Having the skills to effectively manage an editorial calendar can set you up for content marketing success.
**** Managing a blog takes time, planning and organization -- and Scripted knows firsthand this can be a challenge for many marketers. Running the blog is like being in charge of your own publication, and it's important to think of it like that, especially if you want to maximize the potential of your content. It can be very disappointing to readers when they visit a content website that hasn't been updated in days or even weeks. As the content manager at Scripted, I'm in charge of managing our editorial calendar. The simple task of taking time to organize and execute makes all the difference to running a successful content marketing strategy. For content marketers, companies and aspiring bloggers alike -- here are a few helpful tips I've learned along the way to seamlessly manage an editorial calendar.
Find the Right Tool
With so many editorial calendars apps available, it can be overwhelming to sift through and find the best one. The truth is though all you need is a calendar to get you started. A Google or Outlook calendar will suffice if you're not ready to invest in a software. At Scripted, I simply use a spreadsheet to keep our content organized. You can download a similar template here:
Download Editorial Calendar
Create Themes & Write About Them
What I've found to be extremely helpful -- and what all publications do - is to create monthly and/or quarterly themes. Think of it like a monthly magazine when a publication hits newsstands each month, it's a specific issue: the body issue, the entertainment issue, etc. These themes aren't planned the month before; they're usually planned a year in advance. In fact, many publications have the same themed issues each month, year after year. If you need a little nudge of inspiration on where to find story ideas for your themes, Google trends and discussions are a good place to start.
Follow The General News Cycle, But Add Your Own Twist
The flow of content is typically influenced by current events, holidays and seasons. Use this as an outline on how to properly place themes for your editorial calendar. However, it's important to be original; don't copy what your competitors are doing, but rather let these seasonal-driven templates serve as inspiration. You should know what your audience is most interested in learning more about, so keep that in mind when deciding the best angle to take on a specific trend or holiday. At Scripted, we've created a couple holiday-themed infographics that have done well -- for example "The Dark Side of Content Marketing" and "The Content Cornucopia."
Be Transparent & Share Your Calendar
An editorial calendar isn't a secret document that should only be viewed internally. In fact, you're going to miss out on a lot of advertisements, endorsements and interested guest-bloggers (more content!) if you do that. Google any publication's name and "editorial calendar" and you'll see what they're planning on covering throughout the year ([Sunset](http://www.sunset.com/static/mediakit/2013/10091213Editcalendar.pdf "Sunset Editorial Calendar")_ or [Cosmo](http://www.cosmomediakit.com/r5/showkiosk.asp?listingid=4503921&categorycode=edit&categoryid=27812 "Cosmo Editorial Calendar")_).
Decide How Often You Want To Publish & Plan In Advance
When planning your editorial calendar, you should have an established publishing frequency (how often you plan on publishing to your blog). This can change once you get into a routine with your content writing service and/or in-house team of writers. Whatever you decide, stick to it and build trust with your readers by holding yourself accountable. It's also a best practice to have your content written and edited at least one week in advance. This way you won't be scrambling for a blog post everyday.
An editorial calendar is a necessary tool for any marketer who is in charge of a content strategy. Hopefully these learnings help lead you to content success!
What have you found to help you while managing an editorial calendar? Share your thoughts with us below.
To Read More Content Marketing Advice, See Below:
Why These 4 Brands Bring Social Media & Blog Content Together Amazingly
Learn From the Masters: Brands That Crafted a Cohesive Multi-Platform Social Media Brand
How Brands Should Really Be Thinking About Content Distribution [Interview]
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