How to Create an Editorial Calendar That Drives Results
To create an editorial calendar that successfully moves leads further down the funnel, you’ll need more than a spreadsheet filled with topics and deadlines. After all, with so much junk content out there (keyword-stuffed, typo-ridden, clickbait-laden—you get the picture), quality matters more than ever. Content that resonates will attract, engage, and convert, while the rest will be forever buried in pages two and beyond on Google, where only the brave dare venture.
A well-crafted, results-focused editorial calendar ensures your content efforts aren’t just a shot in the dark. That said, how do you transcend from a messy spreadsheet or sticky notes on a bulletin board to a comprehensive content marketing engine?
The Backbone of Your Content Marketing: The Editorial Calendar
Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 brand or an intern at a content agency, you’re probably aware of the importance of an organized and well-curated editorial calendar.
As the backbone of your content marketing strategy, an editorial calendar should:
- Offer alignment: Every piece of content you create, whether an eBook or fact sheet, should be consistent with your brand’s goals and audience needs.
- Ensure consistency: One of the biggest keys to content marketing success is a consistent posting schedule—it helps your audience stay engaged.
- Facilitate collaboration: From your writers and editors to the social media team, teamwork will maximize output and results.
The Anatomy of a Results-Focused Editorial Calendar
1. Objectives and KPIs
What do you want to achieve with your content? Is it to increase website traffic, boost engagement rates, or generate leads? Or are your content marketing efforts here to support your broader business objectives, like breaking into a new market?
Clear objectives will guide your content planning and set the stage for impactful storytelling. (And don’t forget to note down what KPIs you’ll use to measure success.)
How Contently can help: With Contently, you can keep your team on target by clearly documenting your content goals and strategy. We’ll make them readily accessible at every stage of the process, from drafting to publishing.
2. Competitive Insights
Sure, you could just play ‘copycat’ with your competitors’ content strategies, but where’s the fun in that? Knowing their moves is one thing; outsmarting them is where the real game begins.
So, what content themes are your competitors investing in? What formats are they using to engage the audience? Are there gaps in their strategies that you can capitalize on?
A thorough competitive analysis can reveal opportunities to differentiate your editorial calendar and identify areas where you can lead rather than follow. This also allows you to anticipate industry shifts and align your editorial calendar to not only meet but exceed audience expectations.
How Contently can help: With Contently, you don’t just track the competition; you stay ahead of it. Our competitive analysis tool lets you dive deep into your competitors’ domains, grabbing insights from data points such as format, topics, and tone. Meanwhile, our built-in SEO tools let you instantly see the search volume and cost-per-click for relevant keywords, allowing you to maximize your content’s visibility and engagement.
3. Cross-functional collaboration
Content creation can sometimes feel like a siloed challenge, but as we all know, two (or many) minds are better than one. So, try to involve team members from marketing, sales, customer service, and even product development in the editorial calendar. Their insights can provide a more rounded view of what the content should achieve.
Use these tips to ensure your cross-functional collaboration is a success:
- Schedule regular check-ins. Use the time to maintain a steady pulse on momentum—this means facilitating detailed discussions about ongoing progress, emerging challenges, and next steps. Consistent dialogue ensures that everyone stays informed and engaged.
- Foster a culture of openness. Create a space where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and feedback. They may not be grammar gurus like your editorial team, but they’ll bring valuable perspectives from different parts of the business that can take your content to the next level.
- Establish responsibilities early. Determine who will be responsible for what, including content creation, editing, approval, and distribution, and ensure it’s clearly labeled in the calendar.
How Contently can help: Say goodbye to guesswork from your frontline teams on what types of content prospects want. With Contently, you not only guarantee that your content aligns with your strategic pillars but that they’re effective. In just a few clicks within Contently analytics, you unlock a comprehensive overview of your content pillars’ performance and clear insights into which ones captivate your target audience.
4. Visually intuitive
While complex spreadsheets can hold a ton of information, results-driven content calendars are typically more visual, making them easier to navigate. This means that at a glance, team members can quickly understand the publishing schedule, the status of various content pieces, and who is responsible for what, making the content planning and execution process much more efficient.
How Contently can help: Our user-friendly drag-and-drop calendar gives you a comprehensive snapshot of all your content initiatives. It’s every editor and project manager’s dream—in just a few clicks, you can even sort by function, line of business, format, tags, and more.
5. Centralizing resources and integrations
There’s nothing more annoying to content writers and editors than scrambling within a messy shared drive in search of that one elusive document. Help them save time by integrating content assets, guidelines, and other resources into your editorial calendar.
How Contently can help: Keep everyone on the same page by creating custom workflows and briefs for each content category within Contently. We also offer multimedia collaboration tools to reduce gridlock.
Don’t Settle for a Mediocre Content Calendar
Your editorial calendar is not only the roadmap for your content marketing journey but also the compass and guidebook. It shouldn’t simply list your upcoming content but actively inform and evolve your strategy so that everything you publish packs a punch.
By incorporating these tips and leveraging powerful platforms like Contently, you can transform your hodgepodge of content ideas into an editorial calendar that truly drives results across the funnel.
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