A blog editorial calendar is an essential tool for any content creator who wants to remain focused and on track. Whether you’re working in a team or alone, a good calendar keeps you organized throughout your creative project, helping you work easily and meet those important editorial deadlines.
Why is a blog editorial calendar important in content marketing?
As a content marketer, your ultimate goal is to produce content that ranks high enough on Google’s algorithm to put your brand and its core products or services on the map. A blog editorial calendar helps with this. How?
Since an editorial calendar keeps you more accountable for your goals and your deadlines, this calendar makes it easier to blog consistently. If you can blog consistently, then you’re likely to rank higher on Google because its algorithm will identify your blog as being active and up to date.
In addition, a blog calendar makes it easier to do SEO writing as you can plan your keywords in advance. In time, writing based on keywords will also help your blog rank higher on Google.
Eventually, when Google identifies you as a valuable source of information, your brand will pop up higher on its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This is good news for your brand, because it means more traffic to your website as well as more leads for your core products or services.
In addition to improving your ranking on Google, a blog editorial calendar should also improve your team’s ability to work well together. This is because all your projects are laid out in one place, including their deliverables. This kind of bird’s eye view of all your content keeps everyone accountable and focused on the end goal.
Does your team need help with managing your blog content? Contio helps you and your team to brainstorm, pitch and approve content ideas all in one place.
So, what should I include in my editorial calendar?
It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking of your editorial calendar as a normal calendar. However, if you do this, then you will be very disappointed with the results.
In order for this calendar to work well for you and your team, there are certain elements which are non-negotiable. Here are the sections you absolutely must include in your calendar for it to work:
1) Blog title
Your blog title should be laid out clearly in advance to help focus your writing. In addition to highlighting the title for each individual post, it helps to have a brainstorming section where you and your team can add title ideas as they come to you.
Normally, to develop the perfect blog title, you need to start with a popular keyword. Each keyword you use can generate a number of blog titles.
For example, let’s assume you own a flower shop and you’re running a blog which helps teach people how to care for their plants. The keyword “gardening tools” can branch out into a myriad of blog titles.
As shown in the Google Trends search below, other related keywords which are also popular for this search term include “gardening tools for kids” and “gardening tools names.”
So, if you start out with “gardening tools” as a keyword, you can generate at least two other blog titles. However, your creativity shouldn’t end where Google Trends suggestions stop. You can also write a blog post about “gardening tools for the winter” for instance. Or “easy-to-use gardening tools.”
Provided that the original keyword “gardening tools” is included in your blog title, your blog posts about all kinds of gardening tools are likely to be recommended by Google to people searching for “gardening tools.”
As you can see, once you start with a focused and popular keyword, the possibilities for blog titles are endless. This is just one of the ways having an editorial blog calendar should streamline your teamwork.
With this brainstorming process, you can wave goodbye to those days where you used to wrack your brain for something, anything to write about. As long as you have a permanent section of your calendar dedicated to brainstorming for blog titles, you won’t be running out of things to write about anymore.
Speaking of keywords, each blog post that is in progress should have a corresponding keyword assigned to it. This helps the author assigned to each task to refine their writing according to expectations.
Just as with the blog titles, it’s also a good idea to have a running list of keywords which you can add to as you go. Seeing all the keywords you can use in one place helps you avoid writing one article after another with the exact same keyword. This can get very tiring – both for you and your audience.
If you can see all your keywords in one place, then you can offer your audience some variety by switching from one keyword to another as you write subsequent blog posts. By writing about a variety of topics, you can also increase your domain authority over time.
3) Blog post status
For each blog title, your editorial calendar should also have a section that indicates the status of that content piece. Is it pending approval or has it already been approved? Is it under editing? Has it already been published?
Highlighting this information will save time and help everyone on your team to be on the same page. If you can see the status of each piece of content, then you no longer have to keep pinging your content creators to find out how far along they are in the process.
For the purpose of really optimizing your teamwork, it is important to include multiple deadlines for each piece of assigned work in your editorial calendar.
At the very least, you should have deadlines for approval, editing and publishing. Highlight all the stages your blog post goes through before it’s live on your site.
While assigning these deadlines, you should also remember that some of these tasks – like editing – need a lead time of 2-3 days. It wouldn’t be fair to write the first draft of your blog article and then expect your editor to have it done within an hour, especially if they’re multitasking.
Be fair with your deadlines, so that everyone on your team can do their best work.
5) Links to assets
Once you’ve written and submitted the first draft of a blog article, then it’s helpful to the rest of the team to share any links to media you used within the article. Dedicating a section of your calendar to this will help save time when the final article is being pulled together or repurposed later on.
6) Repurposing opportunities
Summarizing your blog post in a different format, such as image or video, can help drive traffic to the original post.
After you’ve published each blog post, it can be helpful for the other content creators on your team to brainstorm over how you can creatively reuse this content for your social media channels.
Deciding on the ways you can repurpose each original piece of content can help you add some variety to your social media content calendar template later on.
7) Publishing platforms
So your blog post has passed through the approval, writing and editing stages and it’s ready for publishing.
Where do you plan to publish it?
Once you’ve decided where each piece of content is to be published, indicating this on your calendar is important.
Getting the placement of your content right is crucial to making sure your target audience actually sees it after you’ve worked so hard. For this reason, you don’t want any confusion about where you need to publish your blog post when it’s done, and where it will be shared.
Highlighting the platforms in your calendar will help the person in charge of publishing and sharing each piece of content put it in the right place at the right time.
What types of blog editorial calendar can I use?
There are a few options at your disposal, ranging from DIY content calendars to comprehensive project management solutions. Let’s go over the types of calendars you can use with your team.
a) Excel or Google Sheets
For people who would like to be involved in the creation and development of their calendar, Excel or Google Sheets are a great option. Both allow you to get hands-on and create your calendar from scratch, or download a pre-designed calendar and adapt it to fit your team’s needs.
Image source: Vertex 42
b) Kanban Board
A Kanban board is a style of editorial calendar which offers users interactive cards which can be dragged to different sections as required. This is an ideal solution for a team of highly visual people. Trello and Asana are good examples of this.