How to Create an Editorial Calendar: Three Essential Elements

Perhaps you've heard the term "editorial calendar" floating around, especially in the content marketing realm. If your company produces content regularly, whether in the form of blog posts, white papers, or social media, you should be using one.

While it's easy to get caught up in the last minute shuffle, planning ahead and utilizing an editorial calendar will really help boost your performance. Looking ahead will help you identify events to capitalize on, such as holidays and industry events. You can set aside time to put more effort into particular pieces of content, which will allow for creating more substantial and diverse pieces like ebooks and infographics. Also, you can coordinate between departments for collaborative campaigns. 

So how does one go about developing an editorial calendar? Here are three elements to keep in mind.

Free Editorial Calendar Template

1. The High Level

Keep all marketing platforms in mind when developing your editorial calendar, including email, blogs, microsites, social media, and anything else that is relevant to your company. Maintaining this high-level view will help coordinate your activities, especially if you have different people in different departments with overlapping priorities working on content.

For instance, if you plan to launch an ebook, you might want to promote that ebook through email, your blog, and social media. Ideally you're tailoring your content for each platform. Perhaps you will tweet several times on Twitter about the ebook, but only post one blog regarding it. The high-level view in your editorial calendar will help you remember what's happening at what time on each platform.

2. The Deep Dive

For every place that you publish content, you should have an in-depth view of that platform that includes dates, topics, people responsible, status updates, and others as they apply. In using a blog, for instance, you'll likely have a running list of blog topics. As you narrow down your concepts, you'll assign deadlines and tasks to accountable individuals. All action items and next steps should be noted in the deep-dive view of the editorial calendar. Then all parties can check the status and keep track of their own assignments.

3. The Ongoing and the Occasional

It's important to regularly produce content, but you won't consistently produce all types of content. For instance, you might not regularly produce infographics, but occasionally you will publish them so you can highlight new facts or figures your market would be interested in. You might, however, regularly produce blog posts, white papers, or SlideShare presentations. Your editorial calendar should capture both the regular and the occasional. Let your editorial calendar be a place for recording a running list of ideas and proposed projects. 

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