Why do you need an editorial calendar?
If magazine editors waited for inspiration or for free time, no magazine would ever get published. So how do they churn out high-quality content, month after month?
By using an editorial calendar, also known as a media plan. Top bloggers have learned this secret too.
An editorial calendar is a plan for producing regular written or media content, at regular intervals (e.g. monthly) at a perfect pace. It leaves you with deadlines you can use as a roadmap. You won’t have gaps in your postings and there’s no chance for people to forget who you are or give up on your blog.
Having an editorial calendar can help eliminate writer’s block and reactivity – the sort that leaves you realizing you forgot that your readers and subscribers were expecting Part Three of your series… yesterday!
Here are the top five strategies to for creating an editorial calendar:
1. Use the method that works best with your learning style – an editorial calendar/media plan is only useful if you use it.
2. Create and coordinate monthly calendars
3. Include your calls to action (CTA) in your editorial calendar/media plan – write down the call to action for each item on your editorial calendar. Not only will this ensure you remember to include it in your blog post, but you will be able to more objectively judge the level of engagement your post is likely to create.
4. Learn to think in cycles – your blog will feel fuller, richer, more organized and more enjoyable to your readers if you learn to schedule your blog in multiple cycles. Take your editorial calendar/media plan and go through using the following “cycles” (and any others unique to your business), one after the other:
• Seasonal cycle (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)
• Holiday cycle (Christmas, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day)
• Events cycle (Workshops, Virtual Events, JV opportunities)
• Contest cycle (Summer Photo Challenge, Christmas Giveaway)
• Fiscal Cycle (Annual business quarters)
• Product Cycle (All scheduled, upcoming product launches)
• Sales Cycles (High/low buying trends – based on previous sales)
Learning to plan your editorial calendar/media plan in this fashion will really help ingrain your business’ “big picture” in mind – and make much better and consistent business (and editorial) decisions.
• Who will update the editorial calendar?
• How will the editorial calendar be updated?
• Who will notify the rest of the team of necessary changes or completions?
• How will they do this? Make sure all involved understand the system and their role
When all is said and done, remember that an editorial calendar/media plan is simply a tool: Only you can decide what type works best for you. And, of course, they’ll be no use unless you use them!