You already know an editorial calendar is a crucial tool for meeting your organization’s content marketing goals. Here are a few tips on how to optimize your calendar so you can create even better content for your audience.
Mind the opening, not just the endgame
The best chess players know a strong opening is as essential to winning a match as a solid endgame. The same is true for content marketing. Keep production schedules on-track and avoid costly vendor rush fees by marking not just delivery dates, but also project start dates.
For example, if you produce an e-newsletter, mark the date you want to send it to your audience. Then work from that date backwards, allowing appropriate time for approvals, reviews, research and copywriting. If you create a print newsletter, also include time for mailing, printing and design (your vendors can help you determine how much time to allow for each stage). Mark all milestone dates and you’ll have a good idea when to schedule the initial editorial meeting to hit your target delivery date.
Integrate all content delivery channels
The best editorial calendars go beyond marking dates for your organization’s biggest projects and events. They also integrate social media, blogs, e-newsletters, websites—all the channels you can leverage to maximize audience response.
If your organization has scheduled a fall fundraising event, for example, when and how often will you promote the event on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube channels? Weekly? Daily? Hourly? How many blog posts will you devote to the event? When should you send your e-newsletter promoting the fundraiser to drive event attendance? How much time will you need after the event to tally the funds raised for posting on social media?
Assign tasks to specific team members
An editorial calendar should also assign tasks and deadlines to specific team members so everyone is aware of their responsibilities for each project. This also creates transparency for the content creation process. If you outsource work to freelancers or agencies, include their target deadlines on your calendar as well.
Whether you use Excel, Google Calendar or another program for your editorial calendar, make sure it’s shareable so appropriate team members have access to important dates and deadlines. However, I suggest allowing just one person to make calendar edits. This limits the confusion that can occur when multiple people make calendar changes.
Remember that editorial calendars are living documents. Integrate some of these changes slowly and add layers of complexity as your team progresses. It’s still early enough in the year to tweak your calendar and make it an even more powerful content marketing tool for your organization.
Do you have other tips to share about how to make the most of an editorial calendar? Please let us know in the comments section below.