It’s National Cookie Day. Your marketing team has gone for the day. You’ve got nothing to put on social media. You’re scrambling. Sound familiar?
Whether you are running your own social media, or have an agency running it for you, having a content calendar is critical to any long-term success. Keeping clients on track is the one of the biggest challenges for any consultant when it comes to social media.
A content calendar is the best is the best way to plan out your content, even months in advance. Of course, you will always be adding and fine-tuning posts, but every small business owner who cares about growing web traffic and generating leads should create an editorial calendar. According to Curata research, 90 percent of marketers now use an editorial calendar.
Before we jump into the benefits, there are a few things you need to know whether you are a consultant, or a small business owner trying to run your own social media.
Key items: Plan at least 1 month in advance, pull all the content together you have and place it over the 4 weeks’ time. You don’t need to have something every day. Start with a minimum of two posts per week. And as you create more content, you can add those to your calendar. If your Facebook audience isn’t used to seeing a lot of content, it could become a challenge for them to even want to follow you, so start out slow.
10 Benefits of the Editorial Calendar:
- Never miss key dates
- Organize Content
- Saves your business time
- Gain a deeper understanding of what content works and what doesn’t
- Keep consistency in content marketing
- Quickly assign writing and other editorial tasks to key members of your team
- Enables you to crowdsource content across your organization. This is because it helps you gather a bigger content library to express your business voice.
- If your goal is traffic growth, an editorial calendar helps you to track how each piece of content & contributes to your efforts.
- Editorial calendars save you money. They facilitate better reuse and repurposing of existing content, for example.
- Editorial calendars make you consider other channels and content formats. They help you identify new buyer personas or update their profiles through insights.
Who Should Be Planning Your Editorial Calendar?
Plan your editorial calendars at least 1-2 months in advance. Base them on strategic keywords and make sure they align with other marketing campaigns (for example, Christmas).
Editorial calendars need a content strategist, even if you don’t have one on board include your sales and marketing teams to help identify the most urgent content gaps.
One of the primary goals of a content marketing consultant is managing and maintaining the editorial calendar for all business promotions, sales, and events. For this reason, Curata tells us that now 42% of companies have an executive responsible for content marketing.
Tip: Always remember with any sales promotions the 4-1-1 rule. If you aren’t sure what this is exactly, have a read over on our Micro Guide to Facebook Page Management.
What Do You Need Before You Start an Editorial Calendar?
- First, you need to identify your buyer personas.
- Then, identify your brand’s mission, vision, and value proposition.
- Established branding guidelines: overall tone and voice. Identify all the dos and don’ts of your brand.
- Primary and secondary keywords research.
- To set a budget for content marketing. This determines the frequency of blog posts and their promotion on select social channels.
What Should You See on Your Editorial Calendar?
There are many editorial calendar templates online. An excellent editorial calendar should always include the following:
- Publishing date
- Creation date
- Prepare several status levels:
- Not started
- Work in progress/process (WIP)
Things you should think about when creating content:
- Buyer Persona.
- There are tools that can help you to quickly analyze your headline. These give you more insight into how effective it is in communicating your message to your target customer.
- Stage of engagement: awareness, consideration, or decision.
- Do not forget about your current customers and include Retention and Advocacy stages into your content marketing. Content is a powerful referral marketing tool. Most successful affiliate marketing programs rely on helpful content.
- Category/subcategory of the blog
- CTA/ Offer
- Consider interactive content, infographics, videos, SlideShare, podcasts
- Hashtags to use for the social media promotion
Tip: Avoid purchasing any content calendar tools especially when starting out. You can easily use a spreadsheet to keep track of content.
Depending on your strategy, you might also include:
- Any influencers you are planning to mention.
- Secondary content (infographics and videos, for example)
- Lead magnets
Editorial calendars are a vital part of any content marketing effort. They give direction, and help you address the challenges your audience faces every day. Get your team on board by going over the content calendar on a monthly basis. Have all levels of your team contribute whether it’s pictures of them in action or ideas gives your social channel personality. Remember your content calendar isn’t about sales. Customers don’t want to hear from you that often on what you can sell them, but customers preview social channels to see if you are a fit by analyzing your content. When customers feel a personality over a sales pitch, they are much more inclined to contact your business.