An effective editorial calendar can get your business on the right track fast. It will help you stay organized, come up with new ideas, reveal gaps in your publishing schedule, and ensure everyone on your team is doing what they’re supposed to.
But more than that, a well thought out editorial calendar has the ability to help you drive more traffic to your site, encourage more people to subscribe to your email list, and boost sales so you generate more revenue than ever before.
If you currently have an editorial calendar (or are looking to create one very soon) and want to learn some surefire ways to maintain it so it works for you and not against you, check out these 4 tips for creating an effective editorial calendar.
1. Choose a Good Platform
In the past, we’ve discussed the importance of having a reliable editorial calendar solution. Luckily, if you use WordPress as your content management system (CMS), there are plenty of WordPress editorial calendar plugins on the market that have the features you need to run a successful content marketing strategy.
A good editorial calendar solution will have some (or all) of the following features:
- Visual display of your posting schedule (daily, weekly, and monthly)
- Drag & drop interface for easy rearrangement
- Quickedit functionality for changing titles, content, and schedules
- Editorial comments for communicating with your team
- Social media posting ability
- Analytics to measure success
- Built-in email marketing
- Integration with third-party tools
Some of the best editorial calendars on the market today include CoSchedule and Edit Flow.
Every website will require a different type of editorial calendar. Some may need to be accessible within the WordPress dashboards as seen above with Editorial Calendar; others may prefer a third-party website. Take the time to see what you and your team need to streamline the content creation process as much as possible.
2. Have a Plan
The only way your editorial calendar is going to help you become more successful is if you have a plan in mind before your start randomly scheduling posts to go live.
Here are some good questions to ask yourself as you set out to create your editorial calendar:
- What are your overall goals?
- Who is your target audience and what are their pain points?
- What type of content do you want to publish on your site?
- How often can you consistently publish content?
- What is your content marketing budget?
- Will you have a team? What are their assigned roles?
- How will you measure the success of your content marketing strategy?
Answering these questions before you start filling in your editorial calendar will give you (and your team) some direction.
3. Audit Existing Content
Sometimes coming up with fresh new ideas on a regular basis can be tough, especially if you want to publish content on your website many times a week.
That’s where auditing existing content comes in handy.
- Fill in the Gaps. Going through content that has already been published on your website will help you see the categories that are lacking content so you can draft new content based on those topics. You’ll also find areas that can be expanded on that will be perfect for standalone blog posts.
- Update Old Content. Old blog posts are perfect for filling in content gaps on your calendar. Interfaces, images, products, and ideas all change over time. By rewriting content that is old and outdated, you keep site visitors up to date and give your site some new content.
- Repurpose Posts. Another way you can use old content is to repurpose it to seem like new. Maybe a popular blog post can be turned into an exciting infographic. Perhaps readers will appreciate a long blog post that’s broken into actionable steps. Or maybe you can take an existing post and branch off it, taking a small idea from it and turning it into its own standalone blog post.
Getting creative with your content is one of the best ways to fill your editorial calendar.
By having your calendar filled out at all times, like the one in Nelio Content seen above, you can see what type of content you need and when it should publish on your site so site visitors are always given high quality and engaging content that makes them want to stick around.
4. Include it All
Editorial calendars are not just for blog posts. In fact, scheduling everything in your content marketing plan will make it easier to stay organized, fill in the gaps, and see what opportunities you’re missing out on.
Try scheduling blog posts, email campaigns, social media posts, infographics, webinars, and even video content into your editorial calendar. This will give you a bird’s eye view of what’s going on at all times.
If you have a team, scheduling in your entire content marketing plan will give everyone the ability to see what they’re responsible for individually and the status of all projects.
And don’t forget to take advantage of your editorial calendar’s built-in features. For example, add editorial metadata such as content topic, title, publish dates, like the WordPress plugin Edit Flow lets you do.
If you want something that mimics the popular Trello content management system, check out Kanban Boards for WordPress. With it, you can set up your editorial calendar in stages so everyone knows what stage each piece of content is on, making tracking of the content creation process easy to do.
If you do use Trello, and want to include the data in Trello in your WordPress dashboard, be sure to check out the relatively new WordPress plugin WP Trello.
In the end, there’s a lot that goes into a content marketing plan that goes beyond just scheduling your site’s posts. However, having a reliable editorial calendar, and knowing what to do with it, can make a world of difference.
If you create an effective editorial calendar, and set up it up to include your entire content creation process, you can publish consistent content that will drive traffic, engage your audience, expose your brand to a broader audience, and even increase sales.
Adding to that, if you’re looking for a way to complement your editorial calendar, and automate your email campaigns, try adding FeedOtter into your content marketing strategy. With a quick setup process, integration with Marketo or Pardot, and the ability to email your blog content to anyone at any time, FeedOtter helps you generate more leads and land more conversions so your business can grow.