Top Reasons Why an Editorial Calendar Is Crucial for an Effective Content Campaign
TOP REASONS WHY AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR IS CRUCIAL FOR AN EFFECTIVE CONTENT CAMPAIGN
Effective planning can mean the difference between achieving goals and missing the mark. And when it comes to content campaigns, planning is everything.
In this article, we will explore the use of an editorial calendar as part of an effective content campaign. Specifically, we will discuss five reasons why an editorial calendar is crucial for a successful content campaign.
So, please stay tuned because there is plenty of information coming up.
What is a content campaign?
A content campaign is any type of published content aimed at a target audience. Content campaigns can be simple or complex. They may also reach across various channels or focus predominantly on a single one.
Overall, a content campaign may include any of the following content types:
- Blog posts
Also, there are many channels for content campaigns, including:
- Print materials
- Social media
- Video streaming platforms
- PowerPoint presentations
- Live in-person speeches
- Marketing materials (i.e., brochures and product inserts)
Content can come in many shapes and sizes. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that effective content campaigns reach the target audience in a timely fashion.
What is an editorial calendar in a content campaign?
Planning is essential to a successful content campaign. Failing to plan can cause a content campaign to produce underwhelming results. As such, an editorial calendar is a highly effective tool to ensure a content campaign hits the mark.
But what exactly is an editorial calendar?
At its core, an editorial calendar is a workflow organizing tool that coordinates tasks among the various stakeholders in a content campaign: writers, editors, clients, and designers.
An editorial calendar facilitates task assignment from the onset of a project up to its deadline.
While editorial calendars are staples of the publishing industry, they have become popular among marketing professionals as well.
Why is an editorial calendar essential for a content campaign?
Any company or organization that publishes content needs an editorial calendar. Publishing content without following a plan or schedule often leads to haphazard publishing schedules and generally disjointed materials.
In contrast, an editorial calendar allows publishers and marketers to carefully plan their content campaigns to match publishing schedules, target audiences, and content campaign objectives. As a result, an editorial calendar is a must for any organization looking to create successful content campaigns.
What are the benefits of an editorial calendar in a content campaign?
There are five key benefits to consider when using an editorial calendar as part of a content campaign:
1. Organizes Workflow Management
Publishing content regularly can become quite complex and time-consuming. Without a clear publishing schedule, content can easily become delayed. These delays lead to irregular publishing schedules. And irregular publishing schedules can ultimately lead to content failing to live up to expectations.
Implementing an editorial calendar is the first major step toward organizing workflow management effectively. A solid editorial calendar assigns topics, deadlines, and roles within the company or organization. There is very little margin for error with clear topics, deadlines, and roles.
2. Boosts Accountability
But what happens when someone misses a deadline? Without an editorial calendar, it may become quite difficult to pinpoint where the delays occurred. However, implementing an editorial calendar within content campaigns boosts accountability.
Please note that boosting accountability is not about assigning blame when things go off course. Instead, bolstering accountability aims to identify weak links in the chain. The publishing team must then shore up weak links to avoid possible delays. Ultimately, this process is all about continuous improvement.
3. Establishes Standard Procedures
The lack of an editorial calendar breeds ad-hoc procedures. These informal procedures can quickly lead to miscommunication.
Once miscommunication occurs, getting things back on track may become virtually impossible.
An editorial calendar is the key to establishing standard procedures throughout the publishing process.
Moreover, an editorial calendar as the core of a content campaign helps solidify effective communication.
Consequently, everyone involved throughout the publishing process will be sure to follow along the same route.
4. Reduces Stress
There is nothing like haphazard business processes to trigger stress. When staff members are uncertain about what to do in a given situation, their stress levels shoot through the roof. An editorial calendar can practically do away with stress.
As part of an effective content campaign, an editorial calendar can quickly reduce stress levels.
When staff members are certain about deadlines, procedures, and roles, they can focus on doing their job as best they can. Moreover, staff members know who to contact in case they need help. Please remember that a high degree of certainty is a pivotal element in an effective content campaign.
5. Facilitates Tracking
The lack of an editorial calendar ensures details fall through the cracks. This situation occurs because the publishing team is uncertain about roles, responsibilities, processes, and guidelines. Therefore, it is quite easy for details to get lost in the shuffle.
Implementing an editorial calendar within a content campaign facilitates tracking. Specifically, an editorial calendar allows everyone to visualize who is doing what. Utilizing an editorial calendar also allows staff members to see how their tasks fit within the overarching scheme of the content campaign.
Please remember that effective tracking ensures tasks stay on course and deadlines are met.
How can companies and organizations create an editorial calendar as part of a content campaign?
Companies and organizations can create an editorial calendar as part of a content campaign by following these steps:
Brainstorm content topics.
