A well-structured editorial calendar can put any company blog on a fast track to success. It can improve your blog’s efficiency, coherence, and the quality and reach of your content.
It’s simple, really. An editorial calendar is a way for you to organize your blog posts and control content; it’s the best way of planning and understanding the overall goal of your blog. Think of the editorial calendar as the company blog’s blueprint. Avoid a smorgasbord of random blog posts and ideas; get organized instead.
A typical editorial calendar should include:
1. Content details.
This is the main topic of your post—a synopsis, really. Why are you writing?
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good title. Keep it short, clear, and even intriguing. Think of it as a tweet, where you have limited space to pique your readers’ curiosity. (Your title can change once the blog post is actually written, but it never hurts to plan ahead.) On the Internet, where attention spans wane, titles are super important.
Who on your team will be writing this post? Consider introducing guest bloggers—external writers who can contribute to your blog.
Assign due dates. The author needs to know when the project was assigned, when it’s due, and when it will be published.
Will you be publishing text on your blog? Photos on Instagram and Twitter? A video on YouTube? A poll on Facebook? Determine what kind of content you’re producing (medium), and where it should end up (venue).
Include SEO (search engine optimization) keywords. The better your keywords, the faster your blog and its content will be found.
Identify your primary topic groupings. Consider color-coding them; it will make it easier to determine how your blog posts relate to one another.
Here’s an example of a template you can download.
You might decide that a short-term schedule (ranging from weeks to months) better suits your needs, but nothing is stopping you from producing an editorial calendar well in advance (even a year ahead). Often, its range will be in proportion to the size of your company, and the frequency at which your blog is updated.
Earlier we asked: “Why are you writing?” It’s equally important to examine whom you’re writing for, what your audience is. Before you even begin writing—in other words, at the editorial calendar stage—visualize whom you’re serving.
11. Sharing options.
Whether your editorial calendar is a spreadsheet, on Evernote, on your intranet, on Google Calendar, or on Google Docs, one thing is crucial: Share it. Ideally, everyone involved can add and edit entries in real time to ensure the information is current and up to date.
[RELATED: Learn why you NEED a content marketing plan at our Fall content marketing boot camp.]
Variety is the key to success.
• Content should be spread out throughout the week or month. Remember those color-coded categories? You’ll appeal to more readers if you diversify. Blog about category X on Mondays, for instance, category Y on Tuesdays, and category Z on Wednesdays.
• You’ll also want to spread that content over different platforms. (Remember medium and venue?) Don’t forget to send your readers from one platform to the next.
• Vary your content styles. Give readers a balanced mix of numbered list posts (such as this one), how-to pieces, tips, and longer-form content.
Simply put, the more high-quality content you can produce, the better. Somewhere you will hit a point of diminishing returns. Staying on top of analytics is the best way to determine your publishing frequency, and those metrics should help guide topic selection.
Don’t forget: The editorial calendar is your company blog’s blueprint. Aim for structure and overarching cohesion before the first paragraph is even written, before the first video is uploaded, before the first picture is posted.
A version of this story originally appeared on Proper Propaganda's agency blog.