How to create an editorial calendar
Are you feeling the need to get your (editorial) act together? If so, you’re in luck, as today’s SEO copywriting video is on how to create an editorial calendar. In past webinars, Heather has discussed the importance of having an editorial calendar, but she has never actually addressed how to create one. So today, she does just that.
Heather has wanted to do a video how-to on creating an editorial calendar – especially for those new to SEO content writing and for DIY SEO copywriters – because she realized that in previous posts, her using the words “editorial calendar” may have implied a complex concept, when in fact it is very simple.
Tune in as Heather de-complicates the “editorial calendar” with three steps to creating one that serves both you and your content development team…
“Editorial calendar” sounds so complex…
- People think that it should be a fancy, detailed document.
Many folks assume that creating an editorial calendar means that they need to have a special document and do things in a special way in order to track all of their content…and it really doesn’t have to be that complicated.
- Two advantages: planning and accountability.
The advantages of having an editorial calendar are that you can plan all of your content and that everyone involved is accountable.
That way, it’s not just a case of having all of this stuff in your head – you can actually lay out a schedule so everyone concerned knows what pages are going to be written, by whom, and when. Down to the end-process of who is responsible for uploading the page or post, everyone involved knows what’s going on and can then fit it into his/her individual workload.
- There are a lot of ways to create an editorial calendar (and some of them are fancy and detailed), but let’s keep it simple…
Step #1: What are your monthly SEO content goals?
The first step in creating your editorial calendar is to make a list of your monthly SEO content goals. This is where you sit down and think: “All right, what do I want to do this month?”
Things you might want to consider include:
- What new pages do you want to create?
- Are there pages that you want to edit for keyphrases?
- Are there other SEO content initiatives (for instance, changing page Titles or descriptions)?
- What’s your content “theme” for the month?
- Think “manageable.” Know how much content you can create/edit a week.
In considering the last point – manageability – the upshot is to not overwhelm yourself. It is all too easy to write a list of 50 things that you want to do in a month, when the reality is that you can do about 10 of those things.
Focus on what’s really important to accomplish in the month, and hold yourself to what you know you can actually do.
Step #2: Mark up a page from a calendar
This is the easy part: print out a calendar page or buy a calendar, then start marking it up with content specifics and deadlines, such as:
- When are you starting the writing project?
- Who is the writer?
- When is the rough draft deadline?
- When are the edits back?
- What’s the final deadline?
- When will the content be uploaded and who will upload it?
If you feel more comfortable with an online calendar, then by all means use one.
Once you’ve completed the month’s editorial calendar, you’ll be able to look at any given week and know immediately what’s going on.
If after you’ve created the calendar you realize that the schedule is overwhelming, then it’s absolutely okay to take some stuff off! You want the calendar to be something that is manageable and that is going to work for your team – not something that’s gonna drive people insane!
Step #3: Get more detailed (if you choose)
While simplicity and manageability are key, it may be that you’ll want to go a little deeper with your editorial calendar and provide more detail.
Ask yourself: What does your team need to see?
For instance, if you use an Excel doc, you can include details such as:
- Per-page keyphrase focus
- Call to action
You can also group content by type, detailing such things as creating X number of sales pages/month, or writing Y number of blog posts/month.
- “Type” of content (sales page, blog, press release, “how-to” page)
This is something that you can play with, and again, it’s about what works for you and for your editorial team.
There is no set way to create an editorial calendar, but it is good to have something that is functional because – guaranteed – you’ll not only be able to write much more content, but that content will also be better because: you have planned the time to work on it, you know the scheduling details, and you know the deadlines, so you can upload your content on a consistent, regular basis.
Thanks for joining us for this week’s SEO copywriting video how-to! Do you have an SEO copywriting question or topic suggestion for Heather? Love it! Send it on over to her [at] email@example.com or tweet her [at] @heatherlloyd. See you next Monday!
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photo thanks to yoppy
If content marketing is part of your online strategy (and it should be!) an editorial calendar is necessary. If things get busy it’s easy to put off writing a blog post or updating a white paper- but it needs to get done. An editorial calendar helps keep you on track and holds you accountable.
Absolutely, Nick! Thanks for your comment :)
Editorial calendars not only keep you on track, they make future planning more simple. It also helps in streamlining your projects through prioritization.
You are so right about that, Owen! I couldn’t keep this blog going without an editorial calendar – it is essential for streamlining, planning, and editorial sanity :)
May also be worth mentioning the WordPress plugins are pretty good/easy as is Kapost (http://kapost.com) which provides a content marketing platform and one of the features is a robust editorial calendar for all your tracking needs…
Thank you for posting this. I feel more confident about creating my Editorial Calendar now.
Hi Martin! You’re so welcome – glad it helped :)