Google would like all of us to become a publisher – or at least to “think like a publisher.”
Many financial firms are embracing this concept, planning and writing content at an unprecedented pace.
But what does it really mean to “think like a publisher?”
Magazine and newspaper publishers—online and off—are responsible for the bottom line. They make money by attracting advertisers, who pay to reach the publication’s audience. As a result, publishers are committed to keeping readers . . . and attracting new ones . . . with high-quality content in different forms.
An editorial calendar helps publications plan ahead, develop seasonal content on schedule and provide an appropriate amount of targeted coverage for all of their important audiences. What’s relevant during tax season? How can we help newlyweds save for their first home? What will resonate with parents as they send kids back to school?
In much the same way, you need an editorial calendar to stay organized and reach your particular business goals.
What is an Editorial Calendar?
An editorial calendar is a calendar filled with a schedule of upcoming blog posts. The calendar you use will vary depending on the objective of your blog, the type of organization you work for, and the kind of content you create.
If you’re an independent advisor with a team of one, your calendar will be fairly straightforward. But if you work for a larger organization with multiple writers producing content, your calendar will necessarily be more sophisticated in order to keep the blogging team organized and management informed.
At a minimum, a blog’s editorial calendar should include the following information:
- Publishing date
- Title of post
If you produce multiple types of content—for instance, not only blog posts but also a weekly newsletter, video, Social Media posts, ebooks — you may find it helpful to keep a separate editorial calendar for each – but a Master Calendar that includes all of your content is still beneficial.
Benefits of Using an Editorial Calendar
If you’re going to take your blog seriously, you need an editorial calendar. Not only does it help you stay organized, it also encourages you to write on a wider variety of topics and allows you to focus more on the most time-consuming aspect of maintaining a business blog—the actual writing.
5 reasons you need to get serious about your business blogging editorial calendar:
1. Wider Variety of Content: An editorial calendar is helpful for planning content. When you see your blog titles arranged in a convenient, at-a-glance format, it’s easy to determine if you’re repeating yourself or neglecting topics important to your business or your audience.
2. Improved Productivity: I used to combine my blog planning with my writing. If it was time to write a post, I’d roll up my sleeves and think about what I was going to write about . . . and then I’d write it.
One of the problems with this approach is the thought process for planning is different than that for writing. Since I started separating the two activities, I’m better at brainstorming interesting blog topics—and faster at writing them, too.
Another issue is that in-the-moment I was often tempted to write on the easiest subject I could come up with, rather than the topic that was most important to prospective clients and my business.
3. Better Adherence to Deadlines: If you have a blogging team (or even if the team is just you), your editorial calendar helps you keep track of deadlines. It’s possible you’ll still need to work late occasionally to meet a blogging deadline, but the workload should be easier to manage (and more difficult to put off).
4. Better Tracking of Ideas: Many successful bloggers keep pen and paper handy to record ideas—especially the brilliant ones that come to them when they’re walking their dog or playing with the kids. It’s a good approach; just be sure to use a notebook, not separate pieces of paper that will get lost in that pile of files on your desk.
If you use a notebook, you’ll eventually be able to transfer your best ideas onto your editorial calendar. Once you get into the habit of recording your ideas, you’ll always have something to write about.
5. Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle: One of the secrets to keeping up with your blogging workload is repurposing existing content. This could mean updating a previous post with new information, rewriting an old post from a new perspective, turning a post into a newsletter item or turning an ebook into a series of posts. When you’re keeping track of your content production in an editorial calendar, it’s easy to identify opportunities to repurpose content.
There’s an added bonus: use this master list to help with internal linking on future posts.
Get Serious About Blogging
If you’re investing time in blogging, it’s only fitting you take it seriously. Begin by thinking and acting like a publisher. Spend a few hours each month planning your content for the next month. Keeping a schedule may seem like a waste of time at first. But in the long run, you’ll become a more efficient blogger . . . and publish better content at the same time.