Creating an editorial calendar for your own website is one of the best decisions you can make if you’re trying to improve traffic to your blog and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
Without a content calendar you may not feel determined enough to sit at your desk and write something on a daily basis, and when you finally get in front on your computer with the desire to publish something worth reading, you may find it impossible to remember all of the great ideas that hit you during the day.
An editorial calendar (or content calendar) keeps you organized, helps you stick to the content strategy plan and helps in developing a documented and more effective content marketing plan. It also helps you align your online and offline business goals and keep all writers and content creators accountable for their work, if you coordinate a larger team.
But where do you start from in creating your own content calendar, if all you have is a stuffy list of keywords that seems impossible to navigate and organize? Content calendar templates can guide you in creating your own editorial calendar, as part of your content marketing plan.
How to create your own content calendar, step by step
Creating your editorial calendar may seem complicated but it’s not, if you understand the logic behind it and the reason you need this calendar.
The editorial plan allows you to organize the content, visualize how it will be distributed throughout the month or year, make sure you have enough content for the upcoming months, see where you need to add more content and where you have gaps, as well as plan your other online marketing actions by integrating this content.
With a content calendar it’s a lot easier to plan your content marketing, as you’ll know from the start the dates of the most important events in your industry, and you’ll have enough time to prepare unforgettable content around those events.
Ideally, the editorial calendar should be integrated in the content strategy plan. This means that before starting to write down article titles, you should take the time to identify your audience, the categories and topics you’ll write about, who will create the content, how often you will post, where you’ll distribute that content, what tools you will use for development and promotion and so on.
However, if that sounds too complicated for now and all you want is to get started with your blog, you can skip the strategy creation for now and just organize your title ideas in a basic document.
Here’s the step-by-step process for creating your editorial calendar:
- Determine the main topics of your blog.
- Do your keyword research and choose about 50 keywords (head- and long-tail keywords).
- Start creating potential article titles for each on the chosen keywords.
- Identify important industry-related or national events and write them down.
- Create the editorial calendar template by including:
- The draft due date
- The publishing date
- The author
- The status of the article (draft, published, awaiting review)
- The main category
- The working title (blog post title)
- The targeted keywords
- The short description / meta-description (for SEO purposes, make sure it includes the main keyword)
- The primary business goal (ex. increase brand awareness by educating people)
- The immediate, precise goal (ex. get 10,000 visitors and 100 reactions)
- The level in the sales funnel (awareness, consideration, preference, purchase, loyalty)
- The target audience
- The distribution channels (ex. social media pages)
- The social media copy (snippets ready to be posted on each social media channel)
- Supporting media (images, videos, podcasts)
- Possible additional content to be created from this one (ex. infographic, whitepaper, slide share presentation and son on)
- Related event (if applicable)
You can download a sample content calendar template here.
Practical example for a fitness-focused blog:
- Main blog topics: Research articles, Workout plans, Strength training, Cardio & aerobic, Workout videos, Fitness myths, Recovery, Fitness science, Nutrition tips, Recipes.
- Potential keywords: fitness workouts for home, fitness workouts for men, fitness workout plan, fitness ab workouts, fitness workouts for beginners, exercises for abs, exercise for weight loss, exercises for love handles, exercise videos online, and so on. The point here is to choose keywords for each of the main categories and to write excellent content around those keywords, so as to rank as high as possible in search engines.
- Potential titles: 3 fitness workouts for beginners that require no equipment, These celebrity moms got back into shape with fitness workouts for home, 8 exercises for abs that will get you a six pack in a month.
- Fill in the table, taking into consideration the potential events for each month. If an important tennis match is scheduled for the 3rd of September for example, your blog articles in that week can be focused around tennis, and you can create educational articles (ex. Muscles engaged by particular tennis movements), list articles (ex. 10 of the best tennis matches in history), curated articles with funny tennis moments or tennis memes, and so on.
To keep your blog varied and satisfy the different tastes of your readers, try to include different forms of content in your calendar, such as regular blog posts, case studies, original videos (or videos relevant to the industry), photo-based posts, infographics and charts, slide share presentations, and to post not only about your company, product or service, but also about industry events.
Product launches and company news are important, but seasonal content and educational articles that provide value to your readers are more likely to generate traffic, engagement and leads.
This is how my simplified content calendar looks like – feel free to download the template and use it for your website or blog (click to view larger).
A wonderful article on 12 fields that should be included in the content calendar can be read on the Curata blog. Other editorial calendar templates (click to download):
- Editorial calendar from Vertical Measures
- Content calendar template by Bob Angus
- Editorial calendar template by Brett Snyder from Knucklepuck Media
- Content calendar by Michele from Scraps of my geek life
- Editorial calendar template from Content Marketing Institute
- Editorial calendar template from Hootsuite
If you’re finding it difficult to create your own content calendar, feel free to post your questions below or to contact me using the contact form here. I’d be glad to help you!