This post is part of our ‘Make hay while the sun shines’ series – a guide for using summer downtime to clean up your digital strategy.
Your digital strategy likely encompasses a wide variety of platforms – we’re talking blogs, newsletters and social media channels, for example. Unfortunately, with so much going on, it can be challenging to create a cohesive digital presence across all of these platforms. If your strategy is a scattered mess, it is possible to turn it into a united force – you just need an editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar is a strategic blueprint for your digital communications strategy. Editorial calendars allow you to coordinate your content far in advance, ensuring that everything you share with your audience is relevant in the context of your larger communications objectives.
Though assembling a calendar takes some work, the time you save in the long run is well worth the effort. Below, we’ll walk you through how to do it.
5 tips for creating an editorial calendar:
- Determine your objectives. What are the primary goals of your business and your communications strategy? These goals should provide the foundation for all the content on your calendar. While reviewing objectives, make sure to consider upcoming milestones – strategic hires, product launches and industry events can provide great content for your strategy.
- Find the right tool for your team. Whether you use Google Docs or a team collaboration app (like Asana or Basecamp), your editorial calendar must be easily accessible for your entire team. Keeping blog-related conversations and updates in one central location is key – if you have several calendars going at once, something will eventually get lost in the shuffle.
- Think big. When brainstorming ideas for your editorial calendar, start by selecting quarterly themes. Go for extensive, big picture themes – the more angles to explore, the better. Just make sure to keep your audience in mind. What are they interested in? Take this blog series, for example – we’re creating several months’ worth of content based on the knowledge that our audience needs help getting through the summer slowdown!
- Break down themes into bite-sized pieces. Once you have your quarterly themes, break them down into monthly subthemes. Finally, break those subthemes down into individual topics. Suddenly, you’ll have a huge supply of strategically-linked ideas for your blog, social channels and more!
- Fine-tune the details. Now that you’ve got tons of content ideas, you can start to form your distribution strategy. What will each post look like across each platform? What content works best for your newsletter? What topics would make great videos? What other types of multimedia can you incorporate? Are there any opportunities to acquire guest bloggers? Once you figure out the answers to these questions, scheduling content in your editorial calendar will be a breeze.
- Collaborate with your team. Throughout this whole process, communicating with your entire team is essential. Team members from every department play a role in your company’s story – ask them to contribute! Whether this means weekly editorial calls or keeping in touch through apps like Slack, team effort is required to keep your content strategy on track. If any last-minute changes or additions need to be made to your calendar, regular communication will ensure that everyone is on the same page.
If you want your content to appear cohesive, relevant and on-purpose across all platforms, creating an editorial calendar is your best strategic bet. If you’re in need of an editorial calendar template, Hubspot’s got you covered.