Every great editorial calendar begins with a healthy dose of topics. An old-fashioned brainstorming session is the best way to generate a list of topics.
Please bear in mind that it is crucial to understand the underlying objectives of the content campaign.
For instance, a content campaign aimed at boosting sales must have topics related to sales, marketing, and brand positioning.
Once a topic list has been produced, the publishing team can begin to whittle down the list to a reasonable number of topics. The first filter should eliminate topics that are unrelated to the content campaign’s objectives.
Identify needs and limitations.
First, identifying needs is a crucial element in building an effective editorial calendar. In particular, the publishing team must determine the channels, formats, and target audience that will consume the content. For example, a marketing campaign aimed at a younger demographic can focus on publishing content on social media. Consequently, the writing and editing team must ensure the topics, content, and formats match the channel and intended target audience.
It is also crucial to understand limitations. Time and budget constraints may limit what the writing and editing team can reasonably accomplish. Therefore, the editorial calendar must reflect these constraints.
Match content to the channel.
After identifying the channel, or channels, it is key to produce content that fits. For instance, the writing team has identified YouTube as the best channel for their next content campaign. Thus, the writing team needs to produce scripts for video content. Please bear in mind that all types of content need to match their channels. Effective written materials ensure that this happens.
Assign roles and deadlines.
This step is crucial. The team must take on roles and deadlines for the various tasks within the content campaign. In some instances, there is a team leader who assigns roles and deadlines. In other cases, a self-regulating team can distribute tasks and assign deadlines.
The big question is: “How can one know what roles and deadlines to assign?”
In part, knowing what roles and deadlines to assign is the product of experience. Nevertheless, inexperienced publishing teams may need to proceed with caution.
A good rule of thumb is to overestimate time and effort. For example, a team member considers they will need four hours to complete a task. A conservative estimate would be to assign six hours instead of four. In doing so, the team can ensure they get their estimates down pat.
It is worth noting that roles and deadline assignments become much more effective and efficient with time and experience.
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Use a color-coded scheme.
Most teams use a spreadsheet or project management software to keep track of their tasks and deadlines. Additionally, a color-coded scheme can greatly help the publishing team visualize the editorial calendar’s progress.
- Green – On track
- Yellow – Delayed but still on track
- Red – Behind schedule
- Blue – Completed
The scheme above is simple, as it allows the team to visualize their progress. Please remember that it is always best to keep things short and simple.
Update, update, update.
The worst mistake publishing teams make is not updating their editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is a living entity. Thus, it evolves as the team makes headway. Completed tasks must come off the board, while delayed tasks must receive immediate attention. The board, software, or card system used must reflect the various stages in which a content campaign traverses.
For instance, a content campaign may have four stages such as:
Each team member must be aware of the role they play and how their work impacts the next stage in the process. Moreover, understanding the nature of delays can help clear logjams, so the publishing process flows freely.
How can hiring a writing agency help a content campaign?
Companies and organizations often lack the experience and know-how needed to run effective content campaigns. Companies and organizations generally do not have staff specialized in content campaigns, producing editorial calendars, and publishing content.
Hiring a writing agency can solve those issues.
Employing a writing agency can be like killing several birds with one stone. A professional writing agency can streamline the entire content campaign creation process.
Experienced writing professionals know what it takes to produce effective content campaigns. They understand the need for and importance of an editorial calendar.
Moreover, they have the know-how and experience to create an editorial calendar.
A writing agency can easily work in tandem with any organization to help them create clear and manageable editorial calendars but also ensure that content campaigns achieve their intended outcomes.
This point is not hyperbole.
A professional writing agency can ensure that companies and organizations reach their intended target audiences through their content campaigns. Achieving these outcomes begins with an effective editorial calendar.
A Final Thought
A common objection to hiring a writing agency is cost. Critics often claim that hiring a writing agency is more expensive than producing content in-house. This argument may seem valid on the surface but holds very little water under scrutiny.
Employing a professional writing agency typically leads to savings in time and effort.
How is that possible?
First of all, a writing agency can produce professional-quality content within tight deadlines. This quality ensures that companies and organizations get more content out in a shorter timeframe.
Second, an experienced writing agency knows the tools of the trade. They understand how important an editorial calendar truly is. Thus, the professionals rely heavily on editorial calendars to guarantee they meet deadlines.
Lastly, a professional writing agency provides training and guidance to its clients. Professional writers can work with an organization’s subject matter experts to produce top-quality content. This collaboration can lead to capacity building within the client organization. As subject matter experts become more accustomed to working with a writing agency, the content publishing process becomes more and more efficient.
Hiring a professional writing agency is by no means an expense. It is an investment in getting content campaigns right from the beginning.
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