We’re no Marie Kondo, but at Kuno, we like to stay organized. With so much content to produce throughout the year, it’s important to keep our ideas in one centralized place.
We love editorial calendars.
We know it’s old fashioned, but managing content can be overwhelming at times. Whether you’re managing content during a pandemic crisis or planning your latest product launch, having an editorial calendar can help you stay on track with your company’s overall strategic vision. We’re firm believers in strategy, and — believe it or not — an editorial calendar is a perfect place to strategize.
We’ll show you how to build an editorial calendar and maintain it so you and your team can ultimately generate better results and create awesome content — strategically.
To begin, choose a tool that works well for you and your team to create your editorial calendar. Spreadsheets are a common tool to stay organized, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring other options, such as HubSpot’s Calendar Tool. The important part is having one program or platform that can help you keep your content organized. Be sure everyone on your team has access so everyone can see the direction your content is taking and is able to contribute when they have ideas.
Pro Tip: Creating good content is truly a team effort; it should never be produced all from one source. The viewpoints of various subject matter experts (SME) should be included. Content writers can work with these SMEs to develop a solid article on the SME’s knowledge base.
When setting up your editorial calendar, you want to set it up for the year. This doesn’t mean every topic must be set in stone from now until December 31, but you’ll want to create the framework for the year, so when those great ideas are born, you have somewhere to house them.
You’ll want to keep track of the following in your editorial calendar to help you plan:
Does your client also produce content you must account for in your publishing schedule? Keep track of both the content you’re producing and the client’s to make sure topics don’t overlap, and publishing remains steady throughout the month. You can include a section for notes for special events in your industry as you hear of them, or ahead of time when you know they occur throughout the year.
Establish a publishing schedule based on how many posts you publish per month, and be cognizant of the content publishing and how relevant it is to that time. For example, you wouldn’t want to write a blog about Valentine’s Day in February — you’d write that in January so you have time to edit it, source images and get it scheduled ahead of the holiday in early February.
Ultimately, you want to align your strategy with your company’s goals. Some common goals include:
Once you have your editorial calendar set up and filled in, you can begin planning posts that are more long term. If you know you’re launching a new digital marketing campaign in October, you’ll want related blog posts to publish then, so you can begin preparing them in advance.
Don’t forget to expect the unexpected, and make sure your editorial plan is flexible to account for these instances. While the framework may exist for the entire year, it’s reasonable to plan your exact topics two to three months ahead, but not much further out than that.
There may be times something comes up and you need to bump a topic, or an interview may need to be rescheduled. The types of content you produce should also be included to account for your social media marketing, email marketing and lead generation efforts. If you're writing for different target audiences, you can list those in your editorial calendar to keep track of how much attention each one is getting from your efforts.
When adding these elements to your editorial calendar, the framework for your strategy will start to take shape. You’ll be able to easily see what audiences, topics, and keywords you’re focusing on and determine where you should shift focus (if need be) to give visibility to the right subjects throughout the year.
In order to measure your content and determine whether it was successful, set goals when coming up with the topics. Are you looking for a certain number of views or blog comments? More importantly, are your blog posts ranking for the right keywords in your industry?
Give your posts time to be out in the world (and for Google to crawl the page) before assessing these factors and counting it as a success or failure. About one month after publishing, check the blog views, the keyword rankings and how much engagement the post got. Include promotion factors — was the post promoted on social media and via email? This will also help determine how much visibility the post received.
Your editorial calendar, you’ll quickly find, will become the central document for content ideas that tie into your efforts to educate your audience on your products and services and to become a thought leader in your industry on related topics.
It will help you determine how much promotion each of your campaigns are getting and where you should give more focus. It will lay out the keywords you’re targeting, the audiences you’re targeting, and ensure you’re providing your audiences with a steady stream of information. It will become the root of your strategies as you continue to develop your content and how you will promote it. Make sure your editorial calendar stays updated and organize it in the way that makes the most sense to you and your team, so it’s easy for everyone to consult.