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Content Marketing | Oct 29
Masooma Memon on September 25, 2020 (last modified on October 5, 2020) • 43 minute read
Building a useful content editorial calendar isn’t rocket science.
Sure, it’s tough work. It’s got the thinking gears in your brain spinning – figuring out exactly what goes into it and how you can keep it running efficiently.
But trust me when I say you can easily create an effective content editorial calendar when you know what to add to it, what software to use, and other essential details.
Want to get your hands on these key details? Read on to find out the basics of making an editorial calendar. We’ve also surveyed over 65 experts and dug out their pro tips for managing their calendars.
We have a lot of ground to cover. Let’s get going starting with an index of what you’ll learn today:
A content editorial calendar is a visual workflow of your content process. It helps you plan and execute content for your business from ideation to promotion.
Put another way, your editorial calendar is where you have the entire content process laid out including the content types you’ll be creating, the promotion channels you’ll be using, who’ll be creating the content, what stage your content is in the production pipeline as well as the publish dates.
Remember that a content editorial calendar is visible to your entire content team, helping keep everyone on the same page.
But why do you need one?
To keep you on top of your content marketing instead of the other way around. With a content calendar, you can also collaborate with your team for coming up with new content ideas, creating new content, and promoting it.
Your content editorial calendar should include everything related to content creation and promotion. This means the types of content you’ll create, content ideas, content creation schedule, who’s creating the content, and how you’ll promote it are just some of the things that go in here.
As you read through our proven tips for managing a content editorial calendar, you’ll see that our experts also have suggestions related to what to include in the calendar.
For now, here’s a brief checklist of all that your need to add to your editorial calendar:
✔ A list of content types you plan to publish based on your content strategy including content you want to repurpose and refresh.
✔ Content ideas backlog where you can plan content to create and collaborate with your team for the same.
✔ Approved content topic details. You can also consider this a tiny brief that includes what the piece will cover, the keyword it would target, who’ll create it, headline suggestions, and CTA among other things.
✔ A Content creation schedule, divided into stages like Assigned, In Progress, Edits Required, Published, and Promoting.
✔ Content promotion plan. It’s helpful to create a checklist of all that you’ll do to distribute your content and achieve the results you’re aiming for.
Project management tools like Trello can help you create your calendar. You can also use ready-made templates for content editorial calendars.
Either way, you need to be clear on a few things about your calendar:
Once you have the answers to these basic questions, settle on what exactly you’ll add to your calendar, and make columns accordingly. Fill in each column as needed.
Don’t forget to make sure you can move each project from the starting step to last. This way, you’ll know what’s going on and you can efficiently manage content marketing.
Our expert survey respondents had a lot to share on how you can effectively build and manage your content editorial calendar. Below, you’ll find a peek at what’s to come:
1. Separate your content and editorial calendars
2. Plan your content editorial calendar as per your buyer’s journey
3. Plan your editorial calendar as per the value proposition
4. Use a collaborative project management tool
5. Make sure everyone understands your process
6. Plan your content editorial calendar ahead
7. Be flexible with your editorial calendar’s schedule
8. Play to your strengths
9. Outline all the required details, not just the basics
10. Use the 80/20 ratio to fill your content editorial calendar
11. Divide a single piece into tasks spread out in days
12. Determine who’ll be creating the content
13. Create a system to manage and run the editorial show effectively
14. Schedule your planned content
15. Stick to your schedule
16. Add buffer time to your schedule
17. Give content creation ample time
18. Have a visual outlook of the content editorial calendar
19. Create a promotion schedule
20. Audit your social channels
21. Have a digital library asset
22. Have a backlog of articles
23. Set up notifications to keep the show going
24. Tag content by type to save time
25. Understand what you really want from your calendar
26. Pay attention to content research
27. Build accountability into your content editorial calendar
28. Leave room for guest posts in your content editorial calendar
29. Use categories to organize your content
30. Proactively organize your calendar
31. Assign someone as the owner of the calendar
32. Use content analysis in your calendar
33. Keep communication channels open to your calendar
34. Address all funnels of content creation
35. Add refreshing content to your calendar
36. Focus on SEO content
37. Conduct a thorough keyword review
38. Schedule repurposing content in your content editorial calendar
39. Collaborate with your team to gather content ideas
40. Don’t worry yourself sick about content ideation
41. Add variety to your content editorial calendar
42. Segregate the content into 3 categories
43. Use documentation as a process to manage your calendar
44. Have a status column to manage your calendar
45. Make sure you fill the required fields
46. Keep the calendar organized by constantly updating it
47. Build a repeatable system to cut down the work
48. Add a distribution process to your editorial calendar
49. Meet the deadlines in your calendar
50. Use forward features to inform your content calendar
51. Leave room for creativity
52. Ensure you have a standard process for creating and publishing content
53. Leverage tools for maintaining your calendar
54. Be in touch with your writers
Let’s dig in:
“Have BOTH content and editorial calendars,” suggests Nikola Roza of Nikola Roza- SEO for the Poor and Determined.
