Do you regularly create great content for your target audience? Let's have a show of hands: how many of you use an editorial calendar to organize your content?
Not everyone uses an editorial calendar, and if you're one, you're making life more difficult than need be.
This is what I hear all the time:
It doesn't take an enormous amount of time to plan.
It's not complicated.
You don't need fancy tools to create an editorial calendar.
But like so many other things in life, once you get in the habit of using an editorial calendar, you'll wonder why you took so long to join the club.
What is an editorial calendar?
It's a basic timeline of what you want to publish over a given time period. An editorial calendar can be an Excel spreadsheet detailing the type of content, where it will be published (e.g., on your website, which social media channels, guest posts, etc.), and when it will be published.
Whether you work on a team or are a solo blogger, having the topics planned out in a strategic manner will make your life so much easier. Here are six reasons why:
1. You'll save tons of time.
If you're a seat-of-the-pantser when it comes to blogging, how much time do you spend casting about for ideas and topics you want to cover? Do you capture ideas on sticky notes and napkins that become a nightmare to figure out?
Imagine having your content planned out for a three- or six-month period. When you sit at your computer, you already know what you're writing and when it gets published. And since your time is money, the more time you spend writing, the more money you'll make.
2. Engage your audience with consistency.
Having a regular blogging plan lets your target audience know to be on the look-out for your content. Research has shown consumers feel companies are out of touch if they produce content irregularly or of low quality.
When your content and scheduling are all in one place (in your editorial calendar), publishing regularly becomes easy. More importantly, your audience will appreciate your consistency.
3. It's easy to accommodate change.
Change is a fact of life: the best laid plans and all that. If something crops up that's new and exciting in your industry, you can easily adjust your editorial calendar to accommodate it.
This lets you stay current in your content while still producing plenty of evergreen content to draw search engines and traffic.
4. Collaboration becomes easier.
If you have a team of writers, designers, web developers, and marketing specialists, it's easier to collaborate with all involved using a single document. This saves you from trying to coordinate multiple files containing information relating to a single topic.
Collect everyone's ideas and comments in the editorial calendar. Everyone can access it and stay up-to-date on topics, scheduled publish dates, and upcoming events.
5. You can recycle content.
Recycle your evergreen content when you keep an editorial calendar. You can plan on repurposing an older piece, adding to it, or updating it with relevant details.
Recycling content offers you more bang for your buck. You can reach your target audience with a fresh look on any topic, and go deeper into ideas rather than spreading your content thin.
6. You can track what's working.
When you plan ahead, you can track what topics and strategies work best, get the most shares, and generate the most interest. Tracking your content lets you consistently improve and reach your target audience with relevant, engaging content that keeps them coming back for more.
Start small. Capture your ideas for a month's worth of content in an Excel spreadsheet, and track, track, track. Learn from your KPIs (key performance indicators) and adjust your strategy for next month.
See if an editorial calendar doesn't make your life easier, help you create more compelling content, and delight your audience.
The Content Marketing Institute offer a handy template that you can use to get started.
Do you already use an editorial calendar? Let us know in the comments below what's your strategy (e.g., a spreadsheet, content marketing software, or napkins). Let's get a resource of great editorial calendar ideas going from which we can all benefit.