The editorial calendar is the core of any coherent, effective content marketing strategy. On one screen you know if you’ve met your content objectives and are present in all the important platforms. You don’t waste any time on a piece that doesn’t contribute to a goal. In other words, your editorial calendar fuels your marketing and funnels your efforts.
If you do it correctly.
Many companies simply fill in an editorial calendar with topics. It’s an idea dump with randomly assigned deadlines. However, the most successful content marketing companies use their monthly editorial planning to set targets and achieve them. Here are some of their best practices.
Plan topics and themes around the customer journey
The best way to engage your audience is to give her content with the right message, in the right form, at the right time. Get deep into her psyche. Is she a serious buyer who is already weighing pros and cons, or is she still searching for background information? Is she reading intently on a desktop, or quickly swiping through her phone during her lunch break?
Your content should address buyers at different stages of the buying cycles, and formatted for different platforms and channels. Think through the entire customer journey. Assign topics to each type of reader and reading experience.
Create specific content for specific niches and platforms
Your business may have several audiences with their own behaviors, preferences, and “hot words.” Tailor your messages to each one. Aside from using Buyer Personas, check the targeting options on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In – then work backwards. “This month we’re sending out a Facebook ad for 25 to 35 year old women in X city who are interested in Y and read Z. What ad will you create for them?”
This kind of thinking can help you allocate part of your editorial calendar to broadening your customer base. While you’re still true to your “main market” you are consciously and strategically crafting a message for niches that you haven’t fully served.
Experiment with new content forms – then analyze
It’s easy for companies to get stuck into a content rut: churning almost identical blog posts around the same keywords, copying the successful elements in a competitor’s site. There’s wisdom in repeating success, but you risk boring your reader – and looking dated. Keep up with the content marketing trends. For example, most businesses still spend the majority of their budgets on traditional posts. However, Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Readers also prefer and remember visual content more: 74% of millennials use videos to compare products when they shop, 60% prefer videos to newsletters, and 80% of all users will recall a video ad more than any text form. (Source: SmallBizTrends).
What does this mean for your editorial calendar? While the bulk of your content should be tried-and-tested, Include a few new formats which may take longer to create but can potentially bring in a better response. Just anchor it on a clear strategy – don’t just ride on a trend for the sake of it – and analyze the results to see if the additional time and cost converts to higher views and profits.
Get feedback from the frontline
Content creation is not just the job of your content creators. Your sales, customer service and social media teams are all at the frontlines. They interact with your market and have a wealth of insights, anecdotes and testimonials.
Harvest employee insights for ideas to put into your editorial calendar. Schedule brainstorming or focus group discussions, or create channels (idea boxes, email groups, discussion boards) where anyone in the company to send ideas to your creative team.
Plan your keywords
Tools like Google Keyword Planner let you create content based on what your market is searching for. Your writers don’t need to flood their posts with phrases (search engines penalize keyword spamming, and human readers hate it even more), but you can use them to guide your topics and titles.
Your writers can also use the highly successful Skyscraper technique, developed by Brian Dean and used by many successful content marketing teams to create backlinks and increase views. Essentially, it involves researching for a popular topic and then presenting it with more data, better design, or in different contexts.
Repurpose your best content
Check your analytics for the posts or campaigns with the highest engagement. Republish that content, repurpose it in a new format or on a new platform, and devote part of your editorial calendar to creating something similar.
Intelligent Content Marketing Automation
Content marketing automation platforms let you do all of these important functions – easily, automatically and strategically. Here are just some of the functions:
– Create buyer personas
– Schedule your content and view your editorial calendar according to themes, content formats, campaigns and more
– Allow stakeholders to share ideas, comments and assets. Easily drag an idea into the editorial calendar so your team can act on it right away
– Post content on different platforms
– Use the analytics tool to know which posts performed better
– Search through tagged posts to find all content related to a successful campaign or topic
Content marketing automation is not just an editorial calendar – it guides your team through the entire editorial process so you make the best content in the easiest, fastest and most strategic way.
Mintent (formerly Marketing.ai) has helped many companies in many industries automate their editorial calendars to create targeted content.
Want to find out how Mintent can solve your calendar woes? Sign up for a free trial!