“It’s a rookie mistake, but it happens too often. People make something that’s a hybrid of content and editorial calendars, and then that becomes messy really quickly. There’s a reason why both content and editorial calendars exist and the smart approach is to keep them strictly separated,” adds Roza.
“So, use your content calendar to inform your week-to-week content creation. And use your editorial calendar to know at all times where your business is heading in terms of content creation.”
“To build an effective content calendar, one must understand the concept of buyers’ journey and plan accordingly,” notes Your Team in India’s Nishant Sharma.
This means “you must analyze the thinking of your ideal customers, queries they have, and the journey they make before making any purchase.”
“It is the first step in the process of building a content calendar, leading towards creating a marketing funnel that will help you attract and engage your customers to finally making a sales decision.”
Another thing to take into consideration for planning your content editorial calendar is your value proposition.
B2B SaaS Consultant, Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré, highlights “Before I get a calendar started, I like to run through the Value Proposition Design book and fill out the Value Proposition Design Canvas for each ideal customer and then break those ideal customers into personas.”
“By running through the Value Proposition Canvas, you get tons of ideas for blog topics because the entire canvas focuses on the jobs, pains, gains, and your customers – and what better topics are there to get started than that?”
“If you have a lot of team members utilizing the editorial calendar (writer, editor, social media, podcast, video), it’s essential to get a tool that allows you to coordinate dates and assets so that everyone is on the same page about expectations of timelines,” shares Robert Farrington of The College Investor LLC.
Breadnbeyond’s Andre Oentoro adds, “make sure that there’s always a healthy communication and collaboration within the team. That’s why we rely heavily on project management tools.”
Oentoro writes further, “Discussion about a new piece of content and how it will bring the results we want is a must while creating and managing a successful content editorial calendar.”
“With great communication comes a great workflow — everyone on the team can share their thoughts about how to improve the process to ensure both consistency and quality of the content we’ll create and publish.”
“We also can understand what role would be the best for knocking out each task. And once everyone is kept informed and is on the same page, the editorial calendar will run smoothly without any major changes.”
Amanda Moore from Loggerhead Marinelife Center advises, “Breakout the content topics into designated tabs. Within the tab, upload appropriate images for the specific topic, relevant links, and include metric tracking links as well.”
“Utilizing a project management software allows your team to add notes, collaborate, and make sure all changes and adjustments are tracked and organized in one place. Additionally, select a project management software that allows you to integrate your projects into a calendar and create specific deadlines for your team members.”
Put simply, “Find the software (or tool) that works for YOU,” shares LeadG2’s Amanda Meade
“There are hundreds of options out there, and the features get a little overwhelming. We can all agree you need a tool that your team can easily use, but at the end of the day, you’re the one organizing and managing content.”
“If that means you need to use a Google spreadsheet and color code it (yes, that’s me) then do it! To help me stay organized at home, there are times I even handwrite a monthly calendar because I process information better by writing it down – and I like to SEE the entire calendar laid out. Again, find what works for you!”
Want some recommendations? Our experts shared some of these amazing project management tools where you can host your content editorial calendar:
Farrington says, “We love using Asana, with sub-tasks divided up to team members, dates for accountability, and easy to validate where we’re at with content creation.”
Red Stag Fulfillment’s Jake Rheude and their team also use Asana. “My team uses Asana to plot out our editorial calendar and it’s made life so much easier because we can easily visualize who has to fulfill which task before an article is ready to publish.”
“If you’re not using any task manager, you risk having an overflow of mixed or missed tasks in a messy spreadsheet or gdoc setup. And if you use multiple task managers, you’re just over-complicating things and probably wasting time!”
Patrick Whatman of Spendesk shares another project management tool – Notion. “At Spendesk, we use Notion. We have a marketing project calendar, social media calendar, blog calendar, and each individual team member has their own task tracker too.”
“The beauty is that all these calendars are the same, just with different filters applied. So when I update something in my personal calendar, it also changes in the editorial calendar and the full team one. In my view, this is far better than managing 5+ individual calendars continuously.”
“In order to help manage our content calendar in a more efficient manner we use individual Trello boards for each writer we have creating content for our website,” shares Jeff J from SmartShopperUSA.
