A Strategic Editorial Calendar is handy to schedule how to publish and spread your content according to your overall digital strategy.
Imagine this scenario.
It’s Monday morning. You wake up, go to work, and you know what is going to happen on your social media for the entire week. The main strategic line is ready and scheduled, tidy, and organized, and everybody is aware of his tasks.
You prepare your social media channels once a month, plan the contents that should be here and there. Then, on Friday, you check what is going to happen the next week, and do maintenance with fresh news to fulfill your editorial calendar.
The situation here described is a dream that can turn in real life.
Above all, the only thing you need to do to make dreams come true is planning your social media strategy activity using a strategic editorial calendar.
Let’s see how to take advantage of creating a successful editorial calendar.
What is the Difference Between Editorial Calendar and Content Calendar
Also referred to as a social media content calendar, an editorial calendar is a powerful tool that makes you plan what to publish according to a long term strategy, that comes to life at the beginning of any new project.
You decide in advance, according to your audience and target analysis habits, what, when, and where to post. You earn time and make your routine easier.
A strategic editorial calendar is different from a content calendar. Sometimes people use the two terms as synonyms, but they are not. Describing the editorial calendar, I mentioned “what to post,” that is, as a matter of fact, the content.
Let’s see the difference in detail.
What is a strategic editorial calendar
Editorial calendars cover a broader period, from four-six months to an entire year. Wikipedia defines it as a tool that helps “to control publication of content across different media.” It is the thread that guides publications and formats and how and when they will be published.
An editorial calendar is useful because it helps to nurture conversations and discussions with your target audience.
You will have the chance to develop not only a strategy but also build a relationship with the people that you aim to reach.
What is a content calendar
A content calendar plays an operational game. It is “a shareable resource that teams can use to plan all content activity”. Here you follow the format from the editorial calendar, and you fill it, month by month and week by week, with all the text, links, and images.
GhostwriterAI helps your Editorial and Content Calendar Success
“An editorial calendar is the “big box,” the vision of the strategy that gives you all the rules.
The content calendar is what you need to fill the editorial calendar.
“A scheduler is a tool that supports you in the delivery of the content according to your editorial calendar” says Ester Liquori, founder of GhostwriterAI.
“GhostwriterAI helps you to identify what is strategic for your communication, provide third parties content to get ideas and topics to share, generate for you the content, and help you to have it distributed in your customized editorial calendar” continues Ester.
To sum up, not only an editorial calendar is strategic to save time, but with GhostwriterAI, you save time and money, using artificial intelligence to generate content for you.
Why a strategic editorial calendar is important
Now that we know what it is, it is time to understand why you should bother to have one of them.
Time is one of the daily challenges for people like me and you. You may believe that it takes less time to look for different content every once in a while.
In reality, you spend hundreds of hours per year scattered in your daily activities finding sources, figuring out what to publish, and looking for new stuff.
Also, if you spend each day looking for new stuff, you will lose time and even the thread.
On the contrary, taking a slot of time to achieve your content calendar once a month also helps you to keep it organized and coherent. Planning everything will make you avoid multitasking and lousy quality content
Have a flawless schedule
No more rush for planning, no more discovering that your competitors made a post about a crucial relevant moment that went totally over your head. Thanks to a calendar, you will have time to plan and never miss a thing.
You will have the chance to post more often and keep your channels updated and full of exciting pieces of content for your users. In this way, the content will flow without any problem. You will have all the time you need to find out about exciting initiatives or significant anniversaries and act by consequences, from choosing which one to pick to develop the perfect image and text.
Create Better content
More time means more accuracy. No more rushed pieces of content only because yesterday you had to post something, but everybody in the office forgot about it.
You will have the chance to test new formats, explore different graphics or tone of voice, look for the most exciting news you want to share with your community.
Having time to plan means also having time to think and reflect without pressure, and this is the best way to develop your creativity.
Moreover, this is an excellent opportunity to reduce mistakes and crises. You will have time to re-read your text and find out that sneaky typo, reflect on inevitable errors in the past and try never to repeat them, or even discover that your strategy is not going in the direction you are planning.
Let’s go with practice!
How to Create An Editorial Calendar In 5 Steps
Now you love the idea of a strategic editorial calendar, and you crave one. It is time to create it for your business!
Okay, but where can you start?
Like every plan, there are some steps you can follow to obtain the best result. We have collected five steps to create your first calendar with all that you need.
Let’s see them together.
Set your Editorial Calendar Objectives
Set your goals and KPIs, have a defined strategy and study your audience. Like every project, also an editorial calendar exists because of your audience, so you have to give it the best content possible. So, let’s study!
