Are you currently planning out into the future how you will update your website, blog or other business communications? If you aren’t, it is time to dig in and start learning about an age old tool that has been used for years in the newspaper and magazine publishing businesses – the editorial calendar.
I first read about editorial calendars a while back on Chris Brogan’s blog. Chris made it pretty clear that his own editorial calendar plays a huge role in keeping him on track and telling a great story to his readers over the long haul. Marjorie Clayman has also written some excellent posts about this topic.
The next place I ran into this important tools was while reading the book “Content Rules.” Like Chris, the authors stressed the importance of planning and how important it is to take your readers on a journey. This is especially important if you are trying to teach your readers something important over the course of several posts.
If you are small business owner, developing your own editorial might seem like quite a challenge; however, it is way more important than you might think. Whether you are trying to manage your blog, website or social media efforts or are running your company newsletter, this tool allows you to move past being reactive and producing scattered efforts. Here are a few tips:
- Know your audience. Prior to building your editorial calendar, you will want to take some time to understand your audience. Find out what they are looking for, what moves them, and what types of media they are most likely to engage with.
- Decide where you want to take your audience. This is the single most important step you can take. Make sure you carefully think about where you want to take your readers and what you want them to be able to do long before you get them there. If you are teaching them something, identify the most efficient route for getting them there and go.
- Mix it up. Try a variety of things instead of hitting them over the head with the same topics and approaches every single day. Not only will your readers be more interested, your own writing will improve and you will be less likely to experience writer’s block.
- Challenge them to do something. Don’t just talk to your readers. Engage them and challenge them to do something different from what they are doing today.
Tips for Creating An Excellent Editorial Calendar
- If you are planning across multiple platforms (ex. blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), think about how you will use each tool to accomplish something unique.
- Repurpose wherever possible. What do I mean? Take a great article or post you’ve written and look for ways it can be edited and shared in different ways.
- Set up your editorial calendar using Google Calendar. If you are already using Google Calendar, add a new one specific to your blog to reduce clutter.
- Working with others to develop and maintain your editorial calendar? Why not set up a shared calendar on Google and invite your coworkers to join in the fun.
- When possible, go back and keep notes on your past communications efforts. If they were successful, talk about why. If not, talk about what went wrong and what could be improved the next time around.
Do you use an editorial calendar? If so, how has it helped you? What tips would you share with others? If not, what is holding you up?