“The Trello boards include topics for each writer as well and a list of things for them check after writing the content in order to get in ready for publishing, after which our editor only needs to give the article a brief look before publishing.”
Iron Monk’s Jack Choros is also a Trello fan. “I like using Trello. It’s a free project management software. You can get multiple people engaged. Set up the articles or pieces of content that need to be created.
“Share it with the right freelancer or employee. Have that employee upload their questions, comments, and concerns as well as their completed work to the Trello platform.”
“They can move their project into the queue for you to edit and/or publish, and everybody receives notifications whenever specific changes are made within the Trello environment, which means you don’t have to check in with each other to see what’s being done. Everything is seamless.”
Pearl Lemon’s Deepak Shukla outlines, “Gsuite sheets allow the calendar to be kept in a more collaborative space for the content team. If all team members can update and edit the calendar as needed and all members can see these changes, there is less chance at having errors or hiccups with the process. Formatting with drop-down menus allows a more seamless organization without having overwhelming color coding.”
Stephanie Fatta of BeautyBrite also votes for Google Sheets. “My one tip for managing an efficient content editorial calendar is to create one in a Google Sheet (just make sure to download the Google Sheet app on your phone). This will allow you to access your calendar from your smartphone, anytime and anywhere. “
“Whenever there is a major industry event or new trends to write about and you don’t have immediate access to your laptop or PC, you can simply open the Google Sheets app to make an update to your editorial calendar. This makes the process of maintaining your content editorial calendar hassle-free and much more efficient.”
“Have an airtight process in place,” recommends JotForm’s Annabel Maw.
“It doesn’t matter if you use a spreadsheet or project management app – the most important thing is to make sure everyone on your content team, including freelancers and agencies, understands your process. “
“This will ensure your content is effectively organized, managed, and published on time.”
Several of our experts recommend planning your content ahead as an efficient tip to manage your calendar. Starting with Chris Zook of Impulse Creative who says “Work ahead. Create your bank of editorial content, like blogs, website pages, and 10X pages, and stay 4-8 weeks ahead of your publication schedule.
“That’ll allow you to create a healthy backlog of approved content to publish so you can pivot to any high-urgency, high-importance items that come up in your work without missing a publication date.”
“It’ll also send positive SEO signals to search engines that want to see consistent publication from websites (including Google), which is a great way to build positive SEO indicators for your entire website.”
Kinsta’s Tom Zsomborgi suggests you “Plan ahead and have at least 2 but maximum 4 weeks of content ready and scheduled. In this case, you don’t need to worry about what to publish tomorrow and you never have to sacrifice the quality just because the time is running out.”
Zsomborgi cautions: “Scheduling content more than a month also doesn’t make much sense as things can change quickly, time-sensitive content can outdated, and so on.” It’s something we’ll talk about in detail in the next point.
Planning ahead also “allows for plenty of time for your writers (or yourself) to conduct research, put together a draft, and handle anything else related to the post,” notes Christine Wang of The Ski Girl.
For example, Wang shares, “I always try to be at least a month ahead for all of my scheduling, and oftentimes, I’m even more ahead than that.”
“Since I started using this strategy, I’ve seen fewer late assignments from my team and efficiency improvements across the board. It also helps you look at the larger content map and help you structure your content to be informative and relevant rather than repetitive and redundant.”
Top Vouchers Code’s Catriona Jasica makes another good point: “Make up your mind about how frequently you want to publish content on your blog to establish a specific routine of providing content to your audience.“
“Once you’ve decided, make sure you stick to it, which will contribute to trust-building with your readers. Also, many apps can help you efficiently manage your calendars which are readily available on platforms like top vouchers code.”
As Zsomborgi said, LiveHelpNow’s Natalya Bucuy warns, “When managing an editorial calendar it’s important to not plan out too far ahead. A few weeks out is a good rule of thumb. “
“The reason for this tactic is that current trends and situations change quickly, especially in the environment of the global pandemic. Additionally, when quoting experts and working with influential contributors it’s important to keep publication current and not spread them out too far apart.”
Edwin Rubio from Vapor Empire adds, “Be conscious of what is going on around you and in the world. You can translate this into your content by postponing an upcoming article that may be sensitive to current events or adding in an additional insight if the moment called for it.”
“There’s no real handbook or guide to it, but using your common sense and awareness should let you know if it is an appropriate time.”
“Being flexible and able to adapt based on the social climate is something that if done correctly can build trust and respect from your followers and provide an organic promotion to keep your calendar right on track.”
