How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Digital Business
With a planned calendar, you will be able to have control over all the actions that are necessary for you to achieve your goals, have a macro vision of your past strategies to define future efforts, and better organize your time according to your demands.
We get it – sometimes, when you have a content team, things can get a little hectic, and stuff happens on the fly. However, chaos shouldn’t be the constant theme for your team when it comes to content production.
If you’re not using an editorial calendar, you’re selling yourself and your team way short!
Without structure and discipline, your level of talent is null and void. We’ll show you how to implement these characteristics into your daily regimen and create a strong editorial calendar to optimize your creative process!
What is an editorial calendar?
What is a content calendar? An editorial or content calendar is nothing more than a schedule for all the marketing strategies in your business.
With a planned calendar, you will be able to have control over all the actions that are necessary for you to achieve your goals.
You will be able to have a macro vision of your past strategies to define future efforts; and you will be able to better organize your time according to demands and measure results according to your planning.
How to create an editorial calendar
What should a content calendar include? You’ll learn the answer to this in the next sections. Now that we understand the importance of an editorial calendar, let’s move on to the next step:
How to create one? Let’s split this step into four important points so that your calendar is well aligned with your strategies.
1. Set a goal
First of all, you need to set a goal that will be a guide to all your actions. Some interesting objectives for your business may be:
- Becoming an authority in your niche;
- Generating leads;
- Engaging an audience;
- Increasing the number of sales; and
- Making an upsell.
It is essential that your goal is very specific and simple to understand. If you wish to increase the number of sales or even start from scratch, set a clear number that would be the ideal one to achieve.
Your objective will then be, for instance, “make 800 sales in one year” and not simply “make sales.” Can you see the difference between the two?
The more tangible your objective, the easier it will be to identify the effort you need to make to achieve it. Keep to one or two major objectives, so you don’t lose the focus of your business.
The more tangible your goal, the easier it will be to identify the effort you need to make to achieve it. Keep to one or two major objectives, so you don’t lose the focus of your business.
2. Determine the actions that lead to your objective
What do you need to do to achieve your objective? Blog posts, paid ads, rich materials to capture leads, YouTube videos, email marketing…
You are the best person to define which actions you should take to achieve your objective. Therefore, make a list of all of them.
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3. Define the ideal tool
You should define the best tool to have easy access and control over all your content.
Here at Hotmart, we have been using Asana, and it’s been working really well. It’s a very intuitive tool, and everything is very well organized, since it’s possible to create projects and use different colors, which makes your calendar visually intelligible.
The important thing is that you group all the calendars in one single channel: blog, social media, ads, promotions, email marketing and other tasks.
All this must be closely controlled, and if they are spread out, your productivity will certainly be far from ideal.
4. Determine the frequency
The next step is to determine the ideal frequency to post each strategy. This calculation must be done with accuracy, since once you have determined it, you should have the discipline to stick to it to the letter.
Estimate the number of tasks you and your team can perform; otherwise, there will be too many delays and what is delivered may not have the quality you expect. Let’s take a look at an example:
- Facebook posts: 7/week
- Instagram posts: 14/week
- Blog posts: 3/week
- YouTube videos: 1/week
- Free ebooks: 1/month
Based on what has been estimated, complete the calendar with the necessary specifications. Again, here at Hotmart, we include in this process:
- Name of project
- Description of the task
- Person responsible for the content
- Person responsible for image creation
- Delivery date
- Publication date
- Possible references
Identify all the necessary flow for the performance of your strategies and replicate it when needed.
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5. Share with the team
If you work with other people, involve all the people responsible for the strategies in the calendar, and therefore each one can validate the viability of accomplishing the tasks in the schedule.
Using the tool that you have chosen, you can also monitor if all the actions are being taken according to delivery dates and talk to the person responsible for each task when needed.
6. Select the format for organizing the editorial calendar
With a well-defined procedure or workflow, you can constantly and accurately meet your publication deadlines.
It improves the effectiveness of teamwork by clearly outlining the roles of each team member and the timelines within which they must complete their tasks.
Breakdown Your Process
So, how do you deploy your calendar and ensure a smooth operation? To achieve this, after speaking with your team, the organization of your calendar must be broken down with these simple steps:
- Find the right team members to take on the appropriate responsibilities and steps.
- Set the boundaries for when one team member takes over and another picks up responsibilities.
- Estimate how long it will take to finish each activity (and in what order).
- Work with your team members to divide and organize the above tasks.
Decide on Your Structure
If you want to be sure nothing gets missed, a checklist is your best bet. Create one that details every action taken to produce a single piece of content. This is an example of organizational structure:
- Think of some interesting points to discuss.
- Limit your finishing times.
- Gather relevant keyword data.
- Make a summary or outline.
- Create introductions and drafts.
- Improve the above.
- Transfer to the graphics department.
- Make sure it’s optimized for search engines.
