Your organization, like ours, probably already has a marketing budget and a marketing strategy. Great to have, as that keeps your company on message and working within established parameters.
But you also need a way to coordinate the social media portion of your marketing efforts. The central idea of the editorial content calendar is to allow the creation of workflows for social content, plot them on a calendar, and manage all the writing, editing, publishing, and distribution in one place.
Here’s what an editorial content calendar can provide:
1) A guide to organize and manage your content
2) A plan to distribute this information across all your social marketing channels of communication
3) A way to hold individuals and/or departments accountable for their roles in content production and promotion
4) Verification that you’re producing content aligned with your overall strategy
5) A tool to assess resources and explore methods to fill gaps in your social media.
The format of your calendar will depend on your organization and how you access shared documents. A Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet can serve nicely.
At FocalPoint, we discovered that once we determined our marketing strategy, we had also laid the foundation for our editorial calendar. The goals aligned together nicely. For instance, we established several key core topics we want to “own” through SEO keywords. Then we mapped out various ways to enrich those keywords and phrases on social media to drive traffic and awareness. You could map this out by quarter, by season, or (depending on your business model) around new product introductions.
For example, if you’re gearing up to introduce a new gizmo, you (or your marketing department) may be creating articles to promote the introduction and drive audience interest. After the introduction, you will likely have post-event content (photos, new data, videos, testimonials) to share on social media. Using an editorial calendar, you can track where you shared what, and keep the key themes of your introduction in sight. This keeps all your printed content, blogs, facebook shares, Tweets, Snapchats, etc, aligned with your overall marketing objectives, and working toward a common goal.
Once you’ve mapped out your calendar, you can scheduled your social media and begin to see how to team what you post alongside your overall marketing program.
We’ve learned that you can’t plan for everything in advance, and really, you shouldn’t. The beauty of social media is how up-to-the-minute it is. In addition to having fixed marketing pieces, you can use the calendar to publish other content, as needed, to respond to breaking news, new data, updates, and anything else important that comes into focus. Your calendar should always feel like a work in progress.
We’ve found that an editorial calendar is among a content marketer’s most useful tools. It makes every part of marketing communication easier and more organized.