Hiba Amin from Soapbox writes along the same lines: “If you’re on a smaller team, focus less on building quarterly calendars. There are so many unanticipated changes that can come your way, from market to product changes, and you’re going to have to be agile. Instead, try to plan on a bi-weekly or monthly cadence, that way you still have some structure, without limiting your ability to adapt quickly to changing needs or priorities.”
“If your metrics tell you your audience prefers one topic over another, cover that topic more often,” says Mostly Blogging’s Janice Wald. “The same goes for formatting. If the posts that contain videos rank better than your posts without, include videos. I even find success in repeating successful headline formats. Using Google Search Console, seeing your top pages is easy.
“Make your content calendar your single source of truth,” recommends Vidyard’s Kendall Walters. “Whatever tool or system you use to manage your content calendar, don’t just list the content type, author, and working title.”
“Make room for all of the other important information that goes into creating a piece of content, like links, key documents, and notes.”
“This can be anything from the assignment brief and draft copy doc to possible stock photos for the header. Then, regardless of what someone wants to know about the piece, they simply have to visit the calendar to find out. Publication date? Target keyword? Live link? Redirects pushing to it? It’s all there—the single source of truth.”
“Only ever have the planned content in your calendar be 80% of your team’s maximum content output,” shares Oli Graham of RightlyWritten.
“A lot of inefficiencies in content output happen when content teams feel pressure to meet the demand of calendars created months in advance, even though external factors have caused the content needs of a company to change.”
“This pressure can cause content teams to spend more time deciding what content to prioritize creating than actually creating it. It can also lead to wasted time being spent on content that misses the mark because the timing was not right.”
“If you give your content team 20% breathing space to come up with ideas close to the time and create content in a spontaneous way, you will end up with a higher quality output of work and a more engaged content team.“
“This added flexibility will also give you a better chance of being the first organization in your industry to cover a trend, which is always an advantage.”
MarketChorus’s Nathan Binford echoes the same: “The majority of content planning should be done in advance, obviously, especially with evergreen content and data-driven content that take time to research and develop. But timely content is also important and good opportunities to create it are hard to predict.”
“Plan 60-70% of your content in advance and leave a little room open in your schedule to allow for spontaneity. When an opportunity presents itself, move the currently scheduled post into an open spot later in the calendar (part of that 30-40%).”
“Keep a few evergreen posts in your ‘back pocket’, unscheduled, so that you can fill in missing posts during slow news months.”
Joey Randazzo of Portland SEO Growth advises, “It’s critical to dissect the content creation process (whether it’s for blog posts, YouTube videos, or social media content, it doesn’t matter) into every single step.”
“For example, for SEO blog posts, you might have
Conversion Creatives’s Austin Mullins employs a similar process to managing the content editorial calendar. Mullins notes, “The most important thing I’ve found is to have staggered due dates, to give your team time to move content through different stages.”
“So we have one date when an outline is due, another when a draft is due, another when it needs to be edited, and still more for graphics to be added and the piece taken live. “
“Even that final due date has a bit of breathing room from the client-facing due date for the piece to be live, so nothing is ever late.”
You can also “batch similar functions,” suggests William Young of Common Cents Hub. “Rather than researching, outlining, writing, and editing a single piece of content in one day, we split the tasks into separate days. Focusing on a single function, like editing, for instance, has enabled us to increase our output over a given time.”
“To effectively manage an efficient content editorial calendar, you have to predetermine who is going to create the content,” highlights David Bakke of National Air Warehouse.
“While your writers may be chomping at the bit for any opportunities, that doesn’t mean they should be handed out with reckless abandon. look at the topics, match them up with the skill sets or expertise of your individual writers, and pencil that in on your calendar as well.”
“That way, you reduce the chance of low-quality content, which can absolutely destroy a calendar, and you can more efficiently manage the calendar since you know that delays won’t be an issue and quality will be high at all times. A lesser-known tip, but a highly effective one.”
Misty Dorman of Dorman Creations shares another useful tip for managing your content editorial calendar: “create a system that you’ll actually use.”
Dorman elaborates, “Different things work for different people, and having a system to minimize the mental calories it takes to get your content out there consistently is super important, but no system will work for you if you don’t develop the discipline to implement it and actually use it.”
“Assign a publishing due date and also a sharing due date,” suggests HeadStart Copywriting’s Susan Varty. “This will get your team in the mindset of sharing the content you produce.”
For example, “One key tip that has helped us across the businesses is time management of each task and how that influences actioning each item on the calendar,” says Zander Buteux of Wilbur Labs.
“This is important because it ensures that all resources are available and aligned with their responsibilities for the task. Looking through the end of the year we need to line up digestible blog copy, thought leadership pieces, visual content, and social media efforts across distinct industries. It would be impossible to execute this giving the same time block to each task.”
