way to describe an editorial calendar is as a series of columns on an excel sheet, that will not only tell you which articles are to be published on which days, but it will also give you an overview of what you need to be working on well in advance of impending deadlines, not to mention the fact that you can customise your calendar to include some other useful statistics, like the amount of social shares an article has received.
This may not seem like a big thing, but if you can imagine being able to see which articles resonated with your audience at a glance and then share them again to be found by new readers, thus giving you further shares and impressions, then you can understand why it is important.
If we even take that logic one step further, your most social friendly articles can help you shape future content. By definitively knowing which articles your audience loved you can cater future articles to tie in with that theme, or further develop the article into a series.
We have spoken to numerous bloggers, authors and entrepreneurs about their content and the one common thread seems to be the fact that they all repurpose their content. So if we are able to see which articles had an impact and which didn’t, then surely it would make sense to repurpose the most popular and perhaps shelve the ones that didn’t quite make the cut for our audience.
Even from the point of view of getting feedback from our audience, we can go them and simply ask, why they didn’t or indeed did like an article, thus once again helping to shape our content and editorial calendar for the future.
So you can see even when we take the planning side of the calendar away there is still plenty to be said for having one.
Of course on the other hand I have also spoken to plenty of bloggers and business owners who have all told me the same thing:
“I don’t really need an editorial calendar, I’m very consistent with my publication and think that it would just add to our list of things I already have to do.”
What this is true, an editorial calendar is another item on your ever growing daily to do list, but if it is done correctly, your editorial calendar will become your to do list. There is no overstating this, it is by far one of the best things you can do for your content creation business and let us not forget no matter what business you are in online, you have to create content.
As you can see this is a brief overview of our editorial calendar, in which we have put recommended titles, the author, completion percentage, keywords, links/ resources, Notes, status, social sharing, results after 30 days and review/conclusion.
This may sound like quite a lot to put into an editorial calendar, but at a glance I can tell not only which article is to be published on which day, but who is writing it, whether it is completed or not, if it’s been edited, what keywords are we going after with this article and when it has been published, what the results have been after 30 days of going live, not to mention how often we have publicised it across our social media platforms.
One of the other key things that I like about the editorial calendar is that while I may not be writing a specific article I could have thoughts on what should be included within each post and in the notes section of the editorial calendar I can add my thoughts and with the links and re-sources section I can add some links and resources that I feel the author may want to include if I am trying to help steer them in a clear direction. That latest piece works really well if there is a new writer on your staff and you are trying to get them up to speed with the voice and tone of your site or publication.
One of the biggest things that cannot be underestimated is how much time this will actually save you. No longer will you have to scramble to think of what am I going to write, what will be contained within the body of the article and even down to the research of the article. All of this will of been taken care of in the editorial calendar, so when it comes time to start putting digital pen to paper, I can simply begin to write.
Not only will it take all of the hassle out of your blogging or content creation, but also I guarantee it will reduce stress and give you and your team a clear direction going forwarding.
There are of course many different ways in which you can lay out your editorial calendar, from a simple date, author, completion and publication, but we have found that by incorporating a few extra tabs we have a complete overview of everything that is going on within our business when it comes to creating content.
Let us know your thoughts on editorial calendars, do you use one?
How much information do you put in yours?
How often do you refer to your editorial calendar?
What problems have you had setting up an editorial calendar?
Or indeed even tell us why you feel you are afraid to use one?