What are you going to do with the content of your strategic calendar? Identify the goal (or goals) you want to achieve.
Discover more about your audience, for example, using buyer personas and a bit of social monitoring and social listening. The more you know about your customers, the more accurate your editorial calendar will be.
If you know which channels your audience likes the most, you will lose less time and effort.
Now, it is time to plan your strategy. A calendar of this kind is useless if there is no strong content strategy to support it. Ask yourself why you want to create the pieces of content, which goals they reach, and which people’s needs they satisfy.
Think about the formats you want to implement, when they are going to air, where, why, and how.
Select a tone of voice that suits you and your company.
Remember what differentiates it from the rest of your competitors and where you want to publish it.
The more your plan is accurate, the less you will need to change things or risk any mistake.
Select your most useful channels
Now you have everything on your mind. The pieces of content, the KPIs, the perfect audience – yes, but where are you going to put your content?
It is time to select your social media channels wisely. How can you do it?
First of all, ask yourself when it is more likely to find your target audience. If you are aiming to 25-30 years old, fashionable girls, it is unlikely to find them on Tiktok – better try Instagram.
Also, remember that social media are not the only channels existing – you can also integrate a website, a blog, or a monthly newsletter.
Also, select the correct KPIs you are going to use for each platform. Selecting a channel only because you like it will not be useful – you have to pair each channel with business goals.
For example, try to select the channels you would like to use, the content you want them to host and create a little strategy for each of them, from the KPIs to the operative actions. It will be useful when you have to plan the calendar – we will be there in a minute.
Create a library of content sources
Neglect it, and you will regret it. Having a secure place where to store and organize all your content will make you save a lot of time and stress, especially if you are in a rush (but if you follow our tips, you should not be, right?).
You can create a repository on every tool you like, from Google Drive to Dropbox. The important thing is keeping everything organized and clear, easy to browse band with everything ready. Make it accessible from several devices and for all your team, so you can use it whenever you need it.
But what should you put in it, and how should you organize it?
It is mostly up to you, and it depends on how you like to manage your sources. For example, you could create a Google sheet to collect all the links with a date, the article they helped write and the day it came out, or a folder in which you will put all the photos divided by time or topic.
The important thing is that it is as accessible as possible for you. Make sure to post links to all your pieces of content, so it is easier to find out the ultimate sources.
Tools to create a content library
You can find out your content in several ways, depending on what you need. For instance, if you want to talk about marketing, you could use:
- Twitter. You can look for different hashtags if you need to find articles concerning a specific topic. Write your hashtag into the research bar, see the results, and select the most useful to you.
- Blogs and newsletters. Where do you find the experts’ best ideas? On their channels. Even if we are talking about a niche, you can bet that there will be some experts about it, and he will talk about this topic. You can share their articles and tag them, and this may lead to an exciting discussion.
- Zest. Zest is an aggregator of articles about marketing and business. It is a vertical aggregator, which means that its pieces of content are about a few topics and that the audience made of marketing experts.
- B2Community. Again, Business 2 Community collects articles for experts, mainly about marketing and business.
- Ghostwriter.ai curator. If you do not have any idea to find content, ask your audience! With our Curator, you can select an audience, a topic, and a language and find out the news that this target might like. And then you can even generate a post, with hashtag included. Have you already tried it?
Define what your calendar will track and create a workflow
That is the moment where the actual calendar comes to life. What does it mean? It means that now you can collect all the pieces of information you have created until now, and you can put them into the calendar to make it work.
Again, the way you decide to manage it is incredibly personal, so you can take all we say as tips.
You can use several tools, from a Google sheet to Trello, but the kind of information remains pretty much the same.
Some examples of what you may put in:
- When to publish on each channel
- Each channel’s goal
- What to post on each channel according to their goals
- Your content ratio (engaging content, conversion content, brand content, etc.)
- Names and topics of the different formats
- Who is in charge to publish in a specific day
- If that kind of content is sponsored or not – if yes, you can add information about it
- The best time to post to each channel (it may change, find out which is the best for you and your target!)
- The text of the post and hashtags, if needed
What are you waiting for? Grab your Excel or Trello and start brainstorming!
Conclusions: Test your strategy with A/B testing
You can test and measure what you are doing. If you plan, you have time to reflect on what you are doing, and the same happens for tests. You can ask yourself which elements of your marketing and communication work best and change the weaker ones.
Don’t forget the power of the A/B test.
It is a great opportunity also to test your pieces of content and see what the audience thinks about them, so you will have the time to make your next month’s plan perfect.