Every day of the week, effective online marketers have content creation on their to-do list. It could be writing a new pillar article or a blog post, a guest post for another blog, leaving useful comments, social media mentions, or looking for source material to clip in Flipboard, writing an ebook, or preparing a video or webinar.
Set Up Your 3 Month Editorial Calendar
When we meet with clients we set goals for the next quarter. We then work backwards from those marketing goals to determine what needs to be done each day to realistically achieve those objectives. How many leads are required? How much traffic is required to get that many responses? Who are we targeting with our message? What channels are best suited for reaching our target audience? What kind of content will we need to develop each week?
We've learned that it's important to attach publishing tasks to specific dates. If you're writing a blog post the night before, for release first thing in the morning Monday through Friday, your calendar should have time blocked out each evening, Sunday through Thursday. Do you spend an hour in social networks and commenting on blogs each morning? Block that time out in your calendar and don't monitor your email and messages during that time. If you're publishing a video every Friday, make sure the production is scheduled during the week and you block out some time Friday for uploading it to YouTube, Vimeo and other sites before you leave the office. The same goes for weekly podcasts, monthly ebooks and webinars. Are there any seasonal events during this quarter? Any special promotions? Be sure to schedule time to evaluate the results at the end of the 3 month period and for planning the next quarter.
We have separate calendars for each client, created in Excel, and you'll want to keep your editorial calendar separate from your other business calendar(s). With every calendar entry, you'll want to note the topic or title of the item, a description of the content you're creating, the customer persona it's targeting, any call to action or offer you plan to include and specific keywords.
Working with a plan, and seeing progress as items are checked off each day, is a huge stress reliever, but there's an added benefit. Daily review of your calendar will keep the content items in the forefront of your mind. We find that we're stumbling across source materials to clip and file every day. By the time we're ready to create the next item, almost all the resources are usually already waiting in a folder for us… job half done. Preparation and inspiration tend to go hand in hand.