Regular content is essential to the successful growth of any company: so how do you ensure that you're producing the right content, at the right time?
Your business needs an editorial calendar.
We’ve all been there: you know a blog is great for your website so you make grand plans to write a new post every single day. Fast-forward a few weeks and the blog, your social media activity, and all PR activity have been left by the wayside.
You post now and then, and often have a last-minute panic when you realise you need to write new content for a product launch, or design flyers to promote your event next week.
It’s so easy to neglect your content marketing plans, especially when you’re a new startup with so much on your plate.
However, knowing what you’re going to write, when your products are launching, and how to tie all of your communications together with one clear message are all key elements to getting your business up and running from the get-go.
Your brand communications are essential to being noticed by investors, customers, and business partners. Without good, reliable, regular, and informative content available on your website and through your print media channels, people won’t pay attention to you.
Why would they, when there are so many more businesses out there who have something to say?
Key Elements Of An Editorial Calendar
What you need is a good editorial calendar! This is a working document that you can continuously update throughout the year. Once something goes on the calendar, however, it doesn’t come off. It may be moved around where necessary but, if you commit to a campaign on your calendar, make it a rule to complete it.
Doing this prevents you from slacking and helps you form a committed approach to your marketing content. Once you know when your big events will be, it’s easy to work backwards to discover the steps you need to take before sending out a message.
Your calendar should include:
- A weekly schedule for social media themes to be covered
- A monthly schedule for blog posts to be published
- Submission deadlines for PR outreach, such as trade magazines and local papers
- Any key annual events, such as awards submissions, national holidays, product launches, and your AGM meeting.
Why You Need To Include These Things On Your Editorial Calendar
You may be wondering: what place does an AGM meeting have on your editorial calendar? But wait: your business strategy is part of your communications. Any meetings with shareholders provide not only useful news content for your blog and PR outreach, but also shape your forthcoming business scope and the related marketing activities.
The other items should speak for themselves: your press releases need to land on a journalist’s desk in good time (but not too soon) before a deadline, to maximise your chances of coverage. Your social media strategy is a great way to make the most of online promotion resources without spending tons of extra cash. Your blog posts need to be regularly updated for your website SEO, and also to keep customers returning to your website.
Make Your Editorial Calendar Work For You
When creating your editorial calendar, it’s really important to assign individual responsibility for tasks. This helps maintain accountability, even if you work in very small team. It’s just as important to carve out time every week – yes, every single week – and sit down with your team (or yourself if you’re a solopreneur) and make sure your weekly editorial tasks are completed.
Set a regular meeting every week – it only needs to be 15 minutes. Check through the calendar. and ask yourselves:
- Was everything on last week’s schedule completed?
- If not, how does that impact on this week’s content?
- What tasks are scheduled for this week?
- What problems can I anticipate in achieving these goals?
- How can I solve or avoid these problems?
How To Create Your Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar doesn’t have to be complicated. You can easily set one up in Excel or Google Docs, and have separate tabs or rows for each element, such as blogs, social media themes, product launches, PR outreach, and events.
A digital document is always best to start with: it’s easy to change and adapt as your business evolves. You might want to use a physical wall calendar as an additional resource, to help remind you at-a-glance of key dates and events coming up.
Your Editorial Calendar Influences Everything. Yes, Everything.
You may feel that such a commitment to creating a content marketing schedule is unnecessary, especially if you’re in the very early stages of creating a startup.
However, your calendar will impact:
- How your current business strategy is communicated
- How your future business vision will be achieved
- How your customers are informed about your products and services
- How your company is perceived within your industry
- How and when your sales strategy is implemented
- How future investors see your company
The whole point of writing everything down on your editorial calendar is to help you, and your team, commit to delivering a coherent brand message across all of your business messaging – regardless of the intended channel and audience.
It’ll help your business look more professional and reputable in the eyes of potential investors, as well as showing your customers that you take your industry seriously.