Content Marketing Essentials: Start Your Editorial Calendar (Free Editorial Calendar Template Inside)

Planning a good content roadmap is a battle half-won. This may sound exaggerated, but think about it: the hardest part of writing content is getting started, where you plan when and what to write.

Without a good content editorial plan, your content efforts will become haphazard, unfocused and draining on your time and energy.

This is where the editorial calendar comes in. The editorial calendar is essential to any content marketing strategy. It gives you a clear overview on the upcoming deliverables on the content side. Without it, your content efforts will become haphazard, unfocused and draining on your time and energy. With a good plan, you will have a sharp focus on the content gaps that you need to fill in, and you will have a much easier time planning on what to write and be sure that you have covered all the areas that you want to cover.

What Does A Good Editorial Calendar Look Like?

A good editorial calendar should give you easy access to information about your content plan for each month. Through our experience working with marketers, the most basic information you need to have in your calendar are:

  1. Targeted publish date of the content
  2. Title of the content
  3. Content type (is it a blog post, a Facebook video, a tweet, or a sponsored ad?)
  4. Buyer personas (or segments)
  5. Publishing/Promotion platforms (blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)

The expected publish date and title of the content allow you to plan ahead the content that you want to release in a month. It gives you a clear look at how the content pipeline looks like so you can decide if you should ramp up or ease up on the content schedule. Content types and buyer personas (or segments) help you keep tab on whether you are covering enough ground for all the target audiences you want to reach out to, and also whether you are putting out a variety of content formats, so that your audience remains engaged and interested. Lastly, choose the publishing and promotion platforms wisely to help you with amplifying your carefully crafted content.

How Do We Do It?

To give you a good idea about how an editorial calendar can help you in your content strategy, let me give you an example of how we do it here at thepixelage. Our monthly editorial calendar is important to us for several reasons:

  1. As an agency, we help our clients plan out their marketing strategy as well as execute them, so oftentimes, we need to strike a balance between working on our own content and working on our clients’. The calendar helps us find that balance by giving us the ability to lookahead and also flexibility to make changes to our plan.
  2. The clear view on the plan helps us keep a finger on the different personas, funnel stages and topic areas that we want to cover each month. This helps us build up a broad content coverage, as well as put out specific topics that are relevant to the various buyer personas we have identified.

While we have used a variety of tools, for ourselves and for our clients, we find that you don’t need a system with bells and whistles to get you started. In fact, one of our most trusted method is to use a spreadsheet to help us get organised. Part of this template can be seen in the screen capture below.

This editorial calendar template is the same one that we use for some of our own clients as well, so it has been put through the works to get to its current distilled and tested-to-work format. Over the years, we have tweaked and re-tweaked this calendar to its current form that we find has been very adaptable to most of our clients’ needs as well as ours.

And we are very excited to share this with you. If you still don’t have an editorial calendar, you may be interested to download our free editorial calendar template that you can use for your own content planning.

More Alternatives

You get the idea–an editorial calendar simply helps you get organised and gives you a good roadmap to divide and conquer the huge task of generating content for your company. While here at thepixelage we generally use our internal project management system and our Microsoft Excel workbook to help us in this, we know fellow marketers have been using various tools to achieve the same. So, if you are used to these alternative tools, they may be worth considering to use as your editorial calendar tool.

Do you already have an editorial calendar in place? What’s your favourite editorial calendar tool or process? Share with us in the comments. And if you are still looking for an editorial calendar to help you get started, don’t forget to download our free editorial calendar template.