So the scenario goes…
You’ve started a business and you want it to take off! You start studying and studying about ways to attract more customers to your business, and you hear buzzwords like “search engine optimization”, “Google ads”, “Facebook ads”, “social media marketing”, and all of these internet marketing strategies, but you’re concerned.
You’re wondering, “How can I stay on top of all of the tasks required to make these strategies work?”.
Sound familiar. You might be able to relate.
Many entrepreneurs are feeling the pressure of marketing their businesses with an overload of options and the tasks it takes. One thing you can do to manage your marketing plan more effectively and create content consistently is to create an editorial calendar.
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you the steps I take to make my editorial calendar, the steps you can take to make one for you, and I’ll also share a free template with you, so you can start managing your marketing plan more easily.
If that sounds good to you, let’s get started…
- 1 My Story
- 2 What is an Editorial Calendar?
- 3 Why an Editorial Calendar Works
- 4 The Steps to Create an Editorial Calendar that Amplifies Your Content Consistency
- 5 Final Words on How to Increase Your Content Consistency with an Editorial Calendar
- 6 Instructions to Get Your Copy of the FREE Editorial Calendar Template on Trello
When I started blogging around the 2014 time frame, I would post content whenever I was “inspired”. I had a job, a new marriage, and a young son, so blogging was a “side thing”.
In 2015, when I separated the military and started working in my husband’s construction company, I learned that creating digital content isn’t only helpful for “online businesses”, but it’s also important for local businesses, service-based businesses, product-based businesses and everyone in between (especially in competitive markets).
I’ve also done freelance work with several clients, and managing all of the content marketing tasks: online and offline has been somewhat of a challenge in each one. Considering that they might work with several freelancers, have lots of marketing goals and objectives, and have lots of places they want to increase brand awareness, they might have a plethora of tasks to manage!
I remember being asked several questions like:
- How can we make sure all of the writers write with the same voice?
- How can we make sure all of the graphic designers design with the same colors and branding?
- How can we make sure the content goes out on each marketing channel consistently?
- and the list goes on…
Then to add onto my experience…
In 2017, I decided I want to make my blog into a business, and I quickly learned that professional bloggers don’t blog when inspiration sets. They treat blogging like lawn care companies treat lawn care: it’s a constant discipline. They produce content for their audience in “rain or shine” because they want to satisfy their readers and customers.
As a result, I decided to learn how to manage all of the tasks, and creating an editorial calendar has been one of the most helpful things for me and all those I’ve shared it with. I want to share this method with you so you can improve your content consistency and tackle your marketing plan with organization and confidence.
What is an Editorial Calendar?
If you’ve never heard of the term “editorial calendar”, then let me start by explaining what it is. Basically, it’s a visual workflow of:
- Your content ideas
- Your promotional channels
- Who you’ve assigned to execute the task (if you have a team)
- and the important dates (promotional deadlines, publish date, assign date, etc.) that are important to you and your team for managing the flow of content
Why an Editorial Calendar Works
When you’re a solopreneur and you’re managing your content strategy alone, it can eliminate those days where you’re staring at a blank screen or where you’re toggling back and forth: from screen to screen and project to project because you haven’t fully prioritized what needs to get done and when.
Once you decide to hire, an editorial calendar seems less optional. You have to keep a steady flow of instruction and ideas for you and a team, so it’s important to plan ahead, to steer the content towards business objectives, and to avoid “pantsing” or “going with the flow.
I’ve heard many times that “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and when it comes to your marketing strategy, if you plan to fail, then you may not have customers.
The Steps to Create an Editorial Calendar that Amplifies Your Content Consistency
Hopefully, you’re starting to see how creating an editorial calendar can be helpful. Let’s break it down so you can take action with my 7 steps.
1. Decide on Your Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual Marketing Goals
If you haven’t done your business plan, this is going to be very important. It doesn’t have to be complex, but you want to be clear about your objectives for the month, quarter, and year.
You should know things like:
- How much content you’d like to publish
- What social networks you want to be on
- What key performance indicators you’ll be watching on those platforms (subscribers, engagement, etc.)
- What value you’re going to be offering on each platform
- What you’re selling that’s relevant to the content you’re publishing
2. Create your Target Customer Persona
Once you’re clear on your goals, it’s going to be important to be clear about who you’re trying to reach.
- What problems are they facing that leads them to you?
- What types of questions might they have?
- What are their buying motives?
- What might they be looking for in the awareness phase of the buyer’s journey? What about in the phase where they’re contemplating which solution is best for their goals?
- What content can help to meet them where they are?
3. Brainstorm about What Problems Your Target Customer Might Face in their Journey Before finding Your Solution
Going deeper into #2…
Most customers go thru a journey to discover they have a problem, investigate possible solutions, narrow down the options, then make a purchase. Some people may be more thorough in this process than others, but it’s still important to know this.
Considering that customers go thru phases, it’s important that as you’re building out your content, you’re addressing concerns that might lead them to you, so you can kinda intersect their path with your content.
4. Brainstorm Content Ideas that Would Intersect with their Journey to Solve the Problem
For example, let’s say you sell paint for houses.
If you’re brainstorming about your customer and the problems they might face before finding you, you might come up with ideas like:
- How to pick a good paint color
- How to decide if you should paint or if you should use wallpaper
- How to know if you’re pain has lead or not
- Paint reviews
- Paint comparisons
- Best paint for Girls’ Rooms
- Top 5 Things You Can do to Rent Your Property Faster
- and so on…
I haven’t done keyword or market research, but I’ve simply brain-dumped ideas to solve problems for people who might be looking to buy paint.
5. Jot all Of Your Goals and Ideas into Your Journal or Trello Board
Once you have all of the ideas brewing in your head, it’s time to snag a journal or open a Trello Board that can help you to write all the ideas out.
6. Set Deadlines for Each Piece of Content
It’s a best practice to stay ahead with your content production. Many professional content creators (bloggers, Youtubers, music artists, actors, etc.) say they record, re-record, edit, write, and schedule their content well before it goes live.
If they have lots of content stocked up, then if something happens, they still won’t disappoint their readers and loyal fans because they’ll have content published when they said they would. For example, Oprah’s been known for her show that airs every week at the same time. Marie Forleo, an online content creator is well-known for her show, MarieTV, which airs every week at the same time.
If you set deadlines for youself of when each piece of content should be done, and you find a way to remind yourself and your team of the deadlines, then you’re more likely to be consistent.
7. Stick to the Plan
Planning is good, but execution is better. If you create the most beautiful editorial calendar, but you don’t use it, it’s a waste of time. Make sure you stick to the plan. Give yourself incentives if you need to, or find a way to stay motivated and productive.
Final Words on How to Increase Your Content Consistency with an Editorial Calendar
Creating content is the first step, but for an effective marketing strategy, consistency is key. Hopefully, this post answered all of your questions about how to create an effective editorial calendar that improves your content consistency. If you have any questions or tips you want to add to this, leave them in the comments section below.
Instructions to Get Your Copy of the FREE Editorial Calendar Template on Trello
For your copy of the free Editorial Calendar Template on Trello, click below, and you’ll be given access to the board. Make a copy of the board, and it will be added to your Trello account.