Not only is making a schedule important but sticking to it is equally essential. Emily Gant of The Loop Marketing says, “always stay on schedule.”
“You can have all of the tools in the world, but if you fall behind, you’ll stay behind. Efficiency comes from organization, consistency, and timing – the more effort that is put into keeping the wheels turning as they should, the for efficient your team will be.”
To this end, Thoughtlab’s Kayleigh Duggan suggests, “Be sure to not be too aggressive with your schedule. Don’t over commit if you can’t keep up with the content demands you laid out.
“Make sure you’ve built time into your calendar to write the content, edit it, and make any necessary adjustments outside of that. If you fall behind, it can be very hard to come back.”
As long as you stay on top of the schedule you put in place, you’re sure to be smooth-sailing in the content department.”
Wondering how to stick to your content schedule? Build some buffer time into it. Jakub Rudnik from Shortlister suggests, “For non-time-sensitive content, build in a buffer between a fully polished draft and publication. Especially for a more intricate piece of content (ebook, whitepaper, subdomain, etc.) with multiple moving parts, something will go wrong, someone will fall behind.
“Leave that extra window to account for that. One delayed project can throw off an entire editorial calendar, ultimately rendering it useless and keeping a team from using it as the source of truth.”
“Give yourself ample lead time to produce new pieces of content,” comments Ana Cvetkovic of BLOOM Digital Marketing. For example, Cvetkovic shares, “While a blog post may only take several hours to write, I give myself and my team seven days to turn pieces around.
“Day one is for outlining, day two is for outline approvals (when needed), days three and four are for writing, days five and six are for editing, and day seven is for making finishing touches and getting it ready for publication (or sending the piece to the client, in my case).”
“You never know what will come up, so it’s better to give yourself plenty of wiggle room in order to be able to keep up with an ambitious editorial calendar.”
The Word Counter’s Kevin Miller shares another thoughtful tip: “Have a clear visual understanding of what is actively being written, what is being edited and reviewed, and what has been published.”
Miller goes on “It is critical to be able to view the status of each article at a glance. My best advice is to create a template for the calendar. The template should include which channel the content is being published on, what kind of content is being published, what the topic is, when the content will be published, and who will create and publish the content.”
This is why when you pick your project management software, make sure “it gives you both a table and a calendar view for all your blog posts,” notes Compete Themes’ Ben Sibley.
“I love it because I can drag-and-drop posts around in the calendar view and then switch to the table to make sure the category distribution is good so I’m not publishing too many of the same types of posts in a row,” adds Sibley.
“Build promo schedules into your content calendar,” advises Alice Corner from Venngage.
“Sure you might have a webinar going live next week, but have you allocated time for the promotional newsletters and Tweets? Running an efficient content cal means taking all the different strands of content and making sure they align.”
Perrin Carrell of RANQ opines, “Before you even create a calendar, you need to audit your social media channels. Take a good, long, and hard look at each of these channels to decide whether they’re even worth posting on. After all, your audience might not be on all of them and thus focusing on the redundant channels will eat into your resources.”
Carrell makes another valuable recommendation for managing your content editorial calendar. “Once you’re starting to build the calendar, make sure that you have a digital library of all your assets in one place.”
“You don’t want to scramble from your mobile phone to your laptop in hopes of finding that one perfect background image that you had taken a screenshot of months ago.”
“Rather, create a google drive and store everything there. You will be able to collaborate with your team in a much more efficient way.”
Accordably’s Alex Cannon stresses on “Having a good backlog of articles and posts prepared. You never know what could happen week on week, so I always find it best to have a few articles saved for a rainy day.”
Anna Buczak of Ulam Labs writes, “create and set up notifications to all your team members (including you!) to make them aware of what’s due when. This practice improves communication and can keep everyone informed about the progress of every piece of content.”
“Categorize your content by type!” outlines Tenin Terrell of Tenin Terrell Consulting. “I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve lost traipsing through content to find the right pieces while consulting on other’s projects. It’s a super simple yet effective hack: tag the content in your editorial calendar by type. When you do, you save yourself plenty of time when you’re ready to repurpose old content or make revisions to posts.”
When you know exactly what you want from your content editorial calendar, you can manage it better. It’s that simple. Ask yourself: “What do you really want from your content?” according to Fresh Results Institute’s Michael D. Brown.
Brown explains, “The first step to building this perfect editorial calendar is documenting your marketing objectives. What do you intend to achieve with your content?”
“Do you want more conversion for the traffic you pull to your website (in terms of website visitors increasingly taking targeted actions on your website), do you want to simply rank higher on Google or increase your customer retention?”
