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How to Build Your Editorial Calendar

image - SMARTSTART Planning

Advance planning is key to producing effective editorial posts on websites and blogs.

Producing content for your websites and blogs is a lot of work. To get the most from this effort, it helps to build an annual editorial calendar to guide your writing.

Here’s what that involves:

  1. Choosing topic areas to cover — These should be directly related to your business and, specifically, should cover topics relevant and of interest to your target audience. Your writing needs to create conversation, communicate your position or line of thinking and, over the long term, build trust with readers.
  2. Using keywords strategically — Identifying the right keywords and using them effectively are essential to optimizing search engine results. But don’t become emotionally attached to your choices. Monitor results and make changes to improve organic search performance when necessary.
  3. Posting with consistency — There is a fine balance between how often an audience wants to hear from you and how frequently you can reasonably create and post excellent and useful content. Size and frequency matter less than consistency so choose a schedule you can commit to maintaining without fail.
  4. Being open to ideas from multiple sources — Ideas and story lines are everywhere. Collect as many as you can, including those from other sources. Build an idea bank to draw from as needed. Be selective about which ideas you’ll develop further as you move through the publishing year.
  5. Planning your master calendar — Make a repeatable template that incorporates all the themes, events, holidays and noteworthy associations relevant to your industry, business and audience. This provides you with a month-to-month map to use to focus your communications and marketing campaigns in a way that creates both familiarity and anticipation.
  6. Assigning (or outsourcing) writing tasks — Get in the habit of tracking writing assignments. Even if you write all your own content. This helps you know what content is being produced when. And when you are managing multiple contributors it helps you manage assigned responsibilities more efficiently. You can also use this approach to track proper attributions for quotes, images used and editorial reviews if needed.

Benefits of editorial planning

Editorial planning expands rather than limits your creative options. Embrace the habit. You’ll be hooked for life by its many benefits!

The hidden advantage of using an editorial calendar is the greater sense of control and accomplishment you feel with respect to your content development strategy. However, never be afraid to deviate from your master editorial calendar when warranted. There are times when better ideas or situations arise that demand a timely response. Bumping editorial content, recycling evergreen posts or simply responding to a sudden inspiration are all part of your evolution as a writer/content manager.

PS: Download our Social Media Marketing Calendar to capture your editorial plans or create a workbook of your own for this purpose. The most important thing is to actually have an editorial plan and use it.