Planning an Editorial Calendar: Your Guide

What if your content creation could be tighter and better-organized than ever before?

Simply put, you cannot master content creation without mastering the editorial calendar. Unfortunately, many writers and other content creators don’t know how to make a calendar of their own.

Want to know how to create your own editorial calendar? Keep reading to discover the answer!

Time management. Nice smart man looking at the calendar while planning his time

What Is An Editorial Calendar?

Our guide will help you map out your own editorial calendar. But before we go any further, it’s important to answer a simple question. What, exactly, is an editorial calendar?

Honestly, it’s all in the name. This is a calendar that maps out the content you intend to publish. Such a calendar may cover only a month or two, but most editorial calendars cover longer periods of time.

For your writers, calendar topics should include deadline information as well as topics, titles, keywords, resources, and goals. It’s good to give your writers room to be creative, but the more specific you can be, the more specific their own content will be.

Now that you know more about what editorial calendars are, let’s explore some of the ways you can get started.

Determine Publishing Frequency

Arguably, the most important aspect of an editorial calendar is the deadlines. But before you can figure out the deadlines, you need to determine what your ideal publishing frequency is.

At the bare minimum, you should publish content once a month. And many companies try to publish content once per week. But the exact frequency is typically determined by many different factors.

These factors include how many writers you have, what your budget is like, what your overall goals are, and what the competition is doing. And believe it or not, an editorial calendar is important even if you publish very little.

That’s because when you only publish occasional content, it makes each piece of content that much more valuable. A good calendar will make sure that you and your writers are making each publication count.

Map Out Key Dates

When should you be trying to publish content? Honestly, there are two ways to answer this question.

The first is somewhat arbitrary. Many companies pick a specific day to upload regular content (such as always publishing it on a Monday or on a Friday). Regardless of the day chosen, having a specific content day can help you to create communities made up of your most loyal audience.

But you also need to time content for very special dates for your company. For example, content should be timed for new product launches or promotions. And it’s good for audiences and workers alike to create special content to celebrate company events and even the “birthday” of the company.

Ultimately, this is why editorial calendars are so important. A good calendar helps you capture the balance of regular publication days as well as special dates, promotions, and anniversaries.

Don’t Forget the Holidays

Earlier, we touched on the importance of scheduling content around special company dates and anniversaries. But don’t forget to also schedule content around relevant cultural holidays as well.

The average consumer loves holidays such as Halloween and Christmas. Creating special content focused on those holidays is a great way to engage audiences.

Don’t be afraid to have fun with the holiday content, either. Scheduling some fun articles around “Star Wars Day” (May 4th each year) is a playful way to engage with audiences who dream of a galaxy far, far away.

Analytics Are Your Best Friend

It can be difficult to schedule long-term content in a complete information vacuum. That’s why analytics are your best friend.

Instead of simply making educated guesses about what audiences want from future content, you should look back to your earlier content and how it performed. The right analytics tools (or, better yet, the right third-party professionals) can help you see what has performed the best and what your audience really wants.

And that brings us to another important consideration: prepare to be flexible. Even though the point of an editorial calendar is to organize things in advance, you are likely to encounter new information and analytics-based data. By staying flexible, you can fine-tune your content until you have a perfect match with your exact demographic.

The Power of Keywords

Analytics tools are a powerful way of determining which content does (and does not) work for your audience. But another tool you shouldn’t overlook is keyword research.

Obviously, keyword research already plays a major role in your SEO. Without the right keywords, even the very best content may be hidden from your target audience.

But keyword research will also help you discover the kinds of phrases that your intended audience is using while surfing the internet. In addition to helping you plan keywords for your content, this information can also help you determine what content they truly want to see.

The Calendar and Deadlines

No editorial calendar is complete without deadlines. But do you know the best way to add deadlines to the calendar?

Our best advice is to deliberately build in some “buffer time.” Sure, that assignment may look like it shouldn’t take more than 24 hours. But giving a writer at least three days to get it done helps ensure everyone is meeting their deadlines.

Deadlines should also take into consideration all of the different steps of the writing process. If a writer is tackling a research-intensive topic, you should build some extra time in to allow them to complete their research.

If you’re still on the fence about buffer time, consider this: the more extra time a writer has, the more time they can devote to perfecting their content. You’re not just giving writers extra time to type a few words. Instead, you are giving them time to create error-free custom content that your demographic can’t get enough of.

What’s Next?

Now you know how to create a killer editorial calendar. But do you know who can help you create killer content?

At Gosling Media, we are experts in branding, digital marketing, creative services, and so much more. To see what we can do for you and your business, contact us today!

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