How to Use an Editorial Calendar

editorial cal by rvoDoes creating content ever seem like you’re flying by the seat of your pants? You have a blog post due today, an email due tomorrow and you have no idea what you’re going to write about. Never mind linking the content together to send a cohesive message to your audience. An editorial calendar may be your key to content salvation and a way for you to get ahead of the game for 2014.

What is an Editorial Calendar?

An editorial calendar is a simple tool. At the most basic level it’s a list of what you’re going to publish and when you’re going to publish it. You can then add layers to your editorial calendar including the purpose for the content, where it will be published, who will write it, any internal links, notes to yourself, resources to write or create the content. You can also include any promotions you want to include in the content as well as your call to action.

As you can see, there’s a lot of information that you can include in your editorial calendar. The more information you include, the easier it is to create a content marketing strategy that succeeds.

Step One

The first step to creating an editorial calendar is to choose your tool. A simple spreadsheet is an easy and cost effective tool to make it happen. Spreadsheets offer you unlimited categories to track information about your content. The information is easy to access, easy to print, and easy to share. There are also online editorial calendar tools or you can grab a printable calendar and write your notes in the spaces provided.

Step Two

The next step is to decide what you want to include in your content plan and calendar. For example, do you want to include a linking strategy? Do you want to make notes about sources or who will write the content? What about repurposing strategies? Decide, in advance, what you want to include and what will help you create the best content possible.

Step Three

Using an editorial calendar is easy. The tricky part is sitting down once a month and establishing it. It’s essential to sit down and fill in the categories you’ve laid out. One way to stay on top of things is to sit down at the end of the month to plan the next month’s content. And any notes you have for future months can be documented at the same time. You can even extend the calendar out to six months or more.

Taking it To the Next Level

If you want to take it to the next level, consider creating a separate editorial calendar to track various types of content and content marketing initiatives. For example, your newsletter might have one calendar and your blog another.

Editorial calendars help make content marketing easier. Find a tool you’ll use, define your categories and required information, and start enjoying the benefits immediately. It will not only save your time but it will also reduce your stress.

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