We’ve extolled the virtues of the editorial calendar in the past, but nowhere does it have a bigger impact than with teams that are short on time and resources. If you’re a one-person marketing team and you’re trying your best to be as efficient and impactful as possible, you definitely owe it to yourself to try an editorial calendar.
Why It Works
It’s a fact of life that when people are strapped for time, a lot of shooting from the hip tends to happen. And if this is the case with your content creation, even if you’re a talented writer and are managing to put together some truly interesting posts, you’re likely not making as big of an impact as you could be, just because of the lack of planning in your process.
Let’s face it, if you’ve got no time, you might groan when you think about having to put together another document just to help you plan better. But an editorial calendar won’t only help you create better content; it also makes you more efficient and actually saves you time in the long run. For example: Know you’ll be doing a series of four posts on the same topic over the next four months? Why not research and write them at the same time while you’re in the zone, and then have more free time later?
Putting Together an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar can get pretty sophisticated (just ask us, we’ve been refining ours for years). But there’s nothing to be intimidated of, because an editorial calendar is, after all, just a calendar. It can be as simple or as complex as you need.
Here are the basic steps to creating your own editorial calendar:
- Summarize your content strategy. In order to plan ahead, you first need to know what kind of content you’re working with. You should identify:
- where do you want your reader to ultimately go
- the audience you’re writing for
- the kinds of topics you’re writing on
- your best performing posts
- how frequently you currently post
- the yearly milestones in your company and in your industry
- plans for any changes you want to make to the existing structure
- Pull up a calendar and start planning. Because you’ve done #1 above, you can now take into consideration the kinds of topics you write, the ideal frequency of publication, and then any other things happening through the year, such as current events or campaigns for your company that you’ll want to tie the content to.
When it comes to slotting in content for a particular week, month, or quarter, you can plan everything from larger pieces like downloadable documents, to blog posts, down to social media posts.
- Once you have the schedule, you can get back to work and create the content. But we bet that almost immediately, you’ll find efficiencies in the process, such as being able to batch the creation of certain types of posts, your post scheduling, or your performance evaluation. So, it’s quite likely you’ll find that you’ve actually saved time on the whole by taking some extra time to plan out your content.
- Every quarter, reevaluate your editorial calendar. What’s working? What isn’t? This may sound like more work, but it’s really another benefit of the editorial calendar process masquerading as more work. Because you now have the birdseye view of how your content is laid out through the months, you’ll be able to spot patterns in what’s working and what isn’t that you likely wouldn’t have been able to notice if you were still going with your ad hoc content creation system.
Not sure how to get going on an editorial calendar? Lucky for you, we’ve already put together an editorial calendar template together and are giving it away for free!