“These objectives will help you shape your content strategy, production, and channels you should use to promote your content. More importantly, documenting these objectives in your content calendar helps you more accurately measure your KPIs.”
“Never joke with content research,” continues Brown, sharing another useful tip. “Content research is crucial to the efficacy of your editorial calendar. You are not just pumping out content to your website or other channels for the fun of it. Instead, you are essentially producing these content for a specific audience. This is why your content must resonate with your audience.”
“To build a perfect editorial calendar, you must accurately decipher your audience persona and optimize your content (ideas, production, and promotion) around this persona.“
“This entails figuring out which content topics that the audience would be most attracted to and which keywords you need to optimize these topics (and headlines) around to make your content more visible on search engine results.”
“Your content research will also tell which types of content (case studies, whitepapers, blogs, or pdfs) your targeted audience would be interested in.”
“A number of keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Buzzumo, and UberSuggest can help you pick better with your content research and ideation.”
Lastly, Brown suggests you “build accountability into your editorial calendar. A perfect editorial calendar shouldn’t only help you put the best content out, it should also help you accurately measure how well the content is performing.”
“Depending on your marketing goals, your editorial calendar will inculcate which KPIs you want to track for your content. This will help you know which approaches to consolidate (in terms of them working) or which loopholes to fix.”
“Open your blog up to guest posts,” suggests Gladys K. Connelly of Thehousewire. “Guests posts can fill in the gaps between the articles your team generates” explains Connelly.
For example, Connelly writes, “I always like to have a few guests posts on deck to post when one of our team members falls behind. Even the best employees will miss a deadline from time to time, so it’s better to have something to post for your readers than nothing.”
“Plus, guest posts are great for expanding your audience. Every time one of our guest authors shares their article on social media, it increases our website hits by at least 20% for that day. So, opening your blog up to guest posts not only helps you maintain an efficient editorial calendar, but it can help you bring in more viewers!”
“Use categories to help organize your content,” advises Casey Crane from SectigoStore.com.
“This could be by topic or by content clusters relating to specific keywords. Never delete old content from your list — simply move it to a separate tab. This will help you to plan and track content by knowing what you’ve already published and what still needs to be covered in future content.”
“Proactive planning is important to maintaining an efficient content calendar,” shares Trenton Reed of Workshop Digital.
Reed explains: “This means identifying areas to update and optimize existing content as much as it means planning new content. To that extent, my team looks at a variety of tools—including STAT, Google Data Studio, and Google Analytics—to identify losses in blog traffic, gaps in our existing content strategy, and new keyword opportunities.”
“By sharing these findings with our team of analysts, and optimizing around these opportunities, we’re able to create content that’s both insightful and set up for success.”
Editor’s note: See the traffic fruits that your content marketing efforts are reaping with the help of this free Google Analytics Organic Traffic Dashboard. It shows you organic sessions, organic users, bounce rate, and much more on one screen.
Another important: “assign someone as the owner of the calendar. Otherwise, it tends to be forgotten,” according to Andrea Cruz of KoMarketing.
Sara McGuire of Venngage makes this point. McGuire explains: “At Venngage, we put a lot of focus on analyzing content results and iterating on content experiments. That’s why we have built content analysis directly into our editorial calendar.
For each piece of content that we release, we schedule a time for the results to be recorded and analyzed. When a piece of content is scheduled in the calendar, we also link to a planning and analysis document for that particular piece of content. This makes it easy for our marketing team to look up the results of a past piece of content, to inform their future projects.”
“Communication is crucial, especially with distributed teams,” notes Impressa Solutions’ Brent Sirvio. “Having those open channels with team members allows for seamless hand-offs and increased visibility. If there are struggles with a topic, talking through it can uncover new angles or insights, and others can come in and work through them. The more I write and oversee writers, the more I see writing for the Internet as a team effort.”
Tony Mastri of MARION Integrated Marketing makes another important point: “Make sure you’re targeting different levels of the marketing funnel.”
“Your content calendar should not include too much top of funnel content without also planning a proportionate amount of middle and bottom of funnel content.”
“Keep in mind that your editorial calendar not only has to attract interested visitors, but it should ultimately convert a percentage of those visitors into paying customers.”
Refreshing content is likely to get missed if you don’t schedule it on your content editorial calendar.
Referral Rock’s Katrina Dalao highlights, “Having strong content isn’t about just posting new articles every week. A lot of time should be spent looking at what you already have and where you want to go. Updating your goals and calendar ensures everyone on your team is on board.”