- Editing and proofreading are essential.
- Promote your business by writing social media copy.
- Promotional email copywriting.
- Set a publication date and time.
Delegate All Work
Next, assign a person to each job and add their name to the list. To illustrate:
- The group strategist should provide topics of discussion and engage the rest of the team.
- The project manager should ensure there’s an efficient cutoff date for finalizing.
- It’s the job of the SEO specialist to find relevant keywords that you can rank for based on your level of competition.
- The project manager will then produce an outline or a general structure of the content piece.
- The content writer will craft the first draft of the piece.
- The project manager and/or editor will scan and edit the first draft of the piece.
- Afterward, the piece can be passed on to your graphic design team for images and videos.
- The nearly finalized piece is passed to your SEO specialist for search engine optimization.
- The editor goes through one more round of finalized proofreading.
- Your copywriter will promote the piece of content on social media via social posts.
- Your copywriter will also draft any necessary email copy.
- The project manager will set the final publication date and time for the finalized piece.
After creating this list with designations added, you’ll also want to craft a separate list with time limits for each portion of the process. By doing this, each individual position knows their time constraints and when the piece must be turned in.
- Group/Strategist Discussion: 45 Minutes
- Project Manager Decides Cutoff Date: 5 Minutes
- SEO Specialist Keyword Hunting: 2 Hours
- Project Manager Outline: 2 Hours
- Copywriter First Draft: 8 Hours
- Project Manager/Editor First Editing: 1 Hour
- Graphics Team: 4 Hours
- SEO Specialist Optimization: 30 Minutes
- Final Proofing: 30 Minutes
- Copywriter Social Media Post: 1 Hour
- Copywriter Email: 1 Hour
- Project Manager Sets Date/Time: 5 Minutes
Finally, update your calendar with the due dates for each content item and associated tasks. First, though, you need to extend the timeline of each project by two weeks.
Put your stuff on the schedule that far in advance.
You should also provide your staff with this checklist to make sure nothing is overlooked.
7. Create a routine
After the calendar has been organized, you need to create a routine to be able to keep to the tasks. On Monday morning, review what was accomplished the week before and analyze the planning for the current week.
Every month, analyze the flaws, possibilities of improvement for the next month, and measure the results according to the strategies set.
Little by little, you will identify how much you and your team are able to accomplish and will be able to plan for the following months.
8. Start creating
The time period between creating and publishing or launching a campaign is very relative, and you will have to develop the necessary perception to be able to estimate how much time is spent.
This depends a lot on the action that will be taken. If it’s a blog post, the period can be relatively short, since it’s a simpler action that does not require a lot of effort.
It is advisable to have all the content one month in advance in case there are unforeseen problems or even planned vacations.
If the action is more complex, such as a video that requires more intricate production and editing, do it in advance.
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9. Don’t stick to only what’s been planned
The editorial calendar should be your guide, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything beyond what’s been planned. Review the calendar frequently to check for the next activities.
Pay close attention to what happens around you to jump on the bandwagon when there are subjects that generate positive hype and also to avoid taking action when it is not appropriate.
Google, for instance, took advantage of the success of the series “Stranger Things” to promote their new messenger, Google Allo.
You need to have enough sensitivity to adapt your content and campaigns according to what happens in the media and the world.
Measure, measure, measure. This is one of our main concerns here at Hotmart, and it should also be one of yours. The metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) should be determined by you and your team – when there is one, according to your strategies and objectives.
Whenever an action is launched, analyze what went right and wrong during the planning, execution, and, most importantly, the results achieved after the publication.
How many accesses did you get? How many leads were generated? How many sales were made? Use the reports from Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and social networking sites to understand your numbers and use them in your favor.
Always plan your future actions for your brand, and always leave them in an editorial calendar. You will notice your business will reach an excellent production flow, and you will become even more productive.
Editorial calendar examples
So what does a content calendar look like? The answer to this question depends on the organization and what the content is being created for! Is it a small team or a large team?
Plenty of variables go into deciding the exact type of calendar to use. If you’ve ever asked, “what does an editorial calendar look like?” We’ve got some of the best examples pictured below.
Is your content calendar optimized?
It might sound like a challenge, but optimizing your content calendar isn’t as difficult as it sounds. And it’s something that must be done, especially if you’re creating more intricate content pieces.
Without a calendar like one of the ones described and pictured above, it’s difficult to compete in an increasingly competitive world where content is king.
However, once you finalize your process and everything is in motion, you’ll find your content process runs like a well-oiled machine, and your content has a much larger impact!
And while digital business certainly isn’t easy, it is extremely rewarding. One of the most significant advantages of participating in an online business currently is retaining the opportunity to be a part of a unique creator economy.
The possibilities in this environment are endless! Take advantage of this blossoming economy by implementing your strategy and putting your blinders on – the work is hard, but the reward is definitely worth it.