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An editorial calendar is perhaps one of the most important parts of your content strategy, and without proper planning you'll find it difficult to establish consistency or structure in the content you're posting to your site. An editorial calendar simply maps out your content development process, assigning writers and dates to the topics of pages, posts, or other content that will be going up on your pages. Here is an example of an editorial calendar, and while you can certainly use this format to get started, keep in mind that there's no single editorial calendar that will fit every business.
You'll want to update this to a format and structure that you're comfortable working with and that fits the unique needs of your content strategy. First, let's take a look over to the right-hand side of the spreadsheet, where we've defined the different content types that we want to build content around, things like product showcases, news stories, how-to articles, and things of that nature. Yours will certainly be different, but listing them out here along with the approximate frequency with which you'd like to publish this kind of content will be helpful. Columns H and I list out the different writers that we can pull from, along with the types of content that they're willing and able to write.
You might be lucky enough to have a team of copywriters that you can call upon. But if not, keep in mind that these folks can be anyone working with you. You may require your sales team to write one piece of content per month, or maybe your management agrees to put together one blog post every two months. Whatever resources you have to help with content, listing them out here will help you see who's available to write what, when. The left-hand side of the spreadsheet includes a row for every day of the month, listing what day a specific content is due, who's responsible for it, and where on the site it will be published.
In this case we can see that there is new content going up on this site five days a week, spread out over a company blog, news pages, product pages, and a customer testimonials section. You can see that column E is reserved for the headline of the content that's going to be written, and many editorial calendars will go so far as to list the target keyword, title, and descriptions as well. Again, feel free to use this format as a template for creating your own editorial calendar, but make sure to add in whatever you feel is necessary for your own organization.
And although this one has been done in Excel, it's often a good practice to do this in Google spreadsheets so that the document can be shared across your team, and everyone can collaborate on the same document without having to pass around different versions of the same file. You'll also need to define how often your planning will happen, and how far out you'll be making assignments. Some organizations work week by week, while others will plan out months in advance. Whatever you choose, you'll need to make sure that writers are given sufficient time to produce high quality output.
We're not writing just for the sake of putting more pages on your website. Remember that quality wins over quantity here. In the end, an editorial calendar will only be as useful as the person taking charge of it, and the people taking action from it. Building out a plan, assigning authors and topics, and holding people accountable for delivering will ensure that you're consistently putting up good content. And don't forget to promote that content as well. Many organizations include their social media and promotion plans right inside the editorial calendar, indicating who will be sharing what on each channel, what hash tags will be used, and who is responsible for keeping conversations going.
Using an editorial calendar to keep track of your content strategy can be a great way to put the structure around this process that's needed for consistency.
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