So settle on “Knowing your goals for the specific calendar. Do you want to cover X new topics? Refresh some old articles?”
Lee Savery of Ricemedia echoes the same: “Don’t always rely on new content. While you want to create and share fresh content every week, delays do happen. If you’ve got a large pool of content on your blog already, re-share an old blog to a new audience. Perhaps you’ve got customer surveys which can be turned into a quick post, while the content you had originally planned for can go out at a later date.”
Brittany Berger also shares her experience: “A lot of marketers I work with want to spend more time updating and repurposing content more, but don’t bring those things into their content calendar. So they end up filling up their calendar, and therefore their time, with so much new content creation that there’s no room left for other things they want to prioritize.”
So, “make sure you’re taking into account your full content workflow on your calendar, not just new content creation,” as Berger advises.
INK’s Co-Founder & CTO, Alexander De Ridder, another expert from our survey is also of the same view. “The key to managing an efficient content editorial calendar is to refresh and republish the content every 2-6 months,” says Ridder.
Ilir Salihi of FreedomRep shares, “Put a focus on SEO content. Prioritize content around the keywords and phrases that you want to own in the SERPS. Create long-form, search engine optimized blog posts to try and rank for these keywords.”
In the same view, Vera Mirzoyan of Uteach suggests: “Choose demanded topics in your field that will be easy to rank for. This means you should focus on keywords that have high search volume and low difficulty. Generate your content topics according to these keywords and you’ll reach your target audience more easily and effectively.”
Sheaffer Construction’s George Sheaffer shares their team’s experience too. Sheaffer highlights “managing an efficient content editorial calendar includes a thorough review of keywords that our domain has a chance of ranking for in Google. We have a newer blog and website, so we target keywords with a low Keyword Difficulty (KD) as determined by Ahrefs. Building a list of keywords that we actually could potentially rank for sets the foundation for our content calendar and gives us a ton of ideas for blog posts to build out.”
Just as you need to make space for refreshing, make room, and due dates for repurposing content too. Spencer Grover of LevelJump shares, “Make sure that your editorial calendar bakes in time and resource to split out the chunkier content you’re generating into smaller pieces.”
“For example, if you’re doing a webinar, plan on writing 2-3 blog posts in the weeks following it, along with the associated social posts, etc… that go with that work. Don’t assume repurposing will happen because – guess what – it won’t.”
“Don’t feel like you have to create an entire content editorial calendar on your own!” says Tripepi Smith & Associates’ Jon Barilone. “Instead, think of your ‘calendar manager’ role as an opportunity to be an investigative reporter: ask your teammates to help you paint the picture of everything great you have going on.”
Barilone shares, for example: “Our firm holds content calendar planning sessions with our clients every three months to get a sense of what’’s coming down the pipeline for the next year.”
“Getting leadership and stakeholders together in the same room (or the same Zoom) can lead to some ‘lightbulb’ moments of inter-departmental connection and uncover items that local media would love to cover.”
“We make sure we leave the session with as many details as possible, as well as contact info for liaisons who can get us more details.”
HJF’s Marissa Smith notes “You only actually need 5 pieces of content a month – for example, if you’re B2B, always talk about your vendor opportunities on Mondays. If you do a lot of hiring, always feature a job placement on Tuesdays. You don’t need brand new, shiny content for 30 days straight. You need 5 good topics, and to assign them to the days that make the most sense.”
Foundations Wellness Center’s Carol Archebelle says: “Variety – it’s the spice of life, and your content, too. Make sure your content calendar includes a variety of topics as well as formats.”
Wondering how? Archebelle shares some ideas: “You can interview a customer with one article, then review survey results or explain a new development in your industry with the next.”
“In addition to being infinitely shareable, infographics are another (engaging) way to deliver content. Include them on the calendar along with a working title of each piece.”
“Different topics and types of content attract different readers, exposing more potential customers to your message. Google also likes popular sites tend to rank them well, so the more traffic you can generate by varying your content, the better.”
Ashley Punchey from TattooPro.io shares, “What has worked for me is segregating content into 3 formats or buckets as some prefer to call it – evergreen, dynamic, and intriguing content.
Curricula’s Lauren Patrick shares what she’s learned about efficiently managing a content editorial calendar. Patrick writes: “One of the best project managers I ever worked with used to work with the military. She said that her secret to success is documentation: write down what your plan is once, document it again, then document it a third time.“
“So for my editorial content, I keep a running list of all the topics I want to write about in a .doc or spreadsheet, then I add it to a project management board in Asana or Trello, and then once it’s published, I’ll finally load the content into a social sharing tool like HootSuite. Going back to check the box that it’s completed is very rewarding as well.”
