Your corporate blog exists for a reason. In fact, there are dozens of reasons why blogs still matter a lot. It’s not there to simply put out content about your business, your products or how great you are. You go in with a plan and a strategy, focused on your buyer personas. This requires an editorial plan and editorial calendar.
There are several content marketing tools enabling you to build editorial plans for your overall content marketing strategy, with a focus on strategy, planning, collaboration and more. They range from platforms designed for editorial calendars such as DivvyHQ (check out the review) to full-fledged enterprise content marketing software that offers much more than editorial calendar features.
However, not everyone uses – or even needs – such a content marketing platform. Some companies use existing collaboration solutions or the intranet and others simply work with a spreadsheet. That’s perfectly OK, certainly as you can now easily share editorial plans made in a spreadsheet formats using one of the many cloud-based collaboration tools enabling them.
What an editorial calendar can do for you
Why do you need an editorial calendar for your corporate blog (and social media presences and your overall content marketing strategy)?
An editorial planning/calendar helps you to:
- Plan your content depending on a number of factors, that are ideally included in it, such as
- The different buyer personas or target audiences.
- The formats of the content and the context in which it’s placed.
- The mix of channels that will be used.
- Sum up a list of events and topics that matter to your goals and an overview of the content you will create to couples them with what the target audience wants, depending on traits and stages in the lifecycle.
- Define the timing of the content creation and actual output, possibly completed with approval schedules and flows.
- Assign roles per person and per topic, and mention the different people responsible for creating, approving and scheduling.
- Just plan. Without planning, it’s hard to get things structured and work in an efficient way, certainly of you have a corporate blog with multiple flows, authors, target audiences and teams. It also assures continuity and consistency.
Note that the planned content production is based on previous research regarding content gaps, keywords, social monitoring, touchpoints, events, etc.
On top of the editorial calendar in the narrow sense, a full-fledged editorial planning can also include:
- Target audience per topic.
- Plan of action for social sharing (depending on buyer persona).
- Metrics & Key Performance Indicators.
- Goal (awareness, consideration, loyalty, etc.).
- Target group intent (seeking information, evaluating, etc.)
How complete does your calendar have to be?
It depends on how you want to optimize your corporate blog and meet the needs of your target audiences but don’t overdo it either.
You can have an overall editorial plan and create easier versions for people that don’t have to know all the details in the whole content process. Often, the more complex the planning is and looks, the more some people will not follow it. Keep It Simple Stupid if needed and get a more integrated dashboard for yourself.
An editorial calendar template
Want an example? HubSpot has an Excel template you can use as a basis for your corporate blog. It requires registration. Here is a screenshot.
It’s a pretty straightforward editorial calendar that can help you get started with your overall content plan (and you really need to plan in order to succeed).
It contains the following elements:
- Due date.
- Publish date.
- Title of topic.
- Some details on the topic.
- Keywords to be used.
- Target buyer personas.
Don’t use generic keywords as in the Excel. Go for long-tail keywords and optimize for the keywords your buyer personas use when searching. Don’t only ask what your target audiences want but also analyze how they search. You will never rank high for keywords such as ‘search engine optimization’. And people who look for a search engine optimization partner, tool or expert will rarely just type ‘search engine optimization’ in a search engine.
Lee Odden also has an easy sample keyword glossary for a small website on the website of his book Optimize and an example editorial schedule for a marketing blog. It’s a bit similar to the editorial calendar template of HubSpot but also includes information on the buy cycle of the target audience, promotional schedules, channel mix (reposting) and – needed/available – media. A nice add-on to have and more complete than the HubSpot one, without required registration. Click here to to get it (click the image on the Optimize blog next to open the Excel).
BONUS TIP: if you use WordPress for your corporate blog, there are some simple editorial calendar plugins such as:
- Editorial Calendar
- StressLimit’s Editorial Calendar Plugin
- Edit Flow (which also enables some collaboration between users/writers/editors and also story budgeting)