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What is a Content Editorial Calendar?

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I’m sure the term ‘editorial calendar’ is not German to you. Newspapers and magazines have long been planning out their publishing around an editorial calendar, which drives organization, consistency and relevance. But let’s think of this tool in terms of content marketing. Aren’t content marketers also publishers? Don’t they need to use editorial calendars too? Yes, they do. Even though using an editorial calendar is critical to content marketing success, there are very few businesses who use it.

The thought of incorporating an editorial calendar into your content marketing strategy should never make you feel panicky, because it’s not a truckload of work. Nor does it cost you an arm and a leg.

What it simply translates to is – ‘a publishing plan’.

A content editorial calendar allows you to plan ahead of time, as to what content goes live where and when. At least, one month in advance. It allows you to steer your content efforts in the right direction. Since it gives you adequate time to document your creative ideas as they flash across the screen of your mind, it also helps you forefend the problem of writer’s block. It’s just the perfect tool to ensure your long-term content strategy sees the light of the day so that you can pull in, convert and retain more customers.

Simple vs Detailed

Let’s assume you have a blog and you want to create a content editorial calendar for the same. How do you get started? What information should you track? Actually, the type of editorial calendar you should use depends on the kind of content you plan to create and the things or data you would like to track, in regard to the specific requirements of your company.

If you only want to track the content topics and dates, you’ll need to use a simple editorial calendar. On the other hand, a detailed one may contain multiple fields including –

Content topics
Publish date
Writers/ authors
SEO Meta data
Call to actions
Promotion channels

A detailed content editorial calendar is a lot more than just publishing schedule. It doesn’t only enable you to keep track of the ‘what’, the ‘when’ and the ‘where’ of content publishing, but also the ‘how’. It means you’ll also be tracking whether the content that goes live on your blog is appropriately optimized for the most important search keywords, along with other critical elements associated with your ultimate content and business goals.

For large corporations or businesses that remain engaged in a multitude of content marketing activities, having just one editorial calendar may not suffice. In that case, separate editorial calendars may be required for managing blog content, social media content, email newsletter content, video content, promotional content, whitepaper content etc. Depending on what suits your company best, you could either go for dedicated editorial calendars for each of these content publishing activities or you could also create multiple tabs for each one of them in one single master content editorial calendar.

Tools You Can Use (Free & Paid)

For small companies or start-ups, Microsoft Excel is the simplest solution to create content editorial calendars. If you plan to use a free tool which makes collaboration within a team more effective, you should decide to use Google Calendar. While both the aforementioned tools cost you nothing, there are paid solutions available out there as well. For social media content editorial calendars, HootSuite is a nice option. CoSchedule, on the other hand, is a preferred choice for creating blog content editorial calendars. You can use this tool either as a stand-alone application or as a WP plugin.

Whether you’re about to work out a new content strategy soon or already engaged in one, it’s easy to get started with a content editorial calendar at any stage. If you plan to maximize the results of your content marketing efforts while creating a great reference for your bosses or managers, you can never say ‘No’ to maintaining a content editorial calendar.

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