As a startup, you have dedication and enthusiasm in abundance, but funding is in short supply. You decide that content marketing is the most cost-effective way to market your business, and you’re committed to starting a blog. Or are you?
Creating & keeping an editorial calendar
You may have included a shiny new “BLOG” tab on your menu bar, brainstormed content ideas, assigned authors (i.e. you) to each topic, and started a schedule. Everything was looking great, but then…
But then, well you had those grant applications to complete, business plans to finalise, orders to fulfil, and you fell hopelessly behind. So you published blog posts erratically, posting random ideas that you had not really thought through, with no obvious strategy or plan of any kind, and the next thing you knew, you were left with a blog page where the last publication date was 2012.
That kind of patchy content delivery does not reflect well on your ability to follow through on your own priorities. Customers may decide that, if you cannot commit to your own content, why should they commit their resources to your business? Don’t allow such doubts to arise: Organise your content with a good editorial calendar.
So what’s the secret to good editorial calendar?
Creating an editorial calendar without drawing up a content strategy is putting the cart before the horse, so get your content marketing plan straight first. Decide on your message, themes, and topics and decide whether you have the resources to execute the plan yourself or whether you need to engage a content writer.
Now you are ready to build an editorial calendar, using these steps: you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
1. Decide How Often to Post
Although every business and industry is different, it is usually sufficient to publish every week or fortnight.
2. Decide Who Is Going to Write Each Post
This is easy if you are the sole author. Remember, however, that you are already responsible for almost everything else, so consider a reliable freelancer or content marketing firm. Hire them to ghost write for you so you can produce regular quality content and establish your company as an authority in your field.
3. Agree Publication Dates
This is where a spreadsheet is useful. Write down every publication date for the next three to 12 months (bearing in mind holidays). This is the spreadsheet format I use:
If you are working as part of a team, I recommend you use a Google spreadsheet so that everybody has access to a central record that can be updated as each task is completed. Include columns for authors and note when and where you are going to promote your posts – Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
4. Marshal Resources
Now write down everything that needs to be in place to get your blog posts published on the dates that you have decided, whether you are writing the posts yourself or assigning them to somebody else. Research, writing, editing, and publishing are the basic stages involved for each post. Make sure each publication date allows sufficient time for each step.
You can download my editorial calendar here. It includes a sheet where you can include content pillars (e.g. themes), publication status, and authors. This helps you see at a glance, whether your blog topics are covering each area of your content strategy adequately. You can also keep note of events that could influence your buyers and suppliers, as well as the channels you will be promoting your content on and the dates you will do so.
As you can see, creating a schedule is not terribly difficult. Once you have decided on your content marketing plan, you are really just writing out the steps you need to take to fulfill it. The difficult part is putting aside the time to deal with each stage, and then sitting down to actually do it.
You’ll find that, once you have the editorial calendar drawn up, it’s much easier to stick to a schedule of publishing quality blog posts regularly, establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field and creating valuable content for customers at all stages of the sales process.
Need a little more help? You’ll find more tips and advice at http://aoifeocarroll.com/index.php/blog-3/.
Aoife O'Carroll is a freelance writer and web content provider based in County Kerry. She has worked with everyone from newly-born startups to multinationals, crafting web pages, e-brochures, flyers, press releases, editorials, scripts, and social media content. Essentially, if you need something that requires words, she can deliver it. Find out more at aoifeocarroll.com.
You can follow Aoife on Twitter at @aoifecontent or connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook.