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How To Create A Kick-Ass Editorial Calendar

One of the things we preach here at Jansen Communications is the importance of a detailed editorial calendar. Yeah, I know – sounds so boring. Why bother when you have a zillion other things going on? I mean, you can just write great stuff as it occurs to you, can’t you?

Well, sure. But you won’t see the results you want. Here’s why we’re huge fans of the editorial calendar:

  • Your big promos and sales will have a greater impact.
  • You can plan ahead, which is especially important for busy seasons like the holidays (B2C) or tax season (accountants and CPAs).
  • Your messaging will be consistent everywhere.
  • You won’t waste time scrambling to fill in the blanks.
  • Your topics will be more organized and thoughtful – and therefore more relevant and interesting to your target market.
  • You can share it with everyone on your team so they’re all aware of what’s happening now and what’s coming down the pike (especially important if a customer mentions something to them!).

So yeah, we’re big fans. It’s really the only way to stay organized and consistent when it comes to social media and content marketing, but most importantly, it’s the only way to deliberately plan your company’s growth.

As you can imagine, we create a lot of editorial calendars for our clients. Here are our tips on creating the most kick-ass editorial calendar for your own business:

Combine all platforms into one editorial calendar

That means your blog, email, and social media calendars are aggregated into one Excel file or Google Sheet. If you separate them out into separate files, you could miss something.

However, we don’t want you to go all cross-eyed when you’re trying to manage or update your calendar. To avoid an over-stuffed and unwieldy worksheet, we suggest you create separate worksheets for each platform. That means your blog goes on one sheet, your emails on another, and your social media platforms on a third.

Be super detailed

A lot of columns is the goal for a few reasons. The more detail, the less confusion down the road. If someone on your team is helping with social media, everyone will be on the same page. And if you need to swap out content based on a breaking story or trend that you want to address, you can move the previously scheduled content to later in the month (or year).

Organize your sheets

Here is a list of columns you could use for your blog:

  • Month
  • Topic (fill in the actual title once you write the post)
  • Image idea
  • Draft date
  • Publish date
  • Status
  • Author (if your team members, partners, or vendors contribute to the blog)
  • Keyword
  • Hashtag
  • Notes

Here is a list of columns for email marketing:

  • Month and/or week
  • Theme
  • Lead image idea
  • Tip of month/week
  • Article (s) of month/week
  • Promo or sale information
  • Draft date
  • Publish date
  • Status
  • Hashtag
  • Notes

Last but not least, social media:

  • Month
  • Publish date
  • Publish status
  • Topic
  • Hashtag
  • URL/link (for both original and curated content)
  • Facebook copy (what will your status update say?)
  • Twitter copy
  • LinkedIn copy
  • Google+ copy
  • And any other platforms you’ll be using
  • Notes

Fill in those sheets

Yes, this is a lot of work. But everything that is worth doing is worth doing right. When deciding what topics to address and when, look at past trends within your business, upcoming brand events (like sales), seasonal events/activities, the holidays, etc.

When you’re done filling in information, you’ll feel so much better and so much more organized. In fact, you’ll probably feel ready to go out and conquer the world. High fives!

But if you’ve gotten to this point, and you’re like, OMG, there is just no way – give us a ring. We’re happy to help take some (or all) of your content marketing strategy and execution off your plate – not to mention create a kick ass editorial calendar just for you.

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