Editor’s note: Keep an eye on everything that’s happening on Asana with one dashboard – Databox’s Asana Team Overview dashboard. The board can instantly inform you about total tasks overdue, tasks completed, tasks created, and a lot more.
Have a status column and color format each status to you are constantly in the know of where each piece is during the creation and post-publish phase, suggests ManyChat’s Fara Rosenzweig.
“Example, waiting to write, writing, editing/fact-checking, optimizing, waiting approval, ready for publish, published, distributed to owned channels.”
“Get organized and stay organized,” advises David Adler of The Travel Secret. “Make sure you have columns for all relevant information like the author of the content, owner of the content, its current status, due date, and post date. Then once you make this schedule, make sure you stick to it!”
Amount’s Jordan Wahl suggests: “Create detailed workflows and task cards in your project management software and link those independent projects to your editorial calendar. There should be a subtask for every action item to keep key stakeholders accountable from outline to publish.”
Guidebook’s Jackie Lynch shares they work the same way. “I’m all about organization. When managing my editorial calendar, I make sure to update my calendar with links to copy docs as well as live links for every piece of content. This eliminates hunting around and helps to keep track of every piece, making it easy to access and reference content.”
Another tip that’ll help you improve your productivity comes from Andrew Siskind of Salted Stone. “Build yourself a repeatable system that drives ideation – it’ll significantly cut down on the time you spend figuring out what to write about and improve the value of your content marketing,” shares Stone.
“Map put your personas, key topic clusters (start with 3-5), key ideas, and stages of the buyer’s journey. Make sure you have one piece of content for every combination of those four variables before you start adding more topic clusters.”
“Hit the same topic cluster from different angles, different levels of depth, and for different audiences. Become a reliable source of information on that topic. Don’t think of your content creation as a chronological feed – think of it as a library that you’re filling the gaps in.”
“There is a lot of misinformation out there about how to drive website traffic,” notes Storm McManus of Storm Marketing Consultancy.
“If you want to drive targeted organic traffic, generate backlinks, and make sales, then ultimately you need to publish AND share your content. One tip for managing your content editorial calendar so that it starts to produce tangible outcomes for your efforts is by adding a distribution process that is followed every single time content is created for your business.”
“Do this consistently and you’ll start to see the results flow through to your visitor, link, and sales figures.”
“When you’re managing a content editorial calendar always make sure that you delivered all the work before the agreed deadline,” highlights Tihana Drumev from Best Response Media. “That way you’re sticking to everything you’ve set up in the strategy and you can only move forward.”
“Use forward features to inform your content calendar,” recommends Ricco Leung of Wyatt International. “As soon as we start planning a PR content calendar for a client, we always start by looking at the forward features for my client’s media. These can usually be found in the target publication’s media kits and editorial calendars.”
“This is really helpful as it gives us an idea of what we should be writing about, the deadlines for submission, word counts, and more. Another added benefit is that this helps us understand industry trends and themes – this influences other areas, such as blogs and social media.”
“As soon as we have my forward features mapped out, we start pitching to editors and agree on the features we will write. All of this will not only create awareness but increases your chances of getting backlinks if the feature is placed on their websites, eNewsletters, used in their own blog posts and digital content, etc.”
Chameleon Collective’s Stephane Gringer points out: “Leave yourself some flexibility to react to any trends or headlines. If your content calendar is packed to the gills, you might miss taking advantage of writing on a topic that can provide more value than what you had slotted that day or week.”
“Formalize your content publishing process,” writes Randy VanderVaate of Funeral Funds.
“Make sure you have a standard process in creating and publishing content. An optimized workflow will help you pinpoint redundancy and inefficiencies in the process. You can use Google sheet to create your content editorial calendar workflow.”
“Include all specific elements such as type of contents, medium for publishing, draft date, publishing date, and who will be responsible for keeping the calendar up to date. Create an alert system for each task so that each team member will be aware when content is due.“
“Formalizing your content publishing process will keep everyone accountable and informed for every piece of content in your calendar.”
National Positions’ Matt Erickson advises, “Leverage tools like Google Drive for its simplicity and cloud-based functionality. The great thing about Drive is that if you know what you are doing, you can build in the functionality you need for your business rather than a ‘dedicated system’ that may limit your team.”
Lastly, JungleTopp Media’s Walter Wertz highlights, “Keep consistent communication with your writers. They know their schedule better than anyone else, so you can work around something that happens last minute. This will also show that you care about your writers.”
And that’s all, folks.
With these 53 tips for managing your content editorial calendar by your side, we’re positive you’ll rock at creating, managing, and running a winner editorial calendar.
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