As B2B marketers get serious about content marketing, they’re starting to bring together the people, processes and technologies needed to run a continuous content-generating machine.
An editorial calendar is central to this new discipline and the core of a marketing plan. To call it best practice is like calling breathing a best practice technique for living things. It’s kind of more fundamental than that.
What an editorial calendar is for
Seems obvious enough but here’s how we tend to use them:
- To give a quick overview of an entire program in one glance.
This helps make sure the program is balanced and has a cadence.
- To guide the marketing production process
And keep everyone running in the same direction.
- To help optimise your content marketing budget
Instead of shooting from the hip and running out of money before you nail your top priorities.
- To exploit time-specific opportunities.
Like marketing around events.
We don’t often do a marketing plan without a calendar — it’s where the theory turns into action.
Editorial calendar varieties
At Velocity we use different kinds of editorial calendar for different purposes:
Sometimes they have target audiences down the left hand side, dates across the top and specific content pieces in each cell.
Sometimes themes or topics down the left and buyer personas across the top (which, I guess, isn’t officially a calendar but it serves a similar purpose).
Or dates across the top, and media down the left had side (video, blog post, eBook…) – to make sure the marketing plan has a good content mix.
We’d love to know how you use them, so do share your thoughts. Meanwhile here’s a round-up of our favourite resources for planning your editorial calendar initiatives:
Eight editorial calendar resources
Five keys to effective editorial calendar s – You’d expect the Content Marketing Institute to have lots to say about editorial calendars and you won’t be disappointed. This post by Rachel Foster is a good intro: five simple tips.
How to Create Editorial Calendars – Tim Slavin did this excellent, comprehensive post and deck on the entire editorial calendar process. Really good.
Editorial Calendars for Content Marketing – Michele Linn did this post on the Content Marketing Institute blog a while back but it’s still spot-on. Michele knows her stuff.
Video: Editorial Calendars in Google Calendar – Rod Kirby posted this on Vimeo a couple years ago. Still a really good tutorial for using Google Calendar for creating your editorial calendar.
A search perspective on editorial calendars – Rob Ousbey of the search agency Distilled on how to create an editorial calendar around events.
A WordPress editorial calendar plug in – Zack Grossbart and Justin Evans wrote this post on copyblogger about the wordpress plugin that makes it easy to produce editorial calendars. We like the look of this one but haven’t used it yet.
An editorial calendar template – from Damang Media Group. You can just save it and drop into your marketing plan. Nice.
A whole content marketing platform – Kapost looks really cool to me. It’s way more than a calendar tool but it puts the editorial calendar at the centre of a complete online publishing and collaboration platform.
The heart of the marketing plan
I always love the moment when we plug a real content calendar into a new marketing plan for a client (or for Velocity). That’s when I know the strategy is turning into a proper program.
If I’ve missed any great resources or tools, do drop them in a comment below.