Ever wonder how other people plan their editorial calendar?
Some people fly by the seat of their pants posting whatever comes to their mind that week, while others (ahem, us) plan our posts using a strategic editorial calendar.
While spontaneity may seem more exciting, we strongly think that everyone should have an editorial calendar of some kind, no matter what type of business you have.
An editorial calendar is beneficial for multiple reasons. It helps you:
- Stay consistent
- Be organized
- Increase website traffic
- Be strategic with the content you share and when
- Never have to question “what should I blog about?”
- Visualize your content in the calendar format which can help you think even more strategically
In today’s post, we share how we plan our own editorial calendar and tips on how to plan yours too! We also included a template for our editorial calendar you can download to help you map out your own editorial calendar.
How We Plan Our Editorial Calendar (Tips On How To Plan Yours Too!)
1 | Research first
Before we start busting out our paper calendars and scribbling down all of our ideas, we have to do some research first.
We never want to assume what our audience will want because, well, you know what happens when you assume, right? 😂
In all seriousness, it’s always better to find out what your audience wants and share content related to that instead of posting about whatever you want to write.
How do we do our research? A number of ways:
1. Observe our Google Analytics: We look at the report listed below and see what past posts have been the most popular on our site. Then, we try and come up with similar posts or ones that could go into more details about a particular topic mentioned in one of those posts.
Where do you find this information in Google Analytics? Go to Behavior >> Site Content >> All Pages.
You’ll want to remember to update the dates at the top of the report to look at more than just the last month. We would suggest looking at the last 6 months to start.
2. Observe what people click on/respond to in our email newsletter: We pay attention to the links people click on in our email newsletter and what they respond back to most.
Our more personal posts (like sharing our life and business struggles) garnered a lot of response, so we’ve been trying to be more open and honest with our readers since they seem to like that.
If you’re just starting out and you don’t have this data to pull from, you can also:
#1. See what people are talking about on social media: Monitoring comments and feedback from our followers as well as paying attention to what other people are asking about on other profiles is a great way to get ideas for potential content. Facebook groups are also a great tool to use to observe what people have questions about that are related to your industry.
#2. Observe what people are pinning on Pinterest: Yes, Pinterest is technically a social media platform, but really it’s just another search engine. Take a look at what people are pinning related to your expertise and brainstorm blog post ideas that offer your unique perspective.
You’ll want to make sure to have a mix of evergreen content (content that doesn’t become irrelevant over time) and timely posts (launches, industry tips happening now, etc).
Related post: How To Increase Your Reach Without Sacrificing Your Time & Energy
2 | Use a spreadsheet / project management tool
We like to use an actual calendar to plan out our editorial calendar. We created our own Google spreadsheet that works out nicely for planning our blog posts, content upgrades, email newsletters, and launches.
Here’s an example of what ours looks like:
We love using this spreadsheet because we can quickly look back and see past posts we’ve done so we don’t duplicate posts.
If spreadsheets aren’t your thing, you can check out tools such as Asana or Coschedule, or check out this article for 15 editorial calendar tools.
3 | Insert launch plans into editorial calendar
Now we’re ready to start planning!
Before we plug in any of the amazing ideas you just dreamed up above, we will first plug in any launch plans into the calendar.
When considering launch dates, think about the time of year when you’re scheduling. You’ll want to consider holidays when you’re taking vacations, other collaborations you’ve agreed to be a part of, etc.
Once those are out of the way, it’s time to put launches into the calendar. This is extremely important because you’ll want to craft content related to whatever it is that you’re launching.
For instance, when we launched our Canva Social Media Templates, we shared three different posts about social media:
- Why Branding Your Social Media Graphics Matter & How It Can Bring You More Business
- 6 Reasons Why Your Blog Posts Aren’t Getting Shared (And What To Do About It)
- Building A Brand Through Social Media: Your Complete Guide
All of these blog posts were closely related to the launch we were gearing up for: social media graphic templates. Our email newsletters were also heavily focused on sharing actionable advice on creating amazing social media graphics.
When you’re creating blog posts centered around a launch, you’ll want to remember to follow this rough outline:
- First blog post: Audience is unaware of the problem they have
- Second blog post: Audience is now aware of the problem, but aren’t sure what to do about it
- Third blog post: Audience is now aware of the solution to the problem, but they don’t yet have the product or service
- Fourth blog post: Audience is now aware of the product (your product) that solves the problem that they have
4 | Plan your editorial calendar 3 months at a time
Our suggestion would be to plan at least 3 months ahead of time in your editorial calendar. We plan all of our blog posts, email newsletters, content upgrades, and affiliate emails.
We like planning in 3-month chunks of time because 3 months is a short enough amount of time where we can see into the future of what we have coming up, but it isn’t so far in the future that our business goals could change.
Related post: 4 Ways To Promote Your Business That Will Give You A Big Return on Investment
We hope you now have a better understanding of how you can start planning your own editorial calendar to help you grow your business.
Content marketing has been one of the number one ways we’ve grown our business and without having an editorial calendar we definitely wouldn’t stay on track.
Don’t forget to download our spreadsheet template below to start